• The 2009 Metro railfan trip

  • Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.
Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

Moderators: mtuandrew, therock, Robert Paniagua

  by tommyboy6181
 
Hi everyone...I am back from my vacation to DC and figured post details my railfan trip.

Last Friday, I arrived in Washington, and ended up staying with family. The real fun started Saturday morning early as I would spend most of the day in the system. The first part of Saturday, I entered in at Tenleytown-AU station, and for the first time ever, did NOT end up getting a Rohr on my first trip using the system. (Using the system for the first time in 1996 and every time after, I somehow ended up by chance getting a Rohr.) Instead, I ended up riding on Breda #3165 and would do so until Metro Center. This was a 6 car mixed consist of 3k rehabs (4) and 4k (2). From there, I switched to the orange line and ended up on Breda #3061 until Federal Triangle. Again, this was a mixed consist being led by 5k cars (2) and 3k rehabs (4). I learned a while back that Federal Triangle tends to work easier for the American History museum.

After visiting there and the Natural History museum, a first time event happened. I finally got to ride a 5k. My first trip was on CAF #5047. This was another mixed consist with 5k (4) and 3k rehabs (2). I took this back to Metro Center and then another first happened...an 8 car train on the red line. This was, you guessed it...another mixed consist being led by 4k cars (4) and 3k rehabs (4). I ended up boarding Breda #4041 which was leading the train. It was interesting hearing the TO keep saying "do not crowd in 1 spot...spread out...there are 6 doors on each car...1 or 2 cars may be at capacity but the rest of the train is available..."

At that point, I rode to Tenleytown to drop off some things and then had a dinner date with a friend of mine that I met back home before she moved to take a job in DC. Reboarding the Metro at Tenleytown, I finally caught the Rohr I was expecting at some point, boarding on #1068. This was an all-Rohr 6 car train, and the only time my entire trip that I would get a solid train instead of a mixed consist. I took this to Metro Center and made the 2 block walk to Old Ebbitt Grill. To my surprise, the doors closing light above the doors actually worked on this car.

After dinner, me and my friend made the walk to Gallery Place so we could get on the green/yellow lines without having to transfer. This marked another milestone...my first time ever on a 6k train. I borded Alstom #6047 and rode up to Columbia Heights. This also marks the first time I have ever ridden the mid-city green/yellow line segment between Gallery Place and Fort Totten. It was a mixed train, having 6k cars (4) and 3k rehabs (2). Getting off at Columbia Heights, I stopped in DC USA and after saying goodbye to my friend, back to the Metro I went.

Since there was time, I figured do another first...ride up to Fort Totten and take the red line back to Tenleytown. I boarded Breda #3072 and this was a mixed train, having 3k rehabs (4) and 6k cars (2). From there, trackwork on the Red Line was causing single-tracking between Fort Totten and Silver Spring. However, 2 minutes later, I boarded my 2nd 8 car train during the trip, going on CAF #5162. This train had 5k cars (6) and 3k rehabs (2). This ends my first day in the Metro since 2007.

On Sunday, I ended up heading back downtown since there were some other places I wanted to visit. I ended up driving up on Connecticut Ave NW and decided to board the Metro at Van Ness-UDC and ride down to Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan for the zoo. This trip started by boarding Breda #4046 in a mixed consist with 4k cars (4) and 3k rehabs (2). After a little while at the zoo, back to Woodley Park and the next leg of the trip which saw me boarding CAF #5056 down to Gallery Place. This train had a little bit of everything...5k cars (2), 3k rehabs (2), and 4k cars (2).

After visiting the National Portrait Gallery and spending time near the Verizon Center, it was time to ride back to Tenleytown, and to finish the trip, ended up boarding Rohr #1052. This train had a combination of 1k cars (2), 3k rehabs (2), and 4k cars (2). Even more interesting, this is the only Rohr car that I have seen "AC" not displayed below the car number on the bulkhead door, just like the 2/3k rehabs.

I'm glad I was able to spend more time in the system and finally get a ride on the 5k/6k cars as these were the only cars that I had not yet ridden. This means I have now ridden all types of rolling stock used in the system. It was also nice to catch a couple of 8 car trains, as these had not been widely used 2 years ago. I finally rode the mid-city green/yellow line segment and on the original outdoor segment of the red line. This means I have now ridden the red line from Grosvenor to Fort Totten, the blue/orange lines from Metro Center to L'Enfant Plaza, and the green/yellow lines from Fort Totten to L'Enfant Plaza. Had there been more time, I would have definitely ridden the yellow line down towards Huntington.

An interesting fact...even with this trip, I still have never been on a train with a working interior LED display.

