Bus Photo of the Month: August 2019

Neoplan AN440 8125

Neoplan AN440 8125

Location: Golden Gate Bridge Parking Lot, San Francisco, CA
Operator of Vehicle: San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI)
Date of Photo: July 25, 2014

In yesterday’s post, you may have noticed that I wrote that I was not in the DC area for the WMATA Silver Line opening.  If you were wondering where I was instead, here is your answer!  In 2014, I spent a few weeks crisscrossing the country, mostly by train.  After the woman now known as Mrs. Oren’s Transit Page and I rode the California Zephyr together from Denver to Emeryville, we spent the weekend in the Bay Area.  Believe it or not, we actually didn’t use any public transit during our travels between where we stayed in Oakland and the other places we visited over the course of the weekend, and I only managed one photo of San Francisco area transit during our time there.  This is that picture, taken at the San Francisco end of the Golden Gate Bridge.  

I’ve enjoyed San Francisco each time I’ve been there and expect to visit again at some point in the future.  Anyone want to place a bet that I’ll take more than one transit photo on my next trip?

For more photos of MUNI Bus Operations, please click here.

 

Rail Photo of the Month: August 2019

CAF 5139

CAF 5139

Location: Tysons Corner Station, Tysons Corner, VA
Operator of Vehicle: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
Date of Photo: January 20, 2015

A post by a friend on Facebook this week reminded me that the WMATA Silver Line is now five years old.  After years and years of waiting to see if the funding would even come through to extend Metro to Tysons and/or beyond, the line finally opened on July 26, 2014.  I did not get a chance to check out the new segment of railroad for nearly six months, but once I did, I took plenty of photos, just as you would expect.  This is one of my favorites from that outing, a photo of a 5000 Series train leaving Tysons Corner just after sunset.  In addition to the train itself, I was able to capture the station architecture (a style first used at the Silver Line Phase I stations) and part of the Tysons skyline in this one shot.  

Which do you find harder to believe?  That there is Metrorail service to Tysons Corner or that it has been operating for five years?

For more photos of WMATA’s 5000 Series cars, please click here.

 

Oren’s Reading List: A Brief History of Air-Conditioning on the New York Subway

The R38 was the first car class to be delivered to New York City with air conditioning installed. Photo taken March 5, 2005.

With much of the eastern United States experiencing a sweltering heat wave with temperatures approaching 100 F and heat indices near 115 F, I thought it would be a good time to share this 2012 article from CityLab about the history of air conditioning on the NYC subway.  If you think it is hot on the subway now, just remember that only about half of New York’s subway car fleet had A/C in 1983.

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.

Rail Photo of the Month: July 2019

Alstom Citadis 302 020

Alstom Citadis 302 020

Location: Derech Yafo (Jaffa Road) at Shlomtzion HaMalka, Jerusalem, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Citipass
Date of Photo: June 2, 2016

Summer in Jerusalem means there’s a pretty good chance there’s a festival or two taking place in the evenings, and my favorite of them all is currently ongoing.  The Jerusalem Light Festival, which has taken place each summer since 2009, will be illuminating the Old City of Jerusalem through Thursday evening, July 4.  As a photographer, it is lots of fun to wander through the Old City and around its walls, capturing the dazzling displays which are so different than what one typically sees when traversing these areas any other week of the year.  In 2016, the festival extended down Jaffa Road towards the present day city center, and some of the the light rail trains themselves got in on the fun by having strings of lights placed along their rooflines.  Here is a photo of one of those trains passing by a model Eiffel Tower.  If you’re able to catch one of the remaining nights of the festival, I highly recommend it!

For more photos of the Jerusalem Light Rail, please click here.

Bus Photo of the Month: July 2019

New Flyer XDE40 2015

New Flyer XDE40 2015

Location: Jefferson Drive and 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC
Operator of Vehicle: District Department of Transportation (DDOT)
Date of Photo: September 14, 2016

In just a few days, thousands will gather on the National Mall in Washington, DC to celebrate Independence Day.  Although it doesn’t operate on July 4th due to the various street closures along its route, the DC Circulator National Mall route is a great way to travel between the various museums and monuments that line the Mall.  It is also a great way to get photos of transit vehicles and those same landmarks in a single shot!  I took this photo in September 2016 because I was able to capture the bus itself using a classic 3/4 roster shot but also the Washington Monument in the background.  Although some other area bus operators have routes that travel near landmarks such as the Washington Monument and Capitol building, I think it is fair to say that Circulator has the most plentiful options for transit photography with these national landmarks.

