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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Baltimore Trains and Buses

Trains and Buses
(Yes, Virginia, there really is a B&O Railroad other than Monopoly)

OK, so in the last post, I showed you the sights but how do you get around without going broke? In Baltimore, easy. In Baltimore there are three mass transit systems. (1) the standard buses. (2) the Electric trains, and (3) the FREE bus system. Did mention the word FREE? Good. 

So I didn't get a shot of the standard bus. It was bitterly cold the day I shot the buses and I simply didn't get one. But the other two were interesting. 

First, lets look at the electric trains. Some were shot but others were very long. 

 Here are two that were very long. 

These even require unusual traffic signs. If you were in the that little silver car and a train was approaching, you would observe a sign telling you no left turn. OK, you would see the train coming toward you. BUT, what if the train was going the SAME way you were going and the train is on the right side of the road. (Imagine the little car headed the other way). You would see large electric "No Right Turn" signs light up as the train approached you from the rear. You have to stay on your toes so to speak with the trains near you. 

The electric pickup device of the train. The rails on the ground are not electrified. 

Now, about that FREE part. 

There is a set of buses called the Charm City Circulators that travel in a set loop. One goes north. Another goes East - West. And another goes Southeast to Fort McHenry. (It's coming up) You just wait at the appropriate stop and when they pull up, you hop on. They come by about every 10 to 20 minutes. Important note! The stops for these buses are not the same as the other buses. Be forewarned, I told you so! There are free maps all over the city and the stop vary from great to a sign on a pole. The nice ones have benches with a shelter from that 25 degree wind chill. The sometimes also had a LED screen that showed the estimated time of the next bus. (They were not that common). The only problem I ever had was I forgot which street I was on and as I walked up tot he corner, the bus kept going. A quick look at my bus map showed the stop was one block over. (And 15 minutes in the cold). Other than that, it was a great time. I was able to travel to any major part of the city and quickly walk the rest of the way to wherever I wanted. // A word of warning, don't be on the bus at 2:45 to 3:00 PM. The bus I was on was filled with school kids when school let out. Luckily they were off within minutes. Apparently the regular school buses carry the students to locations far away and they handle the nearby students. 

A nice night shot of the electric train. 

I tried panning , moving the camera to track the train. You can see the blur of the background through the windows. 


And a little mystery. I notice the bumps in the road. Nobody knew for sure why there were there except most guessed they were to keep cars from getting on the electric train path. Good guess except for the fact they were nowhere else in the city that I could find. There were only on this short stretch of road. 

I didn't realize I caught the words on the bus until I got home and processed the images. Now about that person in post one that pulled up and parked in the middle of my shot. 

Trains are cool. I had a train set as a kid and about 10 years ago, I pulled it out and set it up on Christmas eve night for my kids. As old as they wee, they were enthralled with it. Forget the electronic stuff, this was cool. I still have it and occasionally set it up. (Guess I need to do it this year for Christmas) 

So Sunday in the cold I hoped on one of the free buses and rode out to the railroad museum. And yes there really is a B&O railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.

Imagine having to fill that diesel tank up! It is the width of the engine. I would hate to do it on a cold day (like the day I was there). 

 End of the line. 

A little bit of history. 

The Eisenhower car. 

 I always though the wheel of a train were shaped like an upside down U wrapping around the rail. But they don't because they can't. Look carefully at this cross over set of rails. The only way for the wheel to pass over it is if the wheels extend down on the inside part of the rail and ride on top of the rail, but they cannot extend downward on the outside of the rail.

 The Chesapeake and Ohio. 


Looks just like the old HO scale railroad car I had (and still have) as a kid. 

 Next, Fort McHenry and the Star Spangled Banner! 

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