12 Responses

  1. Heather says:

    I love how in that Facebook link they actually *liked* you and said you were funny and talented.

    Boy have times changed, eh?

    How did you even manage to get a tour?

    • Emily says:

      I know, right? That was Joe Antonacci, wonderful guy, he was the very first MetroNorthTweet. He is more well-known as the guy that does Mileposts though (and any of the witty things you’ll occasionally see on their Twitter and Facebook).

      I ended up getting on a tour after the article about me in the NYTimes. I was actually supposed to meet Howard Permut that day, too, but that never happened, and I doubt it ever will.

  2. Backshophoss says:

    There was a couple of long shots of the “dispatch” center in a
    Nat-Geo DVD about GCT done in 2005.
    Nicely done

  3. Emily says:

    I’m not gonna lie, what I’ve shown here isn’t even the best part. Along the back wall of the OCC there is a door that opens into a dank closet space. After climbing up a few terribly dirty ladders with insanely low ceilings, you find yourself behind the big panel of Tiffany glass on the main facade on 42nd street. The number six is a window that you can open and look out… while all the tourists below assumedly wonder wtf is going on.

  4. Steve says:

    Just to clarify on the Septa center, the 3-person desk just monitors 1 subway line. They’ve got an average of about 60 people on the floor on an average shift. While Philly’s transit system is a lot smaller than the MTA, they run and monitor subway, el, regional rail, light rail, bus, trolley and paratransit from one very large room. Transit police are also up there.

    They’re the only transit agency in the US that doesn’t split off at least 1 of those parts into another building or center. Not pictured is their “situation room,” but when there is an issue, it helps to have all divisions represented and within arms reach.

  5. Tyler says:

    And just in case another website steals your photos for their own story, you included an indoor panorama just to prove your status as the photographer. Congrats on the tour! (Who said bloggers aren’t legit journalists?)

  6. Anybody with a working knowledge of a model board (there are several good simulators available for home computers) can figure out what those track diagrams show.

    I was able to tour these facilities, including that marvelous passageway between the inner and outer windows of the great hall, during the O Scale convention in 2001. We also got to visit the emergency power room somewhere below ground, with the steps down to Lex Luthor’s lair.

    • Emily says:

      Plenty of people have seen the place, but Metro North still gets their panties up in a bunch at times when people talk about it too much. Most of these places they talk about being “classified” – but a lot of people know how to get to them. M42, for example. (did they make you bring a pizza bribe when you went down there?)

  7. One of the O Scalers works for Metro North, and we had Mr Brucker and the Road Foreman of Engines for the New Haven lines as guides. Even got into the cab of one of the new dual-mode locomotives before the tour adjourned.

    Perhaps a pizza party or a round of drinks changed hands prior to, or after, our visit.

    On the other hand, Metro North sometimes contribute to mysteries that aren’t. A Pennsylvania Railroad baggage car converted to a tool car becomes President Roosevelt’s armored train, for instance.

    • Emily says:

      Yeah, that is a fantasy of Mr. Brucker’s. He’s a showman, through and through.

      When I did my tour, we all brought five bucks and bought a few pizzas from Two Boots. Brought them down to the basement workers in M42, I suppose as a bribe to the one guy that came up and operated the freight elevator for us.

  8. Otto Vondrak says:

    What I find interesting is that when Metro-North took over in 1983, almost all of the outlying signal towers were still in service, some with their mechanical lever systems to operate interlockings. Most were closed through the 1980s as they centralized everything in one dispatching center, but I got to tour SS75, the tower that controlled New Haven Terminal, shortly before it closed. It was the last remaining outlying tower on Metro-North, and quite possibly, one of the last active towers in New England.

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