Tag Archives: trains

The Subway Challenge

Like other great ideas, this one was borne out of a hangover, exhaustion, and the excitement surrounding the opening of New York City’s newest subway stations.

My brother, my college buddies Dan and Deaux, Deaux’s cousin Ian, and I spent the first evening of 2017 hopping on and off the Q Train to explore the three new Second Avenue Subway stations. Lined with different art installations, each station merited a stop.

At one point, as the five of us waited for the train to leave the 96th Street Station, our conversation led to the creation of the Subway Challenge.

Most people interested in a subway challenge these days just rely on it on a daily basis. Or if they are looking to get in the record books, they attempt to ride the entire system in one go.

Our’s is a more leisurely, neighborhood-y idea. Live in the city long enough and you will end up on every subway line at one point or another. But most of us get off the train long before it reaches the end of the line. And for every terminal like Coney Island that draws massive crowds, there is a 207th Street. For every World Trade Center, there is New Lots Avenue.

With this in mind, we decided that once a month, we would tackle a subway line. Meeting for a drink at the beginning of the line, stopping for food somewhere on the way, and getting a closing round at a bar near the last stop.

One Sunday a month, Dan, Deaux, Ian, myself (my brother lives in Vermont) and sometimes a special guest ride the rails. This will be the place for the stories from that ride.


Hey You! I Want Your Opinion!

Among my friends, my love of trains is well known. Heck, I even call myself Amtrak Joe and talk up Joe Biden’s awesomeness from time to time. One time, a buddy and I were at a bar and ended up sketching what a redesigned high-speed rail corridor in the Northeast would look like. So, kind reader, I am sure you wouldn’t be surprised to find out that I keep some serious tabs on the Amtrak world on the Twitter.

This week, that Am’tracking of Twitter alerted me to a blog post by Hipmunk on several Amtrak developments. What grabbed my attention was that the blog is running a “Train Trak Photo Contest.” All are open to submit their best photos of trains, stations, or yourself on a train. Ten finalists will receive a $50 Amtrak Gift Certificate, with the winner receiving a total of $150.

This is where I need your help! I have whittled down my photos of Amtrak down to four. While I realize my readership is not that high, any votes or even comments on which photo I should submit is greatly appreciated. The photos are ordered chronologically.

The Photos!

Double-Decker X2

The Texas Eagle - Dallas, TX 12/28/08

Limited Sunset in El Paso

The Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited in El Paso - 12/29/08

A Model Train

Coast Starlight in Central California - 1/3/09

Empire From a Bridge

Penn Station Bound Empire Corridor Train Entering Poughkeepsie - 10/12/09

The Innovation of the Auto Train

As a child, my parents would take my brother and I to see Santa somewhere in Downtown Brooklyn. There was a few years where I asked the Big Guy for just one gift. This wasn’t because I was intentionally selfless or trying to outwit Santa, hoping he would put me higher up on the good list if I didn’t go present crazy in my requests.  No, the only reason I asked for one gift was because even back then, I realized it was HUGE. Actually, huge is an understatement. All I wanted was an HO sized model train layout of the entire New York City Subway System.  HO is 1:87 scale of real life. That is a layout of epic proportion. Looking back it isn’t a surprise that my parents/Santa never delivered on the gift. Continue reading The Innovation of the Auto Train