††††††††††† In 1995 the
Edmonton Transit System sold two surplus BBC coaches (numbers 109 and 110) to
in 2008, the Edmonton City Council stupidly made the decision to abandon the
trolleybus system. The last coaches ran in May of 2009.
††††††††††† Meanwhile, someone approached the Dayton RTA to see if they would fix up BBC 110 for a charter. They told him if he could find so many people, they would. I was one of 40 odd people who expressed interest. This charter was advertised as a ďonce in a lifetime eventĒ.
††††††††††† Since 110 hadnít been run for years and some components had been taken off, there was a little doubt that the coach could be resurrected, but in March, the coach was moved to RTAís main garage. Optimism grew in mid March when 110 was photographed on a test run.
††††††††††† Meanwhile, I had been planning on riding Amtrakís Piedmont between Charlotte and Raleigh North Carolina, so I figured I would head out that way after the charter weekend.
††††††††††† My final plan was to ride VIA train 95 to Niagara Falls where I would meet my aunt and get a ride to Buffalo Depew station and pick up the westbound Lakeshore Limited and ride to Toledo where I would catch a Greyhound bus to Dayton where I would spend the weekend. After I would take another Greyhound bus to Columbus and fly to Baltimore the next day and pick up Amtrakís Crescent to Charlotte. I would then ride the Piedmont to Raleigh and overnight there. I would then take the Silver Star to Newark and then fly home the next day. The trip unfolded as follows.
May 20, 2010:
††††††††††† I left after 3:00 pm. I got a ride to Finch from my dad. Even though he had known about this for months, he forgot I was leaving that day! On the subway, I met up with someone from the Toronto Transportation Society. They werenít going on the charter. We talked a bit about transit until he got off a few stops before me.
I got to Union in plenty of time however. I lined up to board train 95. When I got to Union, I noticed trains 61 and 45 were going to arrive 45-50 minutes late. I also saw a large group of kids waiting to board.
††††††††††† After awhile, I heard an announcement that train 95 was to depart at 6:00 pm. That didnít happen. Other passengers and I became impatient. Train 87 to Sarnia was also delayed. Train 61 becomes 87 in Toronto and train 45 becomes 95 in Toronto.
††††††††††† Soon, people were allowed to board train 87. We still had to wait. Meanwhile, train 68 which departs Toronto for Montreal at 6:35 pm started to board. VIA announced we would board train 95 right after 68 was finished boarding since we would now be boarding through the same gate. I remarked the crew was too lazy to move the train ahead a few coach lengths!
††††††††††† The group of kids were allowed to board first. Next, commuters were allowed to board much to the frustration of regular VIA passengers. Next, we were finally allowed to board. I photographed my train and VIA train 68 which had LRC coaches instead of Hep2 coaches as it usually does on Thursdays.
††††††††††† I was seated in LRC coach 3317, the second coach in the train. The train left 49 minutes late. As the train passed VIAís Toronto Maintenance Centre, I filmed it noticing the Canadian and the LRC locomotives at the west end of the yard. The TRHA is raising money to buy one of the units and needs $40,000 by August to purchase the unit. They also need a lot more money to move it to the roundhouse.
††††††††††† There would be no food service on the train so I would have to get dinner in Niagara Falls. The train stopped at Oakville. West of Oakville, we passed train 83 which had departed Toronto at 5:30 pm. We also encountered a slow order that kept us at 30 MPH for 10 miles. The train soon left the zone and picked up speed. We soon stopped at Aldershot.
††††††††††† I was talking with the man seated across from me. He is a railfan lives south of Syracuse and has a caboose in his backyard!
††††††††††† As we passed through Hamilton, VIA train 98 passed. Unfortunately it was on the other side of the train so I was unable to film it. It had P32AC-DM #710, two Amfleet 1 coaches, two Amfleet 2 coaches, and an Amfleet 1 cafť car with business class seats.
††††††††††† The train stopped at Grimsby. As we approached St. Catherines, I filmed the St. Catherines bus garage, though the view was obstructed by a building. We stopped at St. Catherines. After we left, we stopped to let a ship through the drawbridge at the Welland Canal. I once again wished CN could have a secondary drawbridge like in Montreal.
††††††††††† After awhile, the train was allowed to proceed. We arrived into Niagara Falls 75 minutes late. However, the crew told us if we kept our tickets, we would get a discount next time we travel on VIA. This is like what happened on my 2009 Chaleur trip which helped me get to Halifax.
††††††††††† After I got off the train, I photographed it.
††††††††††† I then walked back down the platform and met up with my aunt. I loaded my bags into her carís truck and went out and took one more photo of the train.
††††††††††† I saw a new Niagara Transit Nova LFS pass by. I was a little surprised. We then went to a McDonalds near my auntís house where I bought dinner. We then went back to my auntís house for a little while where I phoned home and then watched some TV.
