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October 5, 2014:

October 5, 2014:


            I got up and got dressed. I went to the lobby. I still had some fruit left over from the day before which I ate for breakfast. I then headed out. Today I was going to Six Flags Great Adventure again. The weather was a little cool, but it was still early. There was also not a cloud in the sky.


            I walked to the subway and rode a train to 125th and transferred to a southbound “C” train which had R32s. I photographed the train pulling into the station.



            I got on the front car and rode to 42nd street and went to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. I found the New Jersey Transit ticket counter and bought a combination round trip ticket and admission to the park. I then went to the gate and waited for my bus. There was a crowd there. I joined the line. Even though my bus was scheduled to leave at 9:30 am, the bus pulled into the station 50 minutes earlier. I boarded the bus which ended up leaving at 8:47 am! I wasn't complaining.


            The bus departed the terminal and went through the Lincoln tunnel. The bus ran express to the park. The ride took 74 minutes, but we arrived at Six Flags Great Adventure. One thing I noticed was the leg room on the bus was more than in the economy section of Air Transat! A commuter bus with larger leg room than an international airline! The bus dropped off at a different area of the parking lot. From what happened last time, I knew there wouldn't be a bus for hours. I heard the driver say the first bus back to New York left at 6:30 pm; later than I expected.


            I then went to wait for the park to open as it opened at 11:00 am. The park gates opened at 10:30 am. I checked the list of rides to see which was open and which were closed. I saw a few closed signs, but they weren't next to Kingda Ka. It looked like this trip would be worth while!


            Even though I was allowed into the park, we couldn't get at the rides until 11:00 am. The crowd was in the main area while waiting for 11:00 am. I saw that for Halloween, they tinted the water in a fountain red to simulate blood. I thought it was neat so I photographed it.



            At 10:50 am, park employees let seasons pass holders in for early ride times; a perk of a seasons pass. At 11:00 am, non season pass holders were let in. Needless to say I went for Kingda Ka right away! I rented a locker near Kingda Ka and put some of my stuff into the locker for safe keeping while I went on Kingda Ka. I joined the line. As I waited, I saw some trains race past which meant I was going to succeed. I was soon at the front of the line. I was in the second row. The train left the station and moved to the launching area. Kingda Ka isn't a traditional roller coaster where you climb a lift hill; instead, it launches you from level track towards the hill.


            As I waited, the automated announcement came on, “Arms down. Head back. Hold on”. We then accelerated quickly; everything almost turned to a blur; and we weren't finished accelerating yet. We went up the big hill going straight up, rotated 90 degrees to the right, crested the top of the hill higher than any roller coaster presently in existence, went straight down, rotated 270 degrees to the right, levelled off, went up an smaller hill and down and then decelerated and returned to the station. Since “Arms down. Head back. Hold on”, 51 seconds had passed. Short, yet extreme. I then got off the ride and bought an on ride photo to mark to occasion. I then phoned my mom at work and let her know I had just ridden the roller coaster.


            And now some stats for Kingda Ka: The ride goes from 0 to 128 miles per hour; (yes, 128 miles per hour) in 3.5 seconds, is 456 feet (or 45 stories) tall. Kingda Ka is the highest roller coaster in the world and fastest in North America. (The fastest roller coaster in the world is in Dubai if I recall correctly).


            After reading those stats, ask yourself would YOU go on Kingda Ka?


            After I bought an on ride photo from Kingda Ka, I put it in my storage locker and lined up for Zumanjaro Drop of Doom.  Zumanjaro was built on Kingda Ka's big hill (which is why the ride was closed in June) and is the world's highest drop tower ride.  Zumanjaro takes you up 415 feet (which is higher than the Statue of Liberty and drops at 90 MPH. I have ridden on smaller drop tower rides and Zumanjaro isn't much different; I find the knowledge that you're going to drop fast is scarier than the drop itself.


            After riding Zumanjaro, I got my stuff from the storage locker and photographed Kingda Ka and Zumanjaro Drop of Doom.






            I then bought a t-shirt from a nearby store. I then bought a drink from a nearby stand. When I was at Six Flags Great Adventure in June, I bought a souvenir cup that allowed free refills for the day and $0.99 for the rest of the season. For this trip, I brought the cup with me and took advantage. They offered a wristband for $5 for unlimited free drinks, but I declined which turned out to be the cheaper option.


            I then rented another storage locker and put my things in it. I then went on Superman Ultimate Flight; which I was about to go on in June when it started raining. After a 20 minute wait, I rode it. Next, I rode the Green Lantern roller coaster which is a stand up roller coaster with 5 inversions.


