Model trains, the key perhaps to a model life of happiness

Wednesday, 13 February, 2013

Members of the Melbourne Model Railway Society seem to be pretty content with their lives, could their apparently all consuming interest in their model trains be something to do with it?

The world is a foul and meaningless place full of pimps and mutant wolves. And who isn’t fucked up and miserable about that fact? People with hobbies. It’s as though by finding something you love and climbing all up in it until it’s so tight around you that you can barely breathe, the misery can’t squeeze its way in. Maybe I’m oversimplifying it. Or maybe people with hobbies are as morbid as the rest of us but we only ever see their weirdly contented exteriors.

Doesn’t have to be model trains of course. I expect that anything on the up, that keeps the mind away from negative thoughts, would have the same affect though.

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You’ll never be late home if you’re travelling on this train

Friday, 18 January, 2013

Canadian Jason Shron recently built an exact replica of a VIA Rail train carriage… in the basement of his home. Fitted out with original fixtures and fittings, salvaged from a carriage that was to be scrapped, it also has an audio-track mimicking the sound of a train moving along rail lines.

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Think about it, where would you be without London Underground?

Friday, 16 November, 2012

150 great things about the Underground: in January 2013 the London Underground transit system will have been with us for 150 years.

Just for a minute lets forget all the signal failure, the trains that didn’t show up, and what have you, and instead reflect on its positive aspects. And of those there are many. Imagine for instance trying to move across London if there were no tube at all?

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There ain’t been a train through here since sometime last century

Monday, 12 November, 2012

Well if, and only if, the rail tracks in question are no longer in use, and I have to say some of the tracks featured here look to be in pretty good condition considering they’re meant to be disused, then rail riding with a go-kart specially adapted for use on train lines, looks like a fun way to while away a lazy summer’s afternoon.

Aside from trains, or just maybe other go-karts approaching from the opposite direction, you also need to be mindful of obstructions such as rocks or branches along the track, though mowing down overgrown weeds looks like it would add to the excitement.

By the way, there’s a wee bit of coarse language in case you’re watching this at work.

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Last train to Switzerland

Thursday, 23 August, 2012

The Bernina Express, is a rail/tram line that takes travellers from Tirano, in Northern Italy, to the Swiss town of Chur… to have the time to be wandering about Europe finding things like this.

(Thanks Steve & Mandi)

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Mass transit systems, individual by circumstance yet still generic

Tuesday, 22 May, 2012

While the subway, or underground, train systems of many medium to large cities may not have been designed according to any sort of standard plan, or layout, each system is after all unique to the environment it is built in, they nonetheless have a number of common traits, no matter how divergent their individual design.

First, subway networks can be divided into a core and branches, like a spider with many legs. The “core” typically sits beneath the city’s center, and its stations usually form a ring shape. The branches, which are more linear, extend outward from the core in many directions. Second, the branches tend to be about twice as long as the width of the core. The wider the core, the longer the branches. And subway systems with more stations tend to have more branches. The number of branches corresponds roughly with the square root of the number of stations. Last, an average of 20 percent of the stations in the core link two or more subway lines, allowing people to make transfers.

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Can Sydney’s monorail take the high lane to the high line?

Wednesday, 25 April, 2012

If a local a landscape architect has his way, Sydney’s soon to be decommissioned monorail line could be turned into the equivalent of New York’s High Line, a disused network of elevated rail lines on the west side of Manhattan, that are now a public park.

His proposal would involve a three to five-metre-wide deck across the track, creating a 3.6-kilometre public walkway through the central business district. The High-Lane, as he calls it, could be used by joggers, cyclists, office workers, parents with prams and tourists. The existing pylons would become vertical gardens and Monorail stations would be transformed into pocket parks, cafes and gallery spaces.

I’m not sure the idea, that has been dubbed “The High-Lane”, would work though given Sydney’s monorail doesn’t have quite the same heritage, or even aesthetic, as New York’s old freight line. Improving Sydney’s public transport system, I think, probably needs to take higher priority over something like this.

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Time and motion in action on the Moscow Metro

Thursday, 5 April, 2012

I’m trying to ease back on the timelapse videos I post here (even though I already have another one lined up for you tomorrow) but this one, comprising footage of Moscow’s mass transit system is certainly worth a look. The best is saved for last so watch it right through.

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The bright lights of London are best reached by steam locomotive

Thursday, 1 March, 2012

In 2013 the London Underground turns 150, and to mark the upcoming anniversary it has been proposed that a steam locomotive be run along sections of the system.

The above footage show tests of a steam engine taking place at Baker Street station, on the Bakerloo line, late one night recently.

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Cockfosters and back, the best way to see London is by tube

Wednesday, 9 November, 2011

One of our ill-conceived bucket list type ideas once was to travel from one end of each London tube line (including of course the Circle line) to the other, for no other reason than simply making each journey, though we lost interest in the plan pretty quickly.

The Piccadilly and District lines were the only ones I ever completely traversed, though I did enjoy my brief layover at Cockfosters, the final station at the northern end of the Piccadilly line, a place two characters from a short story written by British author Helen Simpson, found themselves, though for reasons different to mine.

The two of them had conspired to spend a couple of hours on art, but now that time was promised to the Piccadilly line. Although they had not seen each other for years, they had instantly been returned to an unstrained intimacy, as unexpected as it was welcome. At school together in south London, they had found it easy to stay in touch in their twenties, and still possible in a shell-shocked way round babies in their early thirties; then Julie and her husband had moved north and it was the roaring forties that had forced friendship to take a back seat in the interests of survival. Now, though, they had started to crawl up out of their burrows, as Philippa put it, and emerge blinking into the sunlight.

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