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May 7, 2010, 8:24 PM

So I was going to lunch at Lawson’s with a bunch of my coworkers today, and we saw this when we got to Dupont Circle:

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Categories: WMATA

Orange Line to New Carrollton…

May 2, 2010, 11:06 PM

That about sums things up for Saturday, along with “Orange Line to Vienna”. See, I went railfanning with Matthew Tilley on Saturday, and our goal was to railfan the heck out of the Orange Line, with the goal of getting good photos of a lot of the stations for Transit Center and Wikipedia.

In doing this, we planned to cross the Orange Line twice. Once out to New Carrollton, and once back in to Vienna. On the run out to New Carrollton, we concentrated on the outdoor stations. The idea was that since we needed daylight to get good shots of the outdoor stations, we would do those first. Then we would do the underground stations after that, since they would look the same regardless of what time of day it was.

So starting with Vienna (I drove out to Vienna to start), we did Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, and East Falls Church, and then jumped over to Minnesota Avenue, Deanwood, Cheverly, Landover, and finally New Carrollton. We took a break at New Carrollton, and then turned around and did Potomac Avenue, Eastern Market, Capitol South, and Federal Center SW. Then we skipped over to Court House, Clarendon, and Virginia Sq-GMU. Then we went over to Ballston for dinner, and then back to Vienna.

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Categories: Matthew, WMATA

Now you KNEW that those service cuts were just grandstanding on Metro’s part…

April 30, 2010, 10:49 PM

I was saying it all along, that the proposed Metro service cuts were just grandstanding in order for the public to support a big fare increase. And the public took the bait – hook, line, and sinker. And now it looks like the riders will be forced to eat most of Metro’s budget shortfall. I cringe when I think about what my commute will cost once this fare increase goes into effect. I already pay $9.90 for a day’s commuting with Metro’s “temporary” ten-cent increase in effect. And with this increase being “the largest fare increase in its history” according to The Washington Post, it’s going to cost a lot to get from my house to the office and back.

Now one thing that I find interesting is that one of the options on the table is a $4.00 flat fee for late night service on weekends. I’ve been saying for a while that Metro needs to implement a flat fare for the rail system. Most other rail systems are like that, including the New York Subway. Ride anywhere, and it costs the same amount. It would make figuring out your fare so much easier, and eliminate all the large signage about fares that have to be individualized for each station. All you have to say is “Peak fare is $3.50” and “Off-peak fare is $2.50” (pulling these numbers out of the air here for purposes of illustration) and you’re done. Load $7 or $5 for a round trip, and you’ve got it, regardless of where you’re going. Of course, if Metro Board member and DC councilman Jim Graham has his way, there won’t even be a late-night flat fare.

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Categories: WMATA

I have conquered the 4000-Series…

April 12, 2010, 12:19 AM

Yes, I have conquered the 4000-Series. And by that, I mean these:

Breda 4099 at Franconia-Springfield
(By the way, the truly dedicated Metro enthusiast ought to be able to tell me what day I took this photo)

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Categories: WMATA

It’s raining, and wouldn’t you know it…

February 22, 2010, 8:08 PM

It’s raining, and wouldn’t you know it, I left my umbrella on the Metro coming home. I find this kind of ironic for two reasons.

First of all, while I was still at work, one of my coworkers wanted to take the umbrella, thinking I had pinched this one that had been sitting abandoned in a corner for about six months or so. I told him that this one was my “work” umbrella, and that the other one was still there.

Then secondly, when I got into my seat, I noticed that someone else had already forgotten an umbrella in that same seat. Then on the long ride back to Glenmont, I took one of my famous Metro naps. I woke up as we were pulling into Glenmont (going over the switch south of Glenmont tends to wake me up), and got off the train. The train went out of service at Glenmont, and headed for the yard. Then as I was riding the escalator up to the street, I realized it – no umbrella. Crap. Well, there goes ten bucks. So I saw that some poor schmuck had left their umbrella in the seat, and then left a second one to go with it.

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Categories: Furniture, WMATA

Another gutter bites the dust…

February 7, 2010, 1:36 PM

Yes, another gutter bit the dust, this time on the other side of me:

Another gutter bites the dust  Another gutter bites the dust

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Categories: Snowmageddon, WMATA

I am ready to be snowed in…

February 5, 2010, 12:22 AM

I am ready to be snowed in this weekend. The Sable is safely parked, and the cabinets are full. I am set. My castle is stocked up. Bring it on, nature.

