Archive for May, 2009

PATCO makes plans to reopen the Franklin Square station in Philadelphia

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

John Matheussen, president of PATCO, surveys the closed Franklin Square station. 7/26/07. (Michael S. Wirtz / Inquirer). The Franklin Square station on the PATCO line in Old City is a ghost station, closed since 1979. There is talk of reopening it as part of a possible expansion of PATCO.

It’s a railfan’s dream come true! The Franklin Square subway station may be reopening! All those years of passing through it – its silence deafening – left me wondering if it would ever see passengers again. Well it just may!

The Transport Politic just made me aware of a story published last week in the Philadelphia Inquirer that discussed just what is going on with PATCO and its downtown Philadelphia subway stations. Here’s what the Inquirer article has to say about the proposed plans:

The 73-year-old subway station beneath Franklin Square, last used in 1979, will be remodeled and reopened to PATCO commuter trains, Delaware River Port Authority chairman John Estey said yesterday.

Four other subterranean PATCO stations in Philadelphia and two in Camden also will get face-lifts this year, with new flooring, lights, security cameras, and stainless-steel columns, port authority officials said yesterday. The upgrades, which require board approval next month, will cost about $9.6 million and be paid for with the agency’s controversial “economic development” money.

The port authority’s consulting engineers are examining the station to determine how much work is needed to reopen it. Chief executive John Matheussen estimated it would cost at least $5 million to $10 million to install elevators and make the station meet modern standards.

And here’s what the Inquirer article has to say about the current physical state of the Franklin Square station:

Franklin Square Station has been preserved much as it was when it closed. PATCO riders can still glimpse its shadowy platforms and green-and-white tiled walls on their way to and from New Jersey.

But the gaudy orange foyer, with its 1970s-era fare lists (35 cents to Philadelphia stations, 75 cents to Lindenwold) and multilingual instructions on “How to Go PATCO,” have long been hidden from view.

The article goes on to give a brief history of the station. It’s well worth the read.

The Transport Politic also mentions a plan to reopen the Spring Garden station on SEPTA’s Broad Ridge Spur and also extend the route of the  Spur trains into the Locust Street subway.

Here are some of my photos of the currently closed Franklin Square station:

Eastbound platform at Franklin Square station (abandoned) on PATCO as seen on 8/11/2003.

Westbound platform at Franklin Square station (abandoned) on PATCO as seen on 12/29/2008.

This blog’s been quiet since…I became a father!

Monday, May 25th, 2009

On May 20, 2009, my first child, a son, was born! He’s going to be a big railfan!

Baby Boy Weinberg

Baby Boy Weinberg @ 2 days old

New York By Rail – Amtrak Travel Trade Show at Penn Station TODAY

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009


Today at New York Penn Station there is a travel trade show that focuses on New York State destinations reachable by Amtrak. I picked up a lot of good travel destination information. These are the people who put out the New York By Rail publication.

Here are some photos I took:

The Great Broadway Bus Rerouting of 2009

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Since NYC DOT is closing Broadway through Times Square in Manhattan and turning it into a pedestrian plaza, several bus routes are being rerouted off of Broadway and onto 7 Av. This happens May 25, 2009. And as a bonus, the M6 bus route will be totally eliminated!


Photos of Barge of Death from Saturday

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Loyal reader David-Paul Gerber captured some outstanding photos of the “Barge of Death”, Weeks 297, which carries retired subway cars out to sea to be dumped to create artificial reefs. He took photos of the barge as it passed between the Broadway, Henry Hudson, and Inwood Movable Bridges, and then again as it passed the George Washington Bridge.

Click HERE to view all of his photos, or click on some of the highlights below.

Thanks David!

The barge passed Spuyten Duyvil at about 2:30 PM. About two hours later it was followed out to the Hudson River by the barge carrying the subway car wheel assemblies or “trucks”.

And this was Barge 18 (the 18th barge to set sail in the current round of reefing), for those of you keeping score at home. Thanks to George Chiasson Jr. for that information.

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 … is coming closer

Sunday, May 17th, 2009


June 12 is coming fast, and the proff is on the side of New York City buses!

