Segments · Terminals

Severed Segments: Sparrows Point

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Hop into your nearest time machine and head back to a weekday morning in 1956. Board a busy #26 streetcar headed towards Sparrows Point and strike up a conversation with a few of the riders destined to their jobs at Bethlehem Steel.  Inform these folks that there will be no public transit to Sparrows Point 50 years from now. They’ll think that you are nuts.

Sure they’ll primarily think that you are nuts if you suggest you hopped out of a time machine. But they are almost as likely to think you are insane to suggest that Sparrows Point will be so devoid of workers that there will be no transit reaching it. Continue reading “Severed Segments: Sparrows Point”

Routes

Remembered Routes: The 91 Garrison Blvd

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Coach #4095 pulls up to the stop in the “Fayette Street Service Drive” on a rainy morning in early 2011. Adam Paul Photo.

Decades ago, it was pretty rare to head Downtown and see a route number higher than the 30’s.  There was no official “rule” to the numbering convention, but even into the early 1970’s, there was a general tendency to keep the numbers of the radial routes low. Even when MTA took over a handful of suburban operations in 1973, the new routes created followed this practice, either using open “low numbers” such as 14, 16, and 17, or using similar existing bus lines, but adding letter suffixes, resulting in routes like the 8B, 8D, 8E, and 15A.

New Park and Ride routes followed this practice as well, resulting in routes 24 and 26, and all seemed orderly.  But then in 1977, the #6 was split into routes 61-64, and the practice was shattered. So when the #19 was similarly split in 1987, it buffered the shock to the system when the offset route carried the very high digits resulting from inverting the 1 and 9, resulting in the birth of the #91 bus. Continue reading “Remembered Routes: The 91 Garrison Blvd”

Vehicles

Beautiful Buses: The “Spirit of ’76” Downtowners

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Bus #2517 makes the service stop on Fayette Street at the Charles Center Plaza in the Summer of 1976, freshly decked out in the most patriotic livery to grace a Baltimore bus.

In 2017, more and more of Baltimore’s buses appeared in either of two schemes: one for use by higher frequency “City Link” routes, the others for crosstown, local, and feeder routes wearing a “Local Link” scheme.  When Baltimore Link debuted in June, the system had finally adopted a scheme of “branded” buses.

While the scale of this branding had never been achieved before, the use of “branded buses” on a smaller scale had certainly been done before.  Perhaps the most attractive examples of this were seen starting in 1976, when the #70 line debuted a small fleet of newly redone “Downtowner” coaches wearing a patriotic scheme just in time for the nation’s bicentennial. Continue reading “Beautiful Buses: The “Spirit of ’76” Downtowners”

Segments · Terminals

Severed Segments: Glyndon

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#2628 lays over at the Glyndon Loop in the early 1970’s.  Behind the bus is the house that has since picked up the bus loop as a rather elaborate driveway. 

In the northwest portion of the vast expanse that is Baltimore County sits a large home along Waugh Avenue. Tucked into a wooded glen and sitting on over an acre of land, #32 sports wraparound porches on both the first and second levels to fully enjoy the breezes that flow east along the Piedmont plateau.  The land sports a more than ample horseshoe shaped driveway, ideal to use as an impromptu basketball court.

But this 1888 vintage house is much unlike any other in Baltimore County, in that the aforementioned driveway once served as the turnaround point for a pair of Baltimore’s heaviest bus routes.   It’s as unlikely of a transit loop as one would ever think of, and one that reaches back into the 19th Century. Buses still proudly (if somewhat erroneously) sport its name in lights.  This is none other than Glyndon. Continue reading “Severed Segments: Glyndon”

Oddities · Routes

Outcast Oddities: The 61 that wasn’t

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I doubt that a single morning passed that the operation of this bus didn’t elicit at least one quizzical stare, followed by the remark “What bus is this?”

From 1947 all until June of this year, the Loch Raven Boulevard corridor was the domain of the #3 bus.  There were the occasional exceptions during various periods such as a #13 Express to Hopkins, later dubbed the #104, as well as a #44 school tripper to City College.  But morning bus commuters along Loch Raven were historically accustomed to a stream of #3 local buses, sprinkled with a mix of Express and Limited buses.  So what was a #61 doing invading Loch Raven Boulevard in the height of the morning peak? Continue reading “Outcast Oddities: The 61 that wasn’t”

Routes

Remembered Routes: The 1 Fulton and Fort Aves

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With the brick wall surrounding Fort McHenry in the distance, and the signature Lehigh Cement towers in the distance, #2480 takes recovery at the Fort McHenry Loop in the early 1970’s.  Tom Dorsey Photo.

Picking the most signature Baltimore bus line should have certain essential criteria. First, it should serve a wide range of demographics that spotlight the diversity of the city.  It should certainly pass through Downtown, and service residential areas as well as to visit some industrial areas along its route.  It should have some historical nod to the city’s unique past, and if possible, riders should be able to see elements of Baltimore’s maritime prowess. Under these criteria, it seems only fitting to bestow this honor of the signature Baltimore bus line to none other than the #1. Continue reading “Remembered Routes: The 1 Fulton and Fort Aves”

Uncategorized

Picture Perfect: West Lombard Street

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Today’s City Link Purple follows the same path formerly followed by the #10 along West Lombard Street, which presents a particularly nice city skyline backdrop.

There are lots of snapshots of Baltimore buses out there.  Some good. Others not so much. There are surely any number of factors that make a nice photo, but all other things being equal, location is a huge factor in snapping a memorable shot.

Periodically, I’ll be posting some of my favorite transit photo locations in the system, and my reasons for these favorites will be detailed. Continue reading “Picture Perfect: West Lombard Street”