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MARC Rider

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About MARC Rider

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    Engineer

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    Baltimore. MD

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  1. The photo in the article is of the Camden light rail station, not the MARC station, which is to the immediate left of the scene shown in the photo.
  2. MARC Rider

    Why do they call them "motors?"

    This is very helpful. Certainly the use of "engine" as a synonym for "locomotive" is erroneous. But both diesels and electrics have motors, but only the diesels have engines. But then again, many call the engine in their car a "motor," which is also erroneous. I guess in common usage, there's no difference between the two any more. Now what should we call electric locomotives powered by batteries or fuel cells?
  3. MARC Rider

    Long anti Anderson Article

    I also suspect that the criteria used by the Wall Street Journal to define the "best" airlines is heavily weighted towards financial performance and the interests if the shareholders, not the other stakeholders, like the employees, the customers, and the general public.
  4. MARC Rider

    Chicago-Rockford Service On Hold

    I 90 isn't upgraded between downtown Chicago and O'Hare. There's no toll, but it's bumper to bumper slow moving most of the time. The year before last, I traveled out that way, and rented a car at Union Station. I certainly regretted that, I should have just lugged my bag on the Blue Line to O'Hare and rented the car out there. Even better would have been a direct train right out of the city bypassing all the traffic. Maybe there's a rental car office at one of the Metra stations, like Schaumberg or Elgin.
  5. MARC Rider

    NYC to Quebec City to NYC

    Also, the ferry leaves from Yarmouth, not Halifax, which is a bit of a drive. Maybe there's a bus?
  6. I also like seeing the vegetation gradually change the further south you get until finally, somewhere south of Jacksonville, you start seeing palm trees. .Also, go in February and there are oranges on the orange trees.
  7. So yesterday, while I was delayed an hour because they had to replace the ACS64, I was sitting in the fist car and got to hear a lot of the work crew's conversation. They referred to the said ACS 64 as the "motor," not the "engine" or the "locomotive." I am aware that an electric power unit i as called a "motor," but I don't know why this os the case. True, an "engine," such as a P42 is powered by an internal combustion diesel, but I call the internal combustion thingy that powers my car a "motor." This seems to be inconsistent with railroad usage. Anybody know the origin of this terminology?
  8. MARC Rider

    It’s Time We Stood Up to Amtrak

    Well, I hope RPA is keeping tabs on how many more of the 575 are needed to come over from the dark side and change policy for the better.
  9. MARC Rider

    Rail delay scarf

    Oh, the delays were due to bustitution and major track work. Thank goodness, I thought I was going to have to revise my stereotypes about German efficiency.
  10. What's their legal argument? I don't have any kids in school, why should my taxes go to education? I don't farm, why should my taxes pay for agricultural subsidies?
  11. MARC Rider

    It’s Time We Stood Up to Amtrak

    Actually, it would be nice if Congress would explicitly state that Amtrak's purpose in life is to maximize ridership, not revenue or profitability. Seems to me that the point of sinking taxpayer dollars into something like Amtrak is to get the maximum number of possible passengers riding trains, with the public purpose of reducing road congestion, reducing emissions, reduced loss of life and injury by getting people out of cars, etc. Plus high speed rail to compete with short haul airlines, reduce airport congestion, and reserve capacity for trans continental and intercontinental flights.
  12. I didn't make up this slide. Perhaps NJT is part of the New York figures, even if the do run buses from Philly into South Jersey, plus the River Line and Atlantic City line.
  13. I was at the Transportation Research Board annual conference today in DC and during a talk about "decarbonization" (i.e., reducing GHG emissions), the speaker showed this slide. With the exception of Seattle, transit ridership fell in all of the listed cities in 2017. The speaker suggested that this might be a combination of low gas prices and competition from ride sharing. I wonder about the ride sharing. During a subsequent talk when I started to get bored, I pulled up the Uber app and priced a mid morning ride from the Convention Center to Union Station. This can be done on Metro for $2.60 and on the Circulator bus for a dollar. UberX was quoted for about $8, Uber Express Pool was about $4, and Uber Pool was in between. While UberX is very competitive with a taxi, I don't see why one would prefer Uber Express Pool to the bus or Metro. It costs more, you have to share your ride, and you have to do contortions getting in and out of the car. Plus you have to walk to the pickup point and from wherever they drop you off. Plus Uber is selling information about your riding habits to who knows what kind of companies. Its also kind of interesting that even though everyone here in DC has been moaning about the decline and fall of WAMTA, they are by no means the worst performing transit agencies in the Nation. That honor seems to go to SEPTA and Miami.
  14. MARC Rider