As for the 5k/6k trains, I prefer the Alstom cars. When riding on the CAF trains, they seemed to not want to stop or would be very jerky in the braking. Granted, the 8 car trains are run in manual mode, but even in automatic on a 6 car train, they seemed jerkier than anything else. On the Alstom, I do like that the middle poles are gone, and they seemed to have the smoothest and quietest ride. Then again, they're new, but are impressive. Last but not least, if this was my last time catching a Rohr car on a train, I am glad to have had it on my final trip in the system on this vacation. The Rohrs were my first Metro car that I was introduced to and glad that I got to finish a nice vacation riding them.

Here are a few pictures below. Sorry about the picture quality as they were done by cell phone.
road trip 159.jpg
road trip 006.jpg
road trip 188.jpg
  by realtype
 
Thanks for posting. The majority of the sets on the Red Line are mixed these days, and the Rohrs are becoming more and more uncommon. It isn't surprising at all that you rode a 6K car on the Green Line, as that's practically all they operate (although I have ridden Rohr and 4K unit trains this week). It looks like you stayed underground on all your rides. Next time you visit you should try to take the Red Line up to Silver Spring, or the Yellow Line to Reagan Airport.
  by tommyboy6181
 
I did end up riding the red line above ground from Ft. Totten to Union Station for the first time and that was practically about it this trip due to time constraints. I also caught a nice lightning show between those 2 stations this past Satuday. The yellow line down to Huntington is definitely high on the priority list next time around.
  by Robert Paniagua
 
Not to mention try going to the Shady Grove Red Line, including the Grosvenor-Strathmore/1-495/Rockville Pike Flyover as soon as you pop out of the Medical Center Portal, which shoots up to that flyover, it's great to ride over the median strip of the Rockville pike towards Grosvenor-Strathmore before it goes into a downgrade thru the rest of the way to Shady Grove
  by tommyboy6181
 
The Rockville Pike/I-495 flyover to Grosvenor is a nice stretch, and I have ridden that section before. There is nothing like that stretch from being in an open cut to about 40 ft above ground in the flyover to going around 100 ft underground at Medical Center. And I do remember my ears always popping in that transition. The banked turns also make it interesting. IMO, Grosvenor is one of the nicer above ground stations in the system just based on its setting.
  by Sand Box John
 
"tommyboy6181"
There is nothing like that stretch from being in an open cut to about 40 ft above ground in the flyover to going around 100 ft underground at Medical Center. And I do remember my ears always popping in that transition.


The change in elevation is not the reason why your ears are poping. What is causing your ears to pop is the abrupt change in air pressure as the train passes an open vent shaft. The front of the train is pushed the air up the vent shaft. When the train hits the stiller air beyond open vent shaft the pressure increases.

The same phenomena happen when passing the open vent shafts on either side of the Potomac River. When the vent shafts are closed there is no abrupt change in air pressure and no popping of the ears.
  by realtype
 
Sand Box John wrote:"tommyboy6181"
There is nothing like that stretch from being in an open cut to about 40 ft above ground in the flyover to going around 100 ft underground at Medical Center. And I do remember my ears always popping in that transition.


The change in elevation is not the reason why your ears are poping. What is causing your ears to pop is the abrupt change in air pressure as the train passes an open vent shaft. The front of the train is pushed the air up the vent shaft. When the train hits the stiller air beyond open vent shaft the pressure increases.

The same phenomena happen when passing the open vent shafts on either side of the Potomac River. When the vent shafts are closed there is no abrupt change in air pressure and no popping of the ears.
Interesting. The same thing happens to me--a few seconds after I enter the tunnel inbound to Medical Center my ears pop. I always thought it was because we were going really deep underground. The few times I've taken the Green Line between Ft Totten and Gallery Pl, I've felt it also. Thanks for the explanation.
  by tommyboy6181
 
What is causing your ears to pop is the abrupt change in air pressure as the train passes an open vent shaft. The front of the train is pushed the air up the vent shaft. When the train hits the stiller air beyond open vent shaft the pressure increases.

The same phenomena happen when passing the open vent shafts on either side of the Potomac River. When the vent shafts are closed there is no abrupt change in air pressure and no popping of the ears.
I always thought it was something with the elevation, so thank you for the correct explanation. That actually didn't happen this time between the transition from Rhode Island Ave to Union Station, or between Columbia Heights and Fort Totten. Yet it always did the time I rode between Grosvenor and Medical Center.
  by Sand Box John
 
"realtype"
Interesting. The same thing happens to me--a few seconds after I enter the tunnel inbound to Medical Center my ears pop. I always thought it was because we were going really deep underground.


What is causing your ears to pop at the Pooks Hill tunnel portal is the increase in air pressure as the train hits the still air in the tunnel beyond the portal.

MS Live Search Pooks Hill tunnel portal:

Notice the tapered tunnel roof at the portal. Those tapers were put in to make the air pressure change more gradual.

More the a dozen and half of the portals in the system have tapered roofs ahead of the tunnel openings.