The End of an Era…For Real This Time

I’ve spilled quite a bit of digital ink writing about the retirement of the WMATA 1000 Series and 4000 Series railcars.  Yesterday, car 4014 was trucked from WMATA’s Greenbelt Yard to a scrapyard in Baltimore.  This car was the last of the 4000 Series cars to be removed from WMATA property, truly making the end of the retirement process.  While it is possible that the 8000 Series cars (which are just modified 1000 Series cars) that were used for revenue collection are still on the property, these are scheduled to be scrapped as well and replaced by 6000 Series trains that have been refitted for use on the money train.  All that are left from these two car classes are the 1000-1001 and 4000-4001 pairs, which are being retained for historical purposes.

As I have written before, as someone who grew up in the DC area and has always considered the 1000 Series trains to be my favorites, this is a significant moment in the region’s transportation history.  Once the 1000s were relegated to the middle of train consists after the Fort Totten crash, only when a 4000 Series car was at the head end of a train did it feel like I was on the Metrorail that I grew up with, complete with yellow and orange interior colors and the buzzing of the DC motors on the Breda cars.  Those days have been over since July, and are truly over as of yesterday.

Photo caption:  Breda 4052 (left) and Rohr 1124 at Gallery Place. As of yesterday, all of the 1000 Series and 4000 Series railcars have been removed from WMATA property to be scrapped. Photo taken February 16, 2004.

Oren’s Reading List: Inside the Theater of Moscow’s Metro

Photo of the Moscow Metro from https://pixabay.com

While I haven’t been to Russia and don’t expect to anytime soon, these photos of the Moscow Metro remind me of how I’ve heard from many that the subway there is a work of art in and of itself.  Check out the pictures by clicking here, and if you’ve been to Moscow, post a comment and tell us if these pictures do the system architecture justice.

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.

Bus Photo of the Month: February 2018

New Flyer XN40 2959

New Flyer XN40 2959

Location: Columbia Pike at Joyce Street, Arlington, VA
Operator of Vehicle: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Date of Photo: July 4, 2017

When compressed natural gas (CNG) buses made their entry in to US transit fleets, the buses were notable for the large hump on their tops.  This hump was for the fuel tanks.  Many agencies highlighted the fact these buses were running on compressed natural gas as opposed to diesel, and some even used special paint schemes on these buses to draw attention to that fact.  This included WMATA’s first CNG buses, the New Flyer C40LF buses ordered in 2002.  However, the fuel tanks on these must be replaced after 15 years, often resulting in the bus being retired at that time.  As bus designs have evolved, the fuel tanks have been incorporated in to the bus design in less obvious ways and agencies have moved away from highlighting their CNG vehicles.  As a result, there is little indication to most passengers boarding one of these newer buses that they are boarding a bus powered by CNG.  As someone who enjoys seeing variety in bus fleets, I am sorry to see the special liveries for alternative fuel vehicles such as hybrid and CNG buses.  That said, it is remarkable to see how new CNG buses, such as this New Flyer XN40 that replaced WMATA’s original C40LF buses, now look so much like their diesel counterparts.  Do you like when alternative fuel vehicles get special paint schemes?  Post your thoughts in the comments below!

For more photos of WMATA’s New Flyer XN40 buses, please click here

Rail Photo of the Month: February 2018

C Car 432

BART “C Car” 432

Location: Embarcadero Station, San Francisco, CA
Operator of Vehicle: Bay Area Rapid Transit
Date of Photo: January 9, 2006

Yet another American rapid transit system is receiving new rolling stock.  BART’s “fleet of the future” entered service back on January 19, 2018.  Similar to the fleet renewal program underway in Miami, upon delivery and acceptance of the new “D Cars” and “E Cars” between now and 2022, the existing fleet of A Cars, B Cars, and C Cars, including the C Car pictured here, will be retired.  BART’s initial rolling stock was revolutionary.  BART ordered trains that are wider and sleeker than most of their American counterparts at the time.  The D Cars and E Cars will also introduce new features to BART’s rolling stock, including places for commuters to store their bikes while on board the train, as well as other ideas suggested by customers.  While the retirement of the A Cars and B Cars will mark the end of Rohr Industries built trains running on American subway systems, it will also be the start of the D Cars’ and E Cars’ opportunity to create their own stories in the hearts and minds of passengers and transit fans as they start their careers.  What sorts of things do you think new trains ought to feature these days?

