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The rest of Sunday…

October 20, 2004, 2:59 AM

Well! I told you about the Million Worker March that was held on Sunday, and all of my crazy adventures there. Now here’s what happened during the rest of that day, which was also somewhat interesting.

First of all, on my way up to DC on October 2, remember how the Vomit Fairy came to touch me with her star-ended wand? Well, when I got to that rest area again, I stopped to see whether my mess had killed the grass underneath it or not. Turned out that they had never cleaned the mess up, and it was still there. I nearly had a relapse right then and there. I will be checking there again next time I go to Washington on November 4. If it’s still there, I will be making a little fuss about it. Because then it will have been a month.

At Vienna, I ended up catching a train that, to say the least was interesting. The lead set was a Breda rehab consist, 3008 and 3009. I rode 3009, the lead car. The next two cars were regular Bredas, and the last two cars were CAFs. Talk about your odd consists. Rehab-Breda-CAF. Just as weird as the Rohr-CAF-Breda consist that I saw back in August at L’Enfant Plaza. One thing about this consist at Vienna, though, was the amount of wheel noise that was heard. From my vantage point at the head end of Breda 3009, I’d never heard so much wheel noise before. That was a surprise for me.

So my day’s going like a normal DC trip thus far. So I stopped at Rosslyn for a pit stop and newspaper break. Interestingly enough, Rosslyn Center’s regular restrooms were closed for “emergency repairs” (good, they need some repairs to fix some non-working equipment). As such, they had a second set of restrooms open on the other end of the same floor, just off a small service corridor, across from the bank. And then I went outside on the Rosslyn Center second-floor balcony to read the Express (compressed version of the Washington Post). I’m going to be sad when it gets too cold to do that outside, since it’s neat since planes to National Airport fly directly overhead. Kind of neat.

At Rosslyn, getting back on the train to head to the feeder march, I caught a Blue Line train to McPherson Square. And a familiar voice was at the controls! It was the same lady who I had when I rode my first rehab consist back in January. I had given this particular operator my Transit Center URL when I rode her train in July in order to show my Breda rehab photos from January. When I got to McPherson Square, I said hello, and what did she think. She thought it was great, and that you could tell I was a real enthusiast and that I should consider working for Metro with my knowledge of the system. A good idea, indeed!

So after exiting McPherson Square, I was with the Million Worker March until like 6 PM or so. Which I’ve already told you about.

So after being with the march, and then walking to the Infoshop with Jess and crew, and then showing the girl at Mt. Vernon Square to her bus in Chinatown, I was kind of like, okay, what now? With it being a Sunday night, Pentagon City Mall would be closed, which is where I usually go to relax at the end of the day. So after having a Mountain Dew “Pitch Black” at Chinatown (it’s actually a dark purple color and has an unusual taste – not a bad taste, but unusual), I took the Red Line to Metro Center and transferred to the Blue Line to go to Rosslyn.

Rosslyn for some reason is a good place for me to think out the battle plan for my visits to Washington. So I figured out what I was going to do with the rest of the evening. I ended up deciding to give the Exeloo at Huntington a visit. And to my surprise, that filled up a good three hours!

It took so long because Metro was single-tracking on the Blue and Yellow Lines between Pentagon City and Braddock Road. So from Rosslyn, I caught a Breda rehab, and we blew through Arlington Cemetery without servicing it, since the station was already closed for the night. However, that was interesting. Presumably, this rehab had some glitches, since we did stop at Arlington Cemetery. The doors never opened, but we did creep in, and stop at the platform. Sat for a few moments. Then we continued to Pentagon. At Pentagon, they also had a problem. Usually once we stop at the station, the doors open. Here, we were positioned incorrectly on the platform, and so we had to get positioned correctly. Then the doors took ages to open. I transferred to Yellow Line here. The Yellow came, and we were now fully involved in the single-tracking. We sat at Pentagon, then again in the tunnel just north of Pentagon City. Then it was smooth sailing to National Airport.

At National Airport, Metro managed to have four trains servicing the station at once on the inbound platform, making good use of the fact that National Airport has a third track through it. We arrived at the station on the center track, and cozied right up next to a Blue Line train (probably the one I was on earlier) on the same track. The two trains were maybe about six inches apart where they link together. So it was close. But you had a four-car Blue and a four-car Yellow on the inbound track, and a four-car Blue and a four-car Yellow on the center track, which is being used for outbound trains. And the normal outbound track is closed for track work. I was impressed to see that, and let me tell you – eight car trains are going to be monstrous-looking.

So from National Airport, it was back on the train to Huntington, crossing back over to the correct track at the switch north of Braddock Road. From there, it was smooth sailing straight back to Huntington.

At Huntington, the Exeloo was wonderful. The soap dispenser has gotten more liberal with the soap in the year or so it’s been there. And that’s good because it used to give you practically nothing in one squirt. Now it gives you considerably more soap. Good thing.

After the Exeloo, I got to watch a raccoon at work at Huntington. I saw an at-the-time unknown critter at Huntington roll down the side next to the retaining wall next to the tracks. Then I saw a raccoon’s head pop up over that wall. I was afraid it would jump onto the tracks, and we’d have a dead raccoon from it hitting the third rail. Thankfully that was not the case. It ended up climbing back up the sloped stone to the top and started to eat at the ivy up there. At the left in this picture, you can see the area I’m talking about. See the ivy?

The raccoon ran off when the train showed up. I took that train to King Street, and transferred to Blue, with a Rohr car where one door was locked shut because it was malfunctioning (thus only one side of that door opened). And then we experienced the single-tracking again. I did get another familiar voice, though. This time, it was this lady up in the cab. We ended up sitting at Braddock Road for what seemed like eternity, as controllers sent four trains (two Blue, two Yellow) through the single-track area before we were permitted to proceed. Once we got a “proceed” from the signal, we were off without a hitch, blowing right through Arlington Cemetery without stopping.

At Rosslyn, I transferred to Orange to Vienna, and rode to Vienna. At Vienna, the operator announced that our train would be the last revenue train to New Carrollton for the night. And then from the parking garage, I saw the train leave at exactly 11:24 for New Carrollton – right on schedule.

On the way back, I made my usual stop at Sheetz at Haymarket. The place was hopping. But when I realized that I would be in line for ages, with the checkout line going almost to the back of the store and then still having to wait on my food, I told the MTO people to cancel my order, since I wasn’t going to wait. Especially since I also smelled alcohol on some of the other customers’ breath. Not a pleasant thing, remembering past experiences with drunk JMU students at the Harrisonburg Sheetz. I decided I’d wait and eat later.

I ended up eating at the Sheetz in Woodstock, which is off of I-81 at exit 283. Nice, quiet Sheetz, as it should be late at night.

And then from there, I went straight home, stopping at the new Sheetz in Fishersville for gas. That is a well-placed gas station, let me tell you. Right on my way home from DC. And also only about three miles and change from Wal-Mart. Handy location, indeed.

And then when I got home? Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. I love it. And now you can see the full picture of what an amazing day that October 17 ended up being. Major WOW on that one. It’s going to take a lot to top it, I can tell.

Web site: It looks like Metro's going to take the 120-car option order after all! Good news indeed. Metro will then have 182 rail cars with 6000-series numbers, manufactured by Alstom, the same company that rehabbed the Bredas.

Song: Don't have one - too early morning

Quote: "Thank you for your patience as we continue to improve your Metrorail system." - Announcement heard numerous times during single-tracking

Categories: DC trips, WMATA