            Back at home at Canada's Wonderland, they ran their stand up roller coaster Skyrider for the last time on September 1. They are replacing it with an addition to their water park. However, parts from Skyrider are going to a roller coaster museum in Dallas.


            After getting of the Green Lantern, I retrieved my stuff and photographed the roller coasters




            I then stopped for lunch. After lunch, I photographed the Batmobile outside “Batman the Ride”.



            I rented another locker and put my stuff in it. I then went on “Batman the Ride” and “The Dark Knight” which is an indoor roller coaster with cars which are supposed to depict subway cars.




            I then went on Nitro; which I rode back in June followed by Skull Mountain. I then got my stuff and photographed the rides.




            I then walked over and photographed the bus I photographed back in June.




            I then went for a ride on “Blackbeard's hidden treasure train”. After, I photographed it.



            I then went for a ride on the “Runaway Mine Train” roller coaster. I rode it when I visited the park in June. After I got off, I photographed it.



            I then rode on Bizarro with its seven inversions. I also rode this ride back in June. I photographed the ride after I got off.




            After riding Bizarro, I saw that a train had gotten stuck partway through the ride. I’m glad I wasn’t on that train!


            I wondered if I would be able to ride “El Toro” which I rode back in June. If I did, I would have ridden all the roller coasters in the park. However, the line was too long. I then went by Kingda Ka to see if it was possible for me to ride it but I decided against it. I then photographed a segment of track from a demolished ride under El Toro.



            I then made my way to the parking lot for the 6:30 pm bus. There was a crowd of people waiting. A New Jersey Transit bus came in on 307, but left. Our bus didn't come at 6:30. I was getting impatient. The bus finally came and by the time I left the park, the bus was 20 minutes late.


            I phoned my friend Dan and asked if he could possibly meet tomorrow around noon. He said maybe.


            The bus did not go straight to New York, but made a stop at Newark's Penn Station. We got to New York two hours after leaving Six Flags.


            I soon found myself going south one subway stop to Penn Station for dinner. On the way, I took a short ride on MTA's Jump Bus service. I photographed the bus after I got off and filmed it pulling away.




            I bought dinner at Wendy's and went back to my hostel. My roommate and I talked briefly. I tried to go online, but I was unable to despite other people logging in.


            I eventually returned to my room and called it a night.


October 6, 2014:


            My roommate was leaving hours before me had stupidly left the light on despite me trying to sleep. I turned it off and went back to bed. I got up around 8:30 and got dressed. I walked over to the deli and bought some cereal. I went back to my hostel and had breakfast. After breakfast, I finished packing and checked out of my hostel.


            I walked to the subway. They were running local southbound trains again. I boarded a train of R32s and rode to 34th Street Penn Station. I decided to check my suitcase to Utica as I didn't want to be lugging it around all day. I also tried to call Dan to see if he was coming. I didn't hear from him, so I boarded an “E” line subway and rode to the World Trade Center station. I got off and walked to the World Trade Center memorial which I didn't quite get around to visiting last time. I also photographed the Freedom Tower.




            I walked to the memorial to the victims who died at the World Trade Center on 9-11-01. The memorial is a fountain in the footsteps of the twin towers with the names of the victims around it. It shows just how big the WTC really was. I photographed the memorial.






            I got a text from Dan saying he was busy and unable to meet up with me. I decided to visit the 9-11 Memorial Museum with artefacts from the day. I paid my admission and went inside. I went through security which wasn't as bad as airport security. I left my backpack at a coat check.


            I then took some pictures.














            I photographed some steel from the North tower of the World Trade Center that was around the area where the plane hit.




            I then photographed a sign that pointed out the position of where the truck bomb exploded in the February, 1993 WTC bombing.



            I then photographed a staircase which was used by people fleeing the WTC on September 11th. Firefighters were ushering people down saying “Go down the staircase then run as fast as you can.”




            A museum employee mentioned how people were calmly exiting the WTC and not panicking. This was due to evacuation drills following the 1993 bombing. Had the WTC not been attacked in 1993, way more people would have died on 9-11.


            I next photographed part of the antenna that was on the north tower of the World Trade Center.




            I then photographed an elevator motor. On 9-11 following the impact, 5-6 people were stuck in an elevator including a window washer. They pried open the doors to find themselves facing drywall and using nothing more than a squeegee, they were able to chisel through the drywall to the washroom where they called for help. A firefighter found them and led them to the staircase. They survived.



            I then photographed what was left of a fire engine following the collapse of the WTC. All the people who rode the truck to the WTC died inside the towers when they collapsed.




            I then photographed the reminate from a steel column from the WTC.



