Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Taking the SMART train

Public transit in America, for the most part, is subpar. Train transit even more so. The San Francisco Bay Area has a hodgepodge of trains. BART serves the East Bay and San Francisco. CalTrain serves the Peninsula. VTA serves the South Bay. The North Bay, which consists of Marin and Sonoma Counties, did not even have trains, until recently.

SMART opened last year. These new Japanese diesel trains use old existing rail tracks. I was about to have a super busy and stressful month at work so I decided to take a day off and ride the train. I dragged rchen with me.

The southern terminus is currently in downtown San Rafael. Once the line is completed, it will go all the way to the Larkspur ferry, which connects to San Francisco. The train is quiet, clean, and serves local beers and wines.

For this trip, we started in San Rafael and headed for downtown Petaluma.

Even though the route runs parallel with Highway 101 (it's less than a mile east of the busy freeway), the scenery is serene and bucolic. The recent rains made everything lush and green. It was like being on vacation.

We stopped in Petaluma and walked a few blocks to town and had Himalayan food for lunch. We then walked back to the station (really, it's just a platform) and headed back home.

In San Rafael, I spotted this random ad for calls to Somalia.

Incidentally, we took rchen's 300ZX to the train station. It was a fine example with Super HICAS steering.

On the trip, I saw two i3s on flatbeds.

The Z has T-tops!

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