For more photos of BART rolling stock, please click here

Rail Photo of the Month: January 2018

Alstom Citadis 302 003

Alstom Citadis 302 003

Location: Hatzanchanim Street, Jerusalem, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Citipass
Date of Photo: June 2, 2016

Jerusalem has been in the news quite a bit lately.  Despite what you may see in the press, life goes on in what you would likely consider to be a normal way in this extraordinary complex city, and thousands use the city’s public transportation system to travel between home, work, school, shopping, and other destinations.  The light rail line that opened in 2011 is a rolling melting pot used by all the sectors of the city’s population.  At pretty much any time of day at any point along the line, you’ll be crammed in to a car with secular Jews, ultra-Orthodox Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, and tourists.  The light rail line serves a variety of different neighborhoods, including the Arab neighborhoods of Shuafat and Beit Hanina, as well as the city center.  While there is a notable security presence and the Alstom Citadis 302 rolling stock used in Jerusalem had some special modifications made to it in the interest of counter-terrorism, aside from a brief service suspension due to safety issues in 2014, incidents of violence on the light rail have been few and far between.  Jerusalem is a fascinating city that should be on your potential traveling destinations for a host of reasons, and if you’re a transit fan, the light rail gives you an additional one.  

For more photos of the Jerusalem Light Rail, please click here

Bus Photo of the Month: January 2018

BredaMenarinibus M221 233

BredaMenarinibus M221 233

Location: Piazzale Roma, Venice, Italy
Operator of Vehicle: Azienda del Consorzio Trasporti Veneziano (ACTV)
Date of Photo: March 10, 2008

When one thinks of transit in Venice, Italy, one usually thinks of vaporettos (water taxis) or gondolas, not buses.  And when American transit fans think of Breda, they think of trains, not buses.  Yet here we have a photo of a Venetian bus built by Breda.  Venice has transit modes other than its famed vaporettos.  ACTV not only operates the vaporettos but also has a fleet of over 600 buses serving the islands of Lido and Pallestrina, as well as the Venetian boroughs located on the mainland.  In 2010, ACTV began operating a tram line, the first in the region since 1941.  Meanwhile, Breda is known for its rail rolling stock, which can be found in cities such as Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Washington, and Boston.  However, it also manufactured buses, mostly found in Italy, for over 25 years, and also some trolleybuses in cities around the world.  Transit is often predictable, but there are often surprises to be found, such as this, as well.

For more photos of buses in Venice, please click here

Oren’s Reading List: How Many Metrocards from NYC Do You Have?

Before the Metrocard turned gold in 1997 with the introduction of free bus to subway and subway to bus transfers, it was blue.

Last week, NY1 News in New York City ran a story about a man from The Bronx who has been collecting MTA’s Metrocards since they were introduced in 1994.  He estimates that he has over 1,000 cards, including the original blue ones as well as some special cards for students and senior citizens.  You can watch the video on NY1’s website.

Do you have any blue Metrocards?  Any other notable cards from NYC in your collection?

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.

Oren’s Reading List: Tis the Season for Model Train Displays

Holiday train display at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD in December 2016. The display included a replica of Glen Echo Park, an area amusement park that had a streetcar line terminating on its front doorstep.

Christmas is just one week away, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed your chance on what might be a favorite holiday tradition for railfans: seeing model train displays!  AAA Mid-Atlantic shared an article describing how creche displays evolved to include trainsets, especially in Maryland and Eastern Pennsylvania.  The article also includes a list of highly recommended holiday train displays in Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and West Virginia.  Is there a display that you think should be on the list that they left off?  Share it in the comments!

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.

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