Transit Adventures

The first Railfan trip of summer – starting to finish off the BMT Eastern Division, and IND Fulton St Subway

The first railfan trip of the summer happened today, as well as the first time I took the subway since last January, I’ve been at College in Colorado Springs since then. I had a lunch engagement in Brooklyn Heights, so took the A train down there late this morning, getting of at my old high school stop, High Street. Road an R44 that felt the same as ever, but it was strange thinking I’ll never ride an R38 on the A or any again, as of March, I’ve read from various sources, and confirmed from the trains I saw running today, all R38s have been retired and are currently being literally dumped in the sea (reefed). That was one of those things I couldn’t believe until I saw it, especially considering how many I photographed on my trip to the Rockaways last December, and was definitely what I witnessed today. Right now the C train seems to be completely R32s, still running eight cars (roomer has it, it will expand to ten cars eventually), with the A using R44s and R32 (at least that was all the cars I saw in my time on the A train). The E’s rolling stock is completely different, all I saw were R160s, in December it seemed to be mostly R42s, with some R32s left, the workhorses of the E train for so many years.

After a longer lunch than I expected I headed back to the rails to attempt to get as much as I could to finish of the BMT Eastern Division (L,J,M,Z), and the IND Fulton Street line (A,C) in Brooklyn. I was walked to the Clark Street (2,3) Station and got on there, making a quick photo stop at Nevins Street to transfer from the 3 to the 4, which I took at Franklin Avenue/Botanic Garden. There I did a partial photo essay of the main IRT exit of Franklin Avenue and Eastern Parkway, before walking five blocks north and doing a full photo essay inside and out (including both entrances) of Park Place on the Franklin Avenue Shuttle, and its strange single track line at the station. I’m still trying to figure out the design of the station before 1998 when it was an island platform. I hopped aboard a Shuttle Train for the quick trip to Franklin Avenue/Fulton Street and did a full photo essay of that mega-station including all the stained glass artwork. I left the subway to go outside and get photos of the main entrance that is at street level in a building, the station even has an elevator that stops at four landings.

I than hopped on the C train and took it out to Shepherd Avenue, doing a full photo essay, exiting the subway for more photos of its small mezzanine and taking a quick look at the neighborhood map, deciding the next stop I hopped on the next C train to, Van Siclen Avenue, was too far to walk. That station also got a full photo essay, and a good conversation with the token clerk who asked me what I was doing and only offered me encouragement. I decided not to walk again, these IND stations, newer than the rest of the IND, are fairly far apart, so I swiped back in hopped on the next C train and did a photo essay of Liberty Avenue (which is named for the same Liberty Avenue, the A trains elevated is on), before looking at the neighborhood map and realizing that Atlantic Avenue on the L, or Alabama Avenue on the J were only a short walk away, and that it was getting late and I wouldn’t do everything I was planning to do today.

I ended up walking to Alabama Avenue (J), after I started off walking down Atlantic Avenue and I realized I wasn’t in the mood for a longer walk passed so many Auto-repair shops. I didn’t do a photo essay there (the station is already on the web), so I hopped on the next J train to Myrtle Avenue where I spent quite a long time that that station has to offer of remains of the Myrtle Avenue el. I’ve already written a description of what I saw for the currently extremely bare station page, while it was all still fresh on my mind, the photos will come eventually. I took advantage of already being on Myrtle Avenue and walked down it to the next station on the M Central Avenue, it already has a webpage with some much older photos, but I wanted to do it justice. I was very happy with what I saw, the station hasn’t changed at all since I last visited four years ago. One thing has though on the elevated lines that go over the Willamsburg Bridge, the rolling stock has, its no longer all R42s, it’s now almost all R160s. I only saw one train that was a R42, and the mostly empty ENY yard was almost all R160s, a train signed as Z that I saw leaving the Yard to run in service (making all stops), to Broad Street before making a rush-hour Z train run, before I presume going back to the yard until the next rush hour.

By now it was time to head home so I took the M train two stops north to Myrtle Ave-Wycoff Av, where concentrated and took notes on the station layout, taking a couple of photos but will do a real blown photo essay the next time I pass through, the station’s descriptions have been added to both pages. Took the next L train to 8 Avenue-14 Street, where I photographed some of the stations amazing bronze figures that are it’s Art’s For Transit Installation, just for good measure, and my first photos of R160s on the E, than hopped on a all seats taken uptown A train to 181 Street and home.

Total Number of Swipes during this relatively short day of railfanning: 8 on my mother’s weekly unlimited ride MetroCard

All-in-all it was quite a good, short, late afternoon on the rails, with only most of the M’s branch and about five L-Canarsie Line Stations remaining before I have the entire BMT Eastern Division in Brooklyn (NOTE: I seem to be focusing on the outer boroughs first before I’ll come in and finish off with Manhattan), this is in addition to one IND Fulton Street line local station, Rockaway Avenue, before I have to decide on what the next subway line will be to see my camera for photo essays.