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Ambassador in the 1960s

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Ambassador in the 1960s
Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 6:48 AM

Today's Photo of the Day shows B&M train 76, the Ambassador, crossing the Connecticut River between Cornish NH and Windsor VT (The entrire train is technically still in NH, VT doesn't start until the west bank).  That's the Cornish-Windsor covered bridge in the background, then as now the only road link between the two towns.  B&M ownership of the Conn River Line ends about a mile north of the train's location, just short of Windsor Union Station.  Central Vermont owned the last 14 miles to White River Junction but the segment was operated under B&M rules and dispatching by the joint operating agreemement.  CTC ended at the ownership boundary, but ABS signals continued to White River Jct.

The train itself is full of interest.  The lead unit is an F2A, with no steam generator (the F2Bs had them).  Providing steam is a 1500 series GP7, with train lighting bulges on the end of the long hood - a relic of pre-RDC Boston commuter service.

The Baggage/RPO belongs to the Canadian National, part of a pool shared with the CN/Grand Trunk line to Portland.  It's clearly marked "United States Mail Railway Post Office" and will come off the train at St. Albans.  Two CN coaches from the 1953 CCF order and a prewar "American Flyer" coach from the New Haven round out the consist, which contains no B&M or CV equipment.

At White River Junction the Ambassador will meet unnamed B&M train 332 from Boston, by that time equipped with RDCs.  The trains will swap passengers and head for Montreal on separate paths, the Ambassador via the CV/CN route, the RDC's north via the B&M/CP Conn River Line via Wells River, St. Johnsbury and Newport.

Today's Vermonter can be seen daily on the same bridge against the same backdrop.  Ownership (New England Central), speeds (79 MPH on most of the River line, in B&M days mostly 40 with a bit of 50), signals (CTC extended to the north end of the White River Jct yard) equipment (Amfleet) have all changed, but the train is still a popular and practical way for folks to travel in the Connecticut River Valley.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 2:47 AM

 

The two-car RDC train, one B&M car MUed with one CP car, was still called the Allouette on the departure board at Montreal's Windsor Station, even if not so-labelled at Boston's North Station.  Rode it a few times before and after conversion to RDC equipment.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 3:18 AM

I wish the photo was a bit sharper, so I could determine if the GP-7 was either 1567 or 1568, which figured in my MIT EE SB-degree thesis on diesel locomotive loadp-regulation control, and which I regularly rode North Station - Portsmouth on the 4PM passenger, retutning with the same engine crew on the night freight to Sommerville Yard, with the crew dropping me off at the North Station throat, so I could reclaim my Raleigh bike to return to the East Campus Seniour House dorm.  And I did have  the  opportinity once to take a turn as  engineer on the freight.

I never did ride the Ambassador, which I regret.  The Montrealer-Washingtonian more than a few times on the same route north of New Rochelle, NY.

Attached two 1950 viewes of the Northbound Ambassador, one south of White Rkiver Junction and one at the station with CV steam.

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, November 5, 2021 10:21 PM
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Posted by Fr.Al on Saturday, November 6, 2021 1:57 PM

The F2B'S had steam generators. Perhaps some people will recall that when EMD introduced the FP7, there never was a FP B unit. Were there any FL B units? Probably not.

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, November 6, 2021 3:42 PM

FL-9s:   A-units only.   All with steam generators.  NYNH&H only original purchaser.

The New Haven had Alco DL-109s and then PAs, but no passenger B-units.

Did have Alco FAs and Fbs, all without steam generators.

Its GP-7s or GP-9s (forget which, maybe both) did have steam generators.

Positive about the FL-9s and Alco passenger units, but my memory may not be 100% on the GPs.

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Posted by rcdrye on Saturday, November 6, 2021 3:59 PM

Some F2As got steam generators but B&M's F2As were not S/G equipped, since they were bought in F2AF2B sets and were not expected to operate as single units when purchased.  There was very little space for water in an F2A/F3A/F7A/F9A carbody, even with a small fuel tank.  Those that were equipped with S/Gs got Vapor-Clarkson OK4616 1200 lbs/hr units, while F2Bs with larger water space got 4625's with 1800 lbs/hr capacity.

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