    Joyride to Philly

    OK, I was riding up the Broad Street line, which wasn't that different from circa 1970, except that the stations now have florescent lighting, so you don't feel like you're in a gloomy cave, a few stations have been remodeled, and the finally installed the express tracks between Erie and Olney. (in the early 1990s, according to wikipedia.) The "new" cars are from the 1980s, but this is the first time I've ridden them. But look! They still have a few old B1 cars like I used to ride rusting away. It was up a ramp, through a turnstile, and down some stairs to the Regional Rail Platform. After a 10 minute wait, caught a train from west trenton. We didn't go very fast and we skipped stopping at Wayne Jct. and North Broad, but did stop at Temple U, a station that didn't exist back in the day. Soon I was back at Jefferson Sta. and too hungry to walk over to Jim's steaks or the Famous 4th St. Deli. So I went to Reading Terminal Market and had a roast beef and broccoli Rabe on a very tasty Philly style sub roll at Dinic's. I think its better than a cheesesteak, actually. I then did a walking tour of my old neighborhood, which actually hasn't changed a lot, except for a few stores that aren't in business anymore. I worked my way over to 5th street, by Independence Hall, which is closed due to the government shutdown. My destination was the Rittenhouse Square area on the other side of center city. My joyride involved the Market St. Subway-el to 13th St. where I changed to the subway surface cars. After walking about, enjoying the ambience of the city, it was time to go back to the station. First, over to Suburban Station and a regional rail train to 30th st. Then I followed the signs to the "Club Acela," which has been rebranded back to the Metropolitan Lounge at the door, even if it's still called Club Acela all over the rest of the station. I'm not sure I like the style makeover, it looks like they got their furniture from the same vendor who outfitted the USS Enterprise in 1967. I booked my trip home on Acela First Class. I don't want to think how many AGR points I used for a one hour ride, but it was nice. My assigned seat was forward facing at a table. There was someone sitting in the facing seat. The attendant told me that there was a free table across the aisle and it was fine for me to move, and so i did. A nice generous pour of bourbon. Lamb tagine with pearl couscous for dinner. We actually had to sit outside the Baltimore tunnel for a few minutes because we were about 10 minutes early. We arrived at the station about 5 minutes early. All in all a nice day, and now I'm set up for more free SEPTA joyrides.
  15. MARC Rider

    Joyride to Philly

    Being one of those Govt workers on furlough, I had some time off yesterday (and today, and tomorrow. It's kind of like practice for retirement.) So I decided to earn a few TQP for 2019 and burn a few AGR points and get out of town for the day. My main mission was to go to SEPTA HQ and get a Senior Citizen Key Card that allows me unlimited free rides on SEPTA. Wish WAMTA and MARC would offer such a deal. But half price isn't so bad. I rode up on the Vermonter, leaves at 850 am, gets into Philly at 10. I splurged for BC with the 2x1 seating, and had a seat pair to myself. Free coffee and a nice on time ride to 30th st. As mentioned, the Solari board is still there. Went up to the SEPTA level. They have turnstiles for track access, but there was a person at an open gate who waved me through as I displayed my Amtrak eticket. Went up to the track, took the next train toward Center City, which was a Silverliner V. Got off at Jefferson, went upstairs, crossed Market St., and went into SEPTA HQ, where I was directed downstairs for my photo ID. They have some historical exhibits, the best is a fully restored PCC car, just like the ones that clanked down the street in front of our house, circa 1970 and kept me up all night until I got used to it. That was a real time warp. I might still have one of those SEPTA maps somewhere in my clutter. I had to wait a bit for an open office, but they accepted my Maryland driver's license as proof of age, and I was soon the proud owner of a SEPTA Key Senior Fare Card. Apparently I have to come back in 4 years and get a new picture. Now, what to do with it. I had a little time before lunch, so I decided to ride the Broad St. subway to Fern Rock, and then catch a regional rail back to Center City. Back in the day, this connection didn't exist. In fact, this is the first time I rode the Broad St. Line since 1973, when I was in college and worked at Albert Einstein Medical Center during a vacation. I was a regular on the line for 4 years during high school, too. We didn't do wimpy things like yellow school buses in Philly. To be continued, as I'm having problems uploading pictures from my phone.
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