I can’t wait to see this movie! I love the original!

Disney’s Christmas Carol Train Tour coming to Grand Central Terminal

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Disney is sending a charter train around the country over the next few months to promote its upcoming movie “A Christmas Carol”. From the photos included in the USA Today and Reuters Blog articles, it looks like the train is made up of baggage cars with exterior advertising wraps and complete interior sets. The press release further reveals that Amtrak locomotives will haul the train, and a “private car” will also be included in the consist. Looks like Amtrak P42 157 will be doing the honors.

Anyhow, the train is scheduled to end its tour with a visit to Metro-North’s Grand Central Terminal in New York City between October 30 and November 1, 2009.

Pull the cords on the buses

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
NYCT Bus Orion VII NG 3804 has bell cords!

NYCT Bus Orion VII NG 3804 has bell cords!

The New York Times City Room Blog has a piece today on the return of bell cords to New York City buses. It is specifically the new Orion VII Next Generation buses that have these bell cords.  While I think that these new buses are extremely ugly in general, the pull cords are a nice touch. Using the pull cord reminds me of the good times I’ve had riding the Vintage Bus Fleet in revenue service.

vintage New York City bus Flxible 7340 has pull cords - look for the black cord above the passengers' heads

vintage New York City bus Flxible 7340 has pull cords - look for the black cord above the passengers' heads


Sunday, May 10th, 2009


ChaxllChxxChxx (10:38:29 PM): hello there!
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:38:38 PM): do i have a story and photo for you!
Pxxxxxx (10:38:42 PM): y helo
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:38:46 PM): so
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:38:48 PM): friday night
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:39:00 PM): wife and i are having our sabbath dinner
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:39:09 PM): i look over at I-87
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:39:12 PM): the Major Deegan
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:39:17 PM): which we can see from our apt
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:39:24 PM): and i see this fireball
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:39:43 PM): so we get up
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:39:45 PM): and look
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:39:50 PM): and sure enough there’s this fire
Pxxxxxx (10:39:58 PM): cool
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:39:59 PM): and then all the emergency vehicles come
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:40:07 PM): and this thing is burning for like 10 minutes
Dxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (10:40:13 PM): i keep telling you
Dxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (10:40:17 PM): you need to hire a shabbos goy!
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:40:34 PM): now every firday night we usually see some kind of accident from our window
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:40:36 PM): traffic stops
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:40:44 PM): and all these emergency vehicles go by
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:40:50 PM): but this was the coolest one by far
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:40:59 PM): so that was friday night
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:41:05 PM): Sat nite we drove to Home Depot
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:41:11 PM): and on the 230th st overpass
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:41:14 PM): over I-87
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:41:20 PM): i see a burned out car!
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:41:28 PM): i’m like WHOA THAT’s IT!!!
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:41:44 PM): so this morning we drive back there and my wife took a photo of it
(10:41:54 PM) fxxxxxxxxxx has entered the room.
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:41:56 PM):
Pxxxxxx (10:41:57 PM): lol
fxxxxxxxxxx (10:42:07 PM): so there was a chat and I wasn’t informed
Pxxxxxx (10:42:10 PM): it’s a hulk
Pxxxxxx (10:42:13 PM): precisely
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:42:15 PM): yeah
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:42:27 PM): you missed the story fxxxxxxx
Pxxxxxx (10:42:57 PM): it that a Camry?
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:45:11 PM): looks like a Camry
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:45:14 PM): i’m pretty sure it is
ChaxllChxxChxx (10:45:21 PM): pre 2007
fxxxxxxxxxx (10:45:24 PM): Yes, it’s a Camry

Gothamist interviews Dr. Jonathan Zizmor, The Subway Doctor

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Gothamist just posted an interview with Dr. Jonathan Zizmor, The Subway Doctor.

In short, this is what the Doctor says on the topics relevant to this blog:

  • He rides the subway two or three times per week
  • The subways are so clean you can eat off the floor
  • He loves the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn
  • He loves the redbirds
  • The redbirds are going to be unreefed since it didn’t really work out

No Doc, they’re not unreefing the redbirds…