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You can find my journeys by train in Europe earlier this year here. #springoftrains

You've got to hand it to Eurostar: it takes a lot of self confidence and optimism to claim you have WiFi time and time again despite all evidence to the contrary. We could all learn a thing or two

(My first tweet was initially sent in London. It didn't make it up until Calais!)
It's a particularly fine evening to do this journey, everything looks lovely as we spend through Kent into the tunnel and out into Northern France.

That this is even possible still amazes me.

TGVs parked up east of Lille Europe station.
Into Belgium, with our train stopping briefly at Brussels Midi before continuing on towards Amsterdam.
Lovely evening.
The Atomium and the Notre Dame cathedral poking through the trees in the Royal Garden of Laeken in northern Brussels.

The Atomium is a real gem that I strongly recommend seeking out if you haven't been; it's still got that stunning 1950s World's Fair feel to it.
Through Antwerp, across the Belgian-Dutch border (who knows where, GPS and data are bad on this train!), across the Hollands Diep distributary of the Rhine and into Rotterdam.

In the space of three hours, this train runs through four different countries.
The wonderful Amsterdam Centraal.
Amsterdam is always impressive and eclectic, so I'll restrain myself to four photos this time.
Plus this amazing rubber duck shop.
These vending machine cafes used to be common in the US (where they were called Automats).

If only they had more (appetising) vegetarian fare, I'd love to give it a try.
And back on the train to my hotel for the night.

I've already gone a long way just this evening, but I've got a lot lot further to go!

This is a funny looking station. #daytwo #summeroftrains
"Where is he off to?"
A lot of funny looking trains here. #summeroftrains2019?
So yeah. Confession time. This isn't #summeroftrains2019. Well not exactly.

It's #summerofrailroads!

See you Stateside.
Amazing flight. Flew out over Hook of Holland and across the channel, with views of Dover and Calais at once, then flew north of the Thames. The last photo is of Southend, with its airport and pier visible. #summerofrailroads #andalsoplanes
Past the Dartford Crossing (went under that yesterday!), Canary Wharf, and the centre of London, where I could see work, home AND St Pancras, where I started my journey.
Finally passed Heathrow and I reckon we reached Swindon before the cloud cover descended, and didn't really lift until Canada.

Probably the most 'straight line on a map' flight to the US that I've done, was expecting to go up over Scotland.
Got a few brief Atlantic glimpses though. After a short time passing over Canada, we crossed the US border into Maine, easily visible from above as a long straight gap through the trees that turns abruptly along the jagged border here.
We flew over a number of beautiful islands on the Maine Coast.
I was treated to a distant view of New York and a closer view of Lancaster PA. These places will be relevant later!
And then a somewhat bumpy approach and landing at Dulles.

More tweets later, lots to do now.
Got some time waiting for the shuttle bus. (Hurry up and finish the Silver Line extension dammit!).

So Dulles has these unique mobile lounges as part of its design, which originally went to the planes to minimise walking/terminal size (I believe) but now mainly act as buses.
They look extremely space age.

They're mainly now used to carry international arrivals to the central customs and immigration area, as the airport has become more of a traditional airport over time.
Enjoy (a bit of) the ride!
Busy airport!
Designed by Eero Saarinen, the main building at Dulles is utterly stunning, plus retains a lot of its period features especially in terms of signage. (Wish they still made them like this!)
Just beautiful.
Just wish they'd finish the Silver Line extension to the airport, would make this journey much easier.

I'll be back at Dulles twice more before this trip is over.

Shuttle bus to Reston for me! #summerofshuttlebuses
And into the WMATA Silver Line.
It spends most of its time in the central reservation of a freeway, before diving underground into the characteristic Washington Metro tunnels.
Changed to the Blue Line to go to my hotel. Very atmospheric two level station, with flashing platform edge lights.

It's really really really humid.
Shorts donned. Let's go exploring D.C.
American signage/visual design is so distinctive from European design in a way I find so very hard to pin down.

A start is that it's wordy and weirdly often looks dated even if it's not.

The latter may be because 90s UK signs seen in my youth borrowed a lot from the US style.
And into the District of Columbia via the yellow line.

