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Trainwatching Travelogue - Syracuse, New York - June 11th, 1999

Syracuse, New York - Friday, June 11th, 1999
Part 3: Willis Avenue & The Transit Center

   Willis Avenue is one of the most popular spots in the Syracuse area for railfanning. The street crosses the Chicago Line and the NYS&W main to Binghamton, and provides wide open views in both directions free of those annoying 10 ft. high pool fences over the tracks. In this view, CSX C40-8 #7554 leads Train CUSY switching onto Track #1 at 3:01pm. To get to Willis Avenue, I took a local Centro Transit Bus from the Transit Center, I rode the Western Lights route to the corner of Erie Blvd. and Willis Avenue. Just get off the bus at that corner then head up Willis Avenue about a quarter mile and your there, there are a couple of convenient stores within a half mile of the bridge and it was quite a hot day when I went so pack lots of your favorite beverage as you might be standing up there several hours.

Leased Union Pacific C44-9W #9690 leads this eastbound manifest switching onto Track #1 at 3:13pm.

   In The afternoon, the best light for photography is for westbounds, seen here is CSX C40-8W #7681 pulling train SEBU-1 on Track #2. To the right of the train was once a third track that must have been removed within the last few months, as it was still there, (dead-ending just before the switch connecting the Chicago Line with the NYS&W). Unfortunately, I must have arrived at Willis Ave after the hit parade of trains ended as this would be the last train I would see at the bridge before catching another Centro bus back to town.

Amtrak Train #64, the New York City bound "Maple Leaf" arrives at the Transit Center at 4:51pm with F40PH #265 leading its 4 coach, 1 Amdinette regular consist.

Seen here is this westbound TV Train on Track #1 with SD60 #6850 on the lead at 5:21pm.

   And finally, here is Amtrak Train #281, the Niagara Falls bound "Mohawk" with P32AC-DM #714 on the lead at 6:29pm. This train arrived about an hour and 25 minutes late due to mechanical problems, which were rectified before the train got to Syracuse. I had the unique opportunity to ride back to Buffalo on this train in a Heritage Coach, something that is becoming very hard to do nowadays since Amtrak has removed most Heritage Coaches from service.
   Overall I had a great day in Syracuse, I also got a chance to visit The Carousel Center, Syracuse's big mall, which has a Great Train Store in it, where I got a new CSX hat and a copy of Railpace Magazine for my return trip to Buffalo. CSX has a very strong presence in Syracuse, so get out there while you still can photograph some Conrail power, it won't be long, but with CSX already repainting Conrail's power, what is left of Conrail will only be a memory for all railfans, in Syracuse, and all over the Northeast...