• Amtrak & Metro North at Breakneck Ridge, NY

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by Franklin Gowen
hsr_fan wrote:

I'd really like to get a photograph of the Turboliner very much like this one, only less blurred:

http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... 630525.jpg

Is anyone here familiar with this location? It appears the photo was taken from an overpass. I believe this is a 90 mph section of track.

Also, is Amtrak still only running one round trip per day with Turboliner equipment?

Your question (and my reply) seemed much more appropriate in this forum than the Amtrak forum, so here it is...

That Amtrak Turboliner photograph was taken from the west (river-side) end of the pedestrian bridge at the Breakneck Ridge flag stop, looking to the north. The flag-stop is some distance north of the actual geologic formation that is Breakneck Ridge.

IIRC, only two weekend Metro North round-trips stopped there; two AM northbounds & two PM southbounds. (And those are likely summer-only stops.) You'll need to check the MN Hudson Line schedules for yourself. I used to railfan extensively along that portion of the Hudson Line, and can provide some helpful info.

As for Amtrak, Empire Service trains zoom thru there at high speed. I have a MN employee timetable (not handy at the moment; sorry!), and I seem to recall that max authorized speed there is now 95 MPH. I do not think MN trains will be going that fast, but Amtrak equipment almost certainly will be (possible exception being the Lake Shore Limited). The trains do not make nearly as much noise as you might think, so be sure to stay out of the track area! Unless you are legitimately waiting for a MN train which stops there, keep to the overgrade bridge and its staircase...

The linked photo was pretty badly blurred; maybe the photographer had been surprised? You will need a shutter speed of -at least- 1/500 second to freeze action there. 1/1000 would be even better, but can be hard to achieve with slower speeds of film and/or "slow lenses" (any having a full-open aperture being f4 or more). Hopefully you'll have lots of direct sunshine (or at least a hazy-bright sky).

For the latest scheduled assignments of rebuilt Amtrak Turboliners, someone else will have to post details. I'm out of that "loop"! Can anyone help? (For this precise query, the Amtrak forum would be best!)

To take your own photo with the angle shown in the linked photo, a mid- to late-afternoon exposure provides similar lighting. It is harder to take a well-lit photo of trains there in the morning, due to the cliff face (and foliage on top) immediately next to the tracks on the east side. However, morning light also provides the best view of the ruins of Bannerman's Castle. It stands upon Pollepel Island, which is well out of view to the left of the photo you linked to. That is a famous "prop" for photos, and it is not far from the river's edge. Stand at the other end of the bridge, right next to the cliff. If you have a wide-angle lens, a vertical composition should be able to get a train below and the castle above into the frame. Try it soon, before spring foliage along the river becomes more of an obstacle.

Just behind where the photographer was standing, the Hudson Line makes an approx.-2/3 mile straight run to a curve at the twin Breakneck tunnels. That is also a famous photo location. Or I should say, "was". Except for maybe a boat in the Hudson River, there is NO non-railroad property close enough for taking a clear photo of the north portals of the tunnels. And since 9/11/01, it has become a very foolish idea to loiter there. If you have a long telephoto lens (the typical 80-200mm zoom isn't enough; a 300mm or 400mm lens is needed), you can remain at the Breakneck Ridge pedestrian bridge and set up a tripod at the west end of the bridge, at the head of the staircase. You can then take photos of trains entering and leaving the Breakneck tunnels, while keeping yourself well out of the track area and not giving engineers any anxiety.

Turboliners aside, remember that the Metro North's Hudson Line push-pull trains routinely run with the locomotives on the north end of their consists. Amtrak's Empire Service trains always have the locomotive leading, regardless of the train's direction.
Last edited by Franklin Gowen on Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.

  by bwparker1
I'm not certain, but I'm willing to bet that the linked picture was created from a digital camcorder, and not a digital still camera. There was no chance it would ever be in focus if that were the case.


  by hsr_fan
Thanks for the very detailed response! I'm glad there's a pedestrian bridge there, as that provides a safe (and legal) means of getting the view I'd like!

Hopefully I'll be able to make it out to that neck of the woods sometime soon...