Postcards from Pittsburgh - The Farewell Tour

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To end my stay in North America I went on a farewell tour, travelling mainly by train. Here's a few of the 231 photographs I took:

An overnight train ride from Pittsburgh and then I had a few hours to ride on the "L" and look at some of the impressive architecture in the Windy City. On the left is the main hall at union station.

The elevated railway (L for short) runs on rather dodgy-looking iron structures over the streets of the city. It includes some exciting right angle bends.

The Empire Builder
This train took me from Chicago to Seattle in two days, running first across the flat lands of Dakota and Montana, and then into the mountains. Here the train, headed by three of Amtrak's "Genesis" locos stands in the early morning sunshine at Minot, North Dakota (Where I learned the news of the death of the Queen Mother from a TV in the station waiting room.) It's difficult to photograph scenery from the train but here's a shot of the mountains.

A stop at Havre, MT gave me a chance to see this plinthed kettle and modern locos in the depot.

Seattle's most famous landmark is, of course, the space needle, celebrating it's fortieth anniversary this month. It provides good views of the city and the area around. Built at the same time as the needle is this monorail.

Seattle's transit systems also include trolleybuses old and new and this ex-Melbourne tram which shuttles along the waterfront. Note the trolleybus on the left has become de-wired, a pretty common occurrence - I saw one case where the string broke so they had to call the maintenance gang out to repair the damage (by tying a knot in it!).

Seattle Aquarium.

The Museum of Flight. Centre and right are views of the Air Force One used by Kennedy and Nixon. I also visited the Boeing factory north of the city where they make 747s, 767s and 777s but they don't allow cameras so no photos I'm afraid.

A Talgo train took me on a scenic ride up the coast from King Street Station, Seattle to the Pacific Central Station in Vancouver.

Once again my first destination in a new city was the observation tower for a good view of the town.

Other tourist destinations in Vancouver include a steam powered clock (It is wound by a little steam engine, and it blows whistles instead of chiming every fifteen minutes) and this very bouncy suspension bridge over the Capilano River.

Transit in Vancouver includes the "Skytrain", a fully automatic driverless metro system running mainly on viaducts, and trolleybuses again.

I took a ride in the cable-car up to the ski resort at Grouse Mountain. There must be spectacular views of Vancouver but unfortunately the top of the mountain was in the clouds when I went!

A morning stroll in Stanley Park, which is on a small island next to the downtown area.

The Canadian
This sleeper train took me from Vancouver to Toronto in three days. The main reason for travelling is, of course, the scenery and here's three shots taken from the dome car. You'll find a picture of a dome car when we get to Halifax.

We paused for an hour in the snowy town of Jasper, Alberta where I took this picture of the train and another plinthed steam engine. Two days later we paused in the sunshine at Capreol, Ontario.

A day train to Montreal and then another overnight train took me north and east, to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Here is the dome car at the rear of the train, which provided fine views of mountains and lakes along the way.

Halifax is a nice town with lots of wooden houses like these. More importantly, it also contains Alexander Keith's Brewery.

The Citadel is on a hill overlooking the town. It was an important British and later Canadian fortification.

My final destination was the wonderful city of Boston, Massachusetts. I started, of course, with the view from the top of the Prudential Tower.

There are many fascinating buildings to look at, here's just a tiny selection. In the middle the State House, currently being refurbished and on the right the Old State House, original location of British rule.

I took a harbour cruise which provided excellent views of the waterfront and also took me to visit the USS Constitution, known as Old Ironsides.

This monument commemorates the Battle of Bunker Hill although this hill is not, in fact, Bunker Hill. The battle was fought in the wrong place either due to a clever tactical decision or because the Americans got lost - It depends who you ask! The view from the top is well worth the 297 steps.

Boston has a very interesting subway system, the oldest in America. Here's an Orange Line train at a downtown stop, and a Blue Line train at the newly rebuilt Aquarium station.

The Green Line is operated by trams, underground and on elevated track in the city, and on the surface further out.

The Red Line is another subway line operated by fairly modern cars, except for the Ashmont to Mattapan section at the end of one of the branches. Here, much to my surprise I found an enclave of well cared for antique PCC tram cars providing the service. The depot at Mattapan also contained some interesting service stock including this snow plough.

Homeward Bound
One final day's rail travel, firstly one of Amtrak's new 150 mph Acela trains from Boston to Philadelphia, and then The Three Rivers to Pittsburgh, photographed at Harrisburg, PA
Final scores: 19 days, 7,500 rail miles, 39 pubs and 12 breweries!

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