What a view!
Virginia Rail Express train at L'Enfant Plaza.
Walked up the Mall to the US Capitol building.
An oasis of calm next to the Capitol.
The other side of the Capitol, and the Supreme Court.
Some amazingly normal houses just next to the Capitol, though just like in London most of these looked to be offices. Plus the railroad from Virginia into Union station via a tunnel. #summerofrailroads
The subway here makes one hell of a dramatic entry.
The National Monument, reflecting pool/Lincoln Memorial, and the White House. The sunset was stunning, with the promised thunderstorm holding off save for a few flashes in the clouds.
The White House with flashes of lightning behind it.
Ford's Theater, the Chinatown Gate, and some artwork and views from the subway.

End of #daytwo of #summerofrailroads
Part of the breakfast selection at my hotel.
Amazing motel sign.
My next leg is from Washington Reagan National Airport to Newark, brought to you by the fun of flight prices.

I'll get to real trains soon.
This is a very nice and small airport, and perfect for spotting!
My tiny ERJ145 on UA5015 to Newark.
Off we go!
25 minute ground stop for weather/traffic, bugger.

On the bright side, the captain turned off the fasten seatbelt sign and said we could use data, so enjoy this video of a landing.

And our 38 minute flight is scheduled for 1h20 so doubt we'll even be late.
And we're off again! Got to see a few more landings.

See you in Newark.
Amazing view on takeoff from DCA.
Landing and taxiing at Newark Airport.
A lot going on on the tarmac at Newark, including a Singapore Airlines A350, which operates the longest flight in the world between Singapore and here.
Out of Newark's A Terminal and onto the AirTrain, which brings us, finally, to...
An actual, honest-to-god, massively overbuilt American train - no more of this silly plane business. #summerofrailroads can finally begin!
Penn station will never win any beauty prizes (the original one, however...), but as part of efforts to renovate the huge Penn station complex (and no doubt earn more from retail), they are converting the adjacent grand post office building into a new west concourse.
I had a few hours before my train, so I went for an explore. I've been to New York a few times before, so I had no destination in particular.
Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. When I first came to the US on my own in 2012, this was the first thing I did, although I went the other way.
Great views up and down the East River.
Wandered a bit into Brooklyn, before taking the train back to Manhattan.

Notice the new 'OMNY' contactless reader. They have a smattering of these across the network, focusing on certain lines to begin with, plus Staten Island buses.
Went to the tip of Manhattan, looking out over to the Statue of Liberty.
These godawful floating video billboards have popped up since my last visit to ruin everyone's views.

Fortunately, I think the city is looking to ban them.
I'll be back later in the trip for a slightly longer visit! For now, it's time to get on with #summerofrailroads
Time for Amtrak's Train 49 'Lake Shore Limited', from New York to Chicago, with some additional cars from Boston joining in Albany.
We depart under third rail power through a tunnel parallel to the Hudson River (and underneath a beautiful park I first visited back in 2012), with light occasionally poking through...
...and out into daylight, to begin several hours of running along the east bank of the Hudson River past stunning scenery.
Past the new, dual Tappan Zee bridge, crossing one of the widest bits of the Hudson (The 'Zee' is Dutch, while Tappan is the name of a local Native American tribe.)
Crouton-Harmon, the end of the third rail powered part of the Metro North Railroad commuter rail network. (It's different to the third rail of my train, which is only used for the initial bit out of New York Penn station.)
Every so often a bridge cuts across the Hudson here.

Other than that, the landscape reminded me a lot of the Rhine Valley route between Mainz and Cologne that I went on back in June, even including the line running parallel on the opposite river bank.
West Point Military academy on the opposite bank.
Poughkeepsie, the northern end of the Metro North Railroad system.
The setting sun lit up the clouds as we raced from Poughkeepsie to Albany, with a few sections here at 110mph.
At Albany, we said goodbye to our diesel/third rail loco. (Basically a much more powerful Class 73!)
The next platform had the cars from Boston along with the locomotives that would be taking us to Chicago, so it shunted around to our car (with all the subtlety that you can expect from American railroads).
And then it was buckeye coupling time, with spectators.
I had a bit of time to explore the station and its surroundings.

This station is served by two international routes to Canada (the Adirondack to Montreal and the Maple Leaf - seen here - to Toronto.

Albany itself is on the other side of the Hudson from the station.
Albany also has regular services to New York, daily services to Chicago and Boston, and a number of routes to other parts of New York state. Not bad at all.