††††††††††† My aunt and I left around 10:00 pm and we headed to the Peace Bridge. The line up wasnít too bad. The agent who interviewed us was okay; not anal. We soon left and arrived made a stop at a gas station before we got to Buffalo Depew station shortly after 11:00 pm. When we arrived, I saw a westbound freight with two BNSF locomotives leading a long string of covered hoppers. I called Julie to find out when train 49 was due. At first, it was on time, and then it was 23 minutes late.
May 21, 2010:
††††††††††† I headed out onto the platform while waiting for the westbound Lake Shore Limited. While I was waiting, I watched another person waiting for the train juggling. Train 49 arrived 27 minutes late. When it arrived, I photographed it.
††††††††††† I was seated in a refurbished Amfleet 2 coach in the New York section of the train. With the Lakeshore Limited splitting in Albany again, the locomotives and first five coaches come from Boston while the rest of the train comes from New York. I took a seat on the left hand side of the train and took some Nyquil as I was getting over a cold. I pulled out the blanket I bought on the Three Rivers back in 2005 and lay down. I noticed the person who was juggling was seated across from me. The train departed after making a double stop. I noted to myself this was the first time Iíve ridden Amtrak in over a year.
††††††††††† I dozed off and on, but was awake when we stopped at Erie. †† A little while later, we stopped in Cleveland. I only saw a few taxis which did not appear to be from Yellow Cab, (the company I used on my Cleveland Make-up trip) or the taxi company that made me miss the Lakeshore Limited on my Washington-Cleveland trip. Cleveland was a smoking stop, so I stepped off and took some photos of the train.
††††††††††††††††††††††† I got back on the train and we soon departed. I laid down for awhile until we were approaching Toledo. I gathered my stuff together and got ready to get off. The sun came up as the train arrived on time! I got off and took some photos.
††††††††††† I then walked to the west end of the station and took some more photos from a bridge over the tracks.
††††††††††† I filmed the train leaving and then took one more photo.
††††††††††† I then walked over to a bus stop to catch a bus to the Greyhound station. I had plenty of time. I took out a sheet of paper where I had written how to get to the Greyhound station in Toledo and how to get to the hotel in Dayton from the Greyhound station.
††††††††††† I walked over to a bus stop. A few minutes later, a TARTA bus pulled up and I got on after the driver told me that she goes near the area of the Greyhound station. A few minutes later I got off. I then waited around and photographed a TARTA RTS.
††††††††††† There was construction and I couldnít find the Greyhound station right away. When I got there, the terminal wasnít open yet! It was also raining. I bought some cereal at a nearby gas station and ate it across the street from the station.
††††††††††† There were a couple people hanging around the station. One was a guy who asked me questions about my Ipod and if I was gay? Jeez, none of your business! He also asked if I had week and asked me for $5 to help get him a ticket to Detroit. He reminded me of that guy on my Arizona trip who kept asking me for $10. However when I told him I wouldnít give him money, he didnít keep asking. I walked away from right away.
††††††††††† A taxi driver pulled into the terminal and started talking to me. He told me drug dealers often hang around. I told him about the guy I had just seen. He told me security was beefed up in the area, but someone was robbed in the washroom where there are no cameras. The taxi driver also told me that some cab companies in Toledo donít take the most direct route just so they can get a higher fare.
††††††††††† Soon, the terminal was opened. I went inside and bought a ticket to Dayton. The guy who asked me all those questions also entered. Fortunately, I wasnít robbed or anything, but I was relieved when my bus finally arrived. This was one of the few times Iíve felt nervous on my trips, but I didnít expect Toledo to be more ďdangerousĒ than New York!
††††††††††† The bus left on time. The bus was pretty full and I sat in the back. The seat cushions werenít securely attached and during the ride, I had to adjust them a lot.
††††††††††† After the bus hit the highway, I saw the Amtrak station. I was feeling tired so I laid down to have a nap.
††††††††††† I woke up when the bus stopped at Findlay, Ohio. This was a meal stop where we could purchase food if we desired. I wasnít hungry, but I did buy some snacks from a store. I also used the time to photograph the bus.
††††††††††† I got back on the bus and we soon left. I laid down again. After awhile, I woke up. The bus pulled off the highway and stopped at Lima, Ohio. We passed over a few railway crossings, though no trains came during our stop. The bus soon left Lima and several minutes later, we were back on the highway.
††††††††††† Over an hour later, we were approaching Dayton. We arrived at Dayton RTAís Northwest Hub. Until a few months ago, the Greyhound station was downtown. Why they changed it, I donít know.
††††††††††† The bus arrived on time. I got off and took a photo of the bus.
††††††††††† I then got my bag and went inside the terminal. A few minutes later, I realized I didnít have the paper that told me how to get to my hotel on transit. I thought I left it on the bus. The bus was still there, so I got back on and looked around the area I was sitting. It wasnít there.
††††††††††† However, I wasnít completely lost. I had the street address. I also know I had to take the route 2 bus downtown and transfer. However, I couldnít remember which route I had to connect to. I also had my hotel address.
††††††††††† RTA Gillig #2701 pulled into the terminal on route 2. I got on and got a transfer. The bus soon left. The route made several turns and along the way, I saw one of Daytonís Skoda trolleybuses that make up their revenue trolleybus fleet in RTAís new livery.
