Thursday, May 30, 2013

Steam Train and Other Things

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Dahlia shot while out plant shopping in Indiana County, PA.

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Early blooming Rhododendrun in our small garden.

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Gray Squirrel

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The Female Pileated Woodpecker has finally learned how to land on the suet feeder and decimate it in no time at all.

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Taking its lead from the female pileated this crow has also become a daily visitor to the suet feeder until it was recently demolished by a bear.

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Two Male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks getting into a squabble about who was on the feeder first.

Last week the Nickel Plate Road Engine 765 which belongs to the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society returned to the Altoona area where it had a number of tours during the week for Norfolk Southern employees.  Over the Memorial Day weekend rides were available for the general public.

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The first three photos were shot along Railroad Street in Cresson Township as the train deadheaded into Altoona.

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Male Pileated Woodpecker keeps a wary eye out as it digs for bugs in an old log.

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Hooded Warbler taking a break on our side deck.

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May Apple Flower

A Bear Story

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For several nights we had a problem with this mangy bear getting into our bird feeders, our garbage and finally my seed locker.  Knowing that something was wrong with the bear (mange) we called the Pennsylvania State Game Commission to inform them of the condition of the bear and asked if it could be trapped and gotten some medical help.

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The local conservation officer brought out a bear trap and set it up in our yard next to the tree line.

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After baiting the trap with a whole bunch of baked goods like layer cakes and cupcakes he set the trap and all we had to do was sit back and wait.

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Unfortunately, all we managed to trap was this raccoon.

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Which took off and headed across the yard when the game warden opened the door.

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30 seconds later all we could see was the rear end of the raccoon as it headed up one of the trails that leads from our yard into the woods.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

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The daily passenger train to Philadelphia via Harrisburg pulls out of the Altoona train station just prior to the arrival of the Nickle Plate 765.

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The steam engine heads to the Altoona train station after pulling out of the Norfolk Southern Juniata Works in Altoona.

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Letting off steam

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Easing into the station.

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Norfolk Southern engine 8102 which was part of the railroad tour pulls the passenger cars and the steam engine back into Altoona so it would be ready for a second tour to Cresson and back into Altoona later in the afternoon.  This engine is one of the Norfolk Southern 30th anniversary heritage locomotives that was painted in the original road colors and bearing the original company heralds.  The engine is a GE ES-43AC  It rolled off the line at the Juniata works in July of 2012.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

New World - Old World

The first five pictures in this week's blog are from my new world in Cambria County and the rest are from my old world in York County.

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Members of the Penn State University Sailing Club enjoy a day of sailing on Lake Glendale near Patton, PA.

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Female Pileated Woodpecker on a sassafras tree.

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Male and Female Brown-headed Cowbirds savor a little family time on the suet feeder.

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Female Purple Finch

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Two Female Purple Finches.

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Long since out of business, Horlacher's Beer was originally brewed in Allentown, PA.  I can't remember when this advertisement was not on the side of this building along Route 30 in Thomasville, PA.

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Former Maryland and Pennsylvania (Ma and Pa) SW-9 that belongs to the York Rail Company which is actually owned by the Genesee and Wyoming Inc.

This artwork was created by Salvaging Creativity and located along a two block stretch of North George Street in York, PA.  All the funds were raised by donations from businesses and art lovers.

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York Friends Meeting Place at 135 W. Philadelphia Street, York, PA. 
The right side was built in 1766, the left side was built in 1783.  It was added to accommodate the women's meeting as the women met separately and conducted their own business and administered their own monies.  The building is still in use today.

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Queen and Princess Streets, York, PA.

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Gas pump located along Route 30 in Gettysburg, PA.  One of many that dot the historic Lincoln Highway, U.S. Route 30.

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Thursday, May 02, 2013

Playing Catch-Up

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Seems every year or so we get just one Carolina Wren.  It stays for a few days then disappears.

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At one time you could find pheasant in almost every part of Pennsylvania.  But with the loss of farm land due to housing developments most of the birds we see now are farm raised and stocked.

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Mourning Doves.

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White tail deer walking past the window and hoping we are not looking.

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Separated from the flock this hen turkey passes here several times a week all by herself

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I'm pronouncing this the official beer of the Prince Gallitzin Rowing Club.

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Passengers waiting for the morning train in Altoona.

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For the last several months these SPD40-F units have been pulling the Amtrak passenger train from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia.

To celebrate my birthday this year we took a train ride on Amtrak from Johnstown, PA to Harrisburg, PA and back again.

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Eastbound freight train pulled by Norfolk Southern Number 8068, an ES44AC diesel, moves through Johnstown at 8:54 a.m. about 5 minutes before the passenger train we were waiting for to begin our Saturday adventure.

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The Amtrak 513 pulling into the Johnstown station at 0900 on April 6, 2013.

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It's been a long time since I've been on a train.  My, how things have changed.

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Passing through the Norfolk Southern plant in the Juniata section of Altoona, PA.

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At this facility, Norfolk Southern builds, repairs and re-builds all of their diesel engines.

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I've decided that train rides are move fun without leaves on the trees to obstruct your view.

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Once arriving in Harrisburg passengers can ride on several other regional lines out of the Harrisburg train station.

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Harrisburg's first electric locomotive, a GG1-type, No. 4859, pulled the first scheduled electric train between Philadelphia and Harrisburg in 1938.  It was put on permanent display at the Harrisburg Transportation Center in 1986.  Sitting next to it is a modern day electric train.  Both of these trains receive their electric current from overhead power lines through the use of a pantograph.

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Because we were a little ahead of schedule arriving in Harrisburg I was able to get another shot of our lead engine.

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Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg, home of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

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Pennsylvania State Capital as seen from 4th and Market Streets.

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This would have been our choice for a place to eat on our hour and a half layover in Harrisburg, but it was closed by the time we got there.  The owner did offer us the pizza he was going to have for lunch with his staff.

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Harrisburg Transportation Center.

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Rear entrance to Pint's, a local dive.

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Amtrak diesel engine 514 has been sitting along the platform for the whole time that we were in Harrisburg.

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Inside the terminal on the way to our gate.

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Amtrak engine number 73, our ride home, as it pulls into Harrisburg.

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Pulling out of the Harrisburg terminal our train passes through a staging yard where trailers are loaded onto intermodal rolling stock and then readied for transportation throughout the United States.  The engine seen here is a GP38-2.

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After getting on the train at 9 o'clock Saturday morning, we returned to Johnstown at 6 p.m. Saturday evening.  All in all, it was a good time and a hell of a way to celebrate my 67th birthday.