Brightline West is ready to start breaking ground this week, according to The Washington Post. The southwest endpoint will be in Rancho Cucamonga, where it will connect to Metrolink. (Which is definitely better than Victorville, which I’d seen suggested a few years ago.) Connecting to the existing lines here will make it simpler to build than trying to connect all the way to Los Angeles proper. (gift link)

Electric trains will depart every 45 minutes from a Las Vegas station south of the city’s storied Strip and a Southern California station in Rancho Cucamonga, a Los Angeles suburb about 40 miles east of downtown.

Traveling at up to 186 mph — faster than any other train in the United States — Brightline West trains will make the 218-mile trip in about 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Cross-posted from Metafilter

Blue Line to Wonderland

I love that Boston has a subway station called Wonderland.

I mean, you can actually answer the question in the Disney theme song! (The route does in fact go under land, though the Blue Line may go over hills as well.)

And since it’s the north end of the line, all the direction signs read like this one.

Apparently it’s named after an old amusement park in the area that ran from 1906-1911, and later a dog racetrack that picked up the name in the 1930s.

I wonder how many Boston kids have looked for tiny doorways hidden in the walls, or white rabbits hopping through the train stations.

Lately whenever I take my car in for maintenance, I end up taking the car-free morning away from home as an excuse to walk down to the Manhattan Beach Pier. The last time was right after a Halloween storm, which was gorgeous, but this time it was a gloomy morning, and I took the opportunity to explore a little more.

Modern Beach Town

Manhattan House mural.

This mural wasn’t there the last time I walked by, and may not have been there the last time I drove by either. The restaurant is new, and it seems like it would be hard to miss. I like the mix of two cities: the one I was standing in, and its namesake on the other side of the country.

Also: a pirate shipwreck. Yarr!

Believe it or not, this next photo is not a double exposure:

Traffic Sign Reflection

I don’t think I’d ever seen this type of traffic sign up close before. At first I was intrigued by the five-LED pattern used for each pixel, but as I started to line up a photo, I noticed the layered effect reflecting the street and the buildings on the far side.

Continue reading

Darth Joker cosplay at Comic-Con 2011This year, we approached Comic-Con International a bit differently than usual. For the last seven years we’ve been staying in town for all four days. With the baby, we decided to do Comic-Con 2011 in just one day. So we left him with relatives and took the train down to San Diego for the day. We arrived in town about 9:00, walked down to the convention center, and had our badges just after the floor opened at 9:30.

(Full photo set on Flickr, Flash-related coverage on Speed Force.)

Jack Skellington Puppet/Costume at Comic-Con 2011Planning a trip to Comic-Con is always about trade-offs. It’s so big that you can’t see everything, and there are so many events going on that you can’t attend them all. With four days, there’s some wiggle room. With just one, it seemed like I was constantly thinking about those choices.

One of the first choices I made: No news panels. I could get that the next day online (and did). I wanted to focus only on what was unique to the con: exhibits, meeting people, the art show, etc. Basically, I wanted to experience as much of San Diego Comic Con as I could in one day.

Katie decided to pick two things and build her day around them: visiting The Field, an Irish pub our friend Sean introduced us to a few years ago, and seeing the new Thundercats screening. Continue reading

Elevated train station above a parking lot at night. A long streak of light indicates the windows of a train in motion.

I haven’t really kept up with the photoblog since moving a few months ago. I’ll try to get back on track with a new post each week.

This is Aviation Station along the Los Angeles Metro Green Line, the closest station to LAX. (It doesn’t actually stop at the airport, but you can take a shuttle bus.) It’s also the nearest stop to my office. Before I moved, I’d sometimes take the train up to this point and a bus the rest of the way to work.

One night I was working late and missed the bus. Somehow convinced that the next one wouldn’t be by for an hour, I decided rather than sit and wait, I’d walk the mile and a half to the station. Three or four buses passed me, so it didn’t save me any time, but it was interesting to watch the planes line up for landing, and I caught this view of a train leaving the station as I was arriving.