Facebook Page
Washington DC trip 2013:

Washington DC trip 2013:




            The world did not end on December 21, 2012. So I began planning my trips for 2013. The first trip I decided to take was back to Washington DC to once again visit the National Capital Trolley Museum. Since I visited there in 2010, they were able to operate on the whole length of the museum’s new line instead of just the loop near the visitors’ center. I also decided to go in the spring figuring that there may be fewer tourists than in the summer.


            After my flight on Jetblue was over three hours late getting into Boston, I was given a voucher good for a year. I decided to use it on this trip figuring that I may not have another chance to use it before it expired. I also decided to take a side trip south of Lorton to Quantico, Virginia to see Amtrak’s southbound Auto Train pass though since it’s the longest passenger train in North America.


            My final plan was to leave Toronto on March 20th, and take the Maple Leaf to Niagara Falls. I would spend the night at my aunt’s house and she would drive me to Buffalo the next day where I would fly to Washington. Jetblue doesn’t have any direct flights between Buffalo and Washington, so I would have to change planes in Boston. After I got to Washington, I would spend five nights there, taking a side trip to Quantico the day after I arrived to see the Auto Train. I would visit the National Capital Trolley Museum during the weekend before catching a Regional train to New York the following Tuesday. Once in New York, I would transfer to the Lakeshore Limited to Utica where I’d overnight there before taking the Maple Leaf home the next day. The trip unfolded as follows.


March 20, 2013:


            I got to Union station at 7:57 am; 23 minutes before the Maple Leaf was scheduled to depart. I lined up to await boarding. Boarding began just before 8:10 am. I was seated in Amfleet 1 coach #82701. I played “Plants vs. Zombies” for a few minutes. The train left on time.


            The equipment that would be today's VIA train 56 and 54 passed. I filmed part of the train. As we passed VIA's Toronto Maintenance Center, I filmed it. I noticed the yard was pretty empty.


            The train stopped at Oakville and Aldershot. I went to the cafe car for a snack. A CN freight train passed us. The train stopped at Grimsby.


            A little while later, we stopped at St. Catherines. We departed a few minutes later. Throughout the trip, I was seated across from two older men. One of them kept making annoying noises. Now, this guy started meowing like a cat.


            We passed a CN freight just as we passed over the Welland Canal.  We were soon approaching Niagara Falls. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off.


            VIA train 97 arrived on time, but it took a few minutes and a double stop before I could get off. When I was finally able to, I photographed the train.




            I then filmed the train departing. While the Maple Leaf had its typical consist of a diesel, three Amfleet 2 coaches, an Amfleet 1 coach, and an Amfleet 1 cafe car with a business class section, the first two Amfleet 2 coaches were empty.


            I then went back to the station and phoned my aunt. While I was waiting, I photographed a Niagara Falls Transit Orion 7 waiting to go into service on route 60.



            My aunt arrived a few minutes later. I put my suitcase in the trunk of her car and got in. We stopped at a place a short drive from the train station so she could get me a key to her house. We then stopped at her house briefly before she took me to the intersection of Main and Ferry. Along the way, we drove by the house where my grandma used to live. The house was all but unrecognizable. Since the house was sold, the new owners had built a garage and added pillars to the front porch.


            A few minutes later, we got to Main and Ferry. I waited for the route 60 that runs between Niagara Falls and Welland. The bus arrived a few minutes later and I got on.


            The ride took several minutes, but I eventually got to Welland. I got off at the Welland Transit terminal. I was looking for Welland's 1992 vintage Orion 5 #1153. However, when the buses arrived at the terminal, the only Orion 5 I saw was 30 foot Orion 5 #102. I photographed it before I got on.



            #102 departed the terminal on route 1 Broadway. It passed through mostly residential areas. I was hoping there would be a fast food restaurant along the route so I could have lunch. Unfortunately, there weren't any. When we got back to the transit terminal I photographed #102 and some other buses in the terminal.






            I filmed 102 pulling away. I stuck around to the next pulse of buses and boarded a Blue Bird on route 2 hoping to find somewhere to have lunch but was unsuccessful. When I got back to the terminal, I ate at a place across the street. I then boarded the route 60 back to Niagara Falls and rode the bus back to Main and Ferry. At Main and Ferry, I got off and transferred to the route 1. After I got off the route 1, I walked to the Fairview Cemetery and found my grandparents' grave. This was the first time I had been there since my grandma's funeral. I never knew my grandfather.


