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.

 

Bus Photo of the Month: April 2019

New Flyer C40LF 2302

New Flyer C40LF 2302

Location: 16th Street, NW at Q Street, Washington, DC
Operator of Vehicle: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
Date of Photo: July 19, 2007

It may be April Fool’s Day, but this is no April Fool’s Joke!  If you’re familiar with DC area bus assignments, you’ll know that C40LF buses were never assigned to Northern Division, the longtime home of the S2 route.  I also don’t photoshop my photos in that way.  So what’s the deal here?  Sometimes in a pinch, a bus from a “foreign” division gets put in to service on a route in order to maintain service in the event of a service interruption.  For transit fans and those who enjoy taking photos of unusual circumstances, coming across an instance such as this is quite fun, as it allows for taking photos that are really hard to come by.  To my knowledge, this is the only time a C40LF was documented as operating on this route during their service lives.  So even though it is April 1st and perhaps not everything on the internet is believable today, don’t forget to take a second look.  Sometimes, the unexpected is still legitimate.

For more photos of WMATA’s New Flyer C40LF buses, please click here.

Rail Photo of the Month: March 2019

CAF 5013

CAF 5013

Location: Prince George’s Plaza Station, Hyattsville, MD
Operator of Vehicle: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Date of Photo: July 2, 2007

The DC Metrorail will be celebrating its 43rd anniversary later this month, but one of its newer classes of rolling stock is no longer around to commemorate the occasion.  WMATA exercised an option order on its new 7000 Series cars from Kawasaki in order to retire the CAF built 5000 Series trains as opposed to rehabbing them.  Typically, a Metrorail car can have a service life of nearly 40 years if it is rehabilitated or overhauled after about 20 years of service.  However, the CAFs have been lemons in a variety of ways since they arrived on Metro property.  First, their delivery was delayed due to a variety of software and other manufacturing issues.  Once they arrived, the CAF cars derailed more often than the other car classes (fortunately, within train yards except on one occasion), they also broke down more often than the other car classes.  However, the CAFs left positive impressions on WMATA’s history.  They were the first cars to feature the updated interior colors of Potomac Blue, Colonial Burgundy, and Chesapeake Sand, the first cars to have LED exterior destination signage, the first cars to have interior LED next stop displays, the first cars to be delivered with AC traction motors, and the first cars to have a module on the operator’s console to help troubleshoot problems on board the train.

The 5000 Series cars are also notable for being the first heavy rail contract CAF received from a North American agency.  The company has won additional contracts in the US since then, including for the construction of MBTA’s Type 9 cars and Amtrak’s Viewliner IIs.  CAF has also been contracted to build the light rail cars that will be used on the Purple Line in the Maryland suburbs.  I’ve heard other transit fans complain about the quality of CAF products, and they also cite delivery delays on these and other contracts.  However, I’ve been on CAF built trains in Spain and Italy in addition to DC.  In my experience, the CAF trains I have been on in Europe seem to be well constructed and reliable.

WMATA’s 5000 Series cars were removed from revenue service in October 2018, although some are being used as part of work trains as of this writing.  And while they may not be a part of Metro’s story going forward and didn’t even remain in service for 20 years, the CAF cars will always be a part of Metro’s history in the early 21st century.

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

Rail Photo of the Month: November 2018

Breda Rehab 3279

Breda Rehab 3279

Location: Friendship Heights Station, Washington, DC
Operator of Vehicle: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Date of Photo: August 30, 2004

This website rarely delves in to current events that aren’t transit related.  However, in thinking what photo to feature this month, my current need for a “comfort image” (think comfort food but in this case it is transit photography) as a result of current events in the wider world won out, and I am opting to feature a photo from my “home station” for much of my childhood.  The Friendship Heights station is somewhat unique in that it has entrances in both the District of Columbia and in Maryland.  When I was in high school, I would enter the station each morning in Maryland, cross in to DC to board my train, and then find myself back in Maryland moments after the train left the station.  Perhaps if you visit this site frequently, you find something comforting about being back at a specific train station or on board a specific bus route, especially if it has been awhile since you had the opportunity to use it.  For me, there is something that just seems “right” as I enter the Friendship Heights station and await a train of “legacy” cars to whisk me away to my destination.  Then once I board that train it is straight to the front to look out the front “railfan window” as I have done since I was a child.

