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July 16, 2010:

July 16, 2010:


††††††††††† I got up at 8:30 am and had breakfast I then returned to my room for a little while before I headed out. I had heard there was a small earthquake while I was sleeping. It was about 3.6 on the Richter scale. Several weeks earlier a 5.0 earthquake hit southern Ontario. It happened when I was at work at my momís ice cream store. I only found out when my sister phoned asking if we had felt an earthquake and I told her I didnít. I also found out my dad noticed it at home and the earthquake had knocked a plate off a shelf. Other than that, there was no damage.


My first stop would be the National Capital Trolley Museum. I left my hotel and walked to a bus stop. Soon an Orion 5 pulled up on route 86. I rode to the College Park Metro station. When I got off, I took some photos of the bus.




††††††††††† I then went to buy a day pass. I had trouble getting into the station because it wasnít good until 9:30 am. However, that was a few minutes, so I waited. At 9:30, I entered the subway and caught a train to the Fort Totten station. I then transferred to a northbound red line train. When the train arrived, I photographed it.



††††††††††† I then rode the train to Glenmont. At Glenmont, my train went out of service. There was another out of service train on the other platform track. The two trains both departed to the yard at almost the same time. The yard is to the north of the station, so there was no danger of a collision. I filmed the trains pulling out and then went upstairs to catch a Ride-on route 26 bus.


††††††††††† The bus arrived a few minutes later and I rode it to the intersection of Layhill and Bonifant. I then got off. Just before I began my walk, I went to a gas station across the street and bought an ice cream sandwich because it was hot out.


††††††††††† Itís a fair walk to the National Capital Trolley Museum. I knew their street address was still the same: 1313 Bonifant Road. After several minutes, I saw an overpass for the Intercity Connector; the highway that forced NCTM to relocate.I took some photos of the highway under construction.




††††††††††† The entrance to NCTM was at the other side of the overpass. I slipped by and walked up the driveway. The new National Capital Trolley Museum is at the top of a hill. As I got to the top, I saw their new facilities. I also saw that one of their Toronto PCCs was running. As I got closer, I saw it was car 4603; the car they acquired directly from TTC. I went inside and paid the $4.00 admission. I saw their new model layout and photographed various models.







††††††††††† I then went outside to ride on 4603. At the new National Capital Trolley Museum they now have three service levels: Red, White, and Blue. Service level red is just a short loop in front of the visitors centre. Service level white goes about half way down the new line to the where the loop on the old line used to be. That loop is now a passing siding. Only double ended cars car run during service level white. Service level blue runs the entire length of the new line to a loop located where the old passing siding used to be.


††††††††††† The day I visited, the service level was red. A lot of the ties on NCTMís original line have deteriorated and need replacement. However, they hope to be running service level white in a month or so.


††††††††††† I went outside and photographed 4603 before I got on.



††††††††††† After a few more people got on, the car soon departed. We passed NCTMís two new car barns. I caught a glimpse of 4602 in the far barn. After the car went halfway around the loop and stopped. The motorman gave a history of the museum and the car. However, he said 4603 was built in 1954 which is wrong; the car was built in 1951. I told him, but he didnít seem to appreciate the correct facts. He pointed out the highway and pointed out that the old visitors centre was located in what is now a man-made lake!


††††††††††† 4603 soon arrived back at the new visitors centre. I got off and took a photo.



††††††††††† There was a tour of NCTMís display barn. I joined it. We first stopped at the conduit exhibit. When Washington DC had streetcars, they didnít use overhead wires downtown. Instead, the cars got their electricity from a conduit system embedded in the road in between the running rails. The cars did use their trolley poles in the suburbs. I photographed the exhibit.




††††††††††† We then went into the display barn. One of the first things I saw was a display about the cars that were lost in the 2003 car barn fire. I took some pictures of the display.






††††††††††† I then saw a display on how the cars from Europe were shipped to NCTM. There were seven streetcars in the barn. Three were from Washington DC including PCC 1430. The other four were European single truck cars. The person giving a tour pointed out the three Washington cars: 522 built in 1897, #884 built in 1912, and PCC 1430 from 1944. I photographed the cars.




††††††††††† PCC #1430 was build in the middle of World War 2 to handle the increased ridership. Since streetcars werenít high on the necessary to have list, the war commission only allowed it and its sisters to be built with the bare minimum of materials. When Washington began abandoning its system to the point of retiring the PCCs, this series were the first PCCs to be withdrawn from service.



††††††††††† I then photographed the European cars.






††††††††††† After the tour was over, I went back into the main visitors centre. Prior to my trip, I arranged to get a tour of the maintenance barn which isnít usually open to the public. I met up with a member who let me to the barn. It was then I photographed PCC 4602 in its new home.



††††††††††† I then photographed other cars in the barn.






††††††††††† I also photographed Blackpool boat car #606. This car was also bought from Trolleyville. NCTM is working to get it operational. I learned that one of the curves on the streetcar loop outside the visitors centre was built to tight and when they were testing 606 on the curve, it derailed! NCTM plans to make the curve less tight in the future. This reminded me of something my friend Greg told me about Trolleyville; whenever they had a major event, a car seemed to always derail! Looks like the curse lives on even though Trolleyville doesnít!


I also learned that when 4603 was tested on the loop, something on the back truck caught something on the track. The protrusion was cut off. 4602 has the same problem, but its protrusion hasnít been cut off and may not with the plans to make the curve less tight.



††††††††††† I also learned that 4602 is not as good condition as its sister 4603. Prior to coming to NCTM, I heard its heating dampers were rusted in the closed position. Time to get the WD40! 4602 has had some other glitches which are being worked out and has operated at NCTM since the museum reopened. I then photographed Third Avenue Railway System car 678 before we left the barn. I also learned that 4603 has had its paint touched up since it arrived at NCTM back in 1996.



