California Zephyr

I’m traveling to the west, and I decided to take the train. I took the California Zephyr from Chicago to Denver. I have heard if you take this train past Denver through the Rocky Mountains, it is one of the most beautiful train rides in the US. However that is a ride for another day. There is something very relaxing about taking the train and just staring out at the countryside. A few photos of the view are below. Not my greatest photos, but you try taking good photos through the dirty window of a fast moving train.

Somewhere in Illinois

Somewhere in Illinois: I think that is soy crops, but I was amused by corn that was popping up in the soy field.

Somewhere in Illinois

Traveling over the mighty Mississippi

Somewhere in Colorado

Potomac Eagle

About a month ago, I went for a ride on the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad. The train follows a gorgeous path through the West Virginia country side, the highlight of which is through a gorge of the South Branch of the Potomac River known as the Trough. The train is called the Potomac Eagle because you are almost guaranteed to see bald eagles while in the Trough. I think we saw almost ten. I got photographs of about five. Truthfully even if I hadn’t seen the eagles, the scenery was worth the trip.

West Virginia countryside

Farmland

Entering the Trough

The Trough

The Trough

The Trough

The Trough

The Trough

The Trough

The Trough

The Trough

Bald eagles

Bald eagle and its nest

NY 240th Street Yard

My most recent nerd trip to New York was to tour the New York City Transit Authority’s 240th Street Yard, also known as Van Cortlandt Yard. The train yard is completely elevated, which in my opinion makes for impressive structural engineering. It is a small shop, so it cannot hold all the trains that are out of service. The do regular maintenance as well as repair. I was impressed with all the safety mechanisms and protocols they have to make sure no one gets hurt.

Entrance to the elevated 240th Street Train Yard

Entrance to the elevated 240th Street Train Yard

Below the elevated 240th Street Train Yard

Below the elevated 240th Street Train Yard

The underside of the completely elevated 240th Street Train Yard

The underside of the completely elevated 240th Street Train Yard

The lavish office of the yard supervisor

The lavish office of the yard supervisor

Train in for maintenance

Train in for maintenance

Stacked and organized supplies

Stacked and organized supplies

I have no idea what these are, but the shop has really cool looking parts

I have no idea what these are, but the shop has really cool looking parts

Contact shoes (how the train makes contact with the 3rd rail). The one of the left is a snow shoe, the ridges cut the snow and ice, and the one on the right is a regular shoe.

Contact shoes (how the train makes contact with the 3rd rail). The one of the left is a snow shoe, the ridges cut the snow and ice, and the one on the right is a regular shoe.

Basket full of contact shoes. The yellow one is a snow shoe.

Basket full of contact shoes. The yellow one is a snow shoe.

Trains in the 240th Street Train Yard shed

Trains in the 240th Street Train Yard shed

Cables hanging in front of the car are "bugs". The ones with more cable and a 2nd box are little bugs because the have less voltage. The other one on the left is a big bug because it has more voltage and power the entire train.

Cables hanging in front of the car are “bugs”. The one with more cable and a 2nd box is a little bug because it has less voltage. The other one on the left is a big bug because it has more voltage and power the entire train.

A stick is used to make sure the contact shoe is at the right height. A maintenance worker is carrying another stick used to measure the height of the car above the rail.

A stick is used to make sure the contact shoe is at the right height. A maintenance worker is carrying another stick used to measure the height of the car above the rail.

Unclose view of the 3rd rail that ends at the entrance to the shop.

Unclose view of the 3rd rail that ends at the entrance to the shop.

Cool looking thing on a train the shop. I think it is a device that tests the doors and opening and closing.

Cool looking thing on a train the shop. I think it is a device that tests the doors and opening and closing.

240th Street Train Yard entrance to the shop

240th Street Train Yard entrance to the shop

Signals at the entrance to the 240th Street Train Yard shop

Signals at the entrance to the 240th Street Train Yard shop

Amtrak Vermonter

I think I have written blog posts before about how much I love traveling my train. I love sitting back and watching the world go by. Train travel also sometimes allows you views you could not get any other way. I recently took the Amtrak Vermonter from Washington, DC to Burlington, VT. The latter part of the trip had wonderful views of the Connecticut River and rural Vermont and New Hampshire. It was a wonderful way to start my trip. Here are a few photos from the trip.

Triborough Bridge (East River) in NY

Triborough Bridge (East River) in NY

Crossing the Connecticut River near Windsor Locks, CT

Crossing the Connecticut River near Windsor Locks, CT

Bridge over the Connecticut River near Northfield, MA

Bridge over the Connecticut River near Northfield, MA

near Bellows Falls, VT

near Bellows Falls, VT