For more photos of DC Circulator buses, please click here.

 

Bus Photo of the Month: June 2019

Rohr 1076

New Flyer XD40 1774

Location: Chapel Street at College Street, New Haven, CT
Operator of Vehicle: CTtransit
Date of Photo: June 2, 2019

One should always travel with his or her camera and expect the unexpected!  A flight cancellation last week resulted in my driving from the DC area to Boston and back again, so instead of spending this past Sunday in Boston, it was spent working my way south along the Northeast Corridor.  When Mrs. Oren’s Transit Page suggested we stop for lunch in New Haven, I was able to get my first CTtransit photos.  I know very little about the system and certainly had no plans to be building out a CTtransit section on this site anytime soon, but sometimes life throws curveballs at you and you find yourself with an opportunity to photograph an agency you did not expect to.  Be on the lookout for this new section, including photos from the Shore Line Trolley Museum, in the near future!

 

Rail Photo of the Month: June 2019

Rohr 1076

Rohr 1076

Location: National Airport Station, Arlington, VA
Operator of Vehicle: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Date of Photo: November 27, 2003

The DC Metrorail is known for its uniformity.  Out of the 91 stations currently in service, only two of them have two platforms served by three tracks: West Falls Church and National Airport.  The center track at the former station typically only gets used by trains pulling out from or pulling in to the nearby West Falls Church yard.  However, the center track at the latter station has seen daily use every few minutes at several different times in the station’s 42 years of service. 

The most recent of these circumstances is ongoing.  Since last weekend, the six stations south of National Airport are closed for platform reconstruction that will last until early September.  As a result, for the first time since 1983, National Airport is the last stop for all Blue and Yellow line trains in Virginia.  According to The Story of Metro by Ronald H. Deiter, it was not uncommon during the period that National Airport was the last stop for all trains from 1977 until 1983 to see two trains moving through the station in the same direction simultaneously.  The reason this would occur is that there is no direct crossover from the outbound track to the inbound track, and there was not necessarily enough time between trains to have a train arrive on the center track, drop off its passengers, pick up new passengers, and head back towards Downtown DC.  As a result, the following moves would occur:

  1. A train would arrive on the outbound track and discharge its passengers.
  2. The next train would arrive on the middle track and discharge its passengers.  
  3. The train on the outbound track would proceed south of the station.
  4. The train on the middle track would proceed south of the station and cross over to the inbound track.
  5. The train on the outbound track would reverse direction and reenter the station on the middle track to pick up passengers.
  6. The train on the inbound track would reverse direction and reenter the station, staying on the inbound track.
  7. Both trains would collect new passengers and proceed in to Downtown DC.

If steps 3 and 4 or steps 5 and 6 occurred concurrently to each other, you had the two trains moving in the same direction through the station simultaneously.

Metro seems to be using only the center track as much as possible so we may not see this scenario play out in the next few months, but perhaps some lucky railfan will observe it.  After all, luckily running into the unexpected is one of the joys of this hobby.  That said, you will not be able to run into a 1000 Series car, like the one seen here, anytime soon.  Those have all been retired.

Also, for anyone wondering, the other times the center track was used on a regular basis is between 1983 and 1991 when Blue Line trains terminated at National Airport but Yellow Line trains continued south to Huntington, and in late 2002 and early 2003 during platform canopy construction to extend the station canopies to the north entrance constructed when the new airport terminal opened in 1997.

For more photos of WMATA’s 1000 Series Rail Cars, please click here.

