Posts tagged ‘automobiles’

November 21, 2012

A reexamination of the current transit situation

SEPTA buses to the rescue! Sort of.

Immediately after Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey Transit was crippled.

Things have improved overall. On Friday, NJ Transit was proud to announce that “all but one NJ TRANSIT rail lines [would] be running full or modified service effective Monday, November 19. This include[d] the restoration of service along the North Jersey Coast Line, which suffered the brunt of the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy” (NJ Transit News Release).

…Guess which one line STILL doesn’t have service, even after restoration of the line that received “the brunt of the damage?” That’s right, MINE, Gladstone branch.

NJ Transit recovery map, November 19. GUESS WHICH TRAIN ISN'T RUNNING YET

When NJ Transit talked about all the Morris & Essex line damage they had to fix, they named the rail washout at Kearny junction (which has been fixed) and “major damage” between Summit and Millburn (which have been fixed) and Denville and Morristown (also fixed). And there was something about some poles down near Lyons. The Gladstone line certainly didn’t seem any more damaged than any other line.

Why is it taking so long? Theories abound on NJ Transit’s Facebook page: some say the catenary poles were fragile wood instead of customary steel, so they the majority of them broke; some say the line’s single-track nature does not lend itself to repairs; some say that our Gladstone trains are being used elsewhere to compensate for all the trains that were (preventably) destroyed.

Most of us assume the real reason is that Gladstone branch is “the bastard stepchild of NJT line[s],” and fixing our line is simply not a priority. (We don’t have the highest ridership of the system, it’s true.)

But seriously, everyone else (including the most heavily damaged line) has been fixed for nearly a week at least. This is getting ridiculous.


Enough with my indignation. MOVING ON:

To ease the lack of Gladstone trains, NJ Transit has commissioned free emergency shuttle buses to stop at most Gladstone-branch train stations.

There are two sets of buses (route “A” and route “B”), which together hit most of the stations on the line.
Gladstone branch emergency bus route, as of November 20, 2012
[click here to pan around a Google map of the area]

(I have no idea why they left out poor little Stirling. Every other stop on the Gladstone branch is covered.)


Because New Jersey has apparently run out of buses, they’ve brought in SEPTA buses from Philadelphia (see top photo).

Unfortunately, presumably because these bus drivers don’t know their way around these suburban New Jersey roads, I guess they’re getting lost. Half of the buses never show up.

Basically: You dream about sex, but I dream that my train is running again. It will be a sweet, sweet day.

October 13, 2012

Millburn Fire Department Open House 2012

Car fire! Well, they set the car on fire themselves, so I dunno if it counts.

The Millburn Fire Department had its 15th annual open house today, where it opens its doors to the curious public, and puts on demonstrations of the firefighters’ firefighting prowess.

Extinguishing a car fire was their last demo. (I was downwind of the smoke, and I smelled like a cigarette for the rest of the day. Still do, actually.)

Firefighting is one of those things that I’m kind of in awe that people actually DO. I’m terrified of everything, and I can’t IMAGINE voluntarily waltzing into an exploding/ collapsing/ flame-filled death trap, even if it is for a great reason.

September 18, 2012

Summit Antique and Classic Car Show – 2

Chemical Engine No. 1 is up and running!

You may (or may not) recognize Summit’s Chemical Fire Engine No. 1 from last year, and you may (or may not) note that it is in fact RUNNING, which was NOT the case when I last saw the truck.

Look! It runs!

I’m not sure how stable the job is— apparently the carburetor floods if you don’t start it right (which apparently gave the fireguys a bit of fun to contend with this weekend)— but I’m told it’s running as well as it was in 1927, back when it was built.

When it’s not out for shows and parades, it’s still stuffed into a back corner of the firehouse, but the fire department and the Summit Historical Society are joining fundraising forces to build a garage-type house for the truck next to the Carter House.

This truck served from 1927 through the 1950s, which may seem like a long time to keep a car, but that’s pretty standard, even now. The fireman I spoke to said that a modern engine costs about $650,000, which is probably the modern equivalent of what Chemical Fire Engine No. 1 cost back in the ’20s. And when you buy something that expensive, you want to hold onto it for a while! Even nowadays, departments keep fire trucks for 25 years before they’re retired, which seems to be a pretty rigid guideline. (Summit has a truck that’s got only one more year before they have to get rid of it, so I guess they’re counting down the days.)

Yeah, so. FIRE TRUCKS.

September 17, 2012

Summit Antique and Classic Car Show

1966 Volvo 544, from Smythe Volvo in Summit

Summit had a car show this weekend!

