Location: Covadonga Terminal, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Operator of Vehicle: Autoridad Metropolitana de Autobuses de Puerto Rico (AMA)
Date of Photo: March 21, 2016
When traveling to Puerto Rico, there are a number of ways in which you are reminded that you are not on the US mainland anymore, and then there are other ways in which you are reminder that Puerto Rico is a United States territory. The transit fleet in San Juan definitely falls in to the latter category. The bus fleet is made up of the same Orion and Gillig models you find all over the United States. Capture a CVS or Walgreens in the background of a photo and without other context, you may very well think that the photo was taken somewhere other than Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, public transit on the scale that one would find comparable to the US mainland is only available in San Juan, and evening and Sunday service is lacking even in that city to say the least. However, if one wants a slightly “foreign” flavor to what would otherwise be “standard” North American transitfanning, San Juan might be worth a visit!
For more photos of Autoridad Metropolitana de Autobuses de Puerto Rico (AMA)’s buses, please click here.
Location: Peachtree Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Operator of Vehicle: Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)
Date of Photo: October 8, 2015
As a result of Thursday night’s interstate highway collapse, MARTA is likely going to be getting a great deal of attention as the Atlanta area looks to cope for quite awhile without one of its main highways. Fortunately, MARTA should be up to the task. Its original rolling stock, the CQ310 cars, were originally built between 1979 and 1982 by the now defunct Société Franco-Belge company. They were rehabilitated between 2006 and 2009 by Alstom, a process that brought them up to date with a series of modern amenities but also made them operationally compatible with the newer Breda CQ312 cars. MARTA’s rolling stock reminds me a lot of its “cousins” in San Francisco and Washington. These three systems were constructed at about the same time and share a number of design features. Although MARTA is not nearly as large nor as well utilized as BART and the DC Metrorail, one can hope that it can prove its worth in the emergency situation that Atlanta is currently faced with.
For more photos of MARTA rolling stock, please click here.
I imagine many of the people who come to my site have strong opinions about escalator etiquette on public transportation. In cities such as Washington or London, standing on the right side of the escalator and walking on the left is an ingrained habit. But is it the fastest way for everyone to get to the bottom or top of the escalator?
Last year, Transport for London conducted an experiment at its Holborn Station where commuters were asked to stand on both sides of the escalator. The result might surprise you. When the escalators were at their busiest, they were able to carry more people per hour when everyone stood and no one walked on the left side. This article from The Independent explains why that is the case. Take a read and then feel free to offer your thoughts on the study in the comments below. Is this the result you expected? Do you prefer to walk or stand?
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.
Location: Diagonal, Barcelona, Spain
Operator of Vehicle: Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB)
Date of Photo: June 6, 2008
Based on the fact that this website’s Washington, DC section is one of the largest that I have, my guess is most people expect to see photos of WMATA rolling stock when they hear about a CAF 5000 Series. Well if that is what you were expecting to see here, surprise! WMATA doesn’t have the world’s only CAF 5000 Series cars, and the March Rail Photo of the Month features one of the other ones. Specifically, this CAF built 5000 Series train operates in Barcelona. Thirty-nine of these trains were delivered starting in 2005 and currently operate on lines 3 and 5.
While these trains operate a world away from their Washington cousins, they do have some similarities. Both the Barcelona and DC systems have automatic train operation and their 5000 series trains both have on board diagnostics systems. However, there are also some notable differences. Barcelona’s Metro uses overhead catenary lines to power its trains whereas Washington has an electrified third rail. The Barcelona 5000 Series also has open gangways between each car, while the DC 5000 Series cars are in married pairs with no internal passage between the cars (except in emergencies). Finally, to my knowledge, there are no plans to replace the Barcelona 5000 Series any time soon, while the incoming Kawasaki 7000 Series cars will ultimately force the retirement of the CAF 5000 Series in DC.
For more photos of Barcelona’s CAF 5000 Series railcars, please click here.
Location: Broad Street at 7th Street, Richmond, VA
Operator of Vehicle: Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC)
Date of Photo: November 25, 2016
March is supposed to come in roaring like a lion, but for the bus photo of the month, we go back to the fall when I visited Richmond, Virginia for the first time. Richmond is a fascinating city with a mix of different architectural styles in its compact downtown. One can walk from the state capitol building, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson, and encounter modern buildings or other structures of any age in between within minutes.
Richmond also has a transit system befitting the city’s own history. The world’s first successful electric streetcar system opened here in 1881, and the Church Hill Tunnel collapse is also a noteworthy event in Richmond’s transit history. Next year, Richmond’s first BRT line, “The Pulse”, will begin service. In the meantime, one can enjoy the existing GRTC fleet of mostly Gillig Advantages shuttling around the city. I plan to highlight some of my favorite photos from Richmond in “The Viewfinder” here on the Travelogue in the coming weeks.
