The NYC Vintage Holiday Train is Back!

 

For the past 10+ years, New York City Transit has operated its vintage R1-9 trains from the 1930s.  Unlike most other times these trains operate when only passengers who purchase a special ticket may board the train for an excursion, the holiday train is open to anyone who pays a regular subway fare.  In past years, the train would run along the V and later the M lines between 2nd Avenue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and Queens Plaza.  However, for the first time, this year the train will be taking a different route.  While it will start at 2nd Avenue, this year it will travel on the F line to Lexington Avenue/63rd Street and then continue on the Q line to the new 96th Street/2nd Avenue station.

The holiday train operates each Sunday through December 24th.  It departs 2nd Avenue at 10 AM, 12PM, 2 PM, and 4 PM, and it departs 96th Street at 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, and 5 PM.

Do you plan to ride it this year?

Bus Photo of the Month: December 2017

Flxible Metro-B 9436

Flxible Metro-B 9436

Location: F Street, NW at 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC
Operator of Vehicle: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Date of Photo: July 4, 2005

The Rail Photo of the Month post for this month and a conversation I had earlier this week with a fellow transit fan inspired me to pick this photo to be the December 2017 Bus Photo of the Month.  Yesterday’s photo featured a Budd car from Miami that is nearing the end of its service life on account of its replacement having just entered revenue service.  Today’s photo features the first type of Metrobus that I recognized as being “different” (in other words, new) as a budding transit fan in the early 1990s.  At that age, I had no idea what a Flxible was, what a Metro-B was, or that these buses would push out some older bus that I either wasn’t familiar with or didn’t have an attachment to.  However, I did notice these buses had larger destination signs, that they “flipped” horizontally instead of vertically, that the interior speakers had a different shape, and a few other differences that most commuters would pass off as being subtle.  As I’ve grown older and as time has marched on, there are now quite a few buses in the DC area that I can recall being new that I have seen entirely retired.  One of the great joys I have in running this website is that I am able to document my transit fan experience for the ages so that others can see the equipment, paint schemes, and more that are no longer with us but remain as memories perpetually.

For more photos of WMATA’s Flxible Metro-Bs, please click here. The De

Rail Photo of the Month: December 2017

Budd car 167

Budd car 167

Location: South Miami Station, Miami, FL
Operator of Vehicle: Miami-Dade Transit
Date of Photo: December 28, 2005

The Miami Metrorail rolling stock (along with its siblings in Baltimore) represent the last contract completed by Budd before it shuttered its rail car manufacturing unit.  Although some Budd made products, such as the 53 year old R32s in New York City, are still going strong, the beginning of the end for the Budd fleet in Miami is upon us.  Yesterday, the first four of the Hitachi built cars that were commissioned to replaced the original Budd fleet entered service.  Although it will take some time for the new Hitachi fleet to be tested and accepted by MDT, it is expected that sometime in 2019 all the Budds in Miami will be retired.  If you’re thinking that you can still ride the nearly identical cars in Baltimore beyond that, you shouldn’t plan to put off your last rides for too long.  Baltimore is also ordering replacement trains from Hitachi to replace its aging Budd trains.

For more photos of the Miami Metrorail, please click here

Rail Photo of the Month: November 2017

CQ312 601 at Airport

CQ312 601

Location: Airport Station, Atlanta, GA
Operator of Vehicle: Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
Date of Photo: October 9, 2016

Fifteen years passed between my first and second trips to Atlanta.  The amount of time between visits two, three, and four has been significantly less than that.  Although MARTA doesn’t come close to ranking towards the top of the transit systems I’ve ridden around the world, it definitely has one of the best train to plane connections out of transit systems anywhere.  The station at the airport is incorporated in to the main terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest airport in the world.  This photo was taken on a rainy summer afternoon but I did not get exposed to the elements at any point while walking from the plane to the train upon my arrival.  There aren’t many cities in the United States that can make this claim.  What is your favorite train to plane connection?

