Saturday, June 14, 2008

On the Rails

I didn't get around to posting Friday because I wanted to catch a reasonably early train, so I didn't have time before I left, and then once I got home I was utterly exhausted and just collapsed on the sofa for the rest of the evening.

I did learn that the published bus schedule has no relationship with reality. The bus from my transit center to the train station that was supposed to arrive five minutes after the train left actually arrived five minutes before the train. I don't know if it was late or early, and I wouldn't want to count on it being off-schedule enough to catch a train, but maybe one day when it isn't so hot (so in October or November) and I have no set schedule, I may just stick a book in my bag, buy a day pass on the bus behind my house and see where I can go in the system to see how it works.

The exact details of my mission will have to remain top secret, but part of the fun for me was taking lots of trains. I've always had a bit of a thing for trains, possibly because The Little Engine That Could was one of my favorite books as a child, and possibly because of the trolley on Mr. Rogers. Basically, I love streetcars, trolleys, trams, subways, els, trains and anything else that runs on rails. When I travel, I try to take public transportation instead of cabs, not just because I'm cheap but because riding trains is part of the fun.

Yesterday there was the big train:

That's the one that goes downtown. I like riding on the upper level where there's a great view.

Then there's the medium train (not such a great picture, but I took it as soon as I got off before it left again):

This is the one I ride to get around downtown, but it goes a lot of other places in the city. Depending on where in the system it is, it can be a streetcar, a subway or an el.

And then there's the small train:

This is the historic trolley line that goes to Uptown (I made a side trip to the Borders there). This car is Matilda, and she used to work in Melbourne, Australia, from the 1920s up to the 1980s, and then when she was retired she was about to be scrapped when Dallas snagged her and brought her here for restoration. She's also available for party charters, as the seat layout allows room for a buffet table. Maybe someday when I have the money and a suitable occasion, I'll throw a party on Matilda.

And now for the weekend.

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