OTP Update: New section and lots of new photos!

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.

If you wanted to travel by train from Richmond to other places featured on Oren’s Transit Page, Amtrak would be a great choice, and you can now see photos of the relatively recently restored Main Street Station in downtown Richmond on the Amtrak Stations page, as well as Amtrak’s Genesis P42 Locomotives serving the station.  New photos were also added to the Amtrak ACS-64 Locomotives and Acela Express pages.

Further along the Northeast Corridor, a number of Washington, DC area galleries got updates, too.  New photos of the DC Circulator, as well as WMATA’s now retired New Flyer C40LF buses were added to the respective galleries.  On the rail side of things in DC, there are new photos in the Rohr (1000 Series), Breda Rehab, and Kawasaki (7000 Series) galleries.  

Even further to the north, there are two new Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority bus photos in this update.  If you travel very far to the east, a single photo of an Israel Railways Bombardier trainset that was not included in the most recent update from Israel is now on the site.  

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.  


Who Wants to Preserve a Piece of DC Transit History?

Rohr 1000 Series car departing Grosvenor, April 10, 2000

As I wrote yesterday, the process of retiring and scrapping WMATA’s 40 year old 1000 Series railcars has started.  These cars were built by Rohr in the 1970s and have been carrying commuters and tourists alike since Metrorail opened on March 27, 1976.  They are my favorite WMATA rolling stock and I’ve known for some time that this event in their lives would arrive someday.

In the Washington Post story about the scrapping, Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel says “The 1Ks have served this region for four decades. . . . I think people will eventually look back on them the way people in other cities, with more mature transit systems, look back with delight on their historic rail cars.”  Unfortunately, Stessel is also quoted as saying that the agency has no plans to preserve any of the Rohrs.

Many transit agencies preserve retired equipment, perhaps most notably the New York City Transit Authority and Transport for London.  NYCTA operates a museum in an abandoned station in Brooklyn and runs some of the system’s retired trains several times a year.  The London Transport Museum is a major tourist attraction and features all sorts of buses and trains on static display.  The London museum also has an annex in Acton that houses more of the collection that is open to the public twice a year.  While this is the first time WMATA is retiring rail equipment, it has retired many buses over the years and preserves some of them in a historic fleet.  However, if Stessel’s vision that someday, Washingtonians look back fondly on the Rohrs is to be reality, the prospects are greatly improved if some of the cars are preserved.  Furthermore, scrapping an entire fleet of railcars is an irreversible decision that cannot be undone once all the cars are gone.

Thousands come out to ride the vintage train of 1930s equipment in New York City each December. Wouldn't it be great if WMATA could roll out the 1000 series for special occasions in the future, even after they are retired from regular service?

Thousands come out to ride the vintage train of 1930s equipment in New York City each December. Wouldn’t it be great if WMATA could roll out the 1000 series for special occasions in the future, even after they are retired from regular service?

I have spoken with some other transit fans in the DC area who are interested in seeing if there is some way that at least one pair of 1000 Series cars can be preserved.  Several ideas have been suggested for how to do this:

  1. Petition WMATA to consider keeping a pair or two for preservation purposes and run them on special occasions
  2. Work with a local museum (such as the National Capital Trolley Museum or the DMV Mass Transit Museum) to see if they can take the lead in working with WMATA to preserve a pair of 1000 Series cars (either as a part of their own collections or through some other sort of arrangement with WMATA)

There have been several threads and email discussions with preliminary thoughts on how to make this happen.  My idea is to try concentrating that discussion in a single place as people interested in this project come together, think of a strategy, and mobilize to make it happen.  It can be this website, or another if somewhere else makes more sense.

Do you have thoughts on either one of the ideas listed above, or a different suggestion?  Do you have a contact at WMATA, at one of the organizations listed above, or know of someone else who might be interested in this effort?  Do you have something else relevant to this conversation to add?  Might you be able to volunteer a bit of time here and there to help with this effort?  Do you know someone who might be interested in any of the previous questions with whom you could share this post?  Feel free to write a comment below, or e-mail me directly using this form.  I look forward to seeing what we can do with regards to this potential project!