Sunday, July 15, 2018

Unfortunate Setting.

At some point between when my last post began and when it was posted, I came across some very unfortunate information. I planned to take the commuter rail north from North Station to a point on the route of the Downeaster. In testing my links on my prospective itinerary, I found the trains on this route was not running this week, due to track work. The stations were being served with buses and the Downeaster was changing routes into Boston.

This meant revisions to the old itinerary. I try to come up with the Haverhill line or another one. So I am examining other lines out of North Station and how they effect my trip. I will do that even as I go. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Reading and Train Watching.

As I was city preparing for my trip this week, I not plan to watch any trains this afternoon. What I did though as I was looking for a place to read or a few minutes, and to prepare my Sunday school lesson for  Tomorrow, which I will be teaching. I thought about maybe reading a little bit in the train station, or on the platform. So that was led me To carry station, and I watched the 3:10 arrive. 

I did take some reading while sitting on the platform in the shade. I'm comfortable today temperature wise. I decide to wait a couple of hours and read here at the station. I'm waiting for the roughly 5:30 train to come in, the Carolinian, South. I have never watch it come back so this is unique. Also I am watching at the train station rather than another place along the line, which I usually prefer.

Of course this means taking my video off the camera tonight, it may be added, it maybe not. About to go in take our some comfort station items, do some reading indoors in the air conditioning. I still have decided about taking my camera DSLR. As far as I am thinking Now, I may not need, or best not use that camera. Most of my watching will be trains, and video rather then  Still pictures. Whoever's pictures I take common gimme taken with a phone. The other option is to take the video, and drove off still pictures from the video.

The Carolinian finally comes, I read until then:

Dinner at home, take out, and edit video and take it off the camera.

Friday and Leave Monday

I have begun getting my stuff organized before packing. I spent the last week getting the setting updated on Video. First concern, after this, is video power supply. I have four power packs: three 4 hour and one 2 hour, so a full supply of 14 hour, for my camcorder. That is plenty for the week, I would think, but I will take along a charger, just in case. My last camcorder used power when it was on. This camcorder only is on when the viewer is activated. So, the batteries last longer.

Bad news, however, Last night my phone died. I need to go and get a new one. It is more than just battery, I am afraid. This means learning a new phone, as I go. I would prefer to have at least a week before it becomes vital.

Back to the batteries: they all have been charged. I charged the portable WiFi. I don't use this as much as I use to. There are many hot spots to handle Internet. I use to serve small churches with no WiFi to connect to, so this portable WiFi, was a necessity. Phone can circumvent the WiFi or create it own. The tablet and computer is another thing. Malls and motels have free WiFi. The same is true of coffee shops and restaurants. But it is good just in case the local WiFi settings are not good.

Later in the day: I did get a new phone. It is an updated version of my last. I has more memory, works faster. It was fortunate that I downloaded all my pictures from the 4th of July, from the phone to the computer. Some people keep all their pictures on the phone. I don't. On first opportunity, I copy or transfer them to the computer, to a file I call Data, Photo and Video. That is different than normal files are in a folder called Data. And when those files are not used on a day by day basis, they are put in a folder called Data, Archived. On my backup drive, I have another called Data, Archived Music. This last is due to that I copied and created a lot of mp3's back in the day. I now listen to music on YouTube, so no need taking up that space on the computer but I still don't toss out all that work. I will either leave copies of pictures on the phone or make copies for Google Drive, that I want to share on the phone.

I still need to make sure the apps are where I want them. I still have two days before I leave. I did get the oil changed in the car. One problem. I have two chargers for my devices, that can recharge them away from an outlet. I cannot find the newer one. I have looked in the car, every case I own. Cant find it. I may have enough power to last, I do have access to wall outlets for charging.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Preparations continue, yet too early for real packing. I am updating my electronic gadgets. I go back to before Internet. I got an early start on the Internet and began learning mark up language in order to write web pages. The browsers than, like now use bookmarks. However, you could not organize them like now. You could not place them in subject folders, like now. I did the next best. I created a home page that would start up when my Internet when called. It would contain all my bookmarks for sites that are favorites and looked at frequently. It is not very fancy and very useful. It was organized by topics.

