Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Westchester Emergency Services Fair

I had an idea.

What if Westchester County D.E.S. and the Department Of Public Safety hosted a "Fire, Police & EMS Service Fair" at the D.E.S. facility in Valhalla??

My vision is that it would be on a Saturday morning in Spring or Fall. The event would be promoted countywide, via TV, Radio, signage, and the internet.

Each Westchester Department could pitch in, to provide static displays of equipment and apparatus, especially all the special equipment the county has.

Departments could provide live demonstrations of techniques and tatics, such as structure fire, rapelling, pump and ladder operations, EMS BLS & ALS, extrication, etc.

Booths could be set up for Fire and Crime prevention, and EMS education. Tours of 60 Control could be provided.

A pancake breakfast could be held to raise money for related charities.

Media could be invited for a special media education session, so the local reporters can learn terminology and what happens at a scene so they can report more accurately.

The list of possiblities is endless, and I think this type of annual event would become extremly popular. This not only would be fun and educational for children, but also the adults that attend would get to see what their emgergency service responders are capable of. It would be a fun event for all.

Friday, May 25, 2007

My Metro North Museum Wish

I wish that Metro North could incorporate a museum into their new Harmon Shop Complex. That way, they could take the history of a great and interesting railroad and preserve it. It would be a great place for some of the old FL-9's/FL-10's to go when they finally retire, as well as the M-1's and other assorted pieces of the railroad's history. I'm sure that a few of the Metro North retirees would be more then happy to staff it, and they would get a lot of visitors.

If not, I hope the FL 9's/10's in all color schemes go to Danbury Rail Museum. BTW, worth it to join as a member if you're a FRN like myself. It's a great place, and can use all the support it can get. If you haven't been, put it on your list for this summer....if you go on a slow weekday, you can have some time to explore some awesome old railcars and locomotives without the family crowd the weekend brings. They also have a great gift shop.

Here's the roster of equipment they have:

Also, click here for a video clip of my favorite car they have (an ex-NH Budd RDC)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Works: Anatomy Of A City

I'm currently reading one of the most fascinating books I've ever read, "The Works, Anatomy Of A City" , by Kate Ascher

I HIGHLY reccomend it, and know that many members of this forum would enjoy this book that goes in depth to describe NYC's infastructure using comprehensive text, richly detailed illuistrations, and other graphics. It explains how the subway works, going in depth as to describe the work cars the subway uses. It tells you everything you wanted to know about the sanitation and 911 systems. How the sewer plants work, the types of trucks the sanitation department uses, how snow is cleared, and on and on...this book has it all!

I can't say it enough-this book is EXTREMLY detailed and goes in depth on all the subjects mentioned below. The awesome illustrations and the layout of the book make it fun and easy to read.

It's also a great learning tool for emergency services workers.

The book is divided into the following chapters
Moving People
-Bridge And Tunnels
Moving Freight
-Rail Freight
-Maritime Freight
-Air Cargo-Markets
-Natural Gas
-Moving The Mail
-The Airwaves
Keeping It Clean
The Future

Editorial Reviews From

Kate Ascher could not have chosen a much drier
topic for a book than water mains, parking meters, railroad classification
yards, and the other doodads of city infrastructure. But in Ascher's captivating
book, The Works, the innards of New York City come alive. Wonderfully
illustrated, the book combines text, maps, and other graphics to tell the story
of the systems that keep America's greatest city running smoothly. How are
traffic lights coordinated? How do potholes form and which areas have streets
with the best "smoothness score"? How is mail processed? What happens when you
flush the toilet? Ascher, who has a PhD in government from the London School of
Economics and is now executive vice president of the New York City Economic
Development Corporation, dissects the colorful workings of all these systems and
much more.

