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.

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.

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

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.

Oren’s Reading List: A Complete and Geographically Accurate NYC Subway Track Map

Back in February 2016, there was a Travelogue post about Andrew Lynch’s totally accurate but totally useless subway maps.  This week, I’ve seen another one of Andrew Lynch’s projects floating around the internet, and I think this one falls in to the same category.  This week’s hot topic is his complete and geographically accurate NYC subway track map.  A track map is a map that shows all the tracks of a given subway, including the switching tracks, non-revenue connections between lines, and so on.  The point of using this type of map isn’t so much to be able to navigate from point A to point B, but rather to understand how the subway system as a whole comes together, and in the case of a system as complex as New York’s, to see the myriad of routing options available for all the trains.

However, in my opinion, I think the value of a geographically accurate track map is limited.  As I’ve discussed here and there in other posts, there are certainly times where it is interesting to see how things are laid out geographically, as opposed to on the not-to-scale subway maps that are generally used for navigation by the public.  However, if the primary purpose of a track map is to show how all the individual tracks and platforms come together to form a single system, how necessary is it that everything be exactly to scale?  On the flip side, especially in the case of New York where the MTA’s map distorts geography and makes some lines that are quite close together appear much further apart, it is fascinating to see how the B, D, F, and M trains not only pass under the 4, 5, and 6 tracks within the Broadway-Lafayette Station, but also the N, Q, R, and W tracks, or how the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, and Q trains all operate under Flatbush Avenue for a distance in Brooklyn.

View this map on Andrew Lynch’s website by clicking here.  

Do you prefer having a scale track map, or does Andrew Lynch’s latest creation fall in to the accurate but useless category?  Leave a comment with your opinion!

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: Stand Right and Stand Left?!?

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.

Oren’s Reading List: How London Tube Stations Got Their Names

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: 

  1. Covent Garden
  2. Elephant & Castle
  3. Cockfosters
  4. Tooting Bec
  5. Knightsbridge
  6. Maida Vale
  7. Aldgate
  8. Piccadilly Circus
  9. Queensway
  10. Shepherd’s Bush

You can read the article here.  

What is your favorite Tube station (or Tube Line) name?  Which station’s name origin do you wish you knew more about?  Share your responses in the comments below!

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.