Archive for August, 2009

MARTA makes mistake

Monday, August 31st, 2009

marta_small

The following images were seen on MARTA’s website today. See if you can spot the mistake.

towerAd-CustomerService

towerAd-Traffic

towerAd5

towerAd-artMARTA

towerAd4

towerAd-Region

MARTA - We Sever With Pride - towerAd-30years

Considering how MARTA launched a completely new website at the beginning of this month, I wonder if the mistake has really been live for a whole month already…?

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first mistake MARTA has made. A few years ago their employees were harassing amateur photographers and telling them that photography required a permit and/or was not allowed at all. Any restrictions on photography, both then and now, were and are obviously only in relation to commercial photography. I hope that by now MARTA has retrained their employees. I want to go down there and test them on this some day.

Anyhow, here’s a hint to help you if you didn’t find the mistake above – this is another image on the website:

MARTA - answer

Click the wide pic to see if you can see where MARTA went wrong in one of the small pics

Update: The answer that I was thinking of was that in the last of the six small images, the word “serve” is misspelled.

NYCT releases photos of 181 Street station work on official service changes twitter account

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Photo of 181 St station on Twitpic

The shock here is not that NYCT uses twitter – they’ve been using it for a long time – but rather that they are actually releasing photos of the interior of the station, from right after the ceiling collapse to current views of the repair efforts. Check these out before someone at NYCT or the MTA catches wind of this and makes the photos disappear!

Link: http://twitpic.com/photos/NYCTSubwayScoop

Work progressing to build protective shield over platform and... on Twitpic

Source: SubChat

181 Street Subway Station Collapse – Stupid Person-on-the-Street Comment of the Day

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Today’s Metro newspaper features a short(!) article on the subway ceiling collapse at the 181st Street subway station on the (1) line. As usual, the reporter asked some subway rider member of the public to offer an opinion. The genius she chose made this enlightening remark:

“[The 181st Street Station is] old,” said Luz Contreras, 46. “The station at 191st looks old, too. I’m worried if something happens here, it could happen at the other one next.” (emphasis added)

Is that so? No, Luz. The station at 191st Street was COMPLETELY REFURBISHED in 2003-2004. And it looks fantastic. Maybe the nice white tiles and walls have gotten dirty since the renovation, but dirty does not equal old!

Take a look at some photos. In each row, the photo on the left is from before the renovation, and the photo on the right is from after the renovation.

Those last two are the most clear example.

Here are some bonus photos from after the renovation:

Now if you want to complain about something, how about complaining about NYCT’s deplorable operational response to this incident? That’s my next blog post :)

Funky Schist Going Down in the City (Along the (1) Train Route)

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Last night, apparently part of the ceiling collapsed at the 181 St station on the (1) New York City Subway line, causing debris to fall onto the tracks. This is causing all manner of mad craziness this morning. I took the Bx10 to the Bx7 to the (A).

181 St Ceiling Collapse big - MTA Service Alert

Bad news for residents of Van Cortlandt Park, Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil, Kingsbridge, Inwood, and Washington Heights, though the latter two have the (A) train to make up for it.

My Bx10 driver correctly announced several times that there was no (1) service, and to take the Bx7 or Bx20 to 207 St for the (A) train. However, the driver of the Bx7 I transferred to did not make any such announcement, and thus a lot of people exited his bus at 231 St to walk down to the (1) station :(

Then in my station in midtown, I heard the much lauded “Dedicated Announcer” announce that there was shuttle bus service between 242 St and 168 St (making all stops), and that all (1) trains running between 242 St and Dyckman St would be running express. Express????

DesignLine EcoSaver IV, a New Hybrid Electric Bus Model, Debuts in New York City

Friday, August 14th, 2009

nyctbanner

This morning, the DesignLine EcoSaver IV hybrid electric bus made its passenger-carrying debut for New York City Transit.

DesignLine EcoSaver IV hybrid electric bus makes NYC debut

DesignLine EcoSaver IV hybrid electric bus makes NYC debut early this morning on the M42 route (42nd Street Crosstown)

The DesignLine EcoSaver IV bus is different from other hybrid buses already in the NYCT fleet because it is a series hybrid. That means that the engine, in this case a turbine, is only used to charge the batteries, and not to directly power the vehicle.

The turbine fills the role of “Auxiliary Power Unit” (APU). The batteries in turn power the electric motor, which makes the bus go. There are many advantages to a series hybrid, and for this bus overall, one of which is the fact that the bus can operate in pure electric mode, with the turbine off (producing no emissions), in some situations. In all other situations, the turbine is running at the most efficient speeds to keep the batteries at an optimal charge, totally independent of the bus’s immediate acceleration needs.

The story of how this bus design, which originated in New Zealand, came to be for sale to bus authorities in the US, is interesting, and worth the short read.

I came away from my ride on the bus’s maiden voyage pretty impressed with its quietness and performance. I have no doubt that the fancy hybrid driveline is well engineered and quite capable. My only reservations are over how well the not-so-glamorous parts of the bus will hold up in the severe service conditions experienced here in New York City. How will the plastic straphangers and the full length glass doors and the flooring, etc., hold up?  Until now, NYCT has generally only purchased proven, “heavy-duty” buses. I don’t know if the DesignLine EcoSaver IV hybrid electric bus can be considered “heavy-duty” in and of itself, but if it survives NYC’s streets and residents, leading to an expansion of the initial eight bus fleet to up to 80 with options, then it will certainly have proven itself worthy.

Here is a gallery of photos I took today of the bus’s grand debut: PHOTOS

Edit: As pointed out by Joe in his comment, the other hybrid buses in the NYCT fleet (Orion VII) are also series hybrids. So the DesignLine EcoSaver IV is not different in that regard.

