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

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

Rail Photo of the Month: October 2017

United Streetcar Model 100 201

United Streetcar Model 100 201

Location: H Street, NE near 3rd Street, NE, Washington, DC
Operator of Vehicle: District Department of Transportation
Date of Photo: October 1, 2017

Considering how long the DC transit fan community waited for the city’s first modern streetcar line to open, it seems pretty fitting that I did not get my first ride on the DC Streetcar or take any photos of it until 18 months after that very delayed opening. Most of that delay was logistical from my end, as a result of its initially limited operating hours, not serving a part of the area that I find myself in very often, and my not having time to make a special trip just to check it out.  However, yesterday, things aligned in such a way that I got to go for a joyride and get my first photos.

As someone who was born and raised in the DC area, to see how the H Street, NE corridor has changed in the years both before and after the streetcar’s construction is nothing short of remarkable.  This photo of the month was taken from the “Hopscotch Bridge” over Amtrak’s line leading in to Union Station looking towards the east.  In the past, there wouldn’t be much to see from here, the neighborhoods visible in this photo were not the sorts of places many people would go to a bar, shop, or even think about living. Now, when one stands on the Hopscotch Bridge, one sees new construction, a bustling entertainment area, and lots of street and pedestrian traffic stretching the length of the corridor, which runs about 12 blocks from where I took this photo.  Despite some flaws and other issues, the streetcar definitely plays a role in the development of this part of town.

For more photos of the DC Streetcar, please click here.  And be on the lookout for additional posts here on the Travelogue about the DC Streetcar in the near future!

 

Bus Photo of the Month: October 2017

Leyland RT intercity bus

Leyland RT Intercity Bus

Location: Egged Historical Center, Holon, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Egged
Date of Photo: April 1, 2010

Many places have transit museums to commemorate the vehicles and systems of old, and Israel is no exception to this.  Its largest bus operator, Egged, operates the Egged Historical Center in a corner of its bus depot in Holon, just outside Tel Aviv.  Until recently, it was known as the Egged Museum, which is probably a more apt description of the attraction.  It consists of over 60 buses and other vehicles that have been preserved and are on display to the public during the museum’s opening hours.  This bus was built by Leyland in 1963 on a Greek chassis, earning it the nickname Yavaniya (lit: Greek woman).  Egged operated 50 of these buses for about 10 years, at which point they were withdrawn from service.  In the photo, you can see the continuation of the line of buses on display at the museum.  If you’re a transit fan and you find yourself in Israel, provided you can get to the museum while it is open, it is definitely worth a visit. 

The Egged Historical Society is located in the bus depot at the corner of Moshe Dayan and Dan Shomron.  At the time of this posting, the museum is open to the public on Friday mornings from 8 AM until noon and also during the intermediate days of Sukkot (October 8-10, 2017) and Passover from 8 AM until 12:30 PM.  The museum can be reached by taking a short bus ride from central Tel Aviv, and since September 2011, it is also accessible by Israel Railways’s Bat Yam-Kommemiyut Station.  From Jerusalem, one should travel to Rishon LeTzion and take a local bus to the museum from there.

For more photos from the Egged Historical Society, please click here.