††††††††††† Soon, we were in downtown Dayton. I began wondering where to get off. Just before I was about to get off, we pulled into RTAís downtown terminal. I got off and went inside. I saw there was a computer with Dayton RTAís website and I found their trip planner and was able to get directions from the terminal to my hotel. I also bought a weekly pass.
††††††††††† I went out to catch the route 19 to my hotel. While I was waiting, I photographed a RTA Nova RTS and a D35LF. The Novas are in the process of being retired and the D35LFs are going to be withdrawn in the next few years.
††††††††††† The route 19 bus arrived and I got on. I rode it for 13 minutes to right in front of my hotel. Along the way, I saw a yard filled with buses and three Skoda trolleybuses. I wondered if this was the garage and thought BBC #110 must be inside. I also noticed that the automated stop announcements donít only announce what stop is next, but they also have advertisements for companies/organizations that play when the bus passes where the store/organization is.
††††††††††† I was staying at the Hotel Pure Dayton. I had booked my hotel online with hotwire.com. They give a price for a hotel and the approximate area itís located in, but not the name until you make the reservation. I got to my hotel and checked in.
††††††††††† I phoned home and let my parents know I was in Dayton. I then bought lunch at a hamburger place across the street and waited for a bus downtown. The bus arrived after several minutes and I rode to the downtown transit terminal. Shortly after I got there, I photographed a Gillig hybrid bus and RTS #9730. I then boarded 9730.
††††††††††† I boarded 9730 and the bus soon left. I rode the bus for a few minutes before I got off and filmed it pulling away. I then took one more picture.
††††††††††† I then caught another bus back to the terminal. When I got there, I saw someone taking pictures across the street. I went across the street because I thought they might also be coming on the charter. I turned out to be right. We talked about buses for a bit. I asked where Daytonís few remaining D30LFs could be found. I found out they were only used in the morning on the senior shuttles I also learned they donít have radios installed. This reminded me of TTCís two remaining Classics. They are confined to shuttle use on the Toronto Island and regular TTC passengers wonít be able to ride them. One is on the island while the other stays at the garage. However, as I found out last March, if the Classic thatís not on the island is roadworthy, the TTC would let it out on a charter.
††††††††††† A few minutes later, I saw a Skoda trolley approaching. I decided to go for a ride. I photographed it before I got on.
††††††††††† I took some interior shots of 9840 and then rode the bus for a few minutes before I got off and filmed it pulling away. I then crossed the street and caught Skoda 9824 back to the terminal. When I got back, I took some photos of 9824.
††††††††††† I saw there were more people across the street. I recognized some of them from the Toronto Transportation Society including Richard Hooles who was in Ottawa the weekend of the STO 7901 charter. I then filmed Skoda 9845 depart the terminal. 9845 is one of only two Skoda trolleybuses to be painted in RTAís new livery.
††††††††††† A little while later, I went for a ride on Skoda 9809. I rode it a few blocks before I got off and crossed the street and took a photo.
††††††††††† I then walked back to the terminal. On the way was a blind man who was constantly shouting, ďSpare a dollar, spare some change.Ē
††††††††††† I didnít give him any. When I got back, I photographed D35LF #2151 before I got on.
††††††††††† I took a ride to the Dayton Convention Centre a few blocks away. I filmed the bus pulling away and was about to walk back when it started to rain. Another D35LF pulled up to a stop going towards the terminal and I ran and got on. When I got back I met up with the transit fans who were taking pictures of buses. One of them was user Captaintrolley from the Canadian Public Transit Discussion Board. She is from Edmonton and was more then a little upset with Edmontonís decision to abandon its trolleybus network. She would be the only woman on the charter. I spoke with her and other people with her.
††††††††††† At one point I went inside the terminal and filmed a display on the transportation history of Dayton. I read that Dayton considered getting rid of their trolleybus network in 1989, but reconsidered. Now if only Toronto, Edmonton, and Hamilton would have reconsidered too!
††††††††††† We photographed some buses including a Nova RTS and Skoda 9845 again.
††††††††††† The man driving 9845 pulled over and asked why we were taking pictures. Captaintrolley explained weíre transit fans and are here for a charter. The driver was okay with it and drove off.
††††††††††† Given the harassment transit and railfans have suffered post 9/11 I am tolerant of people asking why weíre taking pictures. Itís the ones who say I shouldnít or am not allowed I canít tolerate.
††††††††††† We went back to taking photos. We photographed a D40LF in the new livery.
††††††††††† Meanwhile I was getting hungry. I went across the street and had dinner at Subway. Captaintrolley and the rest said goodbye and I said Iíd see them on the charter.
††††††††††† After dinner, I photographed a Nova RTS.
††††††††††† I then walked back to the terminal and caught a D40LF on route 19 back to my hotel. I noticed the seats in the D40LFs were very comfortable and looked almost like seats youíd see in a suburban bus. I watched some TV before I asked for a wake-up call at 7:00 am and called it a night.
Click here for the charter:†††† BBC 110 charter part 1.