MTA too busy tailgating to notice Press Release screw up

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

mta-bluebar_toplirrsignaturemnrbannernjtransit_logo

MTA officials were too busy tailgating with NJ Transit officials at Penn Station New York today to notice the significant and glaring error in their all important press release.

The press release, meant to announce the beginning of both LIRR/MNCR+NJT joint-ticketing to the Meadowlands and direct Metro-North New Haven line service to Secaucus, is only successful with the former. That’s because the press release GOT THE DATE WRONG of the first direct New Haven line train!!!!

In addition, Metro-North will be introducing a new direct service from major New Haven Line stations to the Meadowlands (via Secaucus Junction) for football games starting at 1 p.m. From there, shuttle trains will bring fans directly to the new Meadowlands Station and the game. Metro-North New Haven line direct service begins as the regular season kicks off on Sunday, September 13 with the NY Giants/Washington Redskins game that starts at 1 p.m. [Emphasis added]

Good job, MTA. Way to go.

You see, the 9/13/2009 game actually starts at 4:15 PM, thus making it ineligible for direct New Haven line service. The correct start date of direct New Haven line service is Sunday, September 20, 2009, when the New York Jets host the New England Patriots with a 1:00 PM kickoff.

In case the MTA goes and corrects the press release, below is a screen shot with the offending material highlighted.

UN believable

UN believable

Real-time departure boards for NJT Secaucus Junction available online

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

DEPARTUREVISION

UPDATE: DepartureVision is actually online and working for possibly all stations in the system. Go here, click on a station, and then add “-mobile” after the “tid” part of the URL. Source: Railroad.net NJ Transit Rail forum

—————————–

New Jersey Transit has announced the trial implementation of real-time train arrival / departure boards available to mobile-internet users for the Secaucus Junction train station. It is being called DepartureVision™.

Using a mobile phone or device with internet capabilities, you can now see the upcoming arrivals / departures for the upper and lower levels (separately) of the Secaucus Junction station, including the scheduled arrival time, track assignment, and train status (on-time, 7 minutes late, etc.). A cool feature is that clicking on a train’s arrival time brings up a list of all the stops that train will be making after Secaucus Junction. Quite importantly, and as noted in the press release:

Customers who use the new Meadowlands Rail Line to travel to and from football games or major events will be able to check their Secaucus connections from Giants Stadium.

Score!

To see a large screen shot of what DepartureVision looks like, click the image below.

DepartureVision for the Upper Level of Secaucus Junction - click to see a higher resolution image

DepartureVision for the Upper Level of Secaucus Junction - click to see a higher resolution image

For much more information about this great new service, read the Customer Notice.

I hope this trial is very successful, and leads to DepartureVision being made available for all train stations in the New Jersey Transit rail system.

LIRR to offer joint ticket to Meadowlands Sports Complex Rail Station

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

lg-lirr-TrainToGame

You can now buy and use a single train ticket to ride from stations on the Long Island Rail Road all the way to the Meadowlands Sports Complex in New Jersey, home of Giants Stadium, a new football stadium to be named later, and the Izod Center (as well as the Meadowlands Racetrack and the unfinished Xanadu).

But be careful – even though New Jersey Transit will be running trains to the Meadowlands for events other than Giants and Jets football games, the LIRR thru-tickets are only “officially” valid for football game days. This may have something to do with the fact that, as the LIRR notes, you must show your rail ticket at the fare gates at Secaucus Junction, instead of feeding it through the turnstile, since the LIRR ticket stock does not have the magnetic stripe like the NJT ticket stock.

Read all about this LIRR/NJT joint ticketing initiative here: http://mta.info/lirr/pubs/TrainToTheGame/. That LIRR web page even features a nifty diagram of part of Penn Station, to help people make the LIRR -> NJT transfer. The other part of the graphic is an extremely simple route diagram of the rail service. You can see them below:

Click to see a bigger version

Click to see a bigger version

Oh, and Metro-North is doing the same thing. Even though they are running direct trains from the New Haven line to Secaucus Junction on the days of Sunday 1 PM games, you can also buy a joint ticket from any Metro-North station that you can use to get all the way to the Meadowlands. You will of course need to get from Grand Central Terminal to Penn Station New York in order to board a New Jersey Transit train to Secaucus. The brochure linked to in my recent post on this topic explains things in much much greater detail.

P.S. And no, you can’t buy an LIRR ticket from Penn Station New York to the Meadowlands. I know, because I tried it this evening. Would have been (pointlessly) cool though, in a railfanning kind of way.

Update: Here’s a good Newsday article on the topic of the joint-ticketing.

Metro-North brochure for Meadowlands Rail Service

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

TakeTrainFootBall_web

Metro-North Railroad has created a new brochure to explain their part of the direct service that they are planning to run with New Jersey Transit this fall. It is admittedly a complicated task to convey all of the options and nuances that they are trying to get across, but I think they did an okay job. The brochure is linked from a new web page Metro-North put up for this service. You can also download the PDF directly from this link: http://www.mta.info/mnr/html/SchedPDF_vWEB_Brochure.pdf

Edit: This brochure, in all its glossy printed glory, is available in the information boxes next to each of the upper level tracks at Grand Central Terminal, as of yesterday, August 19, 2009.

That pesky switch at Dyckman Street (1)

Monday, August 10th, 2009

So….

service alert - switch problems at Dyckman - 8-10-09

Service Alert fun for the day

Why exactly does a switch problem at Dyckman Street cause the suspension of southbound (1) train service??