It also features a locomotive maintenance depot, complete with old style (much better) Amtrak logo.
We were treated to fine views of Albany itself as we crossed the Hudson.

The setting sun makes everything look beautiful (and indistinguishable on camera!).

I believe the tower on the waterfront is the capitol building, a relatively rare case of a state capitol sans dome.
The amazing sunset continues through Schenectady.
Probably the last good view I'll get on this journey.

Ironically, the Lake Shore Limited runs along Lake Erie overnight, so I sadly won't see much of Erie until (hopefully!) my Thruway coach in the morning.

I'll be alighting in Toledo early tomorrow, before heading to Detroit.
Overnight highlights: Being welcomed to Syracuse by stupendous fireworks. (Okay, they were for a sports game.)
Overnight highlights: Buffalo. Cleveland with its lit up Capitol (probably?). Crossing a causeway off Lake Erie.

I slept in maybe four or five bursts, not ideal. I'm not great at sleeping!
Off the Lake Shore Limited in Toledo, OH and onto the Thruway bus, which goes to Port Huron via Detroit.

We had been delayed up to an hour overnight, but we recovered to be half an hour late, and this connecting bus left on time.

Oh and it's now #dayfour of #summerofrailroads
Lovely sunrise as we drove out of Toledo.

Also: Fifth Third Bank? Fifth Third Bank? I...do not understand the US sometimes.
Smooth ride up to Detroit. Even had a bit of time to read the local passenger rail advocacy group for Ohio's newsletter. Hopefully this bus will be replaced by a frequent train one day!

Detroit's current station is a lot less impressive than the original one downtown!
Found another advocacy newsletter, this one for Michigan. Likewise good news inside; hopefully Chicago to Toronto via Detroit service will be restored at some point.

Got a friendly "welcome to Detroit" from a fellow passengrr as they left the station. I'm obviously a tourist!
And now I'm going to go quiet for a couple of days as I visit a friend who lives near here - not fair to rope them in to my Twitter ramblings!

See you on the other side.

I'm very fond of Detroit, this is my third visit and the centre is looking better than ever.
More Detroit. Gotta love a Peoplemover!
I also spent an hour and a bit in Windsor, Canada across the river to the South, which I reached by taking the Tunnel bus through the Ambassador tunnel. It had a lot of delays on the outbound as people were going to a ball game in Detroit, but fortunately smooth coming back.
Canada makes my sixth country so far this trip! #summerofrailroads #dayfive
And onto Detroit Airport's North Terminal. Yes, I know, more odd looking trains.

I'm off to Indianapolis via Chicago Midway (ironically it's midway) with Southwest.
Smooth, quick and scenic flight.
Chicago Midway. You can really tell who rules the roost here. #southwest
A smattering of interlopers in Southwest's midst; a Porter flight from Toronto Billy Bishop is also due to arrive later.
Off again on my second flight, another with Southwest, this one to Indianapolis.
Very quick flight at about 35 minutes; the attendants didn't get up because of earlier turbulence on the inbound flight.

Lovely sunset and great views of Chicago and Indianapolis (and its airport).
And into a very quite Indianapolis Airport. Included a CPR training machine.

Right, I'm visiting a different friend here, so see you on the other side!
So, what did I do while in Indy?

I went to the amazing zoo. Best bit was the bit where you could walk through the budgie/cockatiel/bird enclosure as they flew and hopped around you.
I explored the rest of the White River State Park, home to many of the city attractions (including the zoo and White River Gardens, featuring the butterflies shown here).
I explored the various sights of Indianapolis.
I saw (but didn't get to try out) the brand new IndyGo Red Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Looking good.
Finally, I visited the incredible @TappersArcade arcade bar. Along with their retro arcade games (free to play so long as you bought something!), they had Killer Queen, an amazing and frenetic arcade game for up to eight (maybe ten?) players. @fourquartersbar, take note!
So, next step in my journey: Amtrak's Cardinal from Chicago to New York via Indy, Cincinnati, West Virginia and D.C. I'm riding it overnight from Indy to Charleston, WV.

Sadly, it departs from a rather grotty station shared with Greyhound, rather than its grand former building.
This train will take me from #dayseven into #dayeight of #summerofrailroads.

This is my 2nd time on the Cardinal. In 2012, I rode from Charlottesville to Chicago. A huge storm's damage stranded us in Prince, WV, so we made it to Chicago by bus 24 hours late.

