In yesterday’s Washington Post Travel Section, there was an article about the F-Line in San Francisco, which operates historic streetcars on a route that serves as an integral part of the city’s transportation network. The article features an interview with Rick Laubscher who organized the first vintage trolley festival in the early 1990s, leading to the opening of the F-Line on September 1, 1995.
As an almost perfect followup to last week’s post about riding an entire system in a day, I was alerted to a recent attempt by two San Francisco Chronicle writers, Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight, who set out on what they called “Total MUNI 2018.” Spurred by Knight’s 4 year old son’s interest in buses, she and Hartlaub set out to ride every MUNI line in a single day. They were not the first to attempt the feat. Larry Baer, who is now the CEO of the San Francisco Giants, and his friend Andrew Coblentz rode every route on a bit of a lark back in 1980, and both Total MUNI veterans provided guidance and support to Hartlaub and Knight. Baer (and Giants’ mascot Lou Seal) even joined Hartlaub and Knight on a historic F Line streetcar.
As is often the case with these sorts of adventures, there is a certain amount of controversy vis a vis the methodology by which one is deemed to have been on an entire system. For example, I have a friend who says my claim to have been to have been to every DC Metrorail station isn’t really credible since I have not paid a fare at each and every station (I disagree with her). When Baer and Coblentz were planning their adventure in 1980, they decided that one had to ride on a vehicle for at least three stops in order for it to count as riding a route. In one of the podcasts Hartlaub and Knight did prior to Total MUNI, Baer explained that three stops felt like a good minimum since it felt like you were actually going somewhere. I agree with that standard. However, Hartlaub and Knight (with Baer’s endorsement) decided they could use other modes of transit besides walking to get from route to route if necessary, including Uber, Lyft, rides from friends, and even a rickshaw, and I have to raise issue with this. While I certainly won’t take away from their achievement, I think it would be more remarkable to ride every MUNI route in a day AND not use any other modes of transit to do so.
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.
Over the course of redesigning Oren’s Transit Page, I was also continuing to travel, take photos, and add them in to the queue to be included in the redesigned website once it launched. Now that the redesigned website is here, keep reading to find out what new material was added in conjunction with the redesign. This isn’t an exhaustive list but rather just the “highlights”, there is plenty of new content scattered around the whole site.
NABI 60-BRT 9574 on Main Street at Aliso Street Los Angeles, CA July 11, 2014
Starting off in the United States, I traveled to a number of places for the first time in my life in 2014. I made a Midwest swing in May 2014 that resulted in the creation of sections for Minneapolis-St. Paul (just prior to the Green Line opening) and Kansas City. After that, in July 2014, I did some long distance Amtrak travel (with some flights in between) and visited Los Angeles and San Diego for the first time. Also on this trip were stops in Denver (in time for the soft reopening of Denver’s Union Station), Chicago, and San Francisco. I had passed through Denver before but I had never used or photographed its mass transit prior to that summer. The stops in Chicago and San Francisco were my first in each city since 2007 and were quite brief, but there are new photos in those sections as well, including my first photos of the CTA 5000 Series cars.
I last traveled to Philadelphia in 2012 and was able to get a last round of Silverliner II and Silverliner III photos, in addition to my first Silverliner V photos. I made two trips to Boston, one in 2011 and the other in 2013. On the 2011 trip, I rode the southern end of the Orange Line for the first time, and both trips included a number of trips on the Green Line and Red Line. I also was able to get photos from along the Ashmont-Mattapan High Speed Line right of way and of various MBTA buses, including the trackless trolleys, in Cambridge. Finally, for the first time since Oren’s Transit Page’s initial launch over 15 years ago, there are new photos in the Atlanta section.
There are also new photos from New York City, but due to the immense size of that section, it was decided to leave it “as is” in the old format and add the new photos to the Uncaptioned Photos gallery for now. The New York section will be updated with the new design as soon as possible.
North of the border, there is a new section for photos from Niagara Falls, Ontario. My only trip to South America to date was in 2010 so there isn’t anything new in the Brazil and Argentina sections (while Buenos Aires is on my bucket list, I haven’t found the occasion to get myself down there just yet).
Crossing the ocean to Europe, I visited both Hungary and Portugal for the first time. My stop in Budapest was a layover between flights in 2011 that was measured in hours rather than days, but it was enough time to photograph some of the city’s trams, buses, and trolleybuses and whet my appetite for another trip there that will be longer 13 hours. I spent almost a full week in Lisbon, a city that shares many similarities to San Francisco including the fact that its trams are a tourist attraction in and of themselves, and visited continental Europe’s westernmost bus stop for good measure.
Bombardier Flexity Outlook “Cityrunner” 3069 at Place Royale Brussels, Belgium November 21, 2013
In 2008, I unexpectedly found myself with 90 minutes in Brussels due to a missed train connection, which was just enough time to get some transit photos before the next train to my destination came. In 2013, I was in Brussels yet again, this time for a full 8 hours between flights, so that section has seen some additional expansion including a new gallery for photos of the Belgian National Railway.
Finally, in the Middle East, the Israel section has expanded further and to my knowledge, Oren’s Transit Page’s Israel section is the largest of its kind on any English language website. The Jerusalem Light Rail opened to passengers just after I began the long process of overhauling the website, so many photos of revenue service along the length of the entire line are now included on the site. The Metronit bus rapid transit system in the Haifa region opened in 2014, and there are also photos of that. In addition, there are many new photos of the many bus operators that operate throughout the entire length of the country.
I hope you enjoy exploring the site, whether you choose to browse the new sections, old sections, or a mix of both! And if you have a favorite section, let everyone know what it is in the comment section below!