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July 17, 2010:

July 17, 2010:


            I got up and got dressed. I was feeling a little thirsty. I went to breakfast. I still felt a bit thirsty.


            I watched a little TV before I headed out. I caught a route 86 bus to the Metro and got on the yellow line. I noticed the yellow line was also running to Greenbelt station. It made sense to boost service.


            I got of at L’Enfant Plaza and rode to Smithsonian station. I was going to try again to go up the Washington Monument. However, it was sold out again. I photographed it and an articulated tour vehicle which I had seen circulating the area.




            I then headed back to the Metro. I saw home-made sign from someone picketing gay marriage. I got back on the Metro and headed to Union station. I looked around the stores and bought lunch. I saw a t-shirt done in the Obama poster style with a picture of former president George W. Bush with the caption “Miss me yet? How’s that hopey-changy stuff working out for you?” Despite Obama’s shortcomings, I think he’s still better than Bush.


            I bought the latest issue of Classic Trains before I got back on the Metro. I had decided to go to NCTM again. When the subway passed beside the CSX main line, I filmed Amtrak’s Capitol Limited passing. It had four locomotives including P32 #515 which is rare to see.


            I got to Glenmont and caught a Ride-On route 26 bus to Layhill Road and Bonifant Road. I then walked to the National Capital Trolley Museum. As I walked along, I saw a deer come out of the forest. I stopped where I was. I photographed the deer. I was careful not to scare it in case it attacked me or ran out into the road.



The deer eventually went back into the forest. When I got there, I saw they were once again running PCC 4603. (I would have really preferred 4602). I paid admission and went for a ride. Like the day before, a member from NCTM gave a speech. However, this time they correctly said that the car was built in 1951. I also took some photos of the lake where the old NCTM’s visitors centre was. I also noticed the turning loop for the eventual end of the line.


The NCTM line ends just to the right of the very centre of this photo.


            The NCTM member also mentioned that when the PCC was built, it was built by St. Louis Car Company. However, there was a high tariff for streetcars to move across the Canada-U.S. border. However, there was a loophole that the TTC took advantage of. The tariff didn’t apply to streetcar parts, so they shipped the uncompleted streetcars across the boarder and they were finished in Canada. PCC 4603 soon returned to the visitors centre. I photographed it.




            I went back inside. There was a tour of the display barn. I decided to go again even though 4602 was in the other barn. The tour was similar to the one I went on the day before. When they pointed out car 955, I found out it ran in Berlin and when the Berlin Wall went up, it was on the western side. It was retired a lot sooner than its sisters on the other side of the wall.



            The member giving the tour pointed out streetcar 650. It was originally acquired by another museum and stored outside. Some vandals set it on fire! However, it was salvageable and has most of its components. So it’s not just a bare shell like former DCTS PCC #1540 which is part of the NCTM collection but is stored in a warehouse off site.



            I found out NCTM has 16 streetcars. However, three are stored off site. I then took one more photo of PCC 1430 before I went back to the exhibit hall.



            There was a charter group with a large group of senior citizens. They took a ride on PCC 4603. I took some pictures of it going around the loop again.





            I looked around some more and then rode 4603 again. After I got off, I took some photos.




            I spoke with the person who drove 4603. I told him about my quest to visit all 19 of the PCCs in the 4600-4618 series. He seemed impressed that I visited all 19.


            I looked in the gift shop for a few minutes but ended up buying nothing. I then left the museum and took one more shot of 4603.



            I saw the charter group had arrived on a chartered transit bus. I photographed it.




            I then walked down the driveway. When I got to Bonifant Road, I started walking towards Layhill Road. I noticed the fire hydrant which was used by fire crews during the 2003 fire at NCTM which was now underneath the ICC highway. I photographed it.



Click here to see a comparison to the old and new NCTM:   Old & New NCTM


            I started walking. By a stroke of luck, I saw a taxi and was able to flag it down. I took the taxi back to Glenmont station. The taxi driver asked if I had felt the earthquake the morning previous. I told him I didn’t.


            I got on the Metro and rode to Silver Springs station. I knew Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited would be passing through in a few minutes. I waited and when it came by, I filmed it. I noticed there was a second Sightseer Lounge deadheading on the end of the train. I then left to catch a Ride-On bus to the Friendship Heights Metro station. WMATA is building a new bus terminal at Silver Springs station so during construction all buses have to board on side streets a block away from the station.


            My bus soon arrived and we were off. The bus was stopped twice by a security guard for some reason. After, we passed through Chevy Chase Circle which is depicted in NCTM’s model streetcar layout so it was interesting to see what the area looked like 50 years after streetcars stopped running in Washington DC.


            We got to Friendship Heights station and I took a Ride-on bus to Glen Echo. I wanted to go for another ride on the restored carousel because the horse I was on two days ago didn’t go up and down.


            I paid another $1.25 and rode the carousel. I actually rode on an ostrich! I took some photos.





            I then took some more photos of PCC 2732.






            I then caught a Ride-on route 29 bus back to the Friendship Heights Metro station. I rode a 1000 series car to the Gallery Place-Chinatown station and transferred to the Yellow line.



