Archive for October, 2008

SITE UPDATE: Ashmont photos

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

I’ve uploaded some new photos of the Red Line and Mattapan trolley at Ashmont.  The Red Line photos are on the second half of this page, and the trolley ones start with the last six on this page.

Transit Day 2008 was fun

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Yesterday was Transit Day up at Seashore Trolley Museum. As you’d expect, I went up there with Bernie to help out. Unlike Members’ Day, which I’ve been told was a letdown compared to previous years, Transit day really was a success. Lots of equipment that is rarely seen or used was brought out, and there were a lot of activities that weren’t part of the normal routine at Seashore. Photos of the day’s events can be found here.

Although I didn’t take any pictures of them, a lot of buses were on display and in operation. Many are part of the museum’s collection, and a few privately-owned ones showed up as well. Several of the buses provided shuttle trips from the visitor’s center over to Highwood.

On the trolley side of things, we arguably had too many cars in service yesterday. 1267, 631, 1700, 303, and 38 (finally back in service) were all running. Of course, the visitor’s center loop is only able to hold three or four cars (depending on whether the first car loads from the front or back), so we had fun all day repositioning cars to keep the track in front of Arundel clear when it was needed by subway cars. I got to run 38 a bit on one such repositioning move. Both controllers on it suck. It’s pretty much impossible to put either one into the first point - I kept skipping over it right into the second point.

The big events of the day were three photo runbys, the first the museum has done in years. Each one featured a different set of subway cars. Each runby followed the same procedure. One of the trolleys (303 for the first two runbys, 631 for the third) would bring photographers out to Messerve’s Crossing, where the runby would occur. After unloading, the trolley proceeded up to Tower 4 (the overhead along part of the line is supported by towers instead of lineside poles) to change ends and wait for the conclusion of the runby. Once everyone was in position at Messerve’s (most people stood on the platform there, while a few adventurous souls went a short ways up or down the line), the dispatcher was informed that the subway cars could be sent from the museum. The cars would make one pass by the photo line heading north, change ends at Tower 2, and then make another pass heading south back to the museum. Then the trolley would return from Tower 4 and bring everyone back to the museum. After the first two runbys, people could then ride the subway cars they had just photographed out to Biddeford Switch (at the entrance to the loop at Talbott Park) and back. The third time, because of time constraints the subway cars only made one trip, so people could either ride the cars or be in the photo line at Messerve’s.

The first runby was at noon and featured Boston El cars 0210 and 01000. This runby was quite successful, with the cars flying by Messerve’s. The next one, at 2:00 wasn’t quite as good. The R-22/R-33 set (aka “Redbirds”) came up from the museum quite slowly, and almost stopped at Messerve’s after pulling down the power station, which they did a second time before getting up to Tower 2 to change ends. The return trip was much better, and I got a video of that. It was later determined that the reverser on one car was broken, so it was actually trying to go in the opposite direction. The third runby, which was at 4:00, featured the museum’s R-9 set from New York City, which is often called the “A train” after the destination sign on the front. This one I opted to ride instead of photograph, figuring that I have a better chance of getting photos of it in the future than I do of riding it.

Although they seriously impacted the regular trolley schedule and presented some additional though minor organizational problems, the runbys went off quite successfully. I feel it would be a good idea to make runbys a semi-regular part of the museum’s normal operating schedule, as well as do them at other places on the line (the curve near the end of the line would be a good place). Not only could they bring more visitor’s to the museum, they would also be a good excuse to pull out rarely used equipment.

The only other things of note yesterday were that the Gibbs car made some runs back and forth on the Butler Grove lead, and there was a line car demonstration.