High-speed rail projects may be struggling in California
and facing increased opposition in the UK, but they have gotten a boost in two unlikely countries. In Iceland, a country which currently has no working railways, a plan to build a high-speed rail line from Keflavík airport to downtown Reykjavík
, using either conventional HSR or maglev technology, is being explored. Meanwhile in Australia, the conservative federal government has committed to safeguarding a corridor for a Melbourne-Canberra-Sydney-Brisbane high-speed rail network
, a project commenced by the previous Labor minority government after pressure from the Greens. [more inside]
was an economic bubble
in the United Kingdom in the 1840s that involved a railroad development frenzy
and a speculative bubble
in the shares of railroad companies
. ... [T]he British Railway Mania
was the result of overexuberance
toward the business prospects of a disruptive innovation; though railroads are now a part of everyday life, they were once
every bit as revolutionary
as the internet was when it was first introduced."
You may remember
the 7.5 hour documentary released in 2009 which allowed you to travel the journey between Bergen to Oslo from the comfort of your home.
If your wanderlust was fired up watching that video, then you may enjoy some of the other trips you can take.
Trains in Switzerland's Ticino canton filmed with tilt-shift lenses: Gottardo Nord
& Gottardo Sud
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.
CN Turbo Train Part 2
, part 3
, 1970 Film.
Canada Off the Rails
: You know the story of the Avro Arrow, now discover how Canada fell from leader to laggard in another
cutting edge, vastly profitable, globally relevant transportation industry, where Canadians had held a strong lead, until this Canadian homegrown industry was derailed; high-speed de
CN Turbo Train - "3:59" - The Lost Film
(the high speed rail flickr pool is recommended viewing)
. [more inside]
La parenthèse urbaine.
A stop-motion journey around an abandoned Paris railway line (SLV)
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]
"Track trespassing is the largest everyday cause of unnatural deaths in Mumbai."
Every day, an average of 7 million commuters ride the Mumbai Suburban Railway
. Every day, an average of 10 people are killed crossing the train tracks.
Can the lessons of Cognitive Neurology
and Behavioural Economics change this
? The results of a pilot public safety project seem promising.
The largest model railway layout in the world, Hamburg's Miniatur Wunderland
has been featured here before
. Featuring areas modelled on real life attractions, it also is home to the fictional town of Knuffingen
where the 200,000 mini-inhabitants are very much looking forward to the opening of their new airport
. [more inside]
High-speed railroading America's system of rail freight is the world's best. High-speed passenger trains could ruin it [more inside]
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
Paintings of trains.
I like the energy of this one
, but there are enough for everyone to have a favorite. [more inside]
A glance will show / Why Phoebe Snow / Prefers this route / To Buffalo.
And Phoebe's right / No route is quite / As short as Road / of Anthracite.
In 1908 the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad began work on the New Jersey Cut-Off
to make its New York to Buffalo mainline (the Road of Anthracite so liked
by Phoebe Snow
) even shorter and faster. It was to have no grade crossings, and was to be as straight and level as possible — through hilly terrain. The 28-mile Lackawanna Cut-Off
, as it is now known, was built over three years, cost $11 million, and was an engineering marvel
of massive reinforced concrete bridges, enormous cuts, and the largest railroad embankment in the world. All of this has been abandoned
for years, though there are plans afoot to restore the Cut-Off for commuter rail
. [more inside]
Seventy years ago today a world land speed record was set that has never been broken... on July 3, 1938 LNER Class A4 4468 Mallard
reached the giddy speed of 126mph. [more inside]
Dead Road - Museum of Communism in the Open
. "It was one of the most ambitious projects of the Stalin era, known as the 'railway of bones'
. At least 10 people a day died during the four years of its construction [actually 1947-1953], but unlike most of Uncle Joe's grand designs it was never completed and now sits unfinished in the tundra, an icy road to nowhere." The transpolar railway
was built by labour camps^
501 and 503 and construction was stopped after the amnesty following Stalin's death in 1953; 800km, about half, was built. Some sections are currently in operation, but much is abandoned: depot and locomotives in Dolgoe
, Dolgoe itself
, labour camps
, more spectacular decay
. (Previously: Norilsk
, which was supposed to see an extension of the line.)
London to Brighton in Two Minutes
(2006) [HI Apple Quicktime, LO Adobe Flash]
preceeded by London to Brighton in Three-and-a-Half Minutes
(1983) [RealMedia, context]
preceeded by London to Brighton in Four Minutes
(1953) [RealMedia, context]
One small german army and a train.
(large pageload of photographs). Also: a flash slideshow
of the same army (parent site
Music history rendered on a London Tube Map
They say: "Could we chart the branches and connections of 100 years of music using the London Underground map? Dorian Lynskey explains how a box of coloured crayons and lot of swearing helped." I say: Look also at the comments in the accompanying thread, which features trolling, snarkiness and repetition, beginning with "Why did you do this? What is the point? Wouldn't you have been better off doing something else? Sometimes you media people really worry me." The Guardian are introducing commenter registration on their new blog
The London Necropolis Railway
During the first half of the 19th century, London's population more than doubled and the number of London corpses requiring disposal was growing almost as fast. Cemetery space in the city had failed to keep pace with this growth, and so the vast new Brookwood Cemetery
- the London Necropolis - was built in Surrey. Brookwood was the largest burial ground in the world when it was opened in 1854 by the London Necropolis & National Mausoleum Company. To get there, the deceased and their mourners - segregated by class - could catch a train
from Westminster. The Necropolis Railway survived until World War 2, when it was heavily damaged
. The railway was subsequently closed as motorised hearses became more popular. See also: Also: a six part Fortean Times article extracted from Google's cache [1 2 3 4 5 6
The Brighton Daddy Longlegs Railway
ran offshore along the beach at Brighton, UK
, at the turn of the 20th century. Designed by Magnus Volk
, it ran on 24 feet high stilts
, over the sea
, and required a trained sea captain to operate it. For a few years, it was quite the tourist attraction
. The rest of Volk's Electric Railway
Photographs of London Underground Stations
Taken on black and white film, then coloured in photoshop. A nice example
A golden buckle on the steel girdle of Russia
: Completed in 1905
and considered to be among the major masterpieces of Russian engineering, the Circum-Baikal Railway
offers Trans-Siberian Rail passengers breathtaking views
of the world's oldest lake
and its rugged surroundings
. Over only 72 kilometers, the railway's designers had to construct 200 bridges
and 33 tunnels
to navigate the terrain.
is a small railway town on the border of South Australia and Victoria, and was once a means for traders to escape taxes when travelling between the colonies, due to errors made when surveying the state borders. No train has stopped here since 1986, and now only a handful of people remain in the town, a sad downfall that Tom Waits
has immortalized in song. But abandoned railway stations, closed as populations decline or trade routes change, exist the world over
, in the city
and in the country
, and yes, even in France
. They look like great places to explore.