Location: Smithfield Street at 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA
Operator of Vehicle: Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority (MMVTA)
Date of Photo: November 27, 2015
The Port Authority isn’t the only bus operator in Pittsburgh. There are some other operators in the area, and this month features another one of those operators. Among its routes are commuter services from Washington County, Westmoreland County, and Fayette County to and from Pittsburgh. And just like PAT, their buses have a colorful flair to them.
For more photos of Pittsburgh’s buses, please click here.
Location: Kenmore Station, Boston, MA
Operator of Vehicle: Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority
Date of Photo: February 12, 2004
Today marks the 120th anniversary of the opening of America’s first subway line. It was on this date in 1897 that the first segment of the Tremont Street Subway opened in an attempt to reduce congestion caused by streetcars on the streets of Boston. The first segment was quite short, just running from Park Street to a now disused and sealed portal near Boylston Station. Over time, portals have been sealed and the subway has been extended, but trains have been using the original Tremont Street Subway continuously for all these years. The Green Line certainly isn’t my favorite transit experience in the world (or even in Boston to be honest, especially when in a rush to get somewhere), but despite the frustrations its passengers may experience, it is certainly quite unique and a very important piece of American transit history. Here’s to the next 120 years!
For more photos of the MBTA Green Line, please click here.
Location: Derech Jericho near Derech Sha’ar HaArayot, Jerusalem, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Egged
Date of Photo: April 2, 2010
Yesterday, we visited the 9th Avenue Station in New York, and specifically, a photo showing both a train route and a track alignment that are no longer in use. The same evolution of routes over time can also happen with buses. In some regards, it is a bit easier with a bus, since it doesn’t have tracks, so changing an alignment to make or change a route is easier. However, that doesn’t meant this sort of change can’t be difficult. This photo shows a Mercedes-Benz O 405 G nearing the end of the number 2 route in Jerusalem, Israel. The 2’s route was so well known that people who had only been to Jerusalem once knew where it went. However, in 2012, as part of the restructuring of the bus routes following the opening of the Jerusalem Light Rail, it was discontinued and replaced by two different routes, neither of which carries the number 2 designation. The 2 is so venerable that when other proposed routes needed a number assigned to them, 2 was not considered as an option because these proposed routes wouldn’t go anywhere near the Western Wall where the original number 2 terminated. (As an aside, the bus model shown in the photo has also been entirely withdrawn from service.)
Are there any bus routes in a city that you live in or are familiar with where the number is so strongly associated with a single route?
For more photos of Egged Jerusalem’s Mercedes-Benz O 405 G buses, please click here.
Location: 9th Avenue Station, Brooklyn, NY
Operator of Vehicle: MTA New York City Transit
Date of Photo: June 24, 2010
Over time, transit routes can and do change. I took this photo of an M train entering the 9th Avenue station in Brooklyn on the last day of M train service at this location in 2010. Starting the next Monday morning, the M train had a new route that used a track connection that had been out of use since 1976. The M train is just one of many New York City Subway lines which has maintained both a segment where it has always run (Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn) and a variety of segments that it no longer serves (Brighton Line, West End Line, Nassau Street Line, etc.). The same can go for certain stations. The Myrtle Avenue Line originally served a now demolished upper level station at the Myrtle Avenue-Broadway Station and continued to Downtown Brooklyn. The 9th Avenue Station where I took this photo has a disused lower level that serves the now demolished Culver Shuttle Line; you can see the tracks leading to that abandoned level to the right of the M train in this photo. The New York City Subway has many fun nuances like this, as do other systems, though perhaps to a slightly lesser extent. It is what makes this hobby so fun sometimes, to travel around and know what was and what could be and to document it as best I can.
Location: Expo Park/USC Station, Los Angeles, CA
Operator of Vehicle: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA)
Date of Photo: July 15, 2014
Los Angeles is often thought of as lacking a public transit network. While it may be fair to say that the city is underserved relative to its size and population, it does have a transit network that is quite large in some regards and expanding. It is also a network that is old enough that its oldest cars, such as the Nippon-Sharyo P858 pictured here, will be retired by the end of 2018. Delivered in 1990 for the opening of the first light rail line in the Los Angeles area, these cars will be retired after about 30 years in service. As a result, these cars will not operate through the Regional Connector, a tunnel being built to link the Blue Line and Expo Line to the Gold Line.
For more photos of Los Angeles Metro Light Rail vehicles, please click here.