In a revision, a few years ago, I added a window through the page to a google sheet behind, called Notes. O can add and edit the page without leaving the homepage. I have created an android icon so I can access it on phone and tablet. I can put on the note page at home, on the computer and read it on the phone, as well. Some links are outdated and some that I haven't used in a while, and more likely not use them in the future. I went through the page and have been deleted them. Some reorganization needed to find them easily. That is done for now. The computer does not go with me on these excursions but will make it with me to Richmond.

My phone is am Android not a IPhone and my pad is also an Android. Over the years, I have downloaded many apps for both. I use the phone and the pad, a bit different so I need to organize the icons and delete unusable and inappropriate apps. Their organization, after revision will be similar to the Computer. I have added apps that are useful for this excursion. I have added an icon that will bring up my Amtrak E-ticket and projected itinerary. and references for the trip. They will be deleted after the trip is over.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Countdown for Boston

Boston, here I come. I leave for Richmond, Va. a week from Monday. I will spend the night and fool around with friends and others. Off to Boston that evening and overnight, return over the next night, with another night in Richmond. Total of 5 days, Monday through Friday.

Actually, it is almost as much fun to plan as to take these excursions. I have done many plans, one that takes in all the railroad interest in the country, a bit out dated. If I took it I would be on the road for two or more months. Most recently, I explored a trip to Florida. I planned three versions. One to northern Florida and another to Miami. The third took in both. That has been put on hold for now. I am not going south during the summer, for one thing. The other is the building of Brightline fast train. It caused a change in plans when it was opened between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. But, it had to be altered again when Brighline opened its service to Miami. Eventually, the service will extend to Orlando. I may wait until then before taking that excursion.

There has been several excursions in the past that were based on the news. My first was an overnight from Washington, DC to Atlanta, GA and back. That came from projections that Southern RR was giving up on the Crescent. That was a very long time before Southern and NW merged to be NS. Southern eventually turned the Crescent over to Amtrak.

The next was an two day excursion to Springfield MA to watch Amtrak, between Springfield and New Haven, Conn. It was to see the new SPV 2000's that Amtrak was planning to run between Springfield and New Haven. I arrived and they were not in service, yet. I did watch trains on that line as well as in New Haven and Springfield. I got home and in my next issue of Trains, there were pictures of the New SPV 2000's in service. The pictures were taken the week after I was there. If I had waited a week or two for that trip? Actually, that gave me reason to do that trip again.

As I was exploring options for trips, I tested out a possibility from Cary, NC to Chicago. That required a transfer in  Washington, DC to overnight to Chicago, on the Capitol Limited. However, the connection in Washington lacked the full hour for Amtrak to grantee the connection, meaning an overnight layover in the Washington area. It would mean 8 hours to explore Chicago, OK, a part of Chicago. I could go to Navy Pier and up the Willis Tower, and more.

My next destination to explore was Memphis, TN. According to my information, there is one of the few hanging monorails, crossing the river. Add to that streetcars around the city. My research told me that I would have to go to Chicago, spend the day, overnight to Memphis, spend the day in Memphis before returning to Chicago, overnight, than back to Washington, overnight, before returning home. That created two days in Chicago. Hold on, there is more to this trip.

In looking at this trip, it would be a shame to have to stay in a hotel in Washington. Instead, I could do the overnight to Boston, transfer to the Chicago train: the Lake Shore Limited. No motels, overnight to Boston. The train leaves Boston around noon. OK, an interesting side trip is found.

There is another train between Washington and Chicago and goes through West Virginia. It takes longer but impractical for the outbound trip, poor timing on transfers. But saints be praised, I found the return trip would be more accommodating and interesting. The Cardinal goes though Charlottesville, VA and northward to Manassas and Washington. The Virginia Railway Express commuter line goes to Manassas along with the Crescent. So the overnight and most of the day trip from Chicago could give us an overnight motel stay in Manassas. The Manassas to Washington trip could be on a Northeast Regional (to Roanoke VA), the Crescent (from New Orleans, Atlanta, etc.) or the VRE. Of course that would include watching them at many points. This trip will result in stopping at the last train station, build by a major railroad, before Amtrak took over: Prince, WVA and it looks more modern that stations traditionally look.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Final Revisioning