For more photos of GRTC’s buses, please click here.
If you’ve been to London, you may have noticed that some of the Tube stations have some, shall we call them, interesting names. Examples include Cockfosters, East India, Marylebone, Oval, and Tooting Bec. I’m sure someone has already compiled the origin of all these station names and posted them online somewhere (though I can say with some confidence that even I can figure out how a station like “Baker Street” gets its name), but the BBC recently posted an article highlighting ten stations and how got their names. The ten stations are:
After a tease on the Oren’s Transit Page Facebook page a few weeks ago, I have finally made it through my photo queue to add a slew of photos from all over the US to the website this morning. Highlighting this update is the newest section of the website from Richmond, Virginia. Richmond has a 175 unit bus fleet and is building a new bus rapid transit line and you can now see some of their current operations here on the website. Richmond is also home to the Triple Crossing, the only known spot in North America where three Class I railroads cross each other at the same spot, and there is a photo on the Norfolk Southern page from that location.
Despite my constantly telling myself there isn’t all that much in the photo queue, getting through it all always seems to take longer than I expect. I have a number of interesting articles to profile on Oren’s Reading List, and also plan to share more commentary on some of my photos through the Viewfinder, including some of my favorite photos from this update. In addition to adding new photos from a variety of sections, I also hope to have the New York section rebuilt sometime in the next 6 months. But while you’re waiting on all the content to come, I do hope you enjoy the new content that was just added or revisiting the content that I’ve posted over the past 16+ years.
You may recall that almost a year ago, I asked who wants to preserve a piece of DC transit history when WMATA began to retire its 40+ year old 1000 Series railcars. Some suggestions came out of the post, but I was unable to investigate any of those options myself. In light of this good news, I hope that WTOP and other outlets are able to find out if it is in fact car 1000 (pictured above) that will be preserved, if 1001 (1000’s mate and the first car to actually be delivered to WMATA) will be preserved as well, and if they will remain in operating condition for special events, the way that New York City runs its vintage fleet at various times each year. Of course, if I hear any answers to these questions myself, I’ll be sure to share that news here.
What do you think WMATA should do with the 1000 Series cars that it preserves?
When I visited Kansas City in May of 2014, I read about a peculiar restaurant that I suspected would be worth my time to try out. It is called Fritz’s, and it has two locations in Kansas City, KS as well as a location in the Crown Center in Kansas City, MO. The restaurant is certainly one of a kind as patrons place their orders by telephone and then have their food delivered to them by train! The restaurant’s website explains this system was developed by its founder in order to reduce labor costs and wasn’t necessarily meant to evoke a train theme, but over the years it has gained a reputation for this theme! The train that delivers your food is far from the only train related thing in the place. There are model trains running around the entire restaurant, the menus have a train motif, and so on. I don’t remember the food being particularly memorable, but that might be on account of my not eating meat, and burgers seem to be their specialty. But if you find yourself in Kansas City, it is definitely worth checking out!
I made a video of my food being delivered when I was there but I can’t seem to post it successfully to this site, so I am sharing two other videos that I found on YouTube from other customers so you get a sense of what the food delivery system here is like.
For more information, including locations and other information, visit Fritz’s website at www.fritzskc.com.
Location: University Avenue at East Avenue, Ithaca, NY
Operator of Vehicle: Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit
Date of Photo: February 14, 2007
The rail photo of the month for this month came to us from sunny San Diego. For the bus photo, we head to quite a different climate, snowy Ithaca, NY. Ten years ago this month, Ithaca saw a snowstorm that brought about two feet of snow to the Finger Lakes region. It was enough snow to see Cornell University cancel classes for the day and for TCAT, which operates through winter weather that most other agencies would probably balk at trying to provide service in, to suspend operations. However, before that suspension kicked in, the buses were running despite the fast falling snow. Taking photos of anything in these conditions can be challenging due to the temperature, potential condensation on the camera lens, and difficulty in getting the frame in focus if the camera focuses on the snow instead of my intended target. Variances in light, such as those caused by an LED destination sign or vehicle headlights, pose additional challenges, However, the photos came out, the buses kept running (at least for awhile), and the result is that one can see how TCAT keeps rolling no matter the weather.
Although the winter weather in Ithaca remains cold and snowy, some things do change in Ithaca. The New Flyer bus seen in this photo is now one of the oldest in the fleet, and Route 81 is no longer the main service on the Cornell campus following a restructuring of campus routes in recent years.
For more photos of TCAT’s New Flyer D40LF buses, please click here.