Sunday, February 3, 2013

Service Change: Amtrak Northeast Regional and the 6 - Lexington Avenue Local

This weekend, I went to New York to see Cinderella on Broadway, and I took some fun train rides while I was away. To get to New York, we took Amtrak down. It's nice being able to enter the station and be able to immediately board the train. At an airport, you have to get your baggage checked, go through security, etc. Anyway, the train starts going extremely slow to Back Bay (which is laughably close to South Station). Don't be fooled, though. The train passes Forest Hills in under 10 minutes. The train is also pretty quiet and very relaxing. The food on the train is all right, definitely better than the food you get on a plane. Walking through the cars is also really fun.

It gets cold in this area between cars. See the button to open it?
But the most interesting part about the ride is the things to see. You can see cornfields, rock piles, sand piles,   big cities, small towns, a little bird in the water surrounded by ice, two little boats next to the track, a huge boatyard, blue water with a thin ice sheet, some playgrounds, a huge highway bridge, a tipped walkway, a statue of a whale, an old shack, a quarry, a bunch of foot-high trees, an auto junkyard, a trailer park, abandoned buildings, a baseball stadium, a bunch of birds swarming a building, a trampoline, barbed wire, and a LOT of graffiti. There's just so much to see, I never touched my reading material during the ride. Plus, you have no idea how satisfying it is to pass huge traffic jams on I-95. I don't see much point in taking the Acela express, since it makes most of the stops anyway. Nonetheless, it's a great way of getting to New York, or any of the other stations on the route.

After dealing with the crowds on the New York subway, Boston seems extremely tame. My father and I rode the subway at 10:45 at night, and we still couldn't get a seat. Also, on the New York subway, you'll see things like people lying down, sleeping in the subway car. And while we were riding, someone shouted "F*** that s***!" I've never seen that in Boston. Anyway, I forced myself to wake up early, so my father and I could take a subway ride. We were originally going to take the J (Nassau Street Express to Jamaica Center), which runs almost all above ground. However, there were some service complications, so we ended up on the 6 (Lexington Avenue Local to Pelham Bay Park).

Wrong train! Argh! By the way, no one make any comments on my weird hat.
After a relatively short wait (despite being a Sunday morning), we got on. Again, it was a Sunday morning, so there weren't too many people on the train. As we rode, I observed the train. The seats are much less comfortable than the cushion-y seats on the Red Line, but the New York ones are more durable. The trains are subject to graffiti, unfortunately, and there's always some form of litter on them. The stations, though simple, aren't very aesthetically pleasing. There's always a bunch of paint chipping, and there's always a bunch of litter on the tracks. The thing I love about the trains, though, is the destination displays. In Boston, they just say the next stop and the destination, depending on how close you are to the station. In New York, though, they say the time, the next stop, and the destination in a cycle. It's much better, I think.

Seriously, these are so cool!
The trains also have really cool maps inside them. In Boston, the in-car maps just show the route. In New York, they tell you the boroughs on the line, the direction you're going, and the station you're at. On the map, the lit up stations are the ones you have left, and the station you're at blinks. It's so cool!

I can't get enough of this map!
Anyway, due to construction, the 6 was running express northbound. It goes above ground after Hunts Point Ave. There were a lot of interesting businesses to see, and the snow made everything more beautiful. It also made it easier for my father to observe heat loss in each apartment building. There was a particularly fun part where the train went on a bridge over a huge train yard. Finally, we reached the terminal at Pelham Bay Park. You could see huge trees in the park from the station. I was a bit surprised, though, that at the terminus the track just stopped. In Boston, there's usually a yard or a turnaround loop or something. Oh, well. Overall, both rides were extremely fun. Also, you can't help loving New York.

Me and my weird hat again.

17 comments:

  1. lol like the hat dude. ;)
    -AD

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    1. Wait... ANIKA!!!!! ...I think? I don't know. Thanks for commenting, whoever you are.

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    2. O YA ITS ME ;)
      -AD

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    3. Yeah, I have such instincts, don't I?

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    4. o ya totally, you should change your name (for ur blog) to Miles T Rider
      HAHA get it?! like T in the circle thingy???
      -AD

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    5. I think it's a good name, but the thing is, "Miles on the MBTA" is likely to get more Google searches.

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  2. Some of the trains or train cars do not have the cool thing saying what stop it is, which makes it very annoying if you are listening to music or reading a book on the T and get off at the stop because you were zoned out. That happened to once. Was not very fun.

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    1. Yes, it is annoying when you ride cars that don't announce the stops. Did you know that there's actually one person that does the stop announcements on the entire system? Here's the link to an interview with him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk7z2kiHAKY

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  3. How many miles on the MBTA have you actually traveled?

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    1. Shouldn't you be keeping track? Your title implies that you are going to ride all 1,193 of them. How are you going to know when you ridden them all?

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    2. Probably when he's gone to every station and taken every bus route. Sadly, at that point, the blog will go on a long hiatus until new stations are made (or maybe he'll focus on service changes).

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  4. I've taken that train ride on Amtrak back and forth to NY so many times I couldn't begin to count. I even have an Amtrak frequent rider card where I get discounts and free trips not and then. And I never get sick of the view. Hey, next time you're in NY I bet you'd enjoy the 7 train. Though the J will be great too.

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    1. My test for seeing if a New York subway ride is fun: I go onto Google Maps and check if it goes above ground at all. The 7 does indeed look like a fun ride. I might look into it.

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  5. I'm totally weirded out by the weirdness of your weird hat...lol jk i love it :)

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    1. My weird hat is happy that you love it.

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