For this itinerary, I decided to arrive via the Rt 128 station. It will be my first watch location for MBTA. I planned for 3 hrs. watching, which include another Northeast Regional and Acela, in addition to MBTA. Commuter Rail will take me to South Station, I will transfer to the Red line to Ashmont and the Mattapan Trolley to Ceder Grove, where I will watch the Maattapan Trolly. Next will be to the airport, Original plans was to watch at another Blue liine staton but that change in thei revision. and than to north station. This trip will take a trip on the MBTA out of North station to Anderson/​Woburn Station on the Lowell line. Here I will see MBTA plus two Amtrak Downeasters. I thought, at first I could choice to take either the MBTA back to Boston, and see the arrival of the next Downeaster, 10 minutes later, or watch that MBTA train and take the next Downeaster back to Boston. Looking at the online reservation, The Downeaster stop in Woburn to discharge passengers, only. I end up my trip where the green line is above ground and video a bit before heading for Back Bay Station to relax and shop before boarding the train home.

It was obvious that I had to revise the plan of 2012 to take in changes in train schedules. I had also laid out new options. I finally chose the trip. The tickets and reservations are in hand. So as it stands I leave home Monday, July 16, spend the night in Richmond. The next day will enjoy Richmond and using the State Archives. I will go to Main street Station to depart around 6:30 PM and go overnight to Boston.

I decided to stay longer at Boston 128 station so I can see the Acela Express, outbound from South Station. The schedule that I used before revision, I could take the MBTA to South Station and still have 5 or 10 minutes before Acela  departed. This schedule it was not a possibility. It will be almost three hours. I tended to take the longer watching time. I had planned to watch the blue line at the airport station for 30 minutes and at the next station for 30 more. Looking things, one place to watch would be sufficient and save some time. I decides that rather than go to Back Bay for the return, I would go to South Station. I haven't really explored that station, and really should.

Remember that I will spend one night in Richmond and leave from Main Street Station and return there for another night.. If course there will be two nights on the trains. I will spend either before or after to Explore changes in Main Street Station. I finally chose the trip. The tickets and reservations are in hand.  My "schedule" is more of a prospectus and still subject to change,

I am doing some things different this time. Instead of the full schedule, I have a summary. I have links to the MBTA schedules for each route linked to that summary. The MBTA have a real time element in the site. If I setup a link to the red line South Station to Ashmont as my route, it will tell me the next train and what time it will arrive. These will be on my phone. Add to this my taking webpages and creating a link on my homescreen to that page.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A reflective Interlude on Boston

At this point, I should clarify my history with Boston. I did mention a New England trip, in 1978. It was a vacation soon after graduating college. I went north, across the river at Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown, NY. and I 95 east to RI. I had relatives living there. I took Amtrak to NYC to visit my sister for a couple of days. I returned to RI and went north to Hancock Shaker Village, near Pittsfield, MA, It is a preserve Shaker Village. I was working for Colonial Williamsburg so I wanted to see other historic preservation. I than went east toward Boston, with a stop off at Old Sturbridge Village. I had met a former employee there, who came to Williamsburg, to take on a new job there. Finally I started to head south to Plymouth,  I was not planning to get off the Turnpike but head through Boston on the Turnpike and finally south without any touring of Boston. I did see South Station, as I said before, by getting lost.

My next encounter with Boston involved an overnight train trip on the Night Owl. I was a participant in a bookbinding seminar held at the Boston Public Library, on Copley Square. I got off the the train with instruction how to get to the Library. I did visit the bookbindery, about a block off the square (the building burned and the shop moved since then). About as far as touring goes, I did walk to the commons, seeking another library. I did go through Downtown Crossing on my way back to South Station. and saw that. Not much touring, other that bookbinderies and conservation labs.

That summer, I saw a notice from the owner of the first bindery that I visited in Boston, and went to interview. I can't remember any touring. I moved to Boston within a month. I lived in a couple of locations in the area those first months and finally settling in an Apartment in Lynn, 3 blocks from the train station. I commuted into north station on commuter rail. I was in Boston when the bridge carrying the trains into N station burned. The MBTA did a makeshift stop just across the river across makeshift platform from the orange line. I moved back to VA soon thereafter. I did not return until my vacation of 2010. I already talked about my 2012 overnight. my 2014 across New England trip, and last falls overnight. After my 2012 overnight I reworked my trip.