P32 AC-DM Play-Through: ‘Danbury Express’ Part 1

Written by: TrainSim-James

We play the ‘Danbury Express’ scenario for the upcoming Metro North P32 AC-DM on the New York – New Haven line. FullThrottle is much more used to British trains, so let’s see how he gets on with this electro-diesel hybrid.

Today we are running the 13:35 departure from New York Grand Central Terminal to Stamford, CT, where we are due at 14:32. Equipment for this job is Metro North Railroad 216, a P32 AC-DM with a train of Shoreliners. It is a warm and sunny afternoon, though of course the weather doesn’t make it down into the underground part of GCT.

Leaving Grand Central Terminal and running north under the Manhattan streets through the Park Avenue Tunnel.

First task is to set the power to third rail DC, using the power selector. We will run on DC electric until we are clear of the Park Avenue Tunnel and heading out of town. At 13:35 sharp we pull out of Track 26 and run at 15mph over the myriad of tracks hidden under Manhattan. Still in the tunnel four minutes later, we reach the 60mph section and we can get going. It comes as a relief to emerge into the daylight at 97th Street, with the sun shining on Harlem.

Millions of busy lives carry on above and below us as 216 hauls its train through Harlem. 

After a brief 40mph stretch, we are accelerating again towards 60mph for the short hop to Harlem 125th Street station, our first stop at 13:43. This seems a good point to switch power: zero the throttle, switch the power selector to diesel, and after the motor has run up to speed we are now running on diesel power as we stop to collect passengers. The train brakes are very effective and allow us to run quite fast into the station with plenty of time to stop at the far end.

Meeting another MNR train, this one bound for Grand Central Terminal. 

A minute later and we depart, running on elevated track between the characteristic apartment blocks and with busy streets below us. Coming up is a tight S-bend with a 35mph limit: first the track curves to the right, straightens out for the bridge over the Harlem River, the curves tight left, after which the speed increases to 40mph. We run down a 0.3% downgrade which helps us gain some speed as we enter a 60mph section, heading straight through Melrose station on the centre track. We meet a GCT-bound service heading towards us, cab car first, and keep the power fully on for the upcoming 75mph section.

Crossing the Harlem River, next stop New Rochelle. 

We roll through Tremont at 68mph, slowing slightly to 65 to pass through Fordham, and slowing again to 60mph for the limit through Botanical Garden. Another cab car-driven Metro North train meets us on its way into the city, and we are slowing right down to 45mph to pass through Wood Lawn. Finally the limit rises to 60mph as we motor up the 1% grade ahead.

Read Part 2 tomorrow. 

TrainSim-James

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