Is there a transit experience similar to this one for me that evokes the same feelings for yourself?  Let me know by sharing it in the comments below!

For more photos of the WMATA Breda Rehabs, please click here.

New Photos from the Land of Enchantment (& More)

In August, I visited New Mexico for the first time (unless you count passing through on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief back in 2014).  Although I was only there for four full days, I did have some opportunities to photograph the transit available in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and in between.  Both cities have sizable bus networks, though the latter is larger than that of the former.  In addition, the Rail Runner Express operates commuter rail service between those same cities.  Unfortunately, for such a short stay and due to other logistical constraints, I didn’t actually ride any of these systems, though photographing them while trying to capture the local architectural styles in some of my photographs while doing so was fun!

This update also includes photos from around the DC area, including photos of MARC’s newest diesel locomotives, the DC Circulator’s new Proterra electric buses, and more!

Here is the complete list of pages with new photos in this update:

 

 

Rail Photo of the Month: August 2018

Kawasaki 7028

Kawasaki 7028

Location: Columbia Heights Station, Washington, DC
Operator of Vehicle: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Date of Photo: August 30, 2015

If you happen to have been on the Washington Metro in recent weeks, you’ve probably heard a train declare “This is a 7000 Series train” as its doors open at each station.  This is being done as a safety initiative for passengers with vision impairments, the merits of which will not be discussed here at this time.  However, transit fans and frequent Metrorail riders probably do not need to be told when they are boarding a 7000 Series train, as these cars are quite different than any others that have operated on “America’s subway.”  The cars are made of stainless steel. They feature the new “disco ball logo” rather than the traditional brown stripe along the sides. The trains have a new interior color scheme, automated announcements, multiple interior LED and LCD displays, an updated cab layout, and numerous other features.  Personally, I’m a much bigger fan of the “legacy fleet” than the 7000 Series as the former is what I grew up riding and am most familiar with.  However, the 7000 Series cars are certainly recognizable by many riders, not just transit fans, and anecdotally, the riding public has enjoyed riding these cars since they entered service in 2015.  

For more photos of WMATA’s Kawasaki 7000 Series cars, please click here.

New Photos from Israel & Washington, DC Added

The summer travel season is well underway, and photos from my adventures in May and June are now available for your viewing pleasure here on Oren’s Transit Page.

Most of the new content can be found in the Israel section, where you will find new photos of the Jerusalem Light Rail, Egged buses in Jerusalem (including the Solaris Urbino 18 unit currently on trial), Egged Ta’avura buses in Jerusalem, Afikim buses in Jerusalem, Kavim buses in Jerusalem, and Superbus buses in both Jerusalem and Tiberias.  If you haven’t been to Israel lately, with the entry of the Golden Dragon and Yutong bus models from China and Solaris buses from Poland in to the Israeli market, there is quite a bit of diversity in Israeli operators’ fleets beyond the typical MAN and Mercedes-Benz buses that have dominated the scene for years.  You can also find photos of the exterior of the new Jerusalem High Speed Railway station (the interior of the much delayed station will be open to the public this fall if you believe the latest rumors).

In addition, new photos of various WMATA equipment types have been added as well.

Here is the complete list of pages with new photos in this update:

Just in time for the summer travel season, Winter 2018 photos have been posted!

The first part of 2018 here at Oren’s Transit Page headquarters has been busy.  The next few months also have some travel planned both to places I’ve been before as well as new ones, but in this post, I wish to let everyone know that new photos from the past few months from a variety of places are now available on this site.  You may have noticed some recent photos of the month were from locations that had not been featured on any part of this site before.