For more photos of MARTA, please click here

Bus Photo of the Month: November 2017

Gillig Advantage/BRT 4061

Gillig Advantage/BRT 4061

Location: Medical Center Station, Bethesda, MD
Operator of Vehicle: Ride On (Montgomery County Transit)
Date of Photo: October 6, 2017

Exactly one month ago, Ride On, the county operated bus system in Montgomery County, MD, launched its first limited stop service, Route 101 or the Ride On Extra.  This route uses a special fleet of BRT styled Gillig Advantage buses.  I’m not a huge fan of WMATA’s “MetroExtra” branding for several reasons, but I really like how Ride On has taken this brand from another agency in the area and applied it to itself.  The paint scheme and name is clearly derived from WMATA, and to Ride On’s credit, the paint scheme makes it clearer that an approaching bus is a limited stop one than Metro’s scheme.  In its first month of service, I had three occasions to take this service, and found the trip to be extremely speedy, though I was admittedly riding against the peak direction of travel each time.  The buses have WiFi and USB charging ports on board, but I did not use either feature any of the times I have been on these buses.  The buses also still have that new bus smell, so be sure to check it out soon if you want to experience that, too.  The Ride On Extra currently operates between Lakeforest Mall and Medical Center Station during weekday rush hours.

For more photos of the Ride On Extra, please click here

New Photos of New Services!

If this website had a tagline, it would have to address the fact that I have a never ending photo queue and a whole host of things I’d love to share here on the Travelogue if I had unlimited time to do so.  The reality is that while running this website is a labor of love, it is a hobby, and real life has to take priority at times.  Among the many reasons I’ve been posting less is that the Oren’s Transit Page has expanded to include “Mrs. Oren’s Transit Page.”  While she is quite supportive of my hobby and even enjoys coming with me on my railfan excursions on occasion, I’d like to think that she appreciates the fact that I assisted with wedding planning and then showed up at the (transit accessible) wedding itself.  However, over the course of wedding planning, I’ve still had plenty of chances to snap photos of transit and in the past few days, finally had a chance to organize and caption many of those photos.  In fact, over 75 photos were added to various sections of the website in this update.

This update includes photos of several things that had not, to date, appeared on my website before now. 

It didn’t get its own post aside from the October Photo of the Month, and it took me over 12 months from the time it opened until I actually rode it, but the are now photos of and a page dedicated to the DC Streetcar.  If that isn’t new enough for you, my first photos of the WMATA New Flyer XN40s that entered service in 2016 are now online as well.  I rode these vehicles for the first time back in July.  If you want to feast your eyes on an even more recent addition to the DC area transit scene, Ride On Extra started one month ago and there are new photos of the BRT styled buses dedicated to this service on the Ride On 40 Foot Gillig Advantage Buses page. 

Other DC area pages also had photos added to them; these are the WMATA Breda Rehab, WMATA Kawasaki 7000 Series, WMATA Metrorail Stations, WMATA 2008 NABI 60-BRT/CNG, WMATA New Flyer XDE60 Buses, WMATA XDE40 Buses, WMATA New Flyer DE40LFA, WMATA New Flyer DE60LFA, WMATA New Flyer D40LFR, WMATA New Flyer DE40LF, WMATA New Flyer C40LF & C40LFR, WMATA Orion VII/CNG, DC Circulator, Ride On 40 Foot Orion V, Ride On 35 Foot Orion V, Ride On 40 Foot Gillig Advantage/HEV, and MARC Commuter Rail pages.

The photo queue also had some photos from short trips to other cities along the US East Coast, and I was finally able to get to those, too.  You will find new photos in the New Jersey Transit Rail Operations and New Jersey Transit Bus Operations pages in the New Jersey section, MBTA Green Line and MBTA Buses pages in the Boston section, and on the MARTA page in the Atlanta section. 

Naturally, I took Amtrak to travel to some of these places, so there are also new photos on the Amtrak ACS-64 Locomotives, Amtrak Genesis Locomotives, Acela Express, and Amtrak Stations pages.

As always, I make my perpetual promise to feature some of my favorite photos and the stories behind them in “The Viewfinder” in the near future.  I hope to be able to follow through on that promise soon.  In the meantime, enjoy the new additions and I hope to share other photos from my queue of uncaptioned photos in the near future.

Oren’s Reading List: What is it like to drive the Eurostar?

How would you like to be paid to go from London to Paris on a regular basis?  Perhaps you should consider becoming a driver for the Eurostar, the high speed train that travels through the Channel Tunnel from London to either Paris or Brussels.  If you’re intrigued by the thought, here is a list of things you ought to know about the job.  Among them, you must be bilingual (English and French), need to use the bathroom before the journey starts, and expect to be paid about 65,000 GBP (nearly 85,200 USD) each year.

Oren’s Reading List is an occasional feature on The Travelogue in which I share articles that I’ve read that might also be of interest to the readers of this website.

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.