Stretching 57km (35mi) under the Swiss Alps, the Gotthard Base Tunnel officially became the world's longest and deepest active tunnel when it opened for service earlier today, completing a critical link in Europe's rail network. The tunnel's completion was commemorated by an extravagant ceremony and interpretive dance. [The last two links may be NSFW]
The Yamanote Line is the most famous and well-travelled train line in Tokyo. Each station on the Yamanote plays a song (eki-melo, "train melody", 発車メロディ or "hassha melody") when trains are about to depart, differing by platform, direction and station. Click any post to listen to that station's eki-melo! (Links to sound clips can be tricky to discern - begin with the station list, find a station you like and then click on the title of song which follows the platform & station names.) [more inside]
Rail Map Online Maps showing all rail lines both past and present. Currently covered areas: UK & Ireland and Western USA.
The Canadian Pacific Christmas Train is a rolling holiday party for a cause. Two beautifully lit trains - on a US Route and a Canada route - cruise through the Midwest, stopping in 150 towns along the way to present live music and light shows while bringing donations of cash and food to local food banks.
Crossrail is a 70 ish mile railway currently being built right through the centre of London. Take drone flight through some of the tunnels and watch the giant mechanical Shai Halud chomp through walls.
Why can't America have Great Trains?
...Amtrak, which runs a deficit and therefore depends on money from Washington, remains on a seemingly permanent path to mediocrity.
What gives, exactly? Why can't Amtrak create any momentum for itself in the political world? Why is the United States apparently condemned to have second-rate trains?
Part of the answer, of course, is geography: Density lends itself to trains, and America is far less dense than, say, Spain or France. But this explanation isn't wholly satisfying because, even in the densest parts of the United States, intercity rail is slow or inefficient.
Over Christmas engineering works on train lines into London failed. This is a review of the report into that failure. It's a fascinating read about cascading failure and errors in project planning. And, for once, read the comments.
Do you or your family live, work, or go to school within the potential blast radius of the next Lac-Mégantic?
On a hazy February day in 2011, a special rainbow-colored train sped down the tracks to celebrate the newly-completed bullet train line spanning the island of Kyushu, Japan, and everybody came out to greet it.
HYPERLOOP Elon Musk & SpaceX finally reveal their plan for a radical new mass transportation system, Hyperloop.
Beginning later this year, Amtrak will begin replacing its 30-year-old fleet of locomotives on the Northeast Corridor and Keystone Corridor with brand new trains. [more inside]
We have previously discussed private railcars on Ask Metafilter, but there is a growing hobby of people owning and running their own railcar speeders. [more inside]
"The Wenzhou crash killed forty people and injured a hundred and ninety-two. For reasons both practical and symbolic, the [Chinese] government was desperate to get trains running again, and within twenty-four hours it declared the line back in business. The Department of Propaganda ordered editors to give the crash as little attention as possible. “Do not question, do not elaborate,” it warned, on an internal notice. When newspapers came out the next morning, China’s first high-speed train wreck was not on the front page." [How a high-speed rail disaster exposed China's corruption]
It's been a big week for high speed rail proponents and infrastructure hawks. This week, the California Legislature approved startup funds for the $68 billion high-speed line linking San Diego to San Francisco and Sacramento and points in between. Today, Amtrak unvelied its $151 billion plan (PDF) for the Northeast Corridor. Both will take decades to complete. Detractors worry about exploding costs and operating losses, while supporters stress jobs, mobility, and international competitiveness. Europe and Japan have lapped us a few times over. However, those who want to do this quickly and cheaply might want to take a lesson from once-ambitious China.
"The Big Train" and other classic 1950s and 60s publicity reels from the New York Central Railroad. Lots of footage of trains, railroad infrastructure, well-dressed office minions, teletypes, punchcard machines, men in white lab coats, bubbling beakers, and even an "atomic signal light." [more inside]
Railway termini are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.
Network Rail virtual archive Original drawings and plans of Britain's railway infrastructure from Network Rail, including the Forth Bridge, Bristol Temple Meads station, the Tay Bridge and lots more.
Does California need the high-speed rail project? The New York Times published six opinion pieces debating the merits of the $90 billion high-speed rail plan that would connect Los Angeles to San Francisco. Streetsblog has a summary of the six opinions. [more inside]
Australia's federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport has released an initial report into the prospects of building a high-speed rail link joining the eastern states. The report (which may be found here) lists a number of potential corridors joining Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, and gives the total cost of building the system at AUD100bn. The resulting system would allow journeys between Melbourne and Sydney (currently the world's fourth busiest air route) in just under three hours, and Sydney and Brisbane in a further three. Tickets between Melbourne and Sydney would be priced at AUD99 to AUD197, with Sydney-Brisbane tickets being slightly cheaper. [more inside]
Urban explorers surreptitiously gain access to the Post Office Railway underneath London, take lots of photos.
