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Mad for Metro-North, a Rail Rider Is on a Mission

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An interesting article appeared today on the New York Times, and I was fascinated by it- a railfanner who mostly railfans MNRR, with a devotion likely to rival some of the most diehard MNRR railfans. She also has a blog to showcase her photos, but for now, here is the article about her, courtesy of the New York Times.

 

Mad for Metro-North, a Rail Rider Is on a Mission

By MICHAEL MALONE

 

EVERY weekday, Emily Moser rides the Metro-North Railroad from Goldens Bridge to White Plains, N.Y., and unlike most of the other passengers, she relishes every moment of the round trip, which takes an hour and 10 minutes. Where others see generic train stations whose functional, if uninspired, construction hides hints of past glory, Ms. Moser sees art.

 

A graphic designer and amateur photographer, Ms. Moser has, for the past two and a half years, maintained a blog, I Ride the Harlem Line, devoted to the joys of Metro-North. Readers can find a rich trove of archival photos, maps, postcards and advertisements she has dug up showing New York trains and stations from long-gone eras — and her sly musings about the more peculiar passengers with whom she rides. But the blog’s centerpiece is the Panorama Project, a series of photos of Metro-North stations that she has been shooting since the spring of 2010.

 

The work began when Ms. Moser and her mother were driving around lost in Dutchess County and found themselves at the station in Wassaic, N.Y. Moser took out her camera, shot a series of offbeat photos and later stitched them together using Photoshop for the distinctive panoramic effect that defines the project. To date, she has photographed 70 of the 125 stations in the Metro-North system.

 

“I said, I’m going to do this for all the stations on the Harlem line,” she recalled over lunch at the Valhalla Crossing, a bar and grill in a converted train station. “People convinced me after I finished that to do the New Haven line and, once you’ve done two, you may as well do the rest.” (Metro-North has five lines: New Haven, Harlem, Hudson, Port Jervis and Pascack Valley.)

 

Ms. Moser, 26, has developed a dedicated following of historians, so-called railfans, railroad employees and fellow commuters. The site averages about 9,200 page views a month.

 

“Emily truly has the mind of a historian, and the area she happened to pick is railroads,” said Ted Bowen, customer service manager for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Metro-North Railroad, speaking unofficially (the railroad has no connection to the project).

 

Ms. Moser’s passion for the railroad developed after she started commuting to her job as a graphic designer at Fujifilm in the Valhalla office complex called the Summit three years ago. She is nearly blind in her left eye, so driving to work is not an option. “There are already enough bad drivers on the road,” she said. “They really don’t need another.”

 

Ms. Moser said she started the blog to write about the “crazy people” whom she encountered on the train. But the more that commuting became part of her life, the more engrossed in the Harlem line’s history she became. With a reporter’s curiosity, she unearthed vintage train minutiae at museums, from retired railroad workers and on eBay, and explored stations from the South Bronx to central Connecticut in her free time. “As I started reading about it, I got really into it,” Ms. Moser said. “The blog turned in that direction.”

 

Ms. Moser’s archival findings, Mr. Bowen said, “are a real service to the railroad community.”

 

That community is, by most accounts, exceedingly male and considerably older than Ms. Moser. The heady days of deluxe passenger trains were over by 1971, said Robert Klara, a railroad historian and the author of “FDR’s Funeral Train” (Palgrave MacMillan). Before that, regal trains from the New York Central System and the Pennsylvania Railroad, among others, rumbled down the tracks, and train enthusiasts waited for hours to witness a few seconds of their ear-splitting glory.

 

“People would pick a favorite railroad the way you pick a favorite sports team,” Mr. Klara said.

 

Watching trains was the bailiwick of fathers and sons, Mr. Klara added, and the model train manufacturers marketed their wares as a way for fathers to spend time with their male children. “I’ve yet to meet a single woman who said she got a Lionel train set as a girl,” he said. Growing up in Southbury, Conn., Ms. Moser was no different.

 

Ms. Moser usually shoots photographs on weekends, and sometimes on workday evenings. Arriving by train, of course, she spends about an hour at each stop, exploring the station and surrounding area to scope out the most compelling shots.