Location: Bay Street at Keith Street, West Vancouver, BC, Canada
Operator of Vehicle: West Vancouver Blue Bus
Date of Photo: August 6, 2007
West Vancouver Blue Bus has the distinction of being the oldest municipally operated bus system in North America, having been founded in 1912. Although they are operated under contract to TransLink (which is the primary transit operator in the Vancouver area), the dozen or so West Vancouver Blue Bus routes certainly have their own identity. After all, no other buses in the Vancouver region are running around with the West Vancouver seal above their headsigns. It’s been nearly 10 years since I was in Vancouver and I still don’t think I’ve seen an agency before or since that trip to stick something on the roof of the buses like that before. Has anyone else seen anything like it elsewhere or know why West Vancouver Blue Bus does this on all their buses? It is certainly unique.
For more photos of West Vancouver Blue Bus buses, please click here.
Location: Avenida da Liberdade at Rua das Pretas, Lisbon, Portugal
Operator of Vehicle: Carris
Date of Photo: November 15, 2013
Articulated buses with three doors are finally becoming more common in the United States, but in Europe, three door artics have been a standard sight for many years now, and the Mercedes-Benz O530G model is easily found all over the continent. This particular bus operates in Lisbon, one of 50 units that can be found in the Portuguese capital. Unlike some other European capitals, such as Paris, buses can be found with relative ease in the city center. In some cases, the buses even share a right of way with Lisbon’s famed trams. In other words, it isn’t implausible for a tourist to have a need to take a bus to get from one place to another. In addition to sharing fare media with the trams and Metro, Lisbon’s buses have automated announcements that call out the name of each stop, making for easy navigation. While the trams are the “transportation highlight” in Lisbon hands down, don’t overlook the buses while you’re there, either for transit fanning or just to get around.
For more photos of Lisbon’s buses, please click here.
Location: Capitol/Rice Street Station, St. Paul, MN
Operator of Vehicle: Metro Transit
Date of Photo: April 10, 2017
As you may have seen earlier today, Oren’s Transit Page has new photos from my recent trip to Minnesota. Naturally, it seemed appropriate to feature one of them for the June 2017 Rail Photo of the Month. The Twin Cities’ newest light rail line, the Green Line, connects Minneapolis and Saint Paul, providing a rail transit connection between the two cities’ downtowns that had not existed since the streetcar era ended in the early 1950s. Now three years old, the line is quite successful, and has even operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since it opened in 2014, making it one of the only 24/7 rail lines in the United States. As it approaches Downtown Saint Paul, it skirts the Minnesota State Capitol grounds, allowing for the opportunity to get photos of the new light rail with the capitol dome, modeled after the dome at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Can you think of other capitol buildings or famous buildings where this kind of opportunity exists?
For more photos of METRO Transit’s Light Rail vehicles, please click here.
Location: Herzl Street at the main gate of the Weizzmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Egged
Date of Photo: May 15, 2011
Today, the State of Israel marks the 69th anniversary of its independence. One way in which the country celebrates this day is by decorating balconies, streets, and even cars (among other things) Israeli flags or just blue and white decorations of any sort. Therefore, if one is taking pictures of just about any streetscape in Israel at this time of year (whether it be of buses or something else), it is hard to not capture some of these decorations in the photo, as I did here.
Although the State of Israel was founded in 1948, Egged, its primary bus operator, traces its history back to 1933. In its earliest days, some of its buses even traveled to Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Egypt, and Iraq. A more recent international route, a Tel Aviv-Cairo route, operated from 1982 until 1996. However, Egged’s presence has always been strongest within Israel itself, and at one time just about every bus line outside of the Tel Aviv area was operated by Egged. In recent years, the government has opened up the bidding process to operate these services to more companies, and Egged now only operates about 37 percent of scheduled bus services in Israel. However, it still remains the largest operator.
For more photos of Egged buses in Rehovot, please click here.
Location: Santa Fe Depot, San Diego, CA
Operator of Vehicle: Amtrak
Date of Photo: July 17, 2014
Amtrak turns 46 years old today. It was on this date in 1971 that Amtrak took over the passenger train operations of privately owned railroads that were still offering passenger service at the time. Today, when most people think of Amtrak, I suspect they picture the electric hauled Northeast Regional and Acela Express services that operate in the Washington-New York-Boston corridor. Some might think of long distance trains crossing the country such as the Empire Builder, California Zephyr, and City of New Orleans, which are lifelines for many of the communities that they serve. But Amtrak also operates in a number of regional corridors around the country, and the Pacific Surfliner service between San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Luis Obispo, California is one of those services. The F59PHI engine featured in this month’s rail photo of the month is one of 15 painted in the Pacific Surfliner’s unique livery. And yes, those palm trees are real, you can take an Amtrak train through Southern California and see them for yourself. In other words, the not so scenic Northeast Corridor isn’t all that Amtrak has to offer. Ride a long distance Amtrak train when you get the chance!
For more photos of Amtrak’s F59PHI locomotives, please click here.