Snow is a short film directed by Geoffrey Jones (1931-2005) and shot by Wolfgang Suschitzky [imdb], simultaneously spectacle and social-commentary it can be viewed online (YouTube). Snow was made under the aegis of British Transport Films (wiki) and nominated for an Oscar in 1965; unable to afford to licence his choice of soundtrack—“Teen Beat” by Sandy Nelson—Jones enlisted Johnny Hawksworth to rerecord “Teen Beat” with an altered tempo and effects by Daphne Oram [wiki, BBC]. The result is a masterpiece of sound and image.
Depending on who you ask, Ohio's C3 Railroad project is either a) a conventional railroad project that's going to restore slow rail service between Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati or; b) it's a visionary initiative of President Obama and Transportation secretary, Roy LaHood, that has the intention of rebooting Ohio's entire infrastructure. [more inside]
Jet Trains! Jet Trains! The Americans built one, so the Soviets had to build one, too. The Soviet one appears to be in disrepair now.
America's system of rail freight is the world's best. High-speed passenger trains could ruin it [more inside]
America's system of rail freight is the world's best. High-speed passenger trains could ruin it [more inside]
From London to St. Petersburg with the Man in Seat 61. Actor Kenneth Cranham travels with Mark Smith, creator of worldwide non-air travel resource website without equal Seat61.com (previously). [more inside]
The Guardian ran a series of articles looking at the state of high-speed rail travel today. France intends to double its length of track over the next decade, and China is planning a massive rail-building programme, including a high-speed line which will halve the travel time between Beijing and Shanghai to 4 hours. In Germany, domestic air travel is rapidly going extinct, and Spain's network has made day trips between Madrid and Barcelona a possibility. The USA, which has long neglected its rail network, is planning up to 10 high-speed lines. Meanwhile, Britain's only high-speed line goes to France, but there is talk of a 250mph line from London to Birmingham and beyond, possibly by the early 2020s. Meanwhile, the CEO of France's rail operator, SNCF, weighs in on what the UK should do.
GM is struggling to survive, announcing today tens of thousands of layoffs and plant closings by next year, and eliminating the Pontiac Brand. Meanwhile just a few weeks ago, the president announced a high speed rail plan [pdf] between many major cities. An interesting turn of events since the documentary Taken For a Ride uses interviews and public records to argue that GM deliberately killed off transportation via rail.
In September of 2008, two Austrians traveled 13,000km by rail from Vienna to Pyongyang - without asking permission and going through the official Koran travel agency. [more inside]
The "Crash at Crush" was the intentional head-on crash of two Katy locomotives on Sept. 15, 1896. The results were not quite what Agent Crush had planned. Scott Joplin wrote The Great Crush Collision March [more pictures] to commemorate the event and it was also an inspiration for 'Head-On' Joe Connelly. [more inside]
"Looking for all the world like an engine abandoned in the Amazon jungle, M2 class 4-8-0 number 1118 lies forlorn and forgotten at the Virginia Scrap Iron and Metal yard in Roanoke, VA." The Lost Engines of Roanoke website chronicles the history of four steam locomotives that were sold in the 50's to a scrapyard in Roanoke, Virginia. There are plenty of photos of the engines and other train equipment and information on two other lost engines. The news section has been busy of late since one of the engines has been sold to a railroad themed restaurant in Bellville, Ohio. The move was photodocumented.
Virgin Trains embarks on a new campaign. Richard Branson takes a new direction in getting people to think about global warming and using British rail. More here.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published their latest Infrastructure Report Card in 2005. America's infrastructure got a D. The ASCE estimate that it will cost $1.6 trillion over a five-year period to bring the nation's infrastructure to good condition. They also have a Critical Infrastructure blog. [Via Gristmill.]
A timetable of UK trains carrying nuclear waste. (PDF file). The related Greenpeace UK article. UK nuclear waste train route graphic. Mirror tabloid hack plants fake bomb on nuclear waste train. "The gate was open, there were no security guards. I walked up to the train and planted my bomb". The Guardian's take on the story.
Inside metros. Cities with interesting stations [with links]. Some have works of art. Some are works of art. I notice Sydney, Australia is not on the list - no surprise there.
Metro Bits documents some of the most aesthetically pleasing world metro systems including the art/architecture, logos (variations on the 'M' theme) and views with a good selection of associated photographs and links. [via] (moscow)
Bomb plot threatens rail system in France Give us money ($5M) or we blow up your tracks! And the threat contained hints on where authorities could find samples. Is this the start of a new trend, will the French Gov pay, and why France?
Trains vs. Airplanes. Amtrak has reported record ridership levels for the Thanksgiving season. But the success of the rails is indebted to post 9/11 air-travel anxiety. Maybe, it would be better for travelers to stop fearing hijackings and resume flying planes instead of riding intercity trains out of fear. On the other hand, it could be a good thing that rail travel is getting a second look after years of decline.
The superconducting Magnetically-levitated Linear Motor Car is a most promising high speed transportation system in the 21st century. Mechanics and future benefits of Maglev trains.(video) [more]