Otherwise, today I discovered that adults can be just as bad as children when it comes to getting revved up about a potential snow day. All I heard today was, “Do you think we’re going to get tomorrow off?” I was all, noooooooo, since I think that the Feds have already decided on their course of action. They’re operating under an unscheduled leave policy for Friday, which for us basically means show up. Now whether they close early once the snow starts coming down is another story.

Meanwhile, speaking of snow days, when I was in school, I always just wanted to strangle those teachers that acted like it was our fault for missing school due to bad winter weather when we grumbled about having to go to school on Memorial Day for make-up days. These teachers that would say, “You had your Memorial Day back in January!” Big help. Like it’s my fault that it snowed. I remember my seventh grade year was hell for that kind of thing. We had something like 16 snow days that year. Thus we had no days off of any kind except for weekends from the last snow day in March through to like June 16 plus one Saturday (yes, we had one make-up day on a Saturday). And when you couple that with the fact that my homeroom teacher was a real d—–bag, it made for a very rough year. This particular teacher even made fun of me (in a mean way) in front of the whole class when he presented me my perfect attendance certificate at the end of the year. I had better attendance than he did that year, and he made fun of me

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Categories: Snowmageddon, Walmart, WMATA

This is a photo set that was long in coming…

January 31, 2010, 2:38 PM

I just released the UNITE HERE Picket Photography set. This was a long time in coming. When I attended this event on June 20, I originally planned to just do a Journal entry about the event. I was going to write about it on the night of Monday, June 22. But then the Metro accident happened that evening, and I ended up writing about that instead. Thus the UNITE HERE event got bumped. It was the Photo Feature that week, but nothing else was said about it.

Now, it’s part of Photography, and is one of two planned 2009 sets (the other being the teabagger march). I suppose it worked out well for the event. Rather than getting some discussion in the Journal and moving on, it got a full-page spread, with 35 pictures rather than a select few. And I got a chance to experiment again with Photography set layout. This time, I went for staggered rows. I’m still deciding how the format will look, and this one looks good, but the photos seem a little too close together.

And the weird thing about this group of photos is that every time I’ve published a photo from this event on the site, Metro has had an accident involving their rolling stock. I posted a photo as the Photo Feature on June 21, and the next day, Metro had a major collision on the Red Line. Then I ran a different photo during the week of Thanksgiving, and while that one was up, the yard collision at Falls Church happened. Very weird coincidence, if you ask me. I’m almost afraid with posting 35 photos from this event that an elevated structure will collapse or something. Let’s hope not.

So with another Photography set published, I want to know once again what you think. I’m trying something out, and so let me know!

Categories: Schumin Web meta, WMATA

Yes, it is possible…

January 10, 2010, 12:19 PM

Yes, it is possible that Metro can have all of its elevators working at the same time. Take a look:

Elevator Outage: No Reported Elevator Outages

I saw this at Glenmont on the way into DC on Saturday for an Anon raid. I know – I’m as surprised as you are. But Metro actually did get all 200-some elevators working at the same time for once. This just amazes me.

It’s kind of like when Metro actually has all three escalators at Dupont Circle’s south entrance working at the same time. I am similarly amazed whenever I see that. That happens about once a month or so, and yesterday was it. Otherwise, it’s fairly common to see one or two escalators down for repairs, with one running up, one gated, and one as a walker.

Categories: WMATA

I’m surprised that this made it through…

December 14, 2009, 7:48 PM

A friend recently referred me to a Dr. Gridlock column where Les Dorr Jr. of Frederick, Maryland wrote this:

Is Metro trying to increase public confidence by renumbering the 1000-series rail cars? I ride the Red Line every workday, and recently I’ve been aboard two very old, obviously 1000-series cars that had “4000” series numbers on the end doors.

Dr. Gridlock was very cordial about this accusation being slung at Metro, saying, among other things, this:

The 4000 series of 100 cars, built by Breda, entered service in the early 1990s. The 1000 series is scheduled to be replaced beginning in 2014. But the 4000 series also is reaching an important milestone: A midlife rehabilitation needs to be done over the next few years, at a cost of more than $1.5 million per car.

If I were going to fake a number in the Metro fleet, I would have picked something higher than 4000. Still, riders would see through it: The cars are very obviously showing their age.

