Thursday, July 28, 2016

Rush hour at Washington Union Station

Hi, Friend Jim Beck and I spent 1 1/2 hours watching trains from the terrace (probably originally the loading dock) of the old Railway Express building on the east side of Washington Union Station.  We took the the 6:32 AM MARC train from Rockville, MD (where we live) and had breakfast at the station.  By 7:45 we were on location.  What follows are photos of a few of the trains we saw.

K tower, behind the departing Acela, still controls station trackage.

SW1 #737 is placing private car Cimarron River on one of the platform tracks.

A regional train loads on one of the through tracks.

Having unloaded a Virginia Railway Express train heads for the coach yard.

A late running Silver Meteor has just arrived.  Soon the pair of P42s will be uncoupled and sent to Ivy City engine terminal for servicing.

An Amtrak AEM7 continues to operate on lease to MARC.

When we arrived there were two more ACS64s spotted here and I did not notice the Veterans Unit.  However, these units are all spotted awaiting assignment.  When I finally spotted the Veterans Unit I hoped #655 would head for its train.

Number 655 left leaving the Veterans Unit Open.  We decided to wait awhile to see if #642 would move from the pocket track.

While we waiting another VRE train moved to the coach yard,

a regional train departed,

one of Amtrak's two gensets went to work, and

a MARC train arrived with MP36s one both ends.  The other end of the train also had a GP39H-2.

Finally, at 9:12 success.  Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Italy - 4

Hi, On our third day in Rome Ruthe and I visited the Colliseum in the morning (two photos below)

Since Ruthe was not feeling well I spent the afternoon walking to the Pantheon and searching for the Forum.  This statue is above the main entrance to the Supreme Court.  At this point the battery in my camera died.  I decided to continue without being able to take photos.  However, as I watched all the people taking photos with their phones it dawned on me that I was carrying my smart phone.  So even though I had never taken a photo with the phone I decided to try.  The results follow.

On reaching the Pantheon I took the standard outside view.

It was dark inside making photography with the phone challenging.

The Pantheon faces a square which was surrounded by restaurants.

Further on I encountered the Alter to the Fatherland.  It also is known as the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy.

Here is a side view.

I had a great deal of difficulty locating the Forum.  One of the locals I asked for directions told me the Forum was the entire general area I was in so I took a couple of photos (above and below).

However, I was not satisfied so I continued to search finally stumbling on a couple of vantage points (above and below).  By this point I was really tired and faced a long walk back to the hotel so I quit for the day.

Ruthe and I really enjoyed Rome.  Because she was not feeling well (she was fine the next day) we missed some things we had scheduled.  A reason to return.

One of the amazing things about Italy was how inexpensively one could eat dinner.  I think that is because Italian dinners consist of multiple courses and some of these (e.g., pasta, fish and meat) we would consider an entree.

Thanks for looking.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Italy - 3

Hi, Ruthe decided to stay in the room for the afternoon of our second day in Rome as she was not feeling well. Therefore, I headed for the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain on my own.

Gas stations in Rome are unlike any I have seen before.  They occupy a small strip of sidewalk at the curb.

Further on I passed the Piazza del Popolo; in modern times translated as the people's plaza (above and two below).

When I reached the Spanish Steps I found them under restoration and not worth photographing due to all of the fencing and scaffolding. The only thing I photographed in the area was the Fontana della Barcaccia.

Above is a typical street scene in Rome.

My final destination was the Trevi Fountain (above and below).  I was impressed with the sculpture.

As I walked back to the hotel I encountered this street artist.  What was intriguing was his painting solely with spray cans.

This is one of his paintings.

These musicians were playing next to the artist.

I found this wall and steps on the far bank of the Tiber to be very interesting.

Thanks for looking. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Italy - 2

Hi, On Saturday, April 16 Ruthe and I visited Vatican City in the morning.

Upon entering the museum at the beginning of the tour visitors are immediately confronted by this spiral ramp.

We entered into a courtyard with this view of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica.

In another courtyard we found Arnaldo Pomodoro's original sphere within a sphere.  Pomodoro says that the inner ball represents the Earth and outer ball represents Christianity. The design of the internal layers which look like the gears or cogwheels of a complex machine symbolizes the fragility and complexity of the world.

Looking north from the sphere within a sphere is an art gallery.

This is the Chiaramonti Museums which houses a variety of statues, sarcophagi, and friezes.

The ceilings in many of the galleries are decorated (above and two below).

The Hall of Maps (above) has a very intricate ceiling (below).

Finally we entered St. Peter's Basilica (above and two below).  No photos were allowed in the Sistine Chapel and it was dark in there.

The Swiss Guards at an entrance.

The tour ended when we exited the Basilica into St. Peter's Square (above and two below).

Thanks for looking.