            While waiting for a bus, I photographed an old Niagara Transit bus stop sign because it has a picture of a Classic and the Classic era in Niagara Falls ended last year,



I then caught a route 12 bus to the strip mall near my aunt's house. I then walked back to her house after stopping in two convenience stores. About 10 minutes after I got back, my aunt arrived home from work. I watched TV for awhile and then we went out for supper. After supper, I watched the latest episode of Survivor where I saw one of the four contestants I was rooting for get voted out. (Another player I was rooting for had been voted out the week prior.) I worked on this report some more and went online on my aunt's computer. I eventually called it a night.


            March 21, 2013:


            I got up and had breakfast. I then got dressed and worked on this report some more. I then finished packing.


            My aunt was at work, but she got back around 11:15 am. We then headed out after making a stop at a nearby Tim Horton's. We then hit the highway. Going into the United States, traffic was light and we didn't have to wait long to be processed. The agent was nicer than the agent who interviewed us on my 2012 Chicago trip. However, he did ask to see my return ticket which I showed him. We were soon given the okay to go and we headed out. The drive to the airport was uneventful. At the last traffic light before the airport, we were stopped by a police escorting a truck carrying an oversize load. I was hoping it would be an H-5 subway car from Toronto as since my Boston trip last October, three H-5 cars have been observed on flatbed trucks passing through Fort Erie and Buffalo! I'm not sure where they were going, but I believe that they were going for refurbishment prior to being sent to Lagos, Nigeria for use on their rapid transit system.


            The oversize load was not a subway car however, and my aunt soon dropped me off at the airport. I then checked in and checked my suitcase. I then cleared security without incident.


            I logged into the Wi Fi at the airport. I checked a few things before I had lunch. After lunch, I returned to the gate to await boarding of my plane. When the plane pulled up to the gate, I saw it was Embraer 190 N274JB. That plane was involved in a, interesting incident back in 2010 involving Jetblue's most infamous former flight attendant. In August of 2010, N274JB had arrived into New York following a flight from Pittsburgh, PA. As the plane arrived the gate, flight attendant Steven Slater had cursed at the passengers though the plane's intercom, grabbed two beers from the galley and deployed one of the plane's emergency chutes and slid out! He was arrested hours later. The incident received worldwide attention and Steven Slater earned 15 minutes of fame. This story isn't quite as interesting as the story of the Gimli Glider which I photographed at Pearson on my 2006 Halifax trip.


            I photographed the plane while I waited to board.



Yes, this is the Steven Slater plane! He jumped out the front door of this side of the plane.


            Boarding began just before 2:00 pm. It was a full flight. Before we left, the plane was de-iced. The plane soon took off. I watched the satellite TV which took up the 61 minute flight. I filmed the landing. I figured I could make my connection. Once inside the terminal, I didn't have time to photograph N274JB.


            My plane had arrived at gate C30. My connecting flight was at gate C40. I followed the signs leading to gate C40 and had to go through security again! Even though I was connecting from a domestic flight! By the time I got through security, I was barely able to make my connecting flight, but I made it. It was another Embraer 190. I was obviously the last passenger to board. The plane soon departed and I filmed the take off roll. When the plane reached its cruising altitude, I managed to get myself organized for the rest of the flight. I again watched the plane's satellite TV for the rest of the flight. As the plane came into land at Washington's Reagan Airport, my ears popped. I filmed the landing. We were more or less on time. However, it took several minutes to get off the plane. Once in the terminal, I photographed the plane.



            I went to the baggage claim, but for the first time, the airline had lost my suitcase! That's just great. One thing about Amtrak is that they are way less likely to loose baggage!


            I spoke to a Jetblue employee who said they would deliver the suitcase by 11:00 pm. To make things interesting, the employee I spoke with had the same first and middle names as me! I phoned home and let my mom know I had barely made my connecting flight but not my suitcase.


            I went the Metro station and caught a yellow line train to L'Enfant Plaza and then transferred to the blue line. I had to wait for three orange line trains before my train arrived. While I was on the Yellow line, we passed the Amtrak's Southbound Crescent. I saw Viewliner diner #8400 was in the consist. Unfortunately, I was unable to film the train.


            I rode the train to Largo Town Center. I then took a taxi to my hotel which was a Motel 6. I checked in and went to my room. I watched TV before I went out for supper. There were lots of places to choose from in walking distance. I had dinner as a restaurant similar to Swiss Chalet back home.