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Categories: DC area local news, WMATA

You know, I didn’t expect the “bellying” of the 1000-Series cars to be proven to be window dressing so soon…

December 4, 2009, 8:27 PM

You may recall that after the June 22, 2009 collision on the Red Line, where Rohr 1079 telescoped on impact, Metro decided to sandwich the Rohr cars in between cars of other series in order to allegedly protect them in the event of a future collision, which Metro called “bellying”. The idea was that in a collision, the newer rail cars, allegedly of stronger construction than the Rohrs, would take the force of impact and leave the Rohrs unharmed.

I said at the time that if Metro was going to put the 1000-Series cars in the center of consists, they should do the same for the 4000-Series cars as well, since the first telescoping incident in 1996 involved Breda cars. Others derided Metro’s decision to put the Rohr cars in the center of consists, calling it a public relations move to make the public feel safer, but providing no real safety advantage. After thinking about it, I tended to agree. Seems that the critics were proven right, though I think that everyone involved, from Catoe and right down the line at Metro, as well as the riding public, had hoped never to find out if the idea was a good one or a bad one.

In the wee hours of Sunday, November 29, Metro had its second collision of 2009 at the Falls Church Yard off the K Route (Orange Line) in Fairfax County, Virginia. What happened is that train 902, which was the final Orange Line train of the night, was returning to the yard, and getting into position to be cleaned by yard workers. As it was approaching its final position, it managed to collide with the train ahead of it. There were no fatalities, but two yard workers and the operator of train 902 went to the hospital, and were treated and released. Three cars were believed to be damaged beyond repair, though all twelve cars involved sustained at least some damage.

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Categories: WMATA

Metro decides to close National Airport station over Labor Day weekend. Ummm…

September 2, 2009, 10:24 PM

So the big news today was that Metro was closing National Airport station over Labor Day weekend.

According to Metro’s press release about the closure, the work will involve a complete replacement of the Pentagon City interlocking, replacement of about 2,000 feet of track, maintenance of the aerial structure leading to and including National Airport station, and conduct fire line maintenance. The work appears to be preventative maintenance, and that’s a good thing.

However, the choice of weekends is not. Yes, this is fairly extensive work that basically requires a three-day weekend to complete in order to avoid major rush hour delays. However, choosing Labor Day weekend in particular to do it is a Bad Thing. After all, with it being the traditional last weekend of summer, people are traveling, and that means flying. And I’d expect that a number of people will have chosen to fly out of and into Washington National Airport. And Metro has cut the station serving the airport off from the rest of the system, closing it along with Pentagon City and Crystal City. Thus the line between Braddock Road and Huntington and Franconia-Springfield will be operating with trains, though who knows how, and then riders will have to take shuttle buses between there and Pentagon station, with stops at the closed stations. So in order to access Washington National Airport by public transit, people will have to take a shuttle bus.

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Categories: WMATA

Themed subway cars. Now there’s an idea…

August 23, 2009, 11:15 PM

I was listening to the podcast of the August 1 broadcast of Car Talk, and they had this to say regarding public transportation:

Tom: I think we have to use your idea of – my brother has a brilliant idea. Not enough people use public transportation. His contention is that the people who run the public transportation business, subways and buses, especially the subway which we have here in the city of Boston. They try… they almost make it difficult for you and unpleasant.
Ray: They took all the fun out of it.
Tom: They took all the fun out of it.
Ray: They’ve sucked the life out of it.
Tom: Sucked the life out of the train. Like in Washington DC, you can’t eat a donut, you can’t drink a cup of coffee, you can’t do anything, you can’t spit, you can’t smoke a cigar… My brother thinks that all the public transportation systems should have theme cars.
Caller: Theme cars…
Tom: Theme. So that you can go in the “cha cha” car. And there would be band, bands in there, playing, people dancing, and…
Ray: Yeah, Xavier Cugat, would fit right in there!
Tom: Xavier Cugat! Or you could have the cigar-smoking car, or you could have… I mean, there’s no end to the number of themes that they could come up with, so that people would be fighting, paying hundreds of dollars to get on the train.

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Categories: Radio, WMATA

“Will play for tuition”?

July 10, 2009, 6:14 AM

You know, one thing I love about Dupont Circle is that you never know what you’ll see coming to/from the Metro. Today, coming back from the Metro, I ran into this scene:


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Categories: Washington DC, WMATA

I saw this picture, and…

July 2, 2009, 9:32 PM

I saw this picture on the front page of the Express on my way to work this morning, and it scared the heck out of me at first:

Sears Tower ledges
Photo: Kichiro Sato/AP

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Categories: News, WMATA