 

In an age of heightened security, she has been stopped only once: a suspicious track worker called the police about her in December at the Melrose station in the Bronx, and the train she was to board was delayed while she was questioned. She said she would love to put the photos — quirky, color-rich creations that seek out each station’s unique attributes — into a book. But for now, Ms. Moser, who has also photographed trains in Japan and South Africa, among other far-flung locations, is happy to share them on her blog.

 

The iPod, iPad and other “I” first tech toys have made on-train banter almost as archaic as the old New York Central trains. But Ms. Moser looks forward to the time spent with her fellow commuters, and has made several close friends on Metro-North. The seatbacks on the weathered M3 cars she often rides are not as high as those on the newer trains, she notes, which promotes interaction. “Riding the train is probably the better part of my day,” Ms. Moser said. “I just think it’s fun, mostly because of the people.”

 

She also has a few pals among the conductors, who refer to Ms. Moser as Cat Girl for the various custom-made hats with cat ears she wears in chilly weather.

 

Guy Galati, a Metro-North employee of 18 years, said: “Emily’s the ideal commuter: pass ready, happy, a smile, a ‘good morning.’ A lot of people don’t do that. It’s pretty refreshing; it’s a conductor’s dream.”

 

Read More-

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/nyregion/emily-mosers-mission-is-to-photograph-all-of-metro-north.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper (The Article)

http://www.iridetheharlemline.com/ (The link to her blog about MNRR, with photos, history, etc.)

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shes good, very good. It's nice to see a girl in the railfanning hobby too that can take really good photos. unfortunately her site is very disorganized, she needs a menu page with a list of all the stations and then you can click to the station you want, instead of having to search it blog style.

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I wonder how many run-ins she's had with police/pissy engineers about her camera.

 

according to the article, only once.

 

In an age of heightened security, she has been stopped only once: a suspicious track worker called the police about her in December at the Melrose station in the Bronx, and the train she was to board was delayed while she was questioned. She said she would love to put the photos — quirky, color-rich creations that seek out each station’s unique attributes — into a book. But for now, Ms. Moser, who has also photographed trains in Japan and South Africa, among other far-flung locations, is happy to share them on her blog.

 

I'm surprised she didn't have any run ins with the thugs in some of those smaller Bronx stations.

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according to the article, only once.

 

 

 

I'm surprised she didn't have any run ins with the thugs in some of those smaller Bronx stations.

cause most of those thugs can't even afford the metro-north

 

so you will see very few on any metro-north station

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cause most of those thugs can't even afford the metro-north

 

so you will see very few on any metro-north station

 

So , that doesn't mean they don't go down on the platform and try....

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So , that doesn't mean they don't go down on the platform and try....

 

farebeating metro-north is very difficult and unpredictable they come at random sometimes when you least expect it

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cause most of those thugs can't even afford the metro-north

 

so you will see very few on any metro-north station

 

there is no turnstile or anything, they can easily get down there. and plus if they see a girl by herself with a fancy camera they are likely to go down there.

 

and plus if theyre using it to get to Fordham or 125 Street, its not that expensive :)

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farebeating metro-north is very difficult and unpredictable they come at random sometimes when you least expect it

 

Just hide in the bathroom lol.

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Is paying the fare really that much of a backbreaker?

 

Realistically, no. You'd be surprised what some of these mutts try to get away with.

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Realistically, no. You'd be surprised what some of these mutts try to get away with.

 

I can only imagine. Skells, the whole lot of 'em.

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there is no turnstile or anything, they can easily get down there. and plus if they see a girl by herself with a fancy camera they are likely to go down there.

 

and plus if theyre using it to get to Fordham or 125 Street, its not that expensive ;)

 

The fare to 125th Street is the same as the fare to Grand Central. I don't recall how expensive it is, but I do know it's more expensive than the express bus.

 

Plus, they might not even want to take a train. They might know when the train comes, know that higher-income people are likely to be waiting there, and then they come down a few minutes before the train arrives to rob them and then run back to their project or tenement building.

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The fare to 125th Street is the same as the fare to Grand Central. I don't recall how expensive it is, but I do know it's more expensive than the express bus.

