Rail Photo of the Month: October 2017

United Streetcar Model 100 201

United Streetcar Model 100 201

Location: H Street, NE near 3rd Street, NE, Washington, DC
Operator of Vehicle: District Department of Transportation
Date of Photo: October 1, 2017

Considering how long the DC transit fan community waited for the city’s first modern streetcar line to open, it seems pretty fitting that I did not get my first ride on the DC Streetcar or take any photos of it until 18 months after that very delayed opening. Most of that delay was logistical from my end, as a result of its initially limited operating hours, not serving a part of the area that I find myself in very often, and my not having time to make a special trip just to check it out.  However, yesterday, things aligned in such a way that I got to go for a joyride and get my first photos.

As someone who was born and raised in the DC area, to see how the H Street, NE corridor has changed in the years both before and after the streetcar’s construction is nothing short of remarkable.  This photo of the month was taken from the “Hopscotch Bridge” over Amtrak’s line leading in to Union Station looking towards the east.  In the past, there wouldn’t be much to see from here, the neighborhoods visible in this photo were not the sorts of places many people would go to a bar, shop, or even think about living. Now, when one stands on the Hopscotch Bridge, one sees new construction, a bustling entertainment area, and lots of street and pedestrian traffic stretching the length of the corridor, which runs about 12 blocks from where I took this photo.  Despite some flaws and other issues, the streetcar definitely plays a role in the development of this part of town.

For more photos of the DC Streetcar, please click here.  And be on the lookout for additional posts here on the Travelogue about the DC Streetcar in the near future!

 

Bus Photo of the Month: October 2017

Leyland RT intercity bus

Leyland RT Intercity Bus

Location: Egged Historical Center, Holon, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Egged
Date of Photo: April 1, 2010

Many places have transit museums to commemorate the vehicles and systems of old, and Israel is no exception to this.  Its largest bus operator, Egged, operates the Egged Historical Center in a corner of its bus depot in Holon, just outside Tel Aviv.  Until recently, it was known as the Egged Museum, which is probably a more apt description of the attraction.  It consists of over 60 buses and other vehicles that have been preserved and are on display to the public during the museum’s opening hours.  This bus was built by Leyland in 1963 on a Greek chassis, earning it the nickname Yavaniya (lit: Greek woman).  Egged operated 50 of these buses for about 10 years, at which point they were withdrawn from service.  In the photo, you can see the continuation of the line of buses on display at the museum.  If you’re a transit fan and you find yourself in Israel, provided you can get to the museum while it is open, it is definitely worth a visit. 

The Egged Historical Society is located in the bus depot at the corner of Moshe Dayan and Dan Shomron.  At the time of this posting, the museum is open to the public on Friday mornings from 8 AM until noon and also during the intermediate days of Sukkot (October 8-10, 2017) and Passover from 8 AM until 12:30 PM.  The museum can be reached by taking a short bus ride from central Tel Aviv, and since September 2011, it is also accessible by Israel Railways’s Bat Yam-Kommemiyut Station.  From Jerusalem, one should travel to Rishon LeTzion and take a local bus to the museum from there.

For more photos from the Egged Historical Society, please click here.

 

Bus Photo of the Month: September 2017

Gillig Phantom 482

Gillig Advantage 482

Location: Smithfield Street at 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA
Operator of Vehicle: Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority (MMVTA)
Date of Photo: November 27, 2015

The Port Authority isn’t the only bus operator in Pittsburgh.  There are some other operators in the area, and this month features another one of those operators.  Among its routes are commuter services from Washington County, Westmoreland County, and Fayette County to and from Pittsburgh.  And just like PAT, their buses have a colorful flair to them.

For more photos of Pittsburgh’s buses, please click here.

 

Rail Photo of the Month: September 2017

Breda Type 8 LRV 3846

Breda Type 8 LRV 3846

Location: Kenmore Station, Boston, MA
Operator of Vehicle: Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority
Date of Photo: February 12, 2004

Today marks the 120th anniversary of the opening of America’s first subway line.  It was on this date in 1897 that the first segment of the Tremont Street Subway opened in an attempt to reduce congestion caused by streetcars on the streets of Boston.  The first segment was quite short, just running from Park Street to a now disused and sealed portal near Boylston Station.  Over time, portals have been sealed and the subway has been extended, but trains have been using the original Tremont Street Subway continuously for all these years.  The Green Line certainly isn’t my favorite transit experience in the world (or even in Boston to be honest, especially when in a rush to get somewhere), but despite the frustrations its passengers may experience, it is certainly quite unique and a very important piece of American transit history.  Here’s to the next 120 years!

For more photos of the MBTA Green Line, please click here.

 

Bus Photo of the Month: August 2017

Mercedes-Benz O 405 G 10652

Mercedes-Benz O 405 G 10652

Location: Derech Jericho near Derech Sha’ar HaArayot, Jerusalem, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Egged
Date of Photo: April 2, 2010

Yesterday, we visited the 9th Avenue Station in New York, and specifically, a photo showing both a train route and a track alignment that are no longer in use.  The same evolution of routes over time can also happen with buses.  In some regards, it is a bit easier with a bus, since it doesn’t have tracks, so changing an alignment to make or change a route is easier.  However, that doesn’t meant this sort of change can’t be difficult.  This photo shows a Mercedes-Benz O 405 G nearing the end of the number 2 route in Jerusalem, Israel.  The 2’s route was so well known that people who had only been to Jerusalem once knew where it went.  However, in 2012, as part of the restructuring of the bus routes following the opening of the Jerusalem Light Rail, it was discontinued and replaced by two different routes, neither of which carries the number 2 designation.  The 2 is so venerable that when other proposed routes needed a number assigned to them, 2 was not considered as an option because these proposed routes wouldn’t go anywhere near the Western Wall where the original number 2 terminated.  (As an aside, the bus model shown in the photo has also been entirely withdrawn from service.)  