I made my first trip to Memphis, Tennessee back in November 2017.  Unfortunately, it was before that city’s Main Street Trolley reopened, but I guess that just means I’ll have to go back some day.  However, I did get some photos of MATA’s all Gillig bus fleet, which you can find in the new Memphis section on this site.

In January, I spent two weeks in Brazil and Argentina.  While I had been to Rio de Janerio back in 2010, I didn’t take any photos of that city’s subway on that trip.  That has changed, and there is now a Rio Metro page here on Oren’s Transit Page.  There are also additions to the existing Rio bus page.  After Rio, I was in Iguazu Falls, where I had also been in 2010, but there are no new photos from here.  The following stop was Buenos Aires, marking my first time in that city, and I have plenty of photos from that city.  The Buenos Aires Subte (Underground), while small, has a rich history and also has the distinction of serving the southernmost subway station in the world.  You might recognize some of the 6000 Series cars on the Buenos Aires pages from Madrid and that would make sense, as Buenos Aires bought them secondhand from the Spanish capital.  The network of buses, known locally as colectivos, is an impressive sight to see as they crisscross the city in just about every imaginable direction.  Each colectivo line is operated by a private firm, and each private firm only operates a handful of lines at most.  The buses on each route have unique liveries to make identification by waiting passengers easier.  

At the end of January, I was in the Boston area for a weekend, and at the start of April I spent a weekend in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

As is often the case, I also added a number of photos from around the DC area.  Most of the new photos are additions to pre-existing galleries, but I also finally added photos of Shuttle UM, the campus bus system for the University of Maryland-College Park, and Loundoun County Transit.

Below, you’ll find a complete list of pages with new photos.  Enjoy! 

 

Oren’s Reading List: Riding an entire system in a day

The Vancouver Sun reports that today, a man named Stephen Quinlan intends to ride the entire Vancouver SkyTrain system in about 3 hours, in order to set the Guinness World Record for achieving the feat.  You can read about his preparations here.  I made no effort to set a record while doing so, but I did ride the entire Skytrain in a single day on August 7, 2007, back when it only had two lines and fewer stations.  It isn’t the first system I rode in an entire day, either.  The largest system I rode in a single day is the Washington, DC Metrorail (in 2002, when it only had 83 stations), but I have also explored the entire TTC Subway (2007), San Juan Tren Urbano (2016), Glasgow Underground (2005), Rome Metro (2008), Jerusalem Light Rail (on opening day in 2011) and Haifa Carmelit (2007) in a single day, and did the Tren Urbano, Jerusalem Light Rail, and Carmelit on a single fare.  Needless to say, it is a much easier feat to achieve on a smaller system such as Haifa’s (the smallest subway in the world) as opposed to a city such as London or New York, but that is to be expected.  

Have you ever tried to ride an entire system in one day?  Were you successful?  Were you trying to set any records?  Feel free to post your answers in the comments below!

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: April 2018

CAF 5085

CAF 5085

Location: Rockville Station, Rockville, MD
Operator of Vehicle: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Date of Photo: December 12, 2017

On some subway systems, each line has a dedicated (or nearly dedicated) fleet of cars.  For example, you won’t find anything but 1995 Stock on the Northern Line in London.  Or in New York, seeing something other than an R62A on the 1 train is a notable event.  However, in Washington, DC, this generally has not been the case.  Except for a period when all the 2000 Series Breda cars were assigned to the Red Line shortly after their delivery, WMATA has put just about every car on every line, especially when it was “bellying” the 1000 Series cars and later the 4000 Series cars between 2009 and 2017.  Now that those car types have been retired as of last summer, WMATA has decided to assign certain cars to certain lines with generally few exceptions.  In the case of the Red Line, this means seeing anything other than 3000 Series Breda Rehabs or 7000 Series Kawasakis is now a notable event.  One of those moments is captured here, when CAF 5085 made it on to the Red Line in December 2017. 

Do you like “predictability” in your transit car assignments when transitfanning, or is it more fun when any type of train or bus might show up?

For more photos of WMATA CAF 5000 Series cars, please click here