            After dinner, I went back to my room and worked on this report some more until just before 11:30 pm. At that point, I decided to go to the lobby to see if my suitcase had arrived yet. It hadn't. When I went back to my room, I found my room key wasn't working! I went to the lobby since I've had similar problems before, but it still didn't work after they scanned it. I returned to the lobby. A security guard tried to open the door with her own key and it STILL didn't work! They ended up putting me in another room for the night. I went to a nearby 7-11 and bought some milk. Shortly after I got back, Jetblue finally dropped off my suitcase. I took it to the other room. By now it was 12:30 am. I called it a night.


March 22, 2013:


            I got up at 8:15 am. The hotel manager told me that he was able to open the door to my other room. I quickly got dressed and packed my suitcase thinking the problem was solved. I went to the lobby and was eventually given a key to my original room. I went there and it still didn't work! I told the manager who was able to open the door, but he couldn't get my room key to work. I got the stuff from that room and packed it up and moved to the other room. I then dropped some stuff off and went to a nearby IHOP for breakfast.


            While I was there, I unsuccessfully tried to log on. After breakfast, I caught a bus to the Largo Town Center Metro Station. When I got there, I boarded the front car of the train. Two people sat across from me. One wasn't sure which direction we'd depart. I told them that we'd go the direction we were facing. The other person said she rode Metro every day; I added “I'm not even from the area!”


            I rode the train to Capitol South and walked to the U.S. Capitol. About a month earlier, I learned they had erected a statue of Rosa Parks in the Capitol and I wanted to see it. However, they didn't allow food in the Capitol and I didn't to throw it out, so I left. I photographed the Capitol and the U.S. Supreme Court.




            I caught a Van Hool A330 on the DC Circulator to Union Station. I photographed it when I got off.



            I looked around the shops for a few minutes before I caught a Red Line subway train six stops North to Silver Spring. While I was at Silver Spring, I photographed several buses.










            I boarded Metro Bus Orion 5 #4299 on route S2 and went for a short ride. I filmed the bus pulling away and then caught a Metro train back to Union Station. I bought lunch and ate it while I waited for train 95 to board. When it was time to board train 95, I saw it was on the platform next to the Capitol Limited which had arrived from Chicago. I photographed the two trains.





            I was seated in Amfleet 1 coach # 82672. I got a window seat on the right hand side of the train. Train 95 departed on time.


            We stopped at Alexandria, where I gained a seatmate. She would be getting off at the next stop though. As we passed the Lorton Auto Train terminal, I filmed it. The train stopped at Woodbridge where my seatmate got off. We soon departed. A few minutes later, we arrived into Quantico. I got off and photographed the train leaving.



            I then went inside the station for a few minutes. When I came out, I saw a southbound CSX coal train. I photographed it as it raced past.




            I then went by a railway crossing and awaited the Auto train to pass by. While I was waiting, I filmed both the northbound and southbound Silver Stars. A little while later, I filmed the southbound Auto Train as it raced through. The Auto Train had two P40s and 43 cars.



            After the Auto Train passed through Quantico, I wandered around the area for a little while and photographed a bus in service.



            I made my way back to the Amtrak station. I learned that train 80, Amtrak's northbound Carolinian was running almost an hour late. I wondered if I could get on it instead of train 66 which was scheduled to arrive at 8:22 pm. I photographed train 80 pulling in.



            The train had stopped on the opposite track than what I was expecting. The crossing at the north end of the station was still going and I was uncertain if it was safe, but the engineer said I could cross so I did. I usually obey railway crossings, but since the engineer said it was okay, I crossed.


            I asked the conductor if I could ride the train to Washington instead of the later train 66. He said it was okay. I boarded the cafe car and he got things straightened out. I was good to go. I took a seat in Amfleet 1 coach #82993 after we departed. I worked on this report some more.


            We passed a few passenger trains and by the Lorton terminal. A few Auto Train auto racks were still in the yard. We stopped at Alexandria. From the train, I saw Reagan National Airport and the Pentagon. We were soon nearing Washington DC. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off at Union Station.


            Train 80 arrived into Washington Union Station at 5:19 pm. I got off and photographed the train as well as Amtrak's Corridor Clipper coach.








            I then headed for the Metro and rode to Pentagon City station; changing from the Red Line to the Yellow Line.


            I wandered around the mall and had a 20 minute back rub. I had dinner in the food court. I eventually bought some items at a CVS Pharmacy before I caught a Blue line train back to Largo Town Center. When my train arrived at Largo, I saw one of the subway cars in the consist was #1122. I photographed it.



            I then caught a bus on route C22 back to my hotel. I worked on this report some more. Around 10:25, I went to the 7-11 across the street and bought some milk. After I got back to the hotel, I worked on this report for a few more minutes before I called it a night.


Click here to read about my first visit to NCTM: Part 2