OTOL Big Apple RailFest 2006
Saturday & Sunday
January 14-15, 2006
Pardon the lack of updates in the past month, but yours truly has been busy attending to many other things. I take full responsibility for going to war in Iraq ... oh wait... wrong speech. Here is an update regarding what we can expect for OTOL Big Apple RailFest 2006, affectionately called BARF 2006:
The itinerary has not changed. We still intend to follow everything as planned. Service disruptions for our fest weekend should be known by Friday, January 6th. However, some last-minute announcements may not be available until Friday, January 13th, at which time most of us will already be on our way to the New York area. Suitable alternate plans are being worked out in the event that one or more of our intended routes is closed, blocked, truncated, bustituted, or the like.
WHAT ABOUT THE STRIKE?
If the transit strike is still on as of January 14-15, the following will take place:
* The Saturday NYCT excursion will be substituted with commuter rail, most likely NJ TRANSIT, since it would be difficult to get to Grand Central Terminal for Metro North.
* The Sunday LIRR round trip excursion will go on as planned.
WHERE DO WE MEET?
* For Saturday, a suitable and easy-to-find location will be announced closer to the fest weekend. I intend to get to the city before the end of December (if no strike) to scout out the best place for us to kick off our Saturday fest activities somewhere under Herald Square.
* Those going to Greenport on the LIRR on Sunday should assemble where we have met before, just outside the LIRR waiting room at New York Penn Station.
THE PARTICIPANT LIST
Please check the current participant list. If your name is on it, but should not be, please let me know so I can remove you. If you would like to come, it is never too late; send me e-mail along with your hometown and which days you will participate, and I will add you to the list.
You know those folders that were handed out to participants at previous fests, detailing the routes we would be riding? Well please don't expect them. There won't be any. We seem to have moved from two fests a year to four, so there simply is not enough lead time anymore before our gatherings to put these things together. I hope that this does not detract from the quality of our fests. We will still have a good time on the rails without them.
Many of you have indicated to me where you intend to stay over the BARF 2006 weekend. If you have not yet chosen a hotel in the New York City/North Jersey area, now would be a good time to make your reservations. There is the potential for hotel rooms to book quickly and their prices to skyrocket:
* If the Giants go far in the playoffs. (We had this issue with the Eagles 2 years ago.)
* Due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. (It is a 3-day holiday weekend for some.)
* If one snowflake hits the ground. (Corporations will reserve blocks of hotel rooms for their employees.)
* If the transit strike is still on (same reason as the snowflake above).
So if you have not yet made your reservation, see: http://pages.prodigy.net/kevinkorell/barf2...tels/hotels.htm .
If you are coming from out of town, and wish for somebody to pre-purchase tickets, here is what we will do:
Alan Burden can pre-purchase for you either a FunPass or a pay-per-ride Metrocard, depending on which medium you choose. Those who stay in hotels in New Jersey may choose the latter, since it is now accepted on PATH trains as well as the New York City subways. The FunPass is a flat $7. You will need to indicate to Alan the value you want on your Metrocard if you decide that is better for you. Remember that you get a $2 bonus for every $10 you put on a Metrocard, so you get six $2 NYC subway rides for the price of 5. PATH fare is $1.50 per ride, so keep that in mind if you purchase the Metrocard with the intention of using it on PATH as well.
For the LIRR excursion on Sunday, there are two ways you should get your tickets:
1. http://www.lirrticket.com/ -- There you will be guided through the process of purchasing your tickets over the Internet, with the tickets sent via USPS to your home within several days. Act soon if you choose this option, as you want to allow enough time to receive the tickets before you leave for New York. This will get you a slight discount over tickets purchased from a machine or a human at an LIRR station. There is no postage fee.
2. If you would rather buy your tickets in person: We will conclude our Saturday travels at Penn Station. At that time, those familiar with the ticket vending machines will show you how to use them to buy your tickets for the next day.
VOLUNTEERS ALWAYS WELCOMED
Seeing as how it has taken over five months to complete the fest report from Eagle RailFest 2005, and almost just as long for Washington RailFest 2005, if anyone wishes to help out by reporting on all or part of our Big Apple RailFest 2006 event, you are more than welcome to do so. Tremendous weight will be lifted from this Superhero's shoulders.
In addition, we want to exercise discretion and not cause any unnecessary trouble from uneducated transit police. But if anyone wishes to take photos of our days on the rails, to later be included with the report, bring your camera.
Keep checking the homepage for OTOL Big Apple RailFest 2006 at for further updates, and those on the list should watch your e-mail as well!