The Works contains a section on pretty much every aspect of the
Big Apple's infrastructure. You'll learn the mystery of the shiny silver tanks
that have become a familiar sight on New York streets. (They prevent moisture
from damaging underground phone lines.) Ascher explains how the city's 23
million daily pieces of mail are processed. We also learn about the 27-mile
underground pneumatic mail tube that used to carry canisters with 500 letters up
to 30 miles per hour around Manhattan. Also interesting: the story of the
nine-foot-long, 800-pound robot submarine that city engineers send to probe
leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct--which, it might interest you to know, is the
world's longest continuous underground tunnel. And you'll find out all about
Colonel Waring and his "White Wings." A great coffee table book for New York
lovers or anyone with a curiosity bone. --Alex Roslin Book DescriptionHow much
do you really know about the systems that keep a city alive? The Works: Anatomy
of a City contains everything you ever wanted to know about what makes New York
City run. When you flick on your light switch the light goes on--how? When you
put out your garbage, where does it go? When you flush your toilet, what happens
to the waste? How does water get from a reservoir in the mountains to your city
faucet? How do flowers get to your corner store from Holland, or bananas get
there from Ecuador? Who is operating the traffic lights all over the city? And
what in the world is that steam coming out from underneath the potholes on the
street? Across the city lies a series of extraordinarily complex and
interconnected systems. Often invisible, and wholly taken for granted, these are
the systems that make urban life possible.

The Works: Anatomy of a City offers a
cross section of this hidden infrastructure, using beautiful, innovative graphic
images combined with short, clear text explanations to answer all the questions
about the way things work in a modern city. It describes the technologies that
keep the city functioning, as well as the people who support them-the pilots
that bring the ships in over the Narrows sandbar, the sandhogs who are currently
digging the third water tunnel under Manhattan, the television engineer who
scales the Empire State Building's antenna for routine maintenance, the
electrical wizards who maintain the century-old system that delivers power to
subways. Did you know that the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is so long, and its
towers are so high, that the builders had to take the curvature of the earth's
surface into account when designing it? Did you know that the George Washington
Bridge takes in approximately $1 million per day in tolls? Did you know that
retired subway cars travel by barge to the mid-Atlantic, where they are dumped
overboard to form natural reefs for fish? Or that if the telecom cables under
New York were strung end to end, they would reach from the earth to the sun?
While the book uses New York as its example, it has relevance well beyond that
city's boundaries as the systems that make New York a functioning metropolis are
similar to those that keep the bright lights burning in big cities everywhere.

The Works is for anyone who has ever stopped midcrosswalk, looked at the rapidly
moving metropolis around them, and wondered, how does this all work?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Hybrid Bus/Train

In the June 2007 edition of Wired Magazine, they had a tidbit on a new Japanese hybrid mass transit vehicle.

It's being developed in Japan. It's called a "dual mode" vehicle. It rides on rubber tires, until it reaches a rail line, where steel rail wheels drop from the undercarriage in under 15 seconds, and boom, it goes from being a bus to being a train. It's currently being tested by the Japense Regional Railroad.

Among the touted features is it uses less fuel and requres less maintanence then a regular train, and could be used in areas where train service isn''t feasible but a connection is needed.

Wonder if the technology will ever make it over here? I know this could really be useeful in putting LA's difficult mass transit system together more.

Virgin America Cleared for Take-Off!

Hopefully, this new airline...and their introductory prices, will help to bring costs of some flights down...especially transcontinental to L.A.! :D

Virgin America Cleared for Take-Off-- Airline Receives Final Approval to
Launch from Dept of Transportation --
Burlingame, Calif. (May 18, 2007) --

The Department of Transportation (DOT) today granted final approval for
Virgin America, a new low fare U.S. airline, to begin operations.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be cleared for take-off and for the
opportunity to serve San Francisco, the Bay Area, California, and the American
public,” said Virgin America CEO Fred Reid. “I applaud the DOT for approving our
application and fulfilling their long-standing commitment to competition and new
choices for travelers.”

In its final order, the DOT found that the company fully complied with
all requirements regarding fitness, U.S. citizenship requirements and control.
The DOT also acknowledged that this final approval had been contingent upon the
Company's acceptance of several additional conditions that were made public in
March when the DOT tentatively approved Virgin America’s application.