Are there any bus routes in a city that you live in or are familiar with where the number is so strongly associated with a single route?

For more photos of Egged Jerusalem’s Mercedes-Benz O 405 G buses, please click here.

 

Rail Photo of the Month: August 2017

R160A 8497

R160A 8497

Location: 9th Avenue Station, Brooklyn, NY
Operator of Vehicle: MTA New York City Transit
Date of Photo: June 24, 2010

Over time, transit routes can and do change.  I took this photo of an M train entering the 9th Avenue station in Brooklyn on the last day of M train service at this location in 2010.  Starting the next Monday morning, the M train had a new route that used a track connection that had been out of use since 1976.  The M train is just one of many New York City Subway lines which has maintained both a segment where it has always run (Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn) and a variety of segments that it no longer serves (Brighton Line, West End Line, Nassau Street Line, etc.).  The same can go for certain stations.  The Myrtle Avenue Line originally served a now demolished upper level station at the Myrtle Avenue-Broadway Station and continued to Downtown Brooklyn.  The 9th Avenue Station where I took this photo has a disused lower level that serves the now demolished Culver Shuttle Line; you can see the tracks leading to that abandoned level to the right of the M train in this photo.  The New York City Subway has many fun nuances like this, as do other systems, though perhaps to a slightly lesser extent.  It is what makes this hobby so fun sometimes, to travel around and know what was and what could be and to document it as best I can.

For more photos of the R160s, please click here.

 

Rail Photo of the Month: July 2017

Nippon Sharyo P865 141

Nippon Sharyo P865 141

Location: Expo Park/USC Station, Los Angeles, CA
Operator of Vehicle: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA)
Date of Photo: July 15, 2014

Los Angeles is often thought of as lacking a public transit network.  While it may be fair to say that the city is underserved relative to its size and population, it does have a transit network that is quite large in some regards and expanding.  It is also a network that is old enough that its oldest cars, such as the Nippon-Sharyo P858 pictured here, will be retired by the end of 2018.  Delivered in 1990 for the opening of the first light rail line in the Los Angeles area, these cars will be retired after about 30 years in service.  As a result, these cars will not operate through the Regional Connector, a tunnel being built to link the Blue Line and Expo Line to the Gold Line.

For more photos of Los Angeles Metro Light Rail vehicles, please click here.

Bus Photo of the Month: July 2017

New Flyer D40LF 964

New Flyer D40LF 964

Location: Bay Street at Keith Street, West Vancouver, BC, Canada
Operator of Vehicle: West Vancouver Blue Bus
Date of Photo: August 6, 2007

West Vancouver Blue Bus has the distinction of being the oldest municipally operated bus system in North America, having been founded in 1912.  Although they are operated under contract to TransLink (which is the primary transit operator in the Vancouver area), the dozen or so West Vancouver Blue Bus routes certainly have their own identity.  After all, no other buses in the Vancouver region are running around with the West Vancouver seal above their headsigns.  It’s been nearly 10 years since I was in Vancouver and I still don’t think I’ve seen an agency before or since that trip to stick something on the roof of the buses like that before.  Has anyone else seen anything like it elsewhere or know why West Vancouver Blue Bus does this on all their buses?  It is certainly unique.

For more photos of West Vancouver Blue Bus buses, please click here.

 

Bus Photo of the Month: June 2017

Mercedes-Benz O530G 4629

Mercedes-Benz O530G 4629

Location: Avenida da Liberdade at Rua das Pretas, Lisbon, Portugal
Operator of Vehicle: Carris
Date of Photo: November 15, 2013

Articulated buses with three doors are finally becoming more common in the United States, but in Europe, three door artics have been a standard sight for many years now, and the Mercedes-Benz O530G model is easily found all over the continent.  This particular bus operates in Lisbon, one of 50 units that can be found in the Portuguese capital.  Unlike some other European capitals, such as Paris, buses can be found with relative ease in the city center.  In some cases, the buses even share a right of way with Lisbon’s famed trams.  In other words, it isn’t implausible for a tourist to have a need to take a bus to get from one place to another.  In addition to sharing fare media with the trams and Metro, Lisbon’s buses have automated announcements that call out the name of each stop, making for easy navigation.  While the trams are the “transportation highlight” in Lisbon hands down, don’t overlook the buses while you’re there, either for transit fanning or just to get around.  

For more photos of Lisbon’s buses, please click here.

 

Rail Photo of the Month: June 2017

S70/Avanto LRV 237

S70/Avanto LRV 237

Location: Capitol/Rice Street Station, St. Paul, MN
Operator of Vehicle: Metro Transit
Date of Photo: April 10, 2017

As you may have seen earlier today, Oren’s Transit Page has new photos from my recent trip to Minnesota.  Naturally, it seemed appropriate to feature one of them for the June 2017 Rail Photo of the Month.  The Twin Cities’ newest light rail line, the Green Line, connects Minneapolis and Saint Paul, providing a rail transit connection between the two cities’ downtowns that had not existed since the streetcar era ended in the early 1950s.  Now three years old, the line is quite successful, and has even operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since it opened in 2014, making it one of the only 24/7 rail lines in the United States.  As it approaches Downtown Saint Paul, it skirts the Minnesota State Capitol grounds, allowing for the opportunity to get photos of the new light rail with the capitol dome, modeled after the dome at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  Can you think of other capitol buildings or famous buildings where this kind of opportunity exists?   

For more photos of METRO Transit’s Light Rail vehicles, please click here.