A glimpse of some of the retired railway equipment on display in Roundhouse Park in Toronto.
Riding in one of San Francisco’s newest light-rail vehicles while on vacation there, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of familiarity.
San Francisco’s Muni LRVs are made by Siemens and, despite differences in door and seating configuration, are in fact the same high-floor model as the newest light-rail cars purchased by Calgary Transit. The similarities are definitely there, from the whine of the motors to the station announcement chime … and even the malfunctioning passenger information system. (Calgary Transit’s CTrain displays work but sometimes show the wrong time or station information; Muni’s displays were simply off when I rode their light-rail trains.)
The photo above shows a Muni light-rail Metro train operating on the N line, departing from Ocean Beach.
Happy Friday! I haven’t done any kind of train/transit video in a very long time … so here you are. This is a mix of original (MR-63), vintage (MR-73) and modern (MPM-10) rolling stock running on the Montreal métro, as captured at a few stations last month.
“You’re going to need a car.”
As I was getting ready to move to Calgary way-back-when, this was the near-universal advice from friends who’d lived in the city or knew even a little bit about the place. The idea was not really up for debate: Being able to drive and having a vehicle were part of my conditions of employment, so there was no question as to whether I would own a car.
For years after settling into Alberta’s largest city, I took for granted the idea I would always need to rely on my vehicle for almost every trip of any significant distance — and this despite being consistently vocal in public about how useful transit could be.
Sure, I’d occasionally take the CTrain to an event at the Saddledome or Stampede Park. When Calgary Transit began its bus rapid transit service to the airport, that became my preferred transportation option for catching a flight and returning home, whenever this was possible. A handful of times a year, I’d randomly take the train somewhere — usually for a photowalk, other times just because. But for commuting to work, going to the gym, running errands or visiting with friends, the car was king.
Eventually, several events occurred over the span of a few years which would cause me to think about my choices when it comes to travelling longer distances within Calgary.