 

Plus, they might not even want to take a train. They might know when the train comes, know that higher-income people are likely to be waiting there, and then they come down a few minutes before the train arrives to rob them and then run back to their project or tenement building.

 

Depends on the day, seeing as this girl works for a living, shes doing her railfanning most probably on saturday or sunday, in that case they can get the $3.50 city ticket in the bronx.

 

thats what I said was the scenerio, they see a girl down there with a fancy camera snapping away theyre gunna go down there to try to mess with her, but who knows if she was alone, she may have gone with a friend.

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Fares from Harlem 125th Street (or GCT) to Fordham (or any Zone 2, Bronx station):

 

Peak - $7.50

Off Peak - $5.75

City Ticket - $3.75 (increased from $3.50 December 30, 2010)

 

City Tickets are only available for purchase on weekends and only valid for use the day it is purchased.

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Fares from Harlem 125th Street (or GCT) to Fordham (or any Zone 2, Bronx station):

 

Peak - $7.50

Off Peak - $5.75

City Ticket - $3.75 (increased from $3.50 December 30, 2010)

 

City Tickets are only available for purchase on weekends and only valid for use the day it is purchased.

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The fare to 125th Street is the same as the fare to Grand Central. I don't recall how expensive it is, but I do know it's more expensive than the express bus.

 

Plus, they might not even want to take a train. They might know when the train comes, know that higher-income people are likely to be waiting there, and then they come down a few minutes before the train arrives to rob them and then run back to their project or tenement building.

 

You're right... The express bus is cheaper than MetroNorth. For example, MetroNorth can cost almost $2.00 more going to Riverdale from Midtown as opposed to taking the BxM1, BxM2, BxM3 or BxM18. By the way are the shuttles that go to the MetroNorth station up in Riverdale free or do you have to pay to use those as well? I saw a few stops for them when I took the BxM1 back from Riverdale and was curious.

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The fare to 125th Street is the same as the fare to Grand Central. I don't recall how expensive it is, but I do know it's more expensive than the express bus.

 

Plus, they might not even want to take a train. They might know when the train comes, know that higher-income people are likely to be waiting there, and then they come down a few minutes before the train arrives to rob them and then run back to their project or tenement building.

 

You're right... The express bus is cheaper than MetroNorth. For example, MetroNorth can cost almost $2.00 more going to Riverdale from Midtown as opposed to taking the BxM1, BxM2, BxM3 or BxM18. By the way are the shuttles that go to the MetroNorth station up in Riverdale free or do you have to pay to use those as well? I saw a few stops for them when I took the BxM1 back from Riverdale and was curious.

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By the way are the shuttles that go to the MetroNorth station up in Riverdale free or do you have to pay to use those as well? I saw a few stops for them when I took the BxM1 back from Riverdale and was curious.

 

Assuming you are talking about the Hudson Rail Link bus service that connects from both Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil, it is not a free service. There are several different options including pay per ride at $2.25 payable with coin or metro card or you can get a weekly or monthly Metro North commutation ticket with the rail link included for an additional charge.

 

Additional information regarding the rail link can be found on the web page: http://www.mta.info/mnr/html/raillink/raillinkpage.htm

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By the way are the shuttles that go to the MetroNorth station up in Riverdale free or do you have to pay to use those as well? I saw a few stops for them when I took the BxM1 back from Riverdale and was curious.

 

Assuming you are talking about the Hudson Rail Link bus service that connects from both Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil, it is not a free service. There are several different options including pay per ride at $2.25 payable with coin or metro card or you can get a weekly or monthly Metro North commutation ticket with the rail link included for an additional charge.

 

Additional information regarding the rail link can be found on the web page: http://www.mta.info/mnr/html/raillink/raillinkpage.htm

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You're right... The express bus is cheaper than MetroNorth. For example, MetroNorth can cost almost $2.00 more going to Riverdale from Midtown as opposed to taking the BxM1, BxM2, BxM3 or BxM18. By the way are the shuttles that go to the MetroNorth station up in Riverdale free or do you have to pay to use those as well? I saw a few stops for them when I took the BxM1 back from Riverdale and was curious.

 

funny express bus is $200 a month metro north is $178 just $178 that logic fails but the $200 does give you subway and bus but this basis is invalid

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