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Friday, May 3, 2013

13-05-03 PHOTOS: Planes, Trains and Ferrymobiles

I had so much fun riding the $2 Far Rockaway Ferry on my last visit that I just had to do it again, this time unencumbered by heavy bags and a travel deadline. On the second go around the weather was gorgeous and with no ancillary LIRR trip I could take full advantage of the temporarily "free" JFK Airtrain, which would save me the normal $10 fare or the hassle/indignity of having to take a Bus to the Federal Circle station.

After Lunch I traveled back to the Rockaways to catch the 4:30 ferry inbound to Manhattan, this time in wonderful sunny weather. I also discovered that the boat contained an outside upper deck from which I could drink my $3 16oz beer and take all the unobstructed photos I wanted. With A Train service set up resume later this week I urge any and all persons to take advantage of this amazing bargain before it goes away.

All of the photos can be found right here so make sure you go nuts after reading the whole post.

I am going to start things off at Chambers St where I caught the trifecta of an R32 departing, an R160 arriving on the adjacent WTC tracks and then an R46 A train arriving. I stopped filming at that point and missed another R46 A arriving from the opposite direction, but so it goes.

Flagging down an oddly clean R32 on the C I got some head end video between Chambers and Hoyt to fill a hole in my collection.

At Hoyt I took this photo of R32 #3929. It's amazing how someone in the NYCTA got it looking almost like it had just rolled out of a factory? Not many 50 year old pieces of rolling stock that could pull that off! A testament to the Budd company.

Video of the same train departing Hoyt St and crossing over to the local track in front of Hoyt tower.

R46 #5936 sits at Howard Beach ready to take the Diverging Approach Restricting signal into the turnback pocket track there.

R46 #5838 returns to the inbound platform past construction workers there to repair the signaling and track damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

A flexible A train shuttle bus sitting outside the Howard Beach Air Train station.

Here is the inside of the Howard Beach station. Because the JFK "AirTran" Air Train is little more than a glorified elevator there wasn't really much to photograph in terms of signaling or infrastructure, so I mostly got video of the entire route and a few other select photos. 

Here is a route video of the AirTran AirTrain as it runs from Howard Beach through Federal Circle and then Anti-Clockwise around the terminal complex back to Federal Circle. The PA was doing a lot of trackwork so the AirTrain was running on a 20 minute headway with several en-route delays. Wonderful for a system that is trying to get people to their flights in a timely manner. This did mean several good shots of wrong railing. Due to a bit of a miscue the first part of the route from Howard Beach to the next station is the last part of the video and is taken in the outbound direction.

BTW Pigs and I were bothered multiple times about taking photos by PA security and attendants, but it was a pretty soft bother due to the whole tourist zone thing and we didn't protest. The good news was the reliance on ZPTO was that nobody was ever around to stop us from taking photos and video on board the trains so every time we were bothered we simply clicked ignore.

Oh, after a while Pigs got tried of being quiet and we began to engage in a running commentary partly about the airport, but mostly about Seinfeld and TV Tropes.

AirTrain car #209 departing the Federal Circle station for the JFK Terminal complex. For those of you who don't know the AirTrain us a fully automated system that uses Bombardier's Advanced Rapid Transit concept. One of the hallmarks is the use of linear induction motor technology that requires an aluminum slab to be run down the center of the track to eliminate the "need" for old fashioned rotational motors. Yeah, this is much simpler.

Well the title promises planes so here you all go. Here we see an Asiana Boeing 777 #HL7791 about to land on Runway 13L.

Here a Lan Airlines Boeing 767 lays over while an American 767 banks into its final approach to Runway 13L.

Terminal 7 still sports the old United logo. I assume that another billion dollar demolition and expansion project is in store for this elderly building.

Heading out to Jamaica on the Air Train beam over the Van Wyck expressway.

Due to the long headways the PA could afford to store a number of Air Train vehicles on the main line just south of the Jamaica terminal. Include in these is #103.

#203 and #208 sitting on the curve just outside the Jamaica terminal. LIRR JAY interlocking is visible in the background.

Here is a video of the return trip from Jamaica to Federal Circle.

Returning to Howard Beach here is a photo of a nearly empty Air Train yard.

Here is the temporary faregate installed at Howard Beach which also included a mobile Metrocard Vending Machine truck. Up on a level above the normal AirTrain faregates had been left in place so schnucks could continue to shell out the $5 PA surcharge. I was tempted to alert passengers to the existence of the free alternative, but when I heard most of them speaking foreign languages I figured that I it was helping the trade deficit. 

Trying to be clever on the Fulton line with staying on C trains for the railfan window and then transfering to A trains later left Pigs and I stuck for headways at both Utica and Broadway Junction, which at least enabled some additional videos.

Finally reaching Rockaway Blvd we got off the A Train to transfer to a Q53 limited stop bus. Our experience on the Far Rockaway shuttle bus had been so bad that we decided that it was best to just take a regular bus out to the peninsula. Here our A train departs Rockaway Blvd station and heads through Liberty Jct to the Lefferts terminal.

The Q53 dropped us off at Beach 67th St where we caught a westbound R46 H train entering the station.

H46 #6006 laying over at Mott Ave.

And again at Beach 90th St.

Pigs and I arrived at the B108th St ferry terminal with about 2 minutes to spare and boarded the 4:30 departure for Wall St. Here the ferry has passed under the Marine Parkway Bridge.

Video taken about the same time.

Rear view of the Breezy Point fire control tower.

Coney Island amusements including the Cyclone and the parachute drop.

Coney Island lighthouse which is located in the Sea Gate gated community.

The MV Affinity oil tanker.

Passing under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

The Bay Ridge Carfloat terminal which may finally be soon back in operation after being rehabilitated by the city.

The Cunard RMS Queen Mary 2 was getting ready to depart on another cruise.

The passengers were all out on deck starting to get their drink on.

Columbia St container port.

Overtaking the MV Mary Anne with a barge in the Buttermilk channel.

Brooklyn Heights and the BQE.

East end of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Well that was the end of the ferry ride and it was time to get back to New Jersey for various other engagements. Still I will end on this photo of the recently colorized 126R signal at DOCK interlocking in Newark. Unlike many of the other signals which have been replaced by newer Safetran position light units during the long re-signaling project, the 126R was so clearance confined that the original US&S signals had to be retained as only the US&S variety can be modified into a compact arrangement.

Tune in next week for a tour of SEPTA's operations center at 1234 market St.

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