Running Numbers; Springfield, Massachusetts on a Sunday Morning.

Amtrak train 145 with Memorial Bridge.

Most Amtrak trains working the line between New Haven, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts consist of two-car push-pull shuttle sets with a GE P42 at one end and a former Budd Metroliner cab car at the other. The exceptions include the daily Washington-St. Albans Vermonter and some weekend services.

On the morning of June 22, 2014, Amtrak P42 150 leading train 145 on the former New Haven Railroad at Springfield, Massachusetts passes below Memorial Bridge.
On the morning of June 22, 2014, Amtrak P42 150 leading train 145 on the former New Haven Railroad at Springfield, Massachusetts passes below Memorial Bridge. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 200mm lens.
On the morning of June 22, 2014, Amtrak P42 150 leading train 145 on the former New Haven Railroad at Springfield, Massachusetts. Memorial Bridge spans the Connecticut River between Springfield and West Springfield. Exposed with a Lumix LX-7.
On the morning of June 22, 2014, Amtrak P42 150 leading train 145 on the former New Haven Railroad at Springfield, Massachusetts. Memorial Bridge spans the Connecticut River between Springfield and West Springfield. Exposed with a Lumix LX-7.

Train 145 is a relatively new service that runs Sunday only from Springfield to Lynchburg, Virginia. Photographically, it offers an opportunity to feature a P42 leading a relatively long train in nice morning light on the former New Haven line south of Springfield.

Lets talk about hardware and software for a minute. What?Why?

I mention this because I’ve found in my years of writing about railways, a majority of people have never considered the significance of train numbers versus equipment numbers.

This may seem pedantic, but it is an important distinction.

A train is a service, while locomotives, passenger cars and multiple units are equipment. Take these photos for example: we have Amtrak P42 number 150, leading train 145. The locomotive number solely specifically identifies that individual piece of hardware; while the train number identifies the service.

Locomotive 150 only operated on train 145 as far as New Haven, where was replaced by an electric for the run to Washington (there another diesel took over for remainder of the trip to Lynchburg). Interestingly, later in the day I caught engine 150 again, this time leading train 54, the northward Vermonter.

I’m glad I’ve cleared up any misconceptions!’

As an aside, a few weeks ago I was at Penn-Station aboard Amtrak train number 94. On the opposite platform was an Acela Express HST (high speed train). Both were destined for Boston. Some passengers were rather confused as to which train to board. To help clarify matters, an Amtrak employee made this announcement:

“THIS IS TRAIN Ninety Four! If you ARE NOT ON TRAIN NINETY FOUR, GET OFF TRAIN NINETY FOUR!”

Train 145, Springfield.
Train 145, Springfield.

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