So fingers crossed!
As we roll into Connersville, IN, it's time for bed for me. Night all!
After being woken, presumably by our Cincinnati station call at half past three in the morning, I was treated to an impressive view of a sleeping city, complete with its name spelt out in building lights (it seemed). Nice.
A few more sights as the night rolled by and the morning dawned.
Sooner than I (or my circadian rhythm) hoped, I reached Charleston, the Capital of West Virginia (not to be confused with Charleston, SC)

The journey was without incident, with only a small amount of arrival delay, a step up on my last Cardinal trip

(Next Cardinal is Thursday!)
Yet again, an okay Amtrak lounge next to the grand old station, here converted to a restaurant.
Charleston was a pleasant, if quiet, city. I didn't originally plan to visit here, but was constrained by timetables.
Charleston had a grand State Capitol building, featuring the largest state capitol dome in the US and a slightly too friendly squirrel.
I like Nerds, but no, I do not need a Nerds slushie!
Uh, what?
Statue of a homeless Jesus.
Various memorials and statues around the Capitol.
Pleasant downtown, though I was rather distracted by an alarm/violin sound playing loudly, which everyone else seemed not to hear.

Turns out they test their air raid siren-like emergency alert at noon on the fourth Wednesday of the month.
Finally, headed to the Greyhound station to catch a short rubber tyred roadbound train operated by Baron's Bus. Next stop: Morgantown, WV.
A nice ride through a pretty forested landscape with a friendly driver.

Almost managed to avoid feeling travel sick. Almost.
So: my trip to Morgantown was driven by wanting to see its more-or-less unique transport mode, a Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system opened by West Virginia University in 1975.

I originally learnt about it in this video by Tom Scott:
The system consists of five stations; while essentially linear, it has through 'lines' at each intermediate station allowing vehicles to pass, as well as 'platforms' at which they can connect to go the other way.
All the intermediate stations consist of two essentially duplicated facilities; most of the time I was there only one was in use, but at peak times I assume reach is used for a different direction.
The system runs in three modes: one with trains calling at all stations (quiet times; seemingly minimal short tripping), one with trains operating according to requests (off peak), and one according to known demand flows (peak).

Sadly, I mostly saw all stations while there.
When entering a station, you press a button on the gate to request your destination stop. I believe that at any time, sufficient demand will call out an additional vehicle.
The journey end to end was about 15 minutes all stations, with about 55 seconds dwell at each stop. In each case, the vehicle unloaded at an unloading point, then pulled up to the departure platform and (sometimes with a delay at termini) announced its stops.

(Pictures coming!)
Ta to @tomscott for the inspiration/thing I might not have known! (I've put this @ in a separate reply so he doesn't get bombarded with the rest of my #summerofrailroads thread!)
The system seemed quite busy; from what I could tell, from busiest to quietest, ran:

- Beech
- Towers
- Health
- Walnut
- Engineering

In the correct order, they run:

- Health
- Towers
- Engineering
- Beech
- Walnut
The vehicles are powered by side conducting third rail. They lack any track; instead the vehicles guide themselves along the guideway.

The stations lack platform edge doors but did have a mix of railings and glass doors. Red flashing lights show when traction current is in use.
The system was recently updated by Thales to a CBTC system, as now used on the Subsurface lines of London Underground, though clearly heavily adapted. It uses radio beacons installed on pillars. There doesn't obviously seem to be a fallback system other than line of sight driving
Many of the students seemed unfamiliar with the system, as a lot of them are presumably new (with term only having started a week or two ago).

Many information screens seemed to be blank.

The system is open to all, and is the best way to/from the bus stops at Health.
My estimates/calculations later in the day suggested maybe 9 vehicles needed to operate all stations every 3 minutes 40 seconds, but the system has a lot of vehicles available and can ramp up hugely as required.