            I then photographed a bent piece of steel from the WTC. It came from the South Tower.




            I then photographed the last steal beam to have been removed from the World Trade Center site. I remember watching the truck carrying it leave the site.




            I took a few more photos.




            I then photographed an exhibit on the raid that killed Osama Bin Ladin.




            I then photograph a couple other things including a window from the WTC that somehow survived the collapse.           




            I then went into an area that went into great detail about September 11. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed. However, included in the exhibit was plane debris from both American Airlines flights that crashed on 9-11. The wreckage from flight #77 which hit the Pentagon clearly had markings from American Airlines. Many people believe that a missile was fired into the Pentagon on 9-11, but I'm convinced it was a 757.


            I looked in the gift shop but didn't buy anything. I got my backpack and caught an “E” line train to Penn Station where I bought lunch. I boarded a “1” line train and rode 2 stations north and withdrew money from an ATM. I then went to the M&Ms store and bought some candy. I then made my way back to the subway. I photographed the next “1” train that came in.



            I rode the train back to Penn Station as it was getting close to when I would have to head back to catch the Lakeshore Limited. I filmed the train pulling out.


            I then went to Penn Station to await boarding of my train. I went online and worked on this report for a few minutes. Soon it was time to board the train. I was seated in Amfleet 2 coach #25095, the first coach behind the locomotive. I also learned the train would only be going as far as Toledo and passengers would be bussed the rest of the way to Chicago. Since I was going as far as Utica, I would be unaffected. The train departed 1 minute late.


            We passed through tunnels before emerging outside. The train joined the Metro North line. I worked on this report some more. At one point, I filmed a southbound Amtrak train. The train stopped at Croton-Harmon.


            At 5:00 pm, I went to the dining car which was a heritage diner. This was not a Temoinsa refurbished diner. I sat across from an Amtrak employee going to Chicago. The train stopped at Poughkeepsie. After dinner, I returned to my coach seat. I worked on this report for awhile.


            We were soon approaching Albany. As we pulled in, we were next to the New York bound Adirondack. I saw that Amfleet 2 coach #25000 was in the consist. #25000 was the coach I rode in on the Maple Leaf on my Three Rivers trip and the westbound Lake Shore Limited on my Arizona trip.


            I also noticed the platform was under renovations and I couldn't get photos like how I used to whenever I rode the Lake Shore Limited from New York. I stepped out and took some photos to the best that I could.







            I walked to the back of the train and was able to see that the baggage car used to be a Union Pacific baggage car as I could still make out part of “Union Pacific” on the top of the car despite the fact it's been over 40+ years since it was last painted in Union Pacific colours.





            I then returned to the north end of the platform and photographed the Boston section of the Lakeshore Limited backing onto the train.



            I then filmed the coupling move. I then got back on the train and waited for the train to leave. The power was restored and the train left on time. However, by this point, it was dark.


            The train stopped at Schenectady. After departing Schenectady, I went to the cafe car and bought some M&Ms. I returned to my seat and worked on this report some more.


            Soon, we were approaching Utica. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off. The train arrived 16 minutes late. I photographed the train as well and former New York Central steam locomotive #6721.





            It was hard to make out in my photos, but the second unit on my train was Amtrak #156; the Phase 1 Heritage Unit. I took some photos.



Sorry you couldn’t make the diesels out more clearly, but that’s the Phase 1 unit.


            Here's an older photo of the Phase 1 Heritage Unit.


            I then went to get my suitcase. I got it almost right away. I decided to walk to my hotel which was not very far from the station. I checked in and phoned home. I also went online and checked Facebook. I saw my friend Ian from SAIT would be boarded the Lakeshore Limited to Chicago from Buffalo Depew! What were the odds of that happening?!?


            I also worked on this report for a few minutes. I bought some milk from a Wendy's across the street from my hotel. I eventually called it a night.


October 7, 2014:


            I got up at 8:45 am and got dressed. I went to the lobby for breakfast. After I returned to my room and finished packing. I then checked out and walked to the Amtrak station. Along the way, I photographed the equipment from the Adirondack Scenic Valley Railroad from the overpass.





            I then photographed the locomotive and diner on display at the Children's Museum.



            I then arrived at the station. I went onto the platform to watch trains. I photographed the equipment from the Adirondack Scenic Valley Railroad.






            The first train I saw was an eastbound CSX freight with two Union Pacific locomotives leading a CSX unit.




            The train had a few Southern Pacific boxcars in the consist. I photographed a couple of them.




            There was also a Missouri Pacific car in the train’s consist, but I was unable to photograph it. I then photographed locomotives from the Adirondack Mohawk and Northern railroad and the 16 axle flatcar.