††††††††††† Once back in the visitors centre, I opted to go for another ride on 4603. Before I got on, I talked a bit more with the person who showed me 4602. We talked about the 2003 fire. He said his biggest loss was Washington pre-PCC #1053 which he had ridden while it was still in service in Washington along with its sisters. His second biggest loss was Johnstown car 352 which he had helped move to the museum.


††††††††††† We got on 4603. I was the only passenger. Since I heard the history, he skipped it and ran the car around the loop twice. After I got back, I went into another one of NCTMís new exhibits: a room that shows silent movies with streetcar scenes.One such movie scene had the hero rushing to stop a wedding and with at one point he stole a streetcar!


††††††††††† I then went outside and filmed 4603 going around on its next loop.




††††††††††† After 4603 returned, I went back inside the main exhibit hall and looked around until it was time for the next run. I rode 4603 again. After the ride, I got off and took one more photo of 4603.




††††††††††† I looked in the gift shop but didnít get anything. I then left the museum. As I walked down the driveway, I saw some fire trucks racing past the entrance going further east. I then walked back to the intersection of Layhill Road and Bonifant Road. I had lunch at the nearby McDonaldís.


††††††††††† After lunch I walked over to the bus stop. I caught a Ride-on Orion 5 back to the Glenmont station. I got off and took some bus photos.




††††††††††† I then got on the subway and rode the red line south. I got off at Metro Center and rode another train two stops south to the Smithsonian station. I was planning on visiting the Washington Monument. I took a photo of it.



††††††††††† I walked over to see if I could get tickets, but saw all the tickets were sold out for the day. I then took a picture of the Capitol Building.



††††††††††† Next, I decided to visit the Smithsonian. I walked over to the American History building. I went inside and went to the transportation exhibit. I photographed a John Bull steam locomotive.



††††††††††† I then found an exhibit about the Chicago L which had former CTA PCC L-car #6719 on display.



††††††††††† After looking at a few more exhibits, I photographed former Southern steam locomotive 1401.



††††††††††† Next, I photographed a model of the German Zeppelin Graf Zeppelin.



††††††††††† I then went into the maritime exhibit and photographed a model of the Mauretania; sister ship to the ill fated Lusitania as well as something on the Titanic.




††††††††††† I also photographed a few more ship models.













††††††††††† Next, I photographed a 4-4-0 and an old boxcar.





††††††††††† I then photographed streetcar #303 on display.




††††††††††† I then photographed a model of an early refrigerator box car and an exhibit on camera. I saw one camera that was a combination camera/machine gun. Given the harassment of photographers in this day and age, I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it could give the impression that photographers are terrorists. On the other, any photographer who is sick of being hassled and/or in a fight with security guards/police/overzealous people could use the gun!



This is the combination camera-gun. Imagine if a modern version of this was for sale today!



††††††††††† I then went to other exhibits in the building and took some photos.






††††††††††† I visited the presidential section then went onto the war section. I took some pictures of the war section in the pre World War 2 section of the exhibit.







This poster encouraged people to enlist in the U.S. Military following the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915.


††††††††††† I then went into the World War 2 part and photographed a display on the attack on Pearl Harbour.





††††††††††† I went to the Cold War part and photographed what used to be part of the Berlin Wall.



††††††††††† I went to the more recent part of the exhibit and photographed displays from the September 11, 2001 attack which included steel from the World Trade Centre and the remains of a GTE airphone from the United flight 93 crash site.





††††††††††† I looked at the exhibit on the war in Iraq and then left. I photographed the gunboat Philadelphia on display



I looked into the gift shop before I walked to the Air and Space museum part of the Smithsonian which I had visited in 2007. It was a long walk and I regretted not riding the Metro one stop which would have taken me right there.


††††††††††† I finally got there and looked in the gift shop before I walked over to the commercial aviation exhibit and photographed the cockpit of the 747 I had seen in 2007.




††††††††††† I then photographed the history of the US Air Force.







††††††††††† I then took a few more photos before I left.





††††††††††† I then left the Smithsonian. I went to the Metro and rode a few stops and got off and took some pictures of the Capitol Building.



††††††††††† I then walked back to the Metro. I got on the Orange line and rode to New Carrollton. Along the way, I saw a yard with several retired Flexibles and a New Jersey Transit Comet series car with rings around the carbody for what looks like a rollover test. I got off the Metro and took some photos.


Hereís a 1000 series car confined to the middle of the train for the rest of their service lives.




††††††††††† I saw there was a Metro Transit Flexible at the bus bays. I photographed it.



††††††††††† I wanted to ride, but the bus was out of service. I walked into the Amtrak/MARC station to see if there was a train coming soon. However, there wasnít. I photographed an Orion 5 operated by ďThe BusĒ before I got on the Metro.



††††††††††† I rode the metro downtown. I got off at one stop hoping to get a bus to Union Station, but it took too long, so I rode the Metro there instead. By the time I got there, the fast food restaurants were closed. I rode the Metro one stop north because I saw there was a Wendyís nearby, but I couldnít find it. I ended up buying dinner at the Greyhound station.


††††††††††† After dinner, I walked back to the Metro and waited for a northbound train. While waiting, I photographed an Amtrak switcher moving a cut of Amfleet coaches to the maintenance shops. I photographed it.



††††††††††† I then caught a red line train to Fort Totten. I then transferred to a green line train to Greenbelt. I again took a taxi to my hotel. I called it a night.


Click here to read about the rest of my time in Washington and my trip to Lancaster:††† Part 3