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Pentagon City… explored!

January 5, 2005, 4:13 PM

Well, I went to Washington as planned on Tuesday. And I had fun! First of all, I accomplished my official goals for the trip. Those were to pay a visit to the Infoshop at 9th and P Streets NW, and explore Pentagon City. And those went well.

Now for the story.

I overslept this time! I’m just like, aw, crap! when I looked at the clock. True, I had no definite schedule, but still, parking can be tricky. But I still managed to snag a parking space in the North Garage at Vienna, on the top level like I like it. And I was somehow able to turn 90 minutes late into 60 minutes late. That takes talent.

Once I got onto the Metro, I rode in to Rosslyn, and caught my read of the Express. And then I caught Breda 4058 at Rosslyn, to head into Washington.

Now once I boarded Breda 4058, which was part of a four-car train consisting of (front to back) Breda 4058-4059, and Breda Rehab 3008-3009, I should have known something was wrong. At Rosslyn, it took quite a while to start up. I heard some things that sounded like the “fssh” of the brake release sound, but they weren’t quite right. Finally we got the correct sound, and we were on our way. Similar problems happened at Foggy Bottom-GWU and Farragut West.

Now when we got to McPherson Square, that’s where things got exciting. The train operator to the customers: “This train is now out of service due to an emergency. All customers must exit the train at this time.” And so we were off-loaded onto the inbound platform at McPherson Square, and the doors were closed. The train operator was on the radio with central control and was doing this and that to get it working. I did, however, find out from the operator that the problem was that Breda 3008, the third car, was having difficulty building brake pressure, which was the source of our problem. I also found out that brake stuff is located under the double-ended seats at one quarter and three quarters down the length of the car.

So let me show you pictures!

Breda 4058, the lead car, is powered off (thus the taillights and darkened signs), while the operator does something elsewhere else in the train.
Breda 4058, the lead car, is powered off (thus the taillights and darkened signs), while the operator does something elsewhere else in the train.

A man tinkers with things underneath the seat on Breda 3008.
A man tinkers with things underneath the seat on Breda 3008.

Another upended seat on Breda 3008, this one taken as the train was finally able to proceed, out of service, to somewhere to receive the proper service.
Another upended seat on Breda 3008, this one taken as the train was finally able to proceed, out of service, to somewhere to receive the proper service.

While our Blue Line train was out of service and being worked on in a hurry there on the inbound track, once the train moved forward and stopped as part of a braking test they needed to do, an Orange Line train behind us was able to cross the interlocking west of McPherson Square and service the station from the other platform. This train serviced McPherson Square, Metro Center, and Federal Triangle from the wrong track, before crossing back over to the correct track at the interlocking just south of Federal Triangle.

So all in all, not bad. By the way, Breda 3008, a rehab, the one that experienced mechanical difficulties, is one where, when I rode this train on the Orange Line in October for the Million Worker March, I experienced far more wheel noise than normal.

Then after the Infoshop, I explored Pentagon City. I finally got the lay of the land, and figured out where things were. I’m still amazed that considering that nearly every time I go to Washington, I stop by Pentagon City, I’d hardly ever explored beyond the mall. So now I did. I walked from the entrance of the Metro station on Hayes Street to 15th Street, and went as far as Eads Street. From there, I turned north, and realized exactly why they call this neighborhood “Pentagon City”. There it was – the Pentagon itself, just on the other side of I-395. I had never realized before now that the Pentagon was that close to one of my favorite hangouts. So I went down Eads Street to Army Navy Drive, which runs along I-395 and is right along the edge of the Pentagon Reservation. The Pentagon really is within walking distance of this neighborhood. At Army Navy Drive, I turned west again back towards the mall, and went past it. I then walked down Joyce Street, which is the edge of Pentagon Row. Along Joyce Street, I visited a store that sold Murphy Beds. I’m just like, “Cool!” since I’d never seen one in person before. The bed folds right into the wall, just like Uncle Jesse’s bed on Full House. I was impressed. I got their Web site, and will look later.

When I got around to the plaza at Pentagon Row, I visited the ice rink again, which I photographed last month. I told the skate guard that remembered me from before that the photos came out really well. I also found out that the reason the ice rink can run in the unseasonably warm weather is because there is a salt water mixture running through tubes under the ice that keeps it cold even though it got up to 60 degrees today. Seriously.

Then I finished my walk along Joyce Street and turned on 15th again to finally go visit the mall.

After the mall, I decided to get artistic with transit photography. I put my camera on the floor, and took long-exposure photos of the trains coming and going. I went down to Franconia-Springfield and back. At Franconia-Springfield, I actually saw the “Money Train”, which is a pair of Rohr cars that have had all the seats removed, so that they can hold all the dough that is removed from the farecard machines. And at the doors of the money train, heavily armed Transit Police officers stand guard. I got photos of the train, including the still-intact roll signs, turned to “No Passengers”. I was like, wow. I believe the original car numbers were 1114 and 1115, but now one of the two cars had “8002” as the number. I didn’t get to see the other car’s number. “8003” would make sense considering that the even number is the lower number in all of Metro’s married pairs, but then again, it could also be “8001”. Who knows.

From Franconia-Springfield, I went to Rosslyn and then off to Vienna, and that was it.

One more amusing thing, though – when I was almost home, I stopped at the Sheetz in Fishersville for gas. And on the order-food-at-the-pumps terminal, I saw something unusual. See anything wrong here?

See anything wrong here?

That looks like the famous Windows “Blue Screen of Death” to me! That means that their computer has crashed. Don’t believe me? Look up close:

Windows "Blue Screen of Death" at Sheetz in Fishersville

That was a bit of a surprise to me. I wasn’t ordering food so I didn’t need to use the terminal, but it was an interesting thing to see. I reported the Blue Screen of Death to the manager on duty, though, so I’ve done my good deed.

Next DC trip: Inaugural protest!

Web site: Wikipedia article on the Blue Screen of Death

Song: "Thank You For Being A Friend" by Andrew Gold

Quote: "This train is now out of service due to an emergency. All customers must exit the train at this time." - The train operator as she offloaded our train

Categories: DC trips, Sheetz, WMATA