Tag Archives: transportation

San Juan Ferry and Barge

The Washington State Ferries service is the main way of getting between the San Juan Islands but it isn’t the only one.  On a previous trip to the islands, I had posted about an operator of a small ferry.  That post is here.  The operator is San Juan Ferry and Barge.  The boat in the original post is the Henry Island but they have a second, similar boat.  This is the Nordland II.

The Nordland II came past us while we were staying in Orcas a couple of times.  It had a truck with what looked like propane on board.  I imagine moving from place to place with a hazardous cargo is easier when you charter the boat yourself.  The front ramp means they can load and unload at any number of launching ramps around the islands which makes them super flexible.

They are based at Friday Harbor and, while we were walking around the waterfront, I saw them in the marina.  The Nordland II was making a trip out so I got a shot as they pulled out (along with a friendly wave from the crew!).  The Henry Island was still moored up so I grabbed some shots of it while I could.

London Buses in the Strangest Locations

In the center of Fairhaven, I was surprised to see an old London bus.  This wasn’t a Routemaster but an older vintage of bus.  It was tucked in a shady area next to a building on a sunny day so it was a touch tricky to get a shot of.  It was also surrounded by various stuff so I maneuvered to get a reasonably clear shot of it.  It still has its UK registration plates so anyone that is familiar with London Transport history, can probably advise what it is.  No doubt there is a website for this sort of thing somewhere if I looked hard enough.

BNSF Along the Shore

The beach at Shoreline is alongside the BNSF railroad tracks and there is always a good chance that a train will rumble past while you are there.  We got one while we were on a stretch of the beach that is tight up under the tracks.  I grabbed a few shots as the train headed south towards the city.

Stored Ferries

Bainbridge Island is the location of Eagle Harbor.  This is the maintenance base for the Washington State Ferries.  Look at it on Google Maps and you will see a ferry moored up in maintenance or long term storage.  However, since the onset of the pandemic, the ferries have been operating at a reduced schedule.  This has continued even though traffic levels during summer have increased markedly.  This reduced schedule means not all ferries are in service and a bunch are stored at Eagle Harbor.  Shooting in to the sun is not ideal but it was the only available shot.  Here are some of the ferries either in storage or awaiting a return to the full schedule.

Old British Locomotives

In the process of scanning so many old negatives, I come across shots that I had no idea I had taken.  When I still shot film, I would not go nuts taking shots but I was certainly willing to take a shot of anything that I found interesting at the time.  Since I had no idea that I was going to have a career in rail, I didn’t think trains would be very important.  However, I am an engineer at heart and any big mechanical items catch my interest.  It isn’t surprising that I found a few photos of trains.  Some of my old colleagues will find these of interest.  Others may just like them because they like trains.  My sister will probably like the Class 50 just because she used to commute to work behind them for a number of years!

The Old Ferry is a Substitute

On our trip to Tofino, we were on an older ferry from BC Ferries.  The Queen of New Vancouver was our ride in both directions.  I am not an expert on BC Ferries but this boat clearly looked a lot older than the majority of the fleet.  That’s because she is.  All of her sister ships have been scrapped but she was refitted around 2007 for another ten to fifteen years.  (Wikipedia is my friend.). I guess that means her days are numbered.  I am not sure whether she is used regularly but I did hear that another ship was in maintenance.  Maybe that is why she was in use.  Anyway, here is the old girl.  We rode on one of the newer ships a while later and they are definitely better equipped for the passengers.  Maybe she still has some time to go though.

Looking Back at the HSTs

As a small boy, the new thing in British trains was the Intercity 125.  Known in the industry as the HST, this was a step forward in fast train travel for the UK.  When I started working in the rail industry many years later, the HSTs were a big part of our fleet.  They had been in service a long time by then but were still the backbone of certain corridors and were getting further investment.  Move on another 20 years and now the fleet is finally disappearing.

Some are still being reconfigured for a future on new routes, but the majority of the fleet is being replaced by a new generation of trains and it is a surprise just how long it has taken to find their successors.  The HSTs have been a solid fleet with strong performance, a level of redundancy and a ride quality that was impressive.  I figured I would through in a couple of shots I have of them.  I have very few, sadly.  One is an old one in British Rail colors from the 80s and the others are from the days of GNER.  What a shame I don’t have more.  Given the amount of time I spent traveling on them or inspecting them at depots and overhaul facilities, I should have tons.  Oh to have had had phones in our cameras then!

Heavy Lifter

In a visit we made to Seattle in the mid 2000s, we took a boat tour around Elliott Bay.  One of the more impressive ships in the harbor was one that is designed to lift heavy loads and carry them long distances.  It will sink to allow the load to be floated on to the hull and then it will lift back up and leave the load on the deck.  You can see the markings for sinking the hull on the superstructure.

The most impressive view of the ship was from the front as we passed ahead of it.  The beam was something special to see.  It had a very muscular look to it.  These are the sort of ships that have been used to moved smaller ships when they have suffered damage.  The Royal Navy had a destroyer that hit a reef in the South Pacific once that was moved this way.  Quite an impressive capability.

Cruising Out Under Lion’s Gate Bridge

Cruise ships are a regular feature of Vancouver Harbour.  Pacific Place has a terminal where two ships can be berthed at any one time.  One evening, as I was hanging out on Stanley Park, one of the ships set sail – presumably for a trip up to Alaska.  I watched it pass close by where I was and took a look at what I could see happening on the decks facing the shore (including one chap in a bathrobe on a rear balcony who probably didn’t think he was visible.  Then the ship headed out under the Lions Gate bridge as the sun was beginning to go down.

The Original Doctor Yellow

The Tokaido Shinkansen service requires regular inspection of the track to ensure it is up to the high standards required of high speed service.  JRC operates an inspection train called Doctor Yellow.  It is a highly instrumented version of the current trains.  I have seen the current Doctor Yellow when I was at one of JRC’s maintenance facilities.  However, the original Doctor Yellow was based on the Series 0 trains.  It is now preserved in the SC Maglev museum in Nagoya along with many of the other Shinkansen designs.