Oren’s Reading List: Bringing a Cable Car back to San Francisco After 77 Years

Last weekend was MUNI’s annual “Heritage Weekend” event, when vintage streetcars, buses, and streetcars are brought out in to revenue service by the Market Street Railway. I’ve never been to San Francisco for this event, but I did see an article floating around about how a San Francisco cable car constructed in 1883 was restored over the course of 20 years.  That restoration was completed just in time for this year’s Heritage Weekend event.  Click here to read the whole story.

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: September 2019

PA-1 657

PA-1 657

Location: Exchange Place Station, Jersey City, NJ
Operator of Vehicle: Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
Date of Photo: September 4, 2001

Next week, the anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks will be commemorated.  One can cite a long list of things that changed in the wake of the terrorist attacks that no one would have expected in the years since.  On the transit side of things, one did not feel a sense of urgency to visit the World Trade Center PATH station on September 4, 2001, just one week before the station would be destroyed when the Twin Towers collapsed.  I certainly did not, which is why I opted to transfer to trains at Exchange Place instead of at World Trade Center while traveling between Newark and Hoboken that day.  As it turned out, I would never have a chance to visit the original World Trade Center station, and it would be the only station on PATH that I did not travel to prior to September 2001.  I have since been to the temporary station that opened in 2003, but not the Santiago Calatrava designed Oculus 

For more photos of PATH, please click here.


Bus Photo of the Month: September 2019

NABI 60-BRT/CNG 5414

NABI 60-BRT/CNG 5414

Location: H Street, NW at 16th Street
Operator of Vehicle: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Date of Photo: March 13, 2015

If the transit fan rumor mill is to be believed (a risky proposition at times), your chances to catch a photo such as this one are dwindling.  The NABI 60-BRT/CNG articulated buses that WMATA took delivery of in 2008 are approaching retirement.  A handful have been rehabbed, but others have not, potentially shortening the useful service lives of those units.  These buses have also been seen on the streets of DC less frequently, with some supposing that if it weren’t for the need for extra buses due to the Blue and Yellow Line shutdown in Virginia, they would already be retired.

I’ve been on these buses only once or twice back when they were brand new.  They certainly brought a unique look to the WMATA fleet, being the first NABI BRT buses the agency ordered.  I find the front to be a bit peculiar looking, so these aren’t my favorite buses from an aesthetic standpoint.  However, taking shots of articulated buses as they are coming around curves is one of my favorite photos to go for while transitfanning, no matter the model of articulated bus, and WMATA will be getting more 60 footers to replace the NABIs when it is time to dispatch these buses to the “big bus garage in the sky.”

For more photos of WMATA’s Metrobus 2008 NABI 60BRT/CNG Articulated Buses, please click here.


Oren’s Reading List: A Visit to the TTC Control Centre

I’ve had the opportunity to visit some areas of transit systems that are typically off limits to the public and have been able to take photographs that you can find on this website.  There are also times that I have had access to non-public parts of a transit system where photography is forbidden or I am asked not to share my photos online, and I abide by those requests out of respect for those who make them.  In 2007, I had the opportunity to visit the TTC Control Centre, the location from which the Toronto Transit Commission keeps the largest transit system in Canada and the third largest transit system in North America running smoothly.  On my visit, photography was not permitted.  The National Post obtained access and permission to photograph and write about what goes on in the control centre, also referred to as the TTC’s war room.  This is a scene that plays out behind the scenes of every transit agency as it attempts to keep trains and their passengers moving while constantly handling unexpected circumstances such as malfunctioning doors and emergency alarms.  And while you may not believe it, it might be a “net positive” to offload your train in the midst of a transit delay in order to keep everyone else moving.

Curious to have a glimpse behind the scenes at the TTC’s control centre?  Click here to read the National Post’s article.

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: 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!