The cable cars are a staple of the San Francisco tourist scene. I still grab the occasional shot of them, even having seen them more times than I can recall. As we were walking back one evening after a fun night out with friends, we crossed the street at Union Square as one was heading up Powell. I figured an evening shot was worth the effort.
During our visit to San Francisco, some friends told us to check out Salesforce Park. This is a park that has been built on top of the transit center in the heart of the city. The transit center is, by demand, a large area so the space on top of it makes for a decent area. The park was fun to wander around. It is surrounded by some interesting buildings which will warrant their own posts in due course.
There are seating areas, children’s play areas, an amphitheater, a dome over an atrium for the transit center itself and plenty of plants. The plant beds are broken down into categories covering different types and plants and different origins for the plants. There are sculptures around the park including one that is a series of water jets. These are triggered by sensors in the transit center such that, as a bus drives beneath them, they squirt up. A bus driving the length of the lane beneath has a sequence of jets that will ripple along the sculpture. We were there when one bus passed beneath and, having been hoping for some action (aside from the occasional random jet of water), we were almost caught out when the wave of jets came by.
If we hadn’t been told about the park, I would never have known. Even when we got to the entrance area, it was a little inconspicuous. It is worth a visit if you are passing by. There is also a more interesting entrance than the elevators but that will have to wait for another post.
Nagoya is home to a museum of Japanese rolling stock. The museum name focuses on Maglev technology and there is a Maglev prototype in the museum. However, the exhibits are really a cross section of the Japanese rail industry over the years. I will probably post some more from the museum as there were quite a few interesting exhibits. Most of it was inside – most welcome on such a hot day – but the N700 prototype was outside. I did have a look at that briefly along with an old steam locomotive but I was soon driven back inside by the temperatures.
When I first got there, you are directed into a hall with three significant exhibits. It was so dark, I was wondering whether there would be any decent photo opportunities. However, this was just the initial introduction and there were periodic videos and light shows to allow you to see these exhibits more clearly. A little patience was required. The main hall had the majority of the exhibits and they were lit normally. There were plenty of people in the museum taking pictures with small children that didn’t seem to be enjoying it as much as the parents would have liked! Maybe they wanted to be at Legoland across the street?
There are a few readers of the blog that like trains so this is a quick view of some UK passenger trains. We stayed in Chichester for a while and were very close to the station. We had to walk past it in to the town. There were tons of trains running along this coast route so I saw several as we were finding out where things were. Here are two of the trains. They are both EMUs, one of which is relatively recent while the other is a pretty old vintage of train that I didn’t even realize operated in this part of the world.
A work requirement needed some photos of a project in which we are involved. We provided he pictures but the team requiring them had an issue with the images we had an wanted something new. When we couldn’t find any more, the easiest thing was to take some. I was heading in the right direction one day so stopped off to take some shots of the Sound Transit Link light rail system. I figured I would share a little of them here too for the rail fans amongst you.
A quick work trip to Boston meant I needed to take the “T” from my hotel to the offices where we were meeting. I took the Blue Line in to the city and then changed on to the oldest line the city apparently has, the Green Line. The vehicles I rode on were very old school in their design. What amazed me more was the tight curvatures of the track.
I lived in Chicago where the “L” has some really tight curves. However, it has nothing on this track. I watch the next car pivot out of sight as we weaved through an amazing turn. When I made my return journey, I changed at one station that also had a really tight curve. At first I thought it was a relic of old track but the rail looked like it was in use and there was a power line in place so I guess it is still needed. Quite something. It would never get built like that now but that is what systems over a century old sometimes come with!
I picked up the Oklahoma City streetcar from the stop across from my hotel. There are two routes in the city – one that runs around the downtown area and another shorter loop that goes from the convention center development area back to Bricktown. The car I got was on the Bricktown Loop and, since I wanted to do the full run, I hopped off at the next stop and waited for the next car.
I got on board along with a guy that had come to check it out despite his skepticism. He ended up meeting a few people he knew and seemed pretty impressed by the whole thing. The vehicles have a battery system on board which allows them to run for periods without overhead wires. This is particularly helpful where the line runs under the main railroad. The bridges there are too low to allow for overhead wires so the system involves periods on battery and periods on wire when the batteries can be recharged,
Lots of people were out making use of the free introductory period. Given that it was a Friday, this was a good indication. Hopefully the system will prove to be a success. It is part of a number of measures that the city is implementing to improve the live ability of the area. I wish them well.
I used to make regular trips to Oklahoma City for a streetcar project I was working on. I ended up having to pick up another project which meant I dropped the streetcar project when the vehicle contract had been approved and signed and my colleague took on the delivery phase. However, I promised I would be back for the grand opening. Mid December was the time when the system was opened up.
Fortunately, I was already within three hours of OKC for another project so I drove up for the celebrations. The project team had a dinner the night before which was a great chance to get back together with some old faces. The opening was on the following morning. We had an early photo session with project team members at 7:30 on a chilly Friday. The main opening ceremony started at 10:00. It was still pretty cold but plenty of people had shown up for the evening. Speeches from those involved and then it was time for the first rides.
I skipped the initial runs and instead went to have a look at the maintenance facility that had been constructed as part of the project. It was a nice job that had been put together by all involved. After checking it all out, I parted ways with my old colleagues. Before heading home, it was time to ride the full route. That will be another post.
The number of train routes in Tokyo is substantial and the lines run through many of the neighborhoods. Having been there for a long time, the towns have grown up around them. Roads cross them on back streets and there are footpaths that cross the tracks too. As I walked up to Shinjuku, I cross the tracks at one of these crossings.
Making the crossing was not a problem but you did need to pay attention. The track was double and the trains came every couple of minutes. When the alert sounded, a sign accompanied it with an arrow showing the direction the train was going. This was very helpful in ensuring you didn’t think the train had gone and you could start to cross only to find a train coming the other way. I actually had to wait for three trains as, by the time the second train had passed, a third was coming from the original direction. They really do come that often. Looking up to the station, I could see a train in the platform with another one slowing as it approached the station. Trains really are the dominant form of transportation in Tokyo from what I saw.
I know a few of the regulars here are interested in trains. I saw a lot of different trains and rode on a few while I was in Japan so here are a selection of them for those of you that are interested. Most of these were shot around Tokyo itself but I can’t tell you what sort of services most of them were used on. I only rode on a few to get to airports or districts in the city.