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Erie Lackawanna 2012 Calendar

Available through the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society

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 San Francisco: The E-Line Cometh?

SAN FRANCISCO MIGHT BE the most interesting public transportation setting in the world. It includes the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, the Muni Metro, surface streetcar lines, ferries, commuter rail ser- vice, and extensive trolleybus service along with regular buses. The frosting on the cake, of course, is the cable car system. Now it ap- pears that the long-promised E-Line along the Embarcadero may see service within the next few years.

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The catalyst for this activity may be the America’s Cup sailboat race that will be held in part in San Francisco Bay in 2013. Get- ting the public to the places along the bay to witness the race draws attention to the Em- barcadero and the E-Line. All of the E-Line track is in place, and the stations have been installed. Sixteen PCC cars are in the process of rebuilding and refurbishment. A loop is needed at the south end of the line near the Caltrain station and AT&T Park (home of the world champion Giants) so that single-end cars can be used. The northern end of the line circles around in the Fisher- man’s Wharf area.

Perhaps even more interesting would be an extension of the E-line beyond the wharf to the north through the Fort Mason tunnel and into the Presidio. If you have been to Ghirardelli Square (and you should have if you visited San Francisco), you noticed rail trackage between Ghirardelli and Aquatic Park and the bay. At the north end is a tun- nel that takes the tracks to Fort Mason. The extension is now working its way through the environmental clearance process. Mon- ey, as always, is the problem. Many thanks to Inside Track of the Market Street Rail- way, 870 Market Street, Suite 803, San Francisco, CA 94102;

WMATA Proposes New Subway Cars The Washington Metrorail system is not as new as we think it is. It dates back 40 years and the fixed facilities and rolling stock are getting tired. In 2011 the management of the Washington Metropolitan Area Trans- portation Authority began ordering 428 new cars from Kawasaki. To be assembled in

Lincoln, Neb., the new equipment will cost $886 million. Deliveries are to begin by the end of 2013. Some 300 of the new cars will replace an equal number of the original 1000 series cars that have been in use since the subway opened. The old cars are prone to mechanical problems and serious damage in accidents.

The new proposed 7000 series cars will be much different from their predecessors. Their interiors will be brighter, illuminat- ed with light-emitting diodes, with more seats in each set of four cars. Car interiors will feature new color schemes with input from the public. New interior signs will show the location of the trains as they move along. More places to hold onto will be pro- vided, although the big vertical stanchions that interfere with wheelchairs movement are to be eliminated. The aisles will be two inches wider to aid movement and the car- pet will be done away with and replaced with non-slip flooring. Naturally, the new equipment will be welcome as the old cars grow less reliable.

In the meantime, the WMATA project to extend rapid transit service to Dulles Inter- national Airport (which seems to be located in Wyoming) moves on. The latest guessti- mate on total cost for the new line is $3.5 bil- lion. Management is working hard to find ways to cut costs back to about $2.5 billion, which was the original estimate. Potential patrons are cheering on the project. WMATA management had better take seriously the need for preventive maintenance through- out the system. And fix those escalators!

PLEASE SEND light rail, tran- sit and commuter rail news items and correspondence di- rectly to Prof. George M. Smerk, Emeritus Suite, Kelley School of Business, 1309 East Tenth Street, Bloomington, IN 47405-1701.

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