As is customary around this time of year, it is always fun to look back on the previous year and what was popular. For the past few years I’ve counted down your favorite articles and social media posts, and today I bring you 2014 in Instagram. Instagram has quickly become the most popular social network that this site is on. While I’m often out photographing, the good majority of the photos I take never make it onto this site. The good ones, however, show up on Instagram. Here’s the top 10 favorites from 2014:
Two Metro-North diesels meet near the Pleasant Ridge Road crossing in Wingdale, New York.
Left: An Alaska Railroad train bound for Fairbanks rounds the bend north of Nenana at sunset. Right: A Genesis pushes southbound on the Danbury Branch, kicking up leaves after departing Cannondale.
The only non-railroad photo to make the top 10, New York’s skyline as seen from the opposite side of the river in New Jersey.
Ah, 2010. You were the first full year that I actually operated this blog. Lots of fun and shenanigans were to be had. I decided to take a look back at what was popular on the site this year, as a wrap-up for 2010…
The first entry here is not train-related in any way… however it was such a major news story at the time I couldn’t not have some fun with it – though fun is actually a terrible way to describe it, as the Gulf Oil Spill was quite tragic. To me the two standouts in coverage on this was a fake twitter account, BPGlobalPR, and Boston Globe’s The Big Picture. I merged the two into fake billboards, which apparently caught on and made their rounds on the web – and brought around thirty thousand viewers to the site in a single day.
It is true, I have turned into an eBay whore… collecting just about anything regarding the Harlem Line. Many of the timetables I have can be found on the second most popular part of the site, the Harlem Line Timetables archive. It is desperately needing updating, as I own or have scanned many more timetables than are currently pictured. My goal was always to have a timetable for every year, and for the most part I do have that, from 1930 on up. Look for a major overhaul of this section in 2011!
Ah, stupid warning signs. One of the most amusing things I’ve made for the site. These popular signs round out the top three most popular things on the site this year. Folks have requested that I turn these into stickers, but if you people start sticking these on trains the MTA PD might actually have a real reason to arrest my ass.
One of the posts I made after returning from Japan featured the Tama Densha railcar of the Wakayama Electric Railway. The railroad is known in offbeat circles around the world due to the fact that they employ a feline Stationmaster (I believe she’s actually been promoted to Vice-President now). Tama the cat was so popular, designer Eiji Mitooka created a train car in her honor. The front of the train has whiskers, the seats inside have cat print. My favorite part of the train? The library full of books for the kids.
I’ve always been fascinated with Centralia, ever since I first read about it on the internet many years ago. Since then I’ve visited several times. The story begins in the 1960’s, when a coal seam under the town caught fire. It continues to burn to this day. The land has fissures that belch smoke, and it permanently smells of sulfur. It is a tragic story, as the once bustling small town has been whittled down to less than ten citizens.
The coal under the town that is burning is anthracite – which was popularized in little rhymes about Phoebe Snow in advertisements for the Lackawanna Railroad.
Although I hadn’t come up with the concept yet, the Harlem Line Panorama project began with Mount Pleasant – which I labeled as the loneliest station on the line. The tiny station in between Hawthorne and Valhalla services the cemeteries in the area, and has very limited service.
If you’re interested in seeing all the panoramas to date, located on a map – this is the place to go. This Google map is the seventh most popular portion of the site, although technically it lies off site and on Google’s servers. However, each placemark contains my favorite panorama from that stop, and a link back to the post on this site.
The Transit Museum in Brooklyn has employed a cat or two, mostly in the hopes that they would chase away any subway rats. In this eighth most popular post I recollect my first visit to the Transit Museum and my encounter with Sadie… and my crazy idea to get her a miniature-sized train conductor’s hat. Of course none of that really panned out – and as far as I am aware, Sadie has been quietly retired from the public.
Back in June I posted these spoof ads for Metro-North and beer. If you are a regular commuter you will notice that in the afternoon, and most especially on Fridays, there are quite a few people drinking beer. The exception to that if you are those people that work at Target in Mount Kisco, you’re drinking it in the morning. But since you can’t drink and drive, and you can certainly drink and ride, Metro-North could always have an amusing new ad campaign.