One of these additional conditions included a requirement for Mr Reid
to step down following launch. That condition will remain although he now will
be permitted to stay on as CEO for six months following airline

“This has been quite a journey but I’m truly happy that we will be able
to launch our airline. I plan to spend every minute of my time between now and
then supporting my 200-plus talented teammates in that endeavor,” said Mr Reid.
“When I said that this was never about one person, I meant it. Virgin America
has a wonderful team who will take this airline to great heights, bringing
exciting innovation and competition.”

Now that the company has been formally approved, the next step will be
to seek a waiver to start selling tickets. The company is planning a mid-summer
Virgin America’s first flights will be between its home base of San
Francisco (SFO) to New York (JFK). The airline also plans to serve Los Angeles
(LAX), Washington/Dulles, San Diego and Las Vegas within its first year of

The airline expects to serve as many as 10 cities within a year of
operation and up to 30 cities within five years of service. Additional cities
under Virgin America’s consideration include: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore,
Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort
Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas
City, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, Newark, New Orleans, Orlando,
Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Providence, Portland, Ore., Raleigh-Durham,
Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Jose, Calif., Sarasota, Seattle,
St. Louis, Tampa and West Palm Beach


Friday, May 18, 2007

Is A Drive-Through Starbucks Coming To Hartsdale?

The following I recieved in an email from the Town Of Greenburgh Email list. It would be great to see a Starbucks at this dilapited, contaminated, eyesore piece of Central Ave. Let's note that another Starbucks occupies the Hartsdale Train Station building, and it does quite a commuter and car-passerby business there.

Starbucks is seeking to lease the premises currently occupied by the abandoned
gaseteria located on Central Park Ave, south of the four corners. They want to
develop a 1700 foot facility on the site and have advised that no
variances are required. They are hoping to present their proposal to the
Planning Board in the near future. It's my hope that some of the vacant stores
on Central Ave can be occupied by quality tenants in the coming
PAUL FEINER,Greenburgh Town Supervisor

Metro-North makes changes to reduce flat wheels on train cars

Some interesting solutions. Looking foward to seeing the results.

I'm very intereseted in the "new" sanding technology. Sand has been used on railroads for years. I'm also dissapointed by the slower speeds, I like speeding along on the train.

Metro-North makes changes to reduce flat wheels on train cars
(Original publication: May 18, 2007)To avoid a
repeat of last fall, when 200 rail cars were taken out of service and rush hour
riders had to stand too close for comfort, Metro-North Railroad has several
solutions to its flat-wheel fiasco.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tuscan Milk Commercial

If anyone's seen that TV commercial for Tuscan Milk, where the commuter and the life-sized 1 Gallon Tuscan milk jug are talking to one another on the train platform, you may reconize the station.

It was filmed at the Crestwood train station in Tuckahoe last month. They're standing on the northbound (White Plains Bound) platform. For any frequent rider of the Harlem Line or Tuckahoe area resident, the red brick Chase Bank building in the background should seem familiar.

It's also interesting and sad to note, that while they were filiming this commercial and "rolling", a bicyclist apparently jumped or was otherwise struck by a train and killed.

Coolest Alarm Clock EVER!

I remember seeing this idea somewhere on TV a couple of years ago, where it was developed by college engineering students and won an invention contest.

Really cool idea!
Zzzzz...huh, wha? #@$%!! Come back here!

