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Philly Railfan Pictures of the Week
Philly Railfan Pictures of the Week
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Railfan Pictures of the Week - 01/13/2019

Fifty years ago this week, on January 16 1969, Penn Central commenced Metroliner revenue service on the Northeast Corridor between New York and Washington DC. It had been over a decade since the Budd Company debuted the Pioneer III cars for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Those 6 pilot cars, later dubbed Silverliner I's, were developed as an alternative to replace the aging MP-54's that had been tooling around for over forty years. The modern stainless steel cars were quite a departure from the older equipment and despite a number of flaws, stimulated demand for newer and faster multiple unit cars. The next step in the PRR high speed revolution was the order of Silverliner II's in 1963, whose design incorporated much that was learned from the Pioneer III's. Tacked onto the end of the order were four experimental cars commissioned by the US Department of Transportation as part of the High Speed Ground Transportation Act of 1965. These test beds were modified to operate at speeds in excess of 150 MPH and became the foundation for the Metroliner project. With the order of 50 cars placed in May of 1966 (later expanded to 61 total), the Budd Company and the Pennsylvania Railroad, working with General Electric and Westinghouse, developed what would come to be called the Metroliner, with the intention of starting service in the fall of 1967. The first cars were delivered in September 1967 and immediately went into testing but due to mostly electrical gremlins, the introduction date was pushed back to January 1968, and then put on hold indefinitely after the PRR merged with the New York Central to form Penn Central on February 1 1968. Finally in December 1968 Penn Central announced regular service would begin the next month.

Fifty years later, some of the Metroliner cars are still working on the NEC, but in a different capacity. Amtrak took over operation of the cars in 1971 and they continued running until they were replaced by AEM-7's and Amfleet coaches in 1981. The former Metroliners were rebranded as Capitoliners when they were pressed into Keystone Service between New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, but by 1988 their unreliability had relegated them locomotive-hauled coaches. Most of the fifteen surviving cars, having been converted to cab-control cars, are still used on the Keystones today.

Cab control car AMTK 9634 - former Metroliner coach PRR 823. January 2 2019.

Cab control car AMTK 9644 - former Metroliner coach PRR 804. January 2 2019
Cab control car AMTK 9643 - former Metroliner coach PRR 815. January 3 2019.
Cab control car AMTK 9649 - former Metroliner coach PRR 807. January 7 2019.
Cab control car AMTK 9646 - former Metroliner coach PRR 813. January 9 2019.
Cab control car AMTK 9641 - former Metroliner coach PRR 807. January 10 2019.
Cab control car AMTK 9647 - former Metroliner coach PRR 805. January 11 2019.
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