Ah, April Fools Day… I couldn’t resist making a fake post about the new M8’s. Shattering the dreams of many New Haven Line riders, I posted that the red trains would be repainted blue and running instead on the Harlem Line by the end of the year. I even made up some fake quotes and attributed them to Dan Brucker – which probably doesn’t place me very high on his list of awesome bloggers.
So that is it! The ten most popular things on the blog in 2010. Happy New Year everyone!
Although the Transit Museum in Brooklyn is known for its collection of subway cars, it also has quite a collection of historical buses as well. Every year the museum has a Bus Festival to show off that collection, in conjunction with the Atlantic Antic, Brooklyn’s largest street fair. Admission to the event is completely free to see the buses and the museum. The festival runs from 10 AM until 6 PM this Sunday. I won’t be attending this year, but last year’s festival was really great and I highly recommend it!
I am so eagerly waiting for my WTF subway shirt. But it hasn’t arrived yet. So in order to console myself, (and in my boredom) I created some more amusing subway WTF-ness. Now not only can Metro-North hate me, but NYC Transit (I still love you, I swear!) can hate me too! And maybe even Parker Brothers, who publish the game.
Instead of Community Chest (what the hell is that anyways?), I opted to replace it with the “Service Change.” For pieces, I figured it might be amusing to throw in a delightful subway rat, and even a pigeon in there. If you bought the “extended version” of the game, there would even be a special “limited edition” Sadie the Subway Cat piece. Gotta market that stuff! And everybody loves cats!
As for the properties in the game, and how I determined where each of them belong, I used the 2009 Subway Ridership Facts & Figures. Blue, green, and yellow properties (the highest value) are the top subway stations, system wide. Red represents Manhattan, Orange is Brooklyn, Magenta is Queens, Light Blue is the Bronx, and the top subway stations for each (not counting any stations previously used). The Purple spots are the bottom two stations in the subway system by use. Instead of the four railroads typically used in Monopoly, there are the other MTA entities: Metro-North, Long Island Rail Road, Long Island Bus, and the other half of NYC Transit, the bus system. There are no “utilities” but instead MTA Bridges, and MTA Tunnels.
Oh, and in order for you to get thrown in jail, you are caught with a copy of the master key.
So this weekend was pretty interesting… and rather busy. I was in the city both Saturday and Sunday, and thankfully at least one of the days wasn’t terrible weather-wise. Saturday started out with me, rather embarrassingly, getting chased by a security guard at the Nintendo Store. When he finally caught up with me, he demanded, “Where are your parents?” Apparently he thought I looked around 15 years of age, and people under 18 need to have a parent present. Of course this has never been a problem every other darn time I’ve been at the store… but I suppose the guard did feel like an ass when I told him that I’m actually turning 25 next week. All of my older friends tell me I should be enjoying this… but getting asked if I want a kids’ menu, asked if I am here visiting my parents on my first day at a new job, and such does tend to be rather annoying.
Thankfully, that event was not the highlight of the weekend. I had a pretty awesome time today at the Transit Museum’s Bus Festival, and the Atlantic Antic. Honestly before today I was unaware what the Atlantic Antic even was, and I must say I was totally surprised about how massive it was… and the amazing amount of people that were there. And the bus festival itself certainly had a major turnout of people, and the weather was great for it.
I suppose it took a little longer to get down there than I had originally anticipated, with delightful weekend subway service changes, but it wasn’t too bad.
Though apparently other people were less than thrilled
About a block from the museum the road was closed off to traffic, and the museum’s bus fleet was parked along both sides of the street. There were old buses, as well as more current versions. There was a tent for children to make and decorate their own little buses, and a table on which they could drive their creations. I swear I don’t think I’ve seen quite so many “mini-railfans” all in one place before… A child, who couldn’t have been more than five years old, pushed his bus/train while announcing, “This is a Brooklyn-bound Two Train! Stand clear of the closing doors!” I couldn’t help but laugh at that.
All in all I think it was a pretty great day, and though I probably could write a lot more, I should be sleeping and not blogging… back to work tomorrow! Anyways, enjoy a bunch of pictures that I took today…
My name is Emily, though I am known by many who ride the train simply as Cat Girl, for the hats I customarily wear during the winter time. I am a graphic designer, a former Metro North commuter and lifelong Harlem Line rider. This site is a collection of my usually train-related thoughts, observations, photographs, and travels, as well as my never-ending hunt for intriguing historical artifacts.