Up to 15 can travel in each car, with eight seated.
Right, with all that said, time for a mass photo/video dump. Enjoy!
Almost the whole of a station to station trip. (Damn limits)

This is Beech to Walnut.
Blimey, videos are going to be tough until I get to WiFi. Photos it is!
Back from Walnut to Beech(hurst).
Alternative platform at Walnut not in use; information signs.
Signalling equipment. Heater box (I assume?). Route for getting vehicles off/on system. Depot.
The longest section is between Engineering and Beech. On part of this section, the lines in each direction run parallel to a road on a steep hill, and briefly are also separated vertically from each other.
Later on, the system seemed to pile up vehicles out of use at certain stops, plus take vehicles out of service every so often. The separate exit and entry points makes emptying trains a bit easier than it otherwise could be, though I noticed some ppl board at exit to grab a seat.
The next morning (#daynine) I managed to ride non stop through a couple of stations on my way to my bus to Pittsburgh. Here's Engineering.
And here's Towers. I suspect, given its layout, that this was the original end of the system and Health was an extension.
So all in all, a really interesting system. I been see why it hasn't spread further, but it works really well here and surely could elsewhere too.

Heathrow's system is a bit meh by comparison, but looks like it'll be expanded in future into the elusive proper 'mesh' PRT network.
Morgantown itself is also very nice, but I have to admit I overwhelmingly focused my time and photos on the PRT.

Time to move on: Mountain Line Transit bus to Pittsburgh.

It's #daynine of #summerofrailroads
A stunning journey, but not the bus I'd have chosen for such speeds on the interstate! Less than ideal suspension.

Bus went via Pittsburgh Airport.
What an arrival into Pittsburgh! Burst out of a tunnel and over a bridge with great views straight into the centre!
Pittsburgh is one of those cities that feels massive but that, as as a Brit, you wouldn't expect to/know about. Lots of tall buildings, a subway, extensive suburbs, the works.
Randyland, a house and yard where the eponymous Randy started collecting and painting things and never stopped. Very eclectic and colourful.
The US Steel building.
The Cathedral of Learning in nearby Oakland, the tallest academic building in the Western Hemisphere and part of the University of Pittsburgh.

It feels like an Oxford college on steroids, complete with 29 rooms themed after the origin countries of people who came to Pittsburgh.
Fountain at the confluence of two rivers into the Ohio River.
So. Many. Bridges.
Incline (funicular) up Mount Washington.
Stunning views from up Mount Washington.
And incline back down. A different one, this time.
Grand and impressive buildings. And I love a good fountain.
Subway/light rail system, on one of the tunneled sections, here at Steel Plaza station.
The light rail and buses share right of way very often, including through a tunnel under Mount Washington to the eastern suburbs.

The buses also have a lot of dedicated busways, some on former tram routes.
I rode a long way out to the east, out by one a Light Rail route and back by another.
Right, this has been a day of a ridiculous number of tweets, so I'll finish #summerofrailroads #daynine with a video of the tram slowing for some deer crossing one of the more rural parts of the network.

Night all!
It is #dayten of #summerofrailroads and I'm back to riding the Amerails after a few days on buses and...whatever the PRT is.

As usual for Amtrak, this journey starts from the eyesore hidden behind the grand former Pittsburgh terminal of the Pennsylvania Railroad, now a hotel.
I'm aboard Amtrak's Train 42, the Pennsylvanian, heading east across the state to Lancaster, PA, where I'll be (assuming no horrendous delays) visiting the @StrasburgRR.
This 07:30 train (last early start!) is the only train from Pittsburgh thru Harrisburg, despite linking the two largest metropolitan areas in the state, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (in 7h25).

In Western Europe, it would probably take 5 hours tops with at least 4 trains a day.
On the way out of Pittsburgh, we run alongside one of its busways taking commuters to work, see heavy industry that wouldn't look out of place in the model days of Thomas the Tank Engine, and pass extensive freight trains travelling through to the Midwest.

I literally brought a small sample back on a previous trip so we could sample the amazing smell at home. (Not even sure what it smelt of!)
These seemingly endless curves remind me of a certain thread by @GarethDennis...

(And, of course, the big one is coming up soon!)
Finally!!! Been trying to upload that video for an hour.
Here's @GarethDennis' explanation of curve radius and how it affects speed.

We have spent a lot of time chasing/racing various freights. We keep losing time at each stop, even where we haven't obviously been slower, which is a bit of a bad omen for getting to @StrasburgRR later for the 3pm (final) train. It's about 20 minutes from Lancaster by Lyft/Uber.
And here's the big curve, the granddaddy of them all: the Horseshoe Curve near Altoona.

So long/sharp that most freight trains see themselves as they go around the curve.

It's so critical it was guarded during WWII. Today it's a National Historic Landmark.

