Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Traveling by train and bus from Richmond to NYC

On July 16 I made the trip from Richmond to New York by a variety of public transportation modes. Admittedly the first leg was by car, from my house to Main St Station (hey that once again proves the rule that people won't take the bus unless they REALLY have to)

So I rode Amtrak from Main St to Union Station in DC. The train is extraordinarily slow on this leg. First it creeps through the Acca freight yard to Staples Mill. This 7.5 mile trip takes- wait for it- 40 MINUTES. Pathetic! Hopefully VA will get some stimulus money to fix this problem- keep your fingers crossed. Once the train gets on the mainline it moves faster, but not fast enough. Ideally we would have two electrified passenger-only tracks to handle more trains.

At Union Station I ate some Indian food before riding Metro's Red Line to Chinatown. Here I caught Megabus to New York. The ride was actually pretty great. I rode in the second row on the second floor so I had a great view of the road. It was actually a little vertigo-inducing sitting up there crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Megabus arrived about 30 minutes late though, but the dropoff at 28th and 7th Ave is at a subway stop, so I bought a four-ride pass and rode the 1 train uptown to Times Square and met my friends for dinner.

So overall the trip took just under 11 hours. Of course it would have been faster to just stay on the train, or to take one of the dragon buses. But Megabus is a great bargain ($8.50) compared to Amtrak so that's why I did it this way. I couldn't get such a cheap ticket on the way home, so I took the train the whole way. More on that in another post.

Here we see the lone Quicktrack ticket machine out of order in Richmond. This was a huge hassle as the conductors asked me for my ticket at EVERY stop. Not sure why they couldn't look at my reservation and confirm that I had paid.

A GE P42DC diesel unit pulls my train along the viaduct into Main St Station. Note the single track configuration.

Passengers board at Main St. Note the low platform forcing passengers to climb the stairs to the car through only one or two doors. Penn Station in NYC has high platforms so passengers board level, it makes more sense.

Union Station's new bicycle transit center. How cool!

The front of Union Station

The bike center project at Union Station.

Union Station's grand interior.

Union Station shopping. Food court on lower level, retail on upper levels. You can also see the Acela ticket counter here.

A Metrorail Red Line train enters the platform under Union Station

An Acela locomotive in the yard. Note how the nose breaks away to couple the train.

Megabus at the 28th and 7th Ave stop in Midtown. It's a Van Hool coach built to special spec to fit through the Lincoln Tunnel. There are windows on the roof and let me tell you, it BARELY clears the tunnel!

An Uptown 1 train pulls into the 28th St station under 7th Ave

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