Sleep. The demesne of Hypnos and Morpheus. Once the playground for
the exhausted geek, now a wasteland of antiproductivity. Are you writing code?
No. Are you pwning n00bs? No. Are you farming gold so you can buy that mount in
Silvermoon? No.
Sleep when you die, man. Staying awake is the only way to
get things done anymore. So when your weekly intake of REM is limited to the
single digits, you need an effective waking mechanism. Something to jog your
mind as well as your body in an effort to pump blood back to your extremities
and grey matter. Clocky is here! All Hail Clocky!
This little wonderful
wheeled alarm clock started as an engineering student's project. Having trouble
waking up herself, Gauri Nanda developed Clocky to shriek annoyingly and
effectively, waking you up. The fun doesn't end there, kiddies. It leaps off of
your night stand, and drives around your room, making random turns and racing
away from your grasp. Now you have to get out of bed and hunt the little bugger
down to turn it off.
Now, you're awake, and it's time to get things done.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Metro North Trains To Get New Bath Facilty

From Metro North "Mileposts" May 2007. It's an excellent newsletter put out by Metro-North, and there's usally a technical article or two in there which I really enjoy reading. There's no online edition (or at least I don't know there is) . This article talks about the new train wash facility at the Highbridge Car appearance facility in the Bronx.

Construction has commenced on a new, ecologically friendly automatic train wash
at our Highbridge Car Appearance Facility in the Bronx.

You may
remember reading about Highbridge when it opened in the spring of 2003. It's
really "two two,two" facilities in one. (Why Certs Used three "twos" is still a
mystery to us.

It's a train yard, built to replace the storage
tracks on the lower level of Grand Central that willl dissapear when East Side
Access, and the Long Island Rail Road come to the

Highbridge also houses a 67,000-square foot, two track
car appearance facility. Since it's opening, we can now E-clean 20 cars per
shift. (The "E" stands for "extrodinary", which is the type of cleaning
conducted every 60 days and includes scrubbing the car from top to bottom, and
power cleaning the vestibule and lavatory areas.)

In addition, we
are able to clean and service up to 72 cars in the yard every day. Also, the
seat and window replacement program for our whole fleet is based at this

Highbridge has enabled us to improve the cleanliness of
our train interiors. When this new train was is finished, it will make the
exteriors look better too.

And the 300-foot long building will do
so using recycled water and cleaning solutions. The only part of the trains bath
that uses clean water is the final rinse.

While "rocketing" through
the facility at a speed of three miles per hour (no one ever said cleanliness
was quick), each car will be sprayed with heated, recycled

Then suds will be applied while the car is scrubbed by a
series of vertical and slanted rotating, and counter rotating, brushes, and high
pressure sprayers.

A pre-rinse will use recylcled water, which will
be followed by a clean water rinse and a trip under a forceful blower to dry the
stainless steel car bodies.

Everyone's morning shower should be so

While the train wash will use 280 gallons of water per
minute, remember that 200 gallons of that will be reclaimed water. Only 80
gallons will be fresh water.

After each use, the water will go into
a neutralizing tank and then through several filters to remove solids and other
impurities. It will be recycled continually until the car washes holding tanks
reach capacity.

An 18-month, $11.2 million contract was awarded to
Calcedo Construction Corp. of Port Chester for the train wash, which will be
located at the south end of the yard.

The train wash, our third,
is scheduled to be in service by the end of 2008.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Study Guide For Westchester FF Exam

So, I was digging through my files today and found this. It's dated 1999, and applicable to the Westchester County Fire Exam, which is ultimately developed and administered by the New York State Civil Service.

I've taken this test twice, and both times it was the same test, and this was the guide.I don't know if NYS has switched to a new kind of test, but I highly doubt it. Nor do I know if they are giving out study guides with the confirmations or classes. Both I urge people to use and take.

I am providing this guide in .doc format. Please use it to help study for the FF exam. Note I cannot guarentee this will be applicable to the upcoming exam, but it is still helpful.

If you pass this guide along, don't forget to mention this blog or http://www.emtbravo.com

This guide was produced and distributed by NYS, and they hold all rights to the document. *If this file does not work for you, let me know.


Fire Service Day- A Photo Hunt Dream....& Dissapointment

Tommorow, I'm missing out on something huge that I was planning on attending and am very sad and dissapointed, but I'll have many more oppurtunities in the years to come.
It's the second Saturday of May- which means it's Fire Service Day in LA!