Altoona, home to a massive yard full of Norfolk Southern locomotives. (Presumably not all in working order?)
Across the Susquehanna River.
And into Harrisburg; from here on we're on Amtrak metals.
Ooh, lots of interesting new things at Harrisburg. (And some unexpected electrification, though we're diesel under the wires until Philly.)
We passed Siemens ACS-64 electric locomotives as we departed; these are used on Keystone services to/from Harrisburg from Philly and NYC.

Plus a view of Harrisburg International Airport.

Not long now to Lancaster.
Sliiiightly different railway here, beyond Harrisburg, now it's on Amtrak metals.
Arrived in Lancaster.

It's @StrasburgRR time!
Yup, we're in Amish country here.
The @StrasburgRR . First things first, crash their @virtual_railfan webcam. ✔️

This is the oldest continuously operating railroad in the western hemisphere, running 4-ish miles from the small town of Strasburg to the mainline Keystone corridor.

It's the first steam railway I've been on in the US, possibly even outside the UK.

And it is bloody brilliant!
I went in the open cars, which by luck meant I could stand on the rear balcony...
...which became the front...
...with a clunk of a buckeye coupler...
...and so I got to enjoy this on departure! @StrasburgRR
I was grinning so widely at this point. I'm just a big kid, basically.
Evidence for the prosecution. Open and shut, methinks.
Sentence: more trains. We'll find a limit eventually.

The line ends right next to the Amtrak mainline between Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia.
Locomotive runs round. (Look at my on-the-fly editing skills!)

Sadly, no passing mainline trains while we were there.
This line is extremely scenic, running through fields and past various novel local attractions, including a hedge maze. There's also a picnic area you can visit if, unlike me, you aren't getting the last train of the day.
And corn. So. Much. Corn.

(By which I think I mean wheat. I think.)
Once back in Strasburg, a diesel shunter (they call it a switcher) arrived to add a carriage ready for tomorrow's service, while the steam locomotive took on water.
Last but not least, the @StrasburgRR has a fantastic array of 19th and 20th century passenger coaches.

Definitely worth a visit; just wish there was an easier/cheaper way to get to it by public transport from Lancaster than Uber/Lyft.
Across the road, I checked out the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Huge, impressive collection, enjoy the photos below.
Across the road, I visited @rrmuseumpa , which features an amazing and varied collection, including plenty of Pennsylvania Railroad items.

Far too much to show here, so I'll just give you a taste.
The John Bull replica; the 1831 original (formerly the oldest operable loco in the world) was made of parts by Robert Stephenson and assembly (without instructions!) by Issac Dripps. See the panel for the details.

(@garius , is this where you get your pseudonym from?)
"And then the letters be." (Sorry @garybrannan!)
*childish laughter*
Lots of those funny looking locos are:
World's fastest locomotive eh @rrmuseumpa ? Think @railwaymuseum might have something to say about that! #stirring
So yes. If you haven't been, you should go to both @StrasburgRR and @rrmuseumpa

Here endeth the photo deluge.
And with that, it was time for the last #bigtrain of my #summerofrailroads, racing off into a lovely summer sunset.
The push-pull Keystone Service, which runs from Harrisburg to New York Penn station. #dayten
The @StrasburgRR junction flies by, almost unnoticed.
Arriving into Philadelphia 30th Street Station alongside an Acela to D.C. (I'm rather going in the wrong direction for my flight home, but there's no avoiding it!)
We reverse and head out again, past some unusual decor.
As of Newark Airport station, I cross my own path from last week, completing the loop I've been travelling.

It's all repeats from here.

End of the line in the beautiful New York Penn station. Nose to nose with an Acela.

Right, think that'll do for #dayten of #summerofrailroads. Night!
Hanging out around New York for the day before my flight.

Spotted this longboi R32.

Press F to pay respects.

I should really unfollow NUMTOTs on Facebook.
A sentimental place: I came here on my first US solo trip seven years ago, feeling home sick after checking into the hostel and not sure what I was in for.

I cheered up a lot as I walked along the riverfront and went on to have a great trip; and I haven't stopped since.
There's a lot more information boards now than there used to be, but often still just one on a super long platform.
Checked out the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway, which opened since my last visit.

Usually it gets Q line trains every ten minutes, but today it also had M line trains (and some considerable bunching up of trains too).
It's very odd to see an escalator in a New York Subway station.
New York is so much fun to roam. I can never get my head around its size or scale relative to other places I know.
One World Trade Center, 9/11 memorial fountains and firefighters memorial
I always like to end my visits to New York at the tip of Battery Park, overlooking the bay.

(Usually followed by a race up to the airport!)
This trip was no exception. (Though I needn't have worried!)
My first trip to LaGuardia; currently subject to a lot of construction work to renovate what I understand to be one of the US's worst airports.

Fortunately for me, on my visit it was pretty quiet: typical Saturday afternoon at an airport, really.
I flew from the recently opened B gates, which feel very new and built to handle demand, though they're currently patched in to the rest of the airport via a long hallway.
Lots to see parked up around this terminal. One of the highlights of a US trip is having a completely different set of airlines to deal with compared to what you're used to; plus a lot of types that don't operate (much) in Europe.
My flight was from LaGuardia to Washington-Dulles, the first part of a rather convoluted route back to London. It was on UA6367, a United Express flight operated by Mesa Airlines using a small Bombardier CRJ700 regional jet.

#summerofrailroads #dayeleven
It was an utterly stunning flight and we were treated to amazing views of New York.
Times Square is so bright we could see the lights from up here.
We even flew over Lancaster, where I went yesterday.
Some nice views of the area around D.C. on the way in. I had a bit of déjà vu on this flight; it was very similar to the last part of my flight from Amsterdam to Dulles, though on a much smaller plane.
And into Dulles' D gates...
Which means...another mobile lounge! This one is a bit different and doesn't seem to lift or drop.
And another opportunity to admire the wonder of Dulles' architecture. Less so the shuttle + long metro ride downtown.
And off at Rosslyn.
Stumbled upon this piece of Watergate history near my hotel.
That's the end of #dayeleven. Not long to home now. Night!
#daytwelve of #summerofrailroads is very short for me, thanks to time zones.

I enjoyed watching planes approach Washington National, following the Potomac on one of the most scenic approaches in the world.
Lincoln Memorial.
Reflecting pool and WWI memorial.
Martin Luther King Jr memorial and Jefferson Memorial (across the lake).
WWII memorial.
Washington Monument.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History...
...including the original John Bull (plus several other trains).
Checked out the Air and Space Museum briefly; sadly the Apollo 11 Columbia module is not currently on display.
It's odd how much Ray Dolby looks like @TechConnectify in this photo (on a topic he's done a YouTube video on).
D.C. was a lot busier than on my previous weekday visit, given it's Labor Day weekend.

Also an incredible number of ice cream vans/food trucks out and about.
To finish my American leg of my #summerofrailroads trip, I visited Union station, one of the main hubs of Amtrak's system, and a stunning station.
Headed back to the amazing Dulles Airport, via my last WMATA subway ride.
Beautiful airport. Less beautiful queues.
Lots of interesting planes, including an extremely wide variety of international airlines...deluge inbound...
And finally, my 777-200.
Now onboard and getting ready to push back on UA989.

See you on #daythirteen, the last day of #summerofrailroads
It's the bleary eyed morning of #daythirteen of #summerofrailroads and I'm not sure I slept. This'll be fun.

The last two photos are Folkestone and Calais Channel Tunnel terminals. I'll be back there today, eventually!
Amazing views of early morning Frankfurt on the way in. Plus I got to trainspot from a plane during the seven hour commute from 25R to the hard stand (ugh). Efficient!
Not quite sure what the point was in coming in early to park at a hard stand if we wind up spending as long getting to the terminal as if we'd been on time, but at least I got a great view of my plane and the apron from the bus.
So many planes!
5h20 layover. Let's roll. #SommerDerZüge #TagDreizehn
Just under an hour ago, I trainspotted from a plane.

Now, I'm planespotting from a train.


(I'm partway through being awake for at least 36 hours - the quality of the commentary can only become less funny, more niche and less coherent from here on out!)
Frankfurt Hbf.

As an aside, Germany is my seventh country on this trip.
Departing ICE.
Both of these trains would be viable journey options for me today; one of them would save a LOT of time. But fares must.
Grand station, even if in my head I mix it up with Munich Hbf.
The US has followed me here...
Almost literally cried with happiness at how much more affordable (and better) the shops are here than in the US, especially supermarkets.
European Central Bank.
So I'm not sure if this is the bank now or just a sculpture (maybe where the bank used to be), with the actual bank a bit further out of the centre.
The Rhine.