I am always a bit reluctant to go to car shows, because I don’t know very much about cars (despite my dad’s best efforts), and I can only judge a car by how shiny its paint job is.

But I can tell you: this 1966 Volvo 544 is one of two antique Volvos owned by Smythe Volvo, a dealer located just a few blocks away from the show.

Whoaaaaa! A car dealer! That's just crazy.


The other classic car they own is a 1967 Volvo 210— a snazzy wagon I caught driving away in front of the Roots Building.

1967 Volvo 210, also from Smythe Volvo in Summit, NJ

I can tell you all this NOT because I am awesome at identifying Volvos from the 1960s, but because a representative/employee of Smythe Volvo was hanging out near the 544 and answering questions. Smythe also showcased several brand new Volvos nearby, just in case anyone wanted to think about buying one.

I think I was told there might be plans to fix up another old Volvo beater sometime in the future.



Side note— it’s interesting how many businesses around here advertise through old cars.

New Providence Fuel has its mascot Ford (they even sell sweatshirts with that truck on ’em)…
New Providence Fuel Truck


…and the New Providence Tire and Auto Center has its unmissable Frankenvan…
Frankenvan at the New Providence Memorial Day Parade, May 2012


…and Artie’s Garage in downtown Summit has its charming Model A.
What a nifty car to find at Artie's Garage.


And these are just the few I’ve run across so far. Do the automotive businesses in your town have classic car mascots?

June 12, 2012

Rubber Ducky Festival 3 (not a rubber ducky)

1930 Chrysler Imperial 77 or 70? I think. Whatever, it's a roadster with a rumble seat.

If you’re not into rubber ducks, you can admire the car show at the Rubber Ducky Festival.

This, I think, is a 1930 Chrysler Imperial 77 or 70 Roadster.

I started getting into a conversation with the owners about my camera’s lens hood (which is improvised out of an unsubtle piece of cardstock junk mail, cut and folded and stapled into a barely-held-together cone— it’s pretty classy), and I got distracted and forgot to take deliberate pictures of the signage surrounding the car. So, um, sorry. But you can read Wikipedia or Google the interwebs for more information, if you like.

May 31, 2012

Memorial Day Parade 4

Hello firefighters!

Remember how I said that most towns have their own parade? Chatham doesn’t! So the Chatham fire department came across the river and tagged along with us New Providincians.

During the closing ceremony, though, they got a call, and had to run— literally.

Sprinting firefighters!

January 9, 2012

New Providence Fuel Truck

Ye Olde Forde Trucke

The New Providence Fuel station has its own 1940s-1950s pickup truck to advertise!

Advertising on the truck OMG

I think that’s pretty cool.


P.S. Edit: It runs! I caught it in the 2012 Memorial Day Parade, coming down the street with the Lions.
New Providence Memorial Day Parade, May 2012

December 21, 2011

Buick and fire escape

Just what it says, folks: a Buick and a fire escape.

I dunno, I was strolling around Vauxhall, and the light was catching this fire escape just so, and I thought it was kind of pretty. But of course you are free to make your own judgements.

P.S. Happy Hanukkah!

December 15, 2011


Bloodhound's gotta sniff, y'know

Just for context, there was another bloodhound on the other side of the car sticking ITS head out the window, too. It was pretty adorable.

November 18, 2011

Route 22

Get your ballyhoo on Route Twenty-Two!

In preparation for writing this post, I just spent WAY too much time researching the entire highway system of the United States (HOURS, I kid you not. who needs a life? I do!), most of it not at all relevant to U.S. 22.

Here’s a brief history of the American highway system, as summarized from Wikipedia (and unless noted, all links below are to their respective Wikipedia articles):

Back in the day, everyone got around by foot or by horse’n’buggy, so the roads were dirt.

Then, in the early 1900s, suddenly everyone had automobiles, and they needed slightly better quality roads to roll around on. So some folks started setting up auto trails, which could’ve been awesomely maintained by organized organizations or badly maintained by some random dude who could make a sign. You didn’t know ’til you drove it.

In 1926, drivers were like “this sucks, we want real roads” and the U.S. Highway System was approved. Hooray for organized maintenance! (And a numbering system that supposedly made some sense.)

By 1956, President Eisenhower was like, “dude, the Autobahn is WAY better than this shyte, we gotta keep up with the Germans” and the Interstate Highway System was officially spurred into existence by some important bill that authorized $25 billion to construct lots of new highways. Why new highways? ‘Cos these fancy interstates would be limited-access freeways, so you’d hopefully minimize the number of old ladies pulling out from the bank at 3mph into 40mph traffic and thus ruining everyone’s day. (Alas, this still happens on the U.S. and state highways.)

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