This means that every Los Angeles CITY and COUNTY Fire station is hosting an open house.

Also, Cities in Los Angeles County and beyond, such as Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Glendale, and Burbank are also having open houses, along with other departments in California.

Most of my favorite stations will have their apparatus, special apparatus, and equipment out for display. Some will have special demonstrations and other events.

This is my photo op/hunt dream! I'll be there next year though!

David Neelman Stepping Down From jetBlue

As a jetBlue stockholder, I was invited to the meeting where this occured, but I didn't go.

So, today, I turned the page in the business section of the Journal News, and found out that David Neelman, the founder and CEO who made jetBlue what it is today, is stepping down. He cites his inability and unwillingness to manage day to day operations as holding the company back, and he states that he's going to let the real operational experts take over.

He will be replaced by jetBlue's current president, Dave Barger, who has been with the company since the begining as well.

Neelman doesn't cite the Valentines Day meltdown as his reason for leaving, rather it being a natural evolution of the companies leadership.

I feel it's going to be a hard transition, especially since David Neelman and his beliefs were so intertwined with jetBlue. His leadership and values infected the comppany, and made it what is is. I'm sure Dave Barger will do a great job, but David Neelman's departure is shocking and he will be missed. Hopefully, the company will continue to suceed on it's own, despite the Delta takeover rumors.

For more on Neelman's involvment with jetBlue and a look behind the scenes at the company, I highly reccomend reading "Blue Streak: Inside jetBlue, the Upstart that Rocked an Industry"By Barabra Peterson (Author)

By the way, David Neelman also kept a blog:

Monday, May 07, 2007

Greenburgh Almost Went Away From Mack...

Doing some research, I found this snippet online regarding the Greenburgh Town 2001 Budget

"The Town is considering purchasing other than Mack trucks because they are less
expensive. Since Mack trucks have a longer wheel base, they can carry more sand
and do not have to make as many trips back to the yard to reload. Questions were
raised about whether the Town will adequately study more than just initial
purchase price. Repair history, life span and interchangeability of parts also
need to be carefully considered."

This disgusts me. Thankfully, someone smart must have stepped in and proven the facts questioned above, because Greenburgh is still using Macks.

The Greenburgh DPW fleet has been mainly Mack for as long as I can remember. As a Mack & DPW truck enthusiast, I have always admired their fleet. As I've detailed in other posts on this blog, the town has nickeled and dimed the essential services. Thankfully, some adminsitrators of the agencies have fought, and are fortunate to use decent equipment-that's when they can get it appproved. The more you pay in taxes in Greenburgh...the less you get.

I'm glad they decided to stick with Mack. It would have been stupid to stray away after so many years and so many Macks in the fleet. Even though they are now owned and manufactured by Volvo Truck North America, the still come from Macungie, PA (near Allentown) and are still a great, powerful, quality, truly "single source"truck, as proven by the numerous agencies that are continuing to add Mack Granites to their fleet. Also, Greenburgh DPW mechanics have been working on Mack trucks for years, and have an extensive Mack parts inventory. To strip away Macks from Greenburgh DPW to go with a "cheaper" truck would have cost the town even more money.

I must also note that many of Greenburgh DPW's Mack's have been remanufactured or refurbished, many in house and many several times. They have Mack trucks over 20-30 years old in, great shape. (Many of the older Macks are used just for sanding and plowing) That says something in itself.

Here's an example of Greenburgh DPW Truck 10, a 1980 Mack that was recently refurbished.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

x635's Blasts From The Past

So I dug out my film print photo collection a few days ago. I never really took photographing things seriously until I got my D-Reb and Canon Digital Elph.

Before that, I was a horrible, horrible ineperienced teenage photographer who was too shy to get the shots I really wanted. But, nonetheless I still was a photo hunter. I want to share these shots with you, so I'll be posting them on the following thread on EMTBravo.net as I scan them in (over a period of time). Most of these photos were taken somewhere between 1996 and 2000.

You can find that thread here: