Friday, November 29, 2013

Breaking the Record: An Account of the Biggest MBTA Adventure Ever

As most of you know, Adham Fisher and I broke the record for fastest time travelling through every MBTA station. This account, however, will most likely not be one of my best works. It may even be downright boring. The thing is, I can't actually disclose the route in case someone uses it to break our record (if you want to break it, do it fairly). Sure, everyone knows we ended at Ashmont and Mattapan, since that's where all the reporters were, but I'm not revealing anything else. Therefore, this account will be simply in line order.

Preliminaries: My father was nice enough to drive us to the first station, at the lovely hour of 6 in the morning. Right after he left us, we found out that Adham's credit card didn't work on CharlieCard machines, so we had to quickly find an ATM before starting.

Red (Main trunk portion, from Alewife to JFK/UMASS): It was at Davis that we met up with Steven Beaucher, the owner of WardMaps. He was with us for much of the journey, but not the whole thing. Other than that, there wasn't much of note on this stretch (although Adham really liked the view from the Longfellow bridge by Charles/MGH. If you haven't been over there before, I consider it the best view on the system).

Red (Braintree Branch): This was when we were starting to hear of the camera crews at Ashmont. Steven had been Tweeting about what we were doing, and Adham was making calls to lots of different journalists. A Commuter Rail train would've made the trip back to JFK/UMASS a lot faster, but our train was a few minutes late.

Red (Ashmont Branch): We were on the home stretch by this point. When we got to Ashmont, we were very surprised to see an entire film crew. Over the course of the the trip, not many people had actually asked us what we were doing. There were only about three or four people who did, including a guy who pointed at an article in the Metro and asked Adham, "Are you this guy?" This made the crew all the more surprising. Unfortunately, we still had the Mattapan High Speed Line to do, but everyone was taking pictures of Adham and interviewing us. The driver was actually getting mad at us, as the train was supposed to leave. We had to move to the station lobby. After missing two trolleys, we finally managed to get everyone onto one and head off to Mattapan.

Red (Mattapan High Speed Line): This portion of the trip was mostly spent doing more interviews. I did point out when the trolley was going through the graveyard, which is a very unique part of the line. When we got to Mattapan, Adham jumped out of the train and let out a moan when reading the stopwatch: 8 hours, 5 minutes, and 16 seconds. This was an hour and a half later than our original planned time. We were all satisfied, nonetheless, and I at least had had a great deal of fun that day.

Orange (South): Nothing of note, except for a long run going by some of the most infamous housing projects in Boston. They seemed fine when we went through.

Orange (North): We were planning to take a bus from Sullivan, but we were very behind and had missed it by a long shot. We were scurrying around trying to find schedules, and then chasing after buses that were only laying over for 20 minutes. We ended up getting on the right one, but we had wasted a lot of time running around that stupid busway.

Blue: At Bowdoin (BOW-doin, as Adham called it), we almost got to go around that really tight loop, but the doors closed before we could get in. Other than that, nothing much happened on this line. It was Adham's favorite, though - he said he liked the "spaceship look" of the trains, as well as the stations, particularly Bowdoin and Maverick.

Green (Central Subway):
Adham [at Kenmore]: Wait, why is that train on the other track going our direction? [train on other track leaves] No! [another train on other track arrives] Great, what's this?
Miles: We're a B, the train that just left was a D, and that train is a C.
Adham: I give up!

Green (B Branch): This was, in my opinion, the deal breaker for the trip. The B was bunching, first of all. There were two trains in a row, then shortly behind was another two trains. We were the train ahead in the second pair, and it was packed. So much, in fact, that the driver was kicking people off, saying "there's a train right behind us." Adham also lost his gloves in the madness. To top it off, it was going insanely slow, a hallmark of the B.

Green (C Branch): The C went pretty well. The train wasn't that crowded and it moved quickly down Beacon Street. Nothing much of note happened here, except for the longest, steepest, and overall worst run on the whole trip.

Green (D Branch): The D was quite fast, as usual. There were supposedly delays, although none that we could see. However, Adham dropped his camera right when we were about to get off. Somehow the off button fell out, but we had to leave it behind when the doors opened. The camera still worked, luckily.

Green (E Branch): The E was surprisingly quick. We unfortunately just missed one when we got to the station, though, and had to wait another 10 minutes or so. I was expecting the portion where it runs with traffic to be miserable, but it wasn't that bad.

A few fans and me.
Adham, me, and another fan.
Steven and me - I look really weird in this photo.
And finally, Adham and me.
UPDATE: I can't believe I made it through this entire post without a "weird hat" reference! Oops, too late.

3 comments:

  1. NIce miles, You don't know who this is but I'll just say congrats kid.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations, Miles! Really cool.
    Eric Cornell

    ReplyDelete

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