Amtrak’s Busiest Day 2012

The Sunday after Thanksgiving is Amtrak’s busiest day. In order to meet the peak demand that returning holiday travelers creates Amtrak borrows equipment from various commuter agencies. This creates some incredibly rare catches. I went out to catch the action.

First, there were a ton of regular Amtrak trains running.

Amtrak AEM7 on 2012's Busiest Day
A northeast regional heading south.
Amtrak AEM7 on 2012's Busiest Day
Another northeast regional heading north.

Then the commuter stuff showed up. Seeing MARC equipment at the Martin State station isn’t weird. Seeing it with an Amtrak cafe car tacked on is.

Amtrak "Commuter Extra" with a MARC HHP Heading North
Usually trains that look like this stop at Martin State.

Amtrak Cafe Car on The End of MARC Powered Commuter Extra

Amtrak Cafe Car on The End of MARC Powered Commuter Extra

Back to the Amtrak equipment for an Acela and a northbound long-distance train.

Northbound Amtrak Long Distance Train
Usually these rate more power: an HHP or a pair of AEM7s. But Amtrak seemed a bit thinly stretched.
Southbound Acela
Right on time.

Then a REAL surprise showed up: an NS local. Being a Sunday, and being a really busy passenger day, this was the last thing I was expecting to catch.

NS Local on the NEC
A real surprise, the local had some LPG cars and was heading up to Havre De Grace to deliver them.


Then it was back to almost regular Amtrak for a while.

Northbound Acela

Northbound Northeast Regional
This is why the long distance train was short on power: they had to double a few of these up.

Northbound Northeast Regional

Then came some southbounds.

Southbound with AEM-7

Southbound with HHP-8

Then more northbounds.

Northbound Acela Nortbound Regional


And more southbounds.

Meet at Martin State
An Acela and a Northeast Regional train pass each other right by the station


Southbound Regional in Good Sun
The clouds would occasionally break, yielding great views like this


Another Doubled Up Regional
Extra meatballs!

Another Acela Another Acela

And finally, in the waning hours of light, the real stars I was after in quick succession.

Afternoon Northbound MARC Powered Commuter Extra
More MARC equipment heads north, out of the setting sun.
NJT Comet Cars in Maryland
This is what I was really out to see: something really out of place. Good luck to the passengers riding all the way from NYC in these things though. At least they have bathrooms.


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