I know it has a rep for being dull, but I really like Frankfurt. It has a nice centre, a range of museums, a lovely position on the Rhine and is easily accessible.
I'm just a boy
Sitting by the Rhine
Eating Frosties
(Please don't stare, I'm jetlagged)
Look buildings probably older than the country I was just in

Unless they're post-war replacements
It's been brought to my attention that this isn't the Rhine.

It's the Main, as in Frankfurt am Main.

As you were.

Blame jetlag.
Just wait till the bots get here and start auto-retweeting stuff mentioning their keywords, that'll really mess em up
Took a tram back to the Hbf.
Went around the S Bahn loop to Frankfurt Sud and saw this ICE4 go through.
Then boarded this. The frequency and ease of boarding mainline trains in Germany is vastly better than anything in the US.
The weather is very nice here, if a bit cooler and a lot less humid than in D.C. (not a bad thing!).
TGV from Paris Est to Frankfurt Hbf passing through Frankfurt Stadion.
Still very strange seeing TGVs on German infrastructure (and vice versa).
ICE passing Frankfurt Stadion.
Back to Frankfurt Airport for LH992 to Amsterdam.
So many planes (most of them Lufthansa).
My earlier plane, heading back to the States, and my new plane (rather smaller).
On we go. Legroom much tighter than on the previous flights. Don't bother being tall in Europe, it's all 28 inch seat pitch and falling from here on.
In general European short haul is so much worse then American short haul. No IFE, shrinking legroom, no free food or drink, dull cabins, just a blocked out middle in Business Class (doesn't really affect me!), no ticket or routeing flexibility, seemingly greater use of buses, etc
Oh good, now we're all onboard the Captain or FO finally tells us that there's a ground crew strike at Amsterdam and so we're waiting here for either 20 or 50 minutes.

Unlike United Express, they still want us to turn off our devices even though we're not going anywhere yet. Fab
We're off!
A not that comfortable flight followed by landing at the Polderbaan and spending 10-15 minutes taxiing several miles to the furthest away gate (both for planes from there and passengers heading inbound).
The strike meant the airport was chaos, with passengers blocking every which way, with bags being delayed, with departure boards full of orange and red, and with most of the moving walkways out of action.
Planes at Frankfurt and Amsterdam.
Unfortunately, that was the beginning of a sequence of things going frustratingly wrong in quick succession. I won't go into them all, but as an example: it turns out I didn't touch out before the trip so my OV-Chipkaart was down 20 EUR; and then the system to fix that is down.
I tried my best to pluck up and did so eventually, but to be honest when you're a) knackered, b) have essentially lost any time in a city you were looking forward to as a break from travel and c) have a series of things going wrong (most unrelated to a), that's hard to do.
And so I returned to Amsterdam Centraal to join my surreal, empty Eurostar to Brussels, where it terminates and later forms a London train. Only 75 pax on it today, though it's usually more.

Quite relaxing, really; just what I needed.

I won't do a blow by blow recap, this time.
Nasty lineside fire spotted on the way in to Brussels.
Into Brussels.
Off the Eurostar on Platform 3...
...and, a short time later (and a lot busier), back on the same Eurostar (and coach!) on Platform 3, now heading to London.

Notice the Eurostar from London to Amsterdam pull in on platform 5.

Final leg of #summerofrailroads - back to London St Pancras. Fun, bizarre trip!
While I've still got your attention; I may do more threads like this in the future, but at times they can be a bit of a time consuming/obsessive process.

So: what works for you? What doesn't? Is there anything you'd like to hear more or less about? Does four photo format work?
Is the quantity too high or low? Would you rather separate threads for each day? More personal or more technical? Do you care about knowing each step or are glimpses enough?

Can't promise I'll do this again but would appreciate feedback, even for just more workaday trip reports!
I'm going to probably go a bit silent now until London, as I've covered this journey back several times before.
Also I probably can't trust the phone/WiFi signal, as noted way up at the top of this humongous thread!
And finally, at London St Pancras, at the end of #daythirteen, the final day of #summerofrailroads

Thanks for following along on my trip and keeping me company, whether you dropped in and out or read it all.
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