            The next train I saw was a short westbound freight.




            Next was an eastbound auto rack train. I photographed the locomotives and certain auto racks.










            Next was Amtrak train #284 arriving 42 minutes late. I filmed the train pulling in and photographed it.



            I filmed the train pulling out and took one more picture of it.



            I then photographed equipment around the station.





            I then went inside the station for a few minutes. I headed out assuming the Maple Leaf would be on the closest platform track. However, an announcement was made it would be on the far track. I ran back into the station and climbed the stairs to the walkway to the far platform. I was able to make it before the train came in sight. While I was waiting, I again photographed the equipment from the Adirondack Scenic Valley Railroad.




            Train #63 arrived 23 minutes late. I filmed the train pulling in.



            I was seated in Amfleet 1 coach #82618. I noticed that this was mostly the same equipment that I had ridden to New York on a few days earlier. The train soon departed.


            I went online and worked on this report some more. We encountered some slow orders. We stopped at Rome. No one got on or off at Rome and we quickly departed.


            I went to the cafe car for lunch. After lunch, I worked on this report some more.


            The train stopped at Syracuse. At Syracuse, we were allowed out. I stepped outside and took some photos.




            I got back on the train and we departed. I attempted to film the railway equipment in the fairgrounds, but was unsuccessful. Train #48 passed, but I only filmed the back part of it. It was over an hour late.


            We passed a few freights with foreign power including some BNSF locomotives. Outside of Rochester, we stopped to let train #64 pass. I filmed train #64 as it passed. We then stopped at Rochester. West of Rochester I was given a form to fill out for Canadian Customs. We passed a scrap yard with four ex Centro Orion 5s. We stopped at Buffalo Depew station a little while later.


            A few minutes after that, we stopped at Buffalo Exchange Street. Between Buffalo Exchange Street and Niagara Falls New York, another passenger pointed out a rainbow which I attempted to photograph.




            As we came into Niagara Falls New York, I photographed a train with two CP locomotives.



            At Niagara Falls New York, U.S. Customs came on and looked at my passport. I thought that they were done with that nonsense. They pulled two other passengers off. Passengers getting off at Niagara Falls New York were then allowed to get off the train. We were waiting for permission from the U.S. Customs people in regards to the passengers they asked to come off the train before we could depart. When we did depart, I noticed that at least one of them had gotten back on the train.


            The train crossed into Canada and stopped at Niagara Falls Ontario. At Niagara Falls Ontario, I saw a new laser tag place had opened across the street and down the road from the train station.


            The train stopped at the station and people were made to get off the train and be processed in the station. My inspection went okay and once I was done, I walked to the front of the train and photographed it.



            It was raining as I made my way back to the station. Passengers were allowed to board the train at 5:50 pm. I was now seated in Amfleet 2 coach #25101; the coach I had ridden to New York on the previous Thursday. The train left 29 minutes late.


            My ticket was taken a few minutes after leaving Niagara Falls. I worked on this report some more. The lift bridge over the Welland Canal was down. The train stopped at St. Catherines. By now, it was dark.


            The cafe car reopened and I went there for dinner. The train passed through Grimsby non stop. The train slowed down as it passed through Hamilton. We stopped at Aldershot a few minutes later. By now, it was dark. A GO train passed east of Aldershot. I went back to the cafe car. I bought a milk and returned to my seat and worked on this report some more. VIA train #79 passed. The train stopped at Oakville.


            As the train passed VIA's Toronto Maintenance Center, I saw the Canadian in the yard. I saw it still had an unrefurbished Park car based on the windows. VIA has refurbished four Park cars and eight Chateau sleepers for deluxe service on the Canadian. The first refurbished Park car; Laurentide Park entered service last month.


            We were soon approaching Toronto. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off.


            The Maple Leaf arrived 20 minutes late. I got off and took some photos.





            I went down the escalator and phoned home. I then went to the subway. Since my last trip, a second platform had been built to reduce overcrowding. The new platform handles people riding towards Finch while the original platform handles people heading towards Downsview.


            There was a train at the platform already. I decided to let it leave and wait for the next train. When the next train arrived, I photographed it.




            I got on the train and rode to Finch. I met my mom and we headed home.




            Aside from having a cold and not being able to see Dan, this trip was great. I’m glad I was finally able to ride Kingda Ka and an Orion 5 in New York. The New York Transit Museum is always a nice place to visit. I’m not sure how much longer the R32s will remain in service though since they’re very old.


            As for me, I may take one more trip this year in December. We’ll just have to see. Until next time…



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