Rail Photo of the Month: May 2019

Hawker-Siddeley PA-3 01244

Hawker-Siddeley PA-3 01244

Location: Green Street, Boston, MA
Operator of Vehicle: Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority
Date of Photo: May 2, 2011

In the early morning hours of May 1, 1987, the MBTA Orange Line operated on its original, Washington Street elevated route for the final time.  The Orange Line (then known as the Main Line Elevated) originally included three elevated sections. The Atlantic Avenue Elevated was truncated to a shuttle in 1928 and closed entirely in 1938. The Charlestown Elevated was replaced by the Haymarket North Extension in 1975.  And the southern portion of the Washington Street Elevated route from Chinatown to Forest Hills, passing through the South End and Roxbury along the way.  MBTA crews worked over the weekend to tie in the Washington Street subway with the Orange Line’s new alignment that used the Southwest Corridor that had originally been built for I-95’s planned route through Boston.  The new alignment opened on May 4 and remains in service to this day.  I took this photo exactly eight years ago at the Green Street Station, one of the new stations along the Southwest Corridor alignment.

For more photos of the MBTA Orange Line, please click here.

In addition, you can see Boston TV station WBZ’s coverage of the last Orange Line train via the Washington Street elevated route in this video clip:  

Note: Some of the information in this post was changed based on corrections provided from a reader on May 7, 2019.

Bus Photo of the Month: May 2019

NovaBus RTS-06 5242

NovaBus RTS-06 5242

Location: East 42nd Street at 3rd Avenue, New York, NY
Operator of Vehicle: MTA New York City Transit
Date of Photo: December 12, 2012

It is hard to believe, but the end of an era for public transit in New York City is approaching in just a matter of days.  The last of the venerable “RTS” buses, which have been transporting New Yorkers around the five boroughs for thirty-eight years, are due to be retired in the coming days.  The RTS was first developed by GMC’s Truck and Coach Division in 1977 and New York City Transit took its first delivery of RTS buses in 1981.  These buses were able to be recognized by their rounded, futuristic looking fronts, especially when compared to the “New Look” buses that made up much of the fleet when the RTSs were introduced.  Between 1981 and 1999, a total of 4,877 and RTS buses were ordered from three different manufacturers (GMC sold the rights to the RTS design to TMC who later transferred those rights to NovaBUS).  These buses were also the first buses to be equipped with wheelchair lifts, and helped New York City Transit become one of the first agencies of its size to have a 100 percent accessible fleet.  Today, there are only a handful of RTS buses remaining in service in New York City, and it is expected that the remaining units will be taken off the streets by May 10, if not before then due to the fact these buses run on diesel fuel, while newer buses are powered by compressed natural gas or hybrid engines.

New York certainly isn’t the only city to have operated the RTS, but it is certainly the city I associate most with this model of bus.  These buses were everywhere when I would visit family in New York in the 1990s, and while I knew my “home” agency of WMATA had some as well (and they often served routes near where I grew up), I didn’t expect to ride them all that often whereas getting anything but an RTS in New York was a notable event.  I can’t say they were my favorite New York City buses, although I always loved the single seat on the right side just in front of the rear door.  I found the rear door lifts to be annoying as a passenger (it could take a long time to load or unload a wheelchair compared to a bus with a front door lift) and the narrow front door and stairwell was not easy to navigate when traveling with luggage or bulky items.  Over the years, New Flyer D60HFs, Orion Vs, Orion VIIs, and NovaBus LFSAs have come to dominate the routes where I stay most often in New York.  The photo featured this month is one of the last ones I ever took of an RTS in New York, and I took this photo over six years ago.  I believe the last time I rode an RTS in New York City was in 2014.  It just goes to show how much the New York City bus scene has changed in recent years.  However, I don’t expect the association between the RTS and New York City to fade in my mind anytime soon.

What are your memories of the RTS in New York City?

For more photos of New York City Transit’s RTS buses, please click here.

Oren’s Reading List: A Tube Themed Hotel is Now Open in London

Planning a trip to London?  Perhaps you are traveling to ride the special steam train excursion that is coming up in June?  Consider staying at the Ibis Styles Gloucester Road, which reopened this month and has a London Underground theme throughout the hotel.  Check out what it looks like in this article from Londonist, and then make a reservation to stay there!  (For the record, I have not been a guest at this hotel pre or post renovation.)

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.