            I boarded a southbound Yellow Line train to Pentagon City where I got off and took some photos of the subway.




            Pentagon City station is not to be confused with Pentagon station. The Pentagon station is the only station on the WMATA system where photography is strictly forbidden because it is on the Pentagon Property. Aside from the Pentagon station, WMATA is good with photography and I had no trouble taking pictures on the system.  I left the Metro and looked around before I had dinner in the food court of a nearby mall. I then headed to the Metro where I saw there was a huge crowd waiting for a northbound train. I was waiting for a Yellow Line train, but a Blue Line train arrived first. I photographed it to show how crowded the platform was!


Tell me Metro doesn’t have high ridership after seeing this!


            My train arrived a few minutes later and I got on. As we crossed the Potomac River, I photographed the Washington Monument.



            I rode the train to the College Park-University of Maryland station and caught a taxi back to my hotel. I noticed the cab fare was less than from Greenbelt station. I got some snacks and a milkshake from the gas station near my hotel and called it a night.


July 18, 2010:


            I got up shortly after 8:30 am. I realized I had a cold. I don’t know how I caught it because Washington was hot. I still had some Dayquil from my last trip in my suitcase.


            I went downstairs for breakfast. After breakfast, I went back upstairs and finished packing. I then checked out and walked to the bus stop and caught a Metro C40LF to the College Park-University of Maryland station. When I got off, I photographed it.



            I then went on the Metro and waited for a train. A Yellow line train arrived first. I photographed it before I got on.



            I rode the train to Fort Totten station. I filmed the train pulling out. I then waited for a southbound Red Line train. I photographed it arriving into Fort Totten station.



            I got on the train and rode to Union Station. Metro was doing track work. As a result, they were running trains on a single line which caused some delays. However, I got to Union station in plenty of time. I filmed the train departing and heading into the station. I went to await the boarding of Amtrak Regional train #88. I saw that the westbound Cardinal was also boarding, but there was nowhere I could get a shot of it.


            There was a delay in boarding. We were finally allowed to board five minutes after the train was scheduled to depart. I took some photos on the platform of the train and some former Heritage crew dorms on another track.





            I walked through the train until I found a window seat on the left hand side of the train in the quiet car which like the rest of the coaches in the train was a Capstone refurbished Amfleet 1 coach. The train departed 16 minutes late.


            When we passed the Amtrak/VRE yard, I filmed it. The train stopped in New Carrollton. After we departed, I went to the café car for lunch.


            I took my lunch back to my seat. The train stopped at BWI Airport and then Baltimore. While in Baltimore, I filmed an Acela Express passing. I also photographed some parked MARC trains.



            We waited for a southbound Regional before departing. We passed through the tunnel and soon picked up speed. The train passed over a large bridge. Soon, we stopped at Wilmington. After we departed, I positioned myself on the right hand side of the train and filmed Amtrak’s Bear, Delaware shops as we passed.


            Soon we were approaching Philadelphia. I got my stuff ready to get off. The train arrived 21 minutes late. I got off and took some photos of train 88 and a New Jersey Transit commuter train.





            I saw my connecting train was a few tracks over. I went upstairs then went to the track that Keystone train 615 was waiting. The train was already boarding. I was seated in Amfleet 1 Capstone rebuild #82793. The Keystone trains run in push-pull style. They run with an AEM-7 at one end and a former Metroliner rebuilt as a cab car at the other. The Keystone trains also do not have café cars.


            The train soon left. I filmed the yard north of the station. The train curved west to the section of line I had last ridden on the Three Rivers. The train started traveling slowly as we headed out of the Philadelphia area.


            The train stopped at Paoli, Exton, and Downingtown. At Downingtown, I filmed a Keystone train heading in the opposite direction. I realized why Amtrak didn’t run café cars on these trains was maybe that the stations were so close together at some points, it was almost like a commuter train.


            The train departed Downingtown and soon picked up speed as we passed through the countryside. The train made stops at Coatesville and Parkesburg. Soon, we were approaching Lancaster. I got my stuff ready to get off.


            Keystone train #615 arrived into Lancaster five minutes early! I got off and took some photos.




            I waited for the train to leave. I started heading to the stairs when I saw the crew heading towards the cab car. I let them know I wanted to film the train leaving. They said it was okay and I filmed the train pulling out and took a photo of the AEM-7 pushing.



            I then photographed a coach for work train service before I headed up to the waiting room. I saw the station was under renovations. I decided to walk to my hotel which I knew was a minute drive away according to Mapquest.


            It was a fairly long walk, but I eventually got there. I was staying at a Days Inn and Suites. I checked in and went to my room. I decided to lie down for awhile after I phoned home to check in.


            After awhile, I went out to a Friendly’s Restaurant near the hotel. I then went to a nearby CVS Pharmacy and bought some Nyquil and some milk. While there, I saw the stop-smoking medication being sold next to the cigarettes which I thought was kind of funny. I then went back to my hotel. I went on the internet and chatted with my friend Dan on Facebook. I went to my room and watched some TV for the rest of the evening before I called it a night.


Click here to read about my trip to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania:         Lancaster trip