WMATA General Manager: At least one 1000 Series car will be preserved

The following tweet from a WTOP Radio reporter was brought to my attention yesterday afternoon:

@alex_block Wiedefeld said today #WMATA is keeping car number 1000 at a minimum. Didn’t seem to have plans to keep any 4ks

— Max Smith (@amaxsmith) February 15, 2017

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?

Kansas City’s Train Themed Restaurant

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.  

Bus Photo of the Month: February 2017

New Flyer D40LF 208

New Flyer D40LF 208

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.

 

Rail Photo of the Month: February 2017

Siemens–Duewag U2 1017

Siemens–Duewag U2 1017

Location: Park Boulevard at Market Street, San Diego, CA
Operator of Vehicle: San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS)
Date of Photo: July 17, 2014

 

In recent years, streetcars and light rails have been experiencing a renaissance in the United States.  Just last year, three new streetcar systems opened in Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Washington, DC.  However, the San Diego Trolley was the first of these “second generation” streetcar and light rail systems to open in the United States.  Its initial segment opened in 1981 and it has expanded to include three lines serving 53 stations.  In 2015, the system became entirely low floor upon the retirement of the original Siemens–Duewag U2 cars, such as the one seen in this photograph.  The retirement of these high floor cars was a multi-phase project that involved redoing the station platforms across the entire network, in addition to procuring the new low floor fleet.  However, this successful completion is yet another demonstration of how the San Diego Trolley has proven itself to be a successful part of the city’s transportation network.

For more photos of the San Diego Trolley, please click here.

 

Oren’s Reading List: Six Myths About Traveling Cross Country by Amtrak

Airplane might be the fastest way to get from one coast of the United States to the other, but it hasn’t always been my mode of choice.  In 2007, I took Amtrak from Washington, DC to Seattle.  In 2014, I rode trains from Chicago to Los Angeles and from Denver to San Francisco.  Taking Amtrak’s long distance routes is a very unique way to see the country and one I enjoy when I have the time to do so.  It is certainly more pleasant than flying in a number of ways!  

At some point, I hope to write more about why I enjoy this experience so much, but in the meantime, here are six myths about traveling on a long-distance Amtrak train, courtesy of the Gothamist.  

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: How the London Tube Lines Got Their Names

If you’ve been to Washington or Chicago, you know that subway lines are named for colors.  If you’ve been to New York City or Paris, you know that trains are referred to by a number of letter.  Around the entire world, identifying subway lines by color, number, or letter is common.  But in London, all the Tube lines have names.  Did you ever wonder where those names come from?  This article from Londonist reveals all.  While some names are portmanteaus of the destinations they serve (i.e. Bakerloo), others have more complex histories.  

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: January 2017

TransTeq EcoMark 1632

TransTeq EcoMark 1632

Location: 16th Street at Larimer Street, Denver, CO
Operator of Vehicle: Regional Transportation District
Date of Photo: July 21, 2014

 

Downtown Denver features one of the most unique transit operations in the entire United States.  The “MallRide” operates on the 16th Street Mall, a 1.25 mile long pedestrian mall in the Colorado state capital.  16th Street is closed to all motorized vehicles with the exception of the buses serving the MallRide, a free bus route that runs along the length of the street from Union Station to Civic Center.  When the MallRide launched in 1982, it was operated with a fleet of custom built buses with right hand and front wheel drive.  This was done so that bus drivers would have a better view of pedestrians who might be crossing in front of the bus’s path unexpectedly.  When it came time to replace the fleet, Neoplan offered Denver a prototype bus with left hand drive, but the bus drivers made it very clear to the RTD they preferred right hand drive for the MallRide route.  The RTD then went back to the drawing board and ultimately teamed with TransTeq to build the EcoMark buses that make up most of MallRide’s fleet today.  In addition to having the driver requested right hand drive, these buses are also hybrid-electric buses, so they operate noiselessly along the pedestrian mall.

For more photos of the TransTeq EcoMark buses, please click here.

 

Rail Photo of the Month: January 2017

R44 5410

R44 5410

Location: Beach 25th Street Station, New York, NY
Operator of Vehicle: MTA New York City Transit
Date of Photo: June 28, 2010

 

Today at noon, the Second Avenue Subway will open for revenue service in New York City. The Second Avenue Subway was first conceived in 1929 as a six track line running the length of Manhattan.  Needless to say, it took a long time to turn this line from sketches on maps in to reality.  So long in fact that several classes of subway cars that were designed with the intention of operating them on the Second Avenue Subway were introduced, operated elsewhere on the subway, and have already been retired.  One of these car classes was the R44, which is featured as the photo of the month for January 2017 in honor of the opening of the Second Avenue Subway.

The R44 was the first New York City subway car to be 75 feet long, under the premise it would be more efficient to operate 8 75 foot long cars as a single train instead of 10 60 foot long cars (both trainsets are 600 feet long).  They were also the first cars to feature bucket seats, audible door chimes, and lacked the traditional straps that standing passengers held on to.  They were introduced on the F line in 1971, overhauled in the early 1990s, and remained in service until their retirement in 2010 due to structural integrity concerns, having never had the chance to operate on the line they were expected to serve.  Instead, the Second Avenue Subway will be served by the R160s that currently operate on the Q line.

For more photos of the R44 subway cars, please click here.

 

Oren’s Reading List: Perusing the New York City Transit Authority’s Lost & Found

Every transit agency has one, yet you probably never want to have an occasion to contact it.  What am I talking about?  The lost and found office.  That said, if you lose something on the subway in New York City, you have a pretty decent chance of getting it back; 60 percent of items that are turned in to the lost and found make it back to their owners.  And the MTA has very detailed categories for inventorying the items as they come in.  What are some of the things that are in the lost and found office waiting to be reunited with someone?  Although this infographic was published in 2014, I imagine it is still pretty similar today.  What is the strangest thing you see on that list?

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: Transportation Gifts

The holiday shopping season is well underway.  If you’re reading this, odds are you wouldn’t mind receiving or are looking for ideas for transportation related gifts.  The Chicago Tribune recently compiled a list of CTA and METRA themed holiday gifts and links to where you can find those items for purchase.  Many other transit agencies, including New York City Transit and WMATA, also have online gift stores that you can peruse.  While a friend of mine has received three copies of Transit Maps (and doesn’t seem bothered by the fact based on my conversation about it with him), I hope some of these links are useful if you’re looking to make sure the person you are giving  Happy shopping!

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.