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

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.