Length: One Hour
Time Period: 1992
Locations: Penn Station to Albany/ Rennselear
Ride an Amtrak FL-9 from Penn Station in New York City, to Albany, New York. The route follows the old New York Central trackage, along the Hudson River. This show includes a nice balance with exterior views of trains and locations. Metro North is the railroad that operates the line here.
Using a fleet of FL-9 and F7A units, the cab units are frequently found in pairs. The FL-9 locomotives were built by EMD in 1956 and 1960. They are dual service units. Power can be supplied by the stock diesel engine. Electric, third rail provided power is picked up by specially constructed locomotive trucks. The advantage is no changes are needed, as the engines cross into the electric territory. The F7 diesels are normally aspirated Electromotive prime movers. Their function is to augment the FL-9’s out on the route.
Besides the ugly paint scheme on the Metro North units, we see some Amtrak FL-9’s which look handsome in comparison. The most attractive lookers are New Haven livery, they do have one appear at Breakneck Tunnel. Connecticut DOT owns those classics. Our train has Amtrak #486, an FL-9!
Other diesels in this program include some ex: New Jersey Transit- former Chicago Northwestern F7’s. Conrail has B23-7 locomotives with a specially notched snowplow for third rail clearance. At Harmon, a repowered Alco RS3 and B23-7 are parked. Those two are Metro North units. Additionally, Amtrak Turbos and Metro North mu cars, are included. Amtrak GP40TC and F40’s, as well.
Beginning our journey at Penn Station, the train follows a recently added ‘Westline’. This subterranean route is dark. Soon daylight appears, although we are still below street level. New York City has many street overpasses. The George Washington Bridge is passed.
Northbound, the train follows the Hudson River. Yonkers is not a stop on this train. The scenery opens up as we continue the trip. Spuyten Duyvil gets a brief look. The recently rebuilt bridge is crossed there.
Pentrex has usually has fine, professional narration. The script is well written. Mainly concentrates on the current scenes. Short pieces on locations, and equipment, round out the presentation. The area is rich in history. That aspect can be found in other train videos.
Audio is natural sound. The narrative will override the soundtrack. At frequent intervals, the train sounds such as engines and airhorns are center stage. It is balanced and nicely done.
The scenery is an excellent feature on this cab ride! The omnipresent Hudson River and mountains are relaxing to view. Many smaller towns and their stations are included, with onboard and on the ground cinematography.
An example is at Bear Mountain Bridge. The cameras are passing under the bridge and than a view from the bridge, reverses the action viewpoint. Pentrex is really good at this type of sequence. Multiple shots keep the show interest level high.
Not limited to just a ‘hard mounted camera’, has other advantages. A Conrail local freight is seen with a little switching of it’s train. Many of the upstate exteriors, add up as a collection of scenic vistas. The Eastern scenery is heavily wooded and it is beautiful.
At Poughkeepsie, the train is under Conrail control for the remainder. We watch the engineer as he makes radio contact with dispatch. He eases the train out of the station and works the FL-9 controls.
Albany/ Rennselear station is where FL-9 service ends on our Amtrak Maple Leaf train. The locomotive is cut-off. An Amtrak GP40TC will take the train to Toronto.
Pentrex has presented an excellent cab ride with Along the Hudson Division. The assorted views and informative commentary do result in a fascinating program. Now available as a combination show on DVD. Perhaps, that will be reviewed someday.
This show is a great cab ride, and the extras make it one of the better rides to experience.
Rating: 4 Stars