"And much like Christmas, originally about the birth of a religious savior-figure named Jesus, is now about buying things for people and hoping that they buy more things for you, much how Easter, originally about the death of a religious savior-figure named Jesus, is now about receiving rabbit- or egg-shaped chocolates, now and forever Obon is about collecting all of the Pokemon
." Japan, trains, marketing, pachinko, hordes of stamp-seeking children.
posted by silby
on Aug 7, 2009 -
Getting up to speed
: "If it can get started, the California high-speed train would almost certainly be the most expensive single infrastructure project in United States history. Judging by the experiences of Japan and France, both of which have mature high-speed rail systems, it would end the expansion of regional airline traffic as in-state travelers increasingly ride the fast trains. And it would surely slow the growth of highway traffic."
posted by dhruva
on Jun 14, 2009 -
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]
posted by parudox
on Dec 24, 2008 -
Just over sixty years ago the Reverend W. V. Awdry
told his sick son a series of stories based on real life incidents with trains
, which he later wrote up
as the Railway Series. Now Thomas the Tank Engine
and the other engines of the Isle of Sodor
(somewhere between Barrow-in-Furness and the Isle of Man
) are a global phenomena, with toys
, books and of course the TV series - filmed using model trains on more than 70 1:32 scale 16-by-20-foot sets
, and voiced by the likes of Ringo Starr and Alec Baldwin. 2008 has been a rough year for Thomas: George Carlin, who voiced the series in the US up until 1998, passed away (previously
), as did David Mitton
, who had written and directed over 180 episodes (and who has previously worked on the special effects for Thunderbirds
). There's changes ahead for Thomas as well - this year saw the faces of the engines, which had previously been cast in silicone and attached with double sided tape, replaced by CGI faces
, and from 2009 onwards Nitrogen studios
in Canada will be taking over production with an entirely CGI Thomas
. Meanwhile a group of British students continues the tradition of model engine-based storytelling with their YouTube based British Railway Series
posted by Artw
on Dec 21, 2008 -
Interior New York Subway, 14th St. to 42nd St. (1905) (sound added).
In June, 1905, G.W. "Billy" Bitzer,
D.W. Griffith's cinematographer, mounted a camera at the front of a train and shot 6 1/2 minutes of footage from 14th Street (Union Square) to the old Grand Central Depot
, built by Cornelius Vanderbilt and architect John Snook in 1871. At the time of filming, the subway was only seven months old, having opened in October 1904. Two weeks after completing "Interior New York Subway
," Bitzer shot "2 AM in the Subway,"
a comic short about late-night cavorting in an underground station. In March, 1905, Ray Stannard Baker (author of "What is a Lynching
") called New York's new subway "a confusion of wonders"
-- "the next step in the evolution of a Modern City." It would have its challenges.
posted by terranova
on Dec 9, 2008 -
Trains of Russia
, photos from Pavoroz.com
, a site about the railways of Russia, the Baltics and the C.I.S. (Commonwealth of Independent States
). More than 50 000 pictures of steam, diesel, and electric locomotives, EMU and DMU trains, draisines, stations, tracks, etc. The collection is updated daily. The Turkestan-Siberian railway
. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye
on Oct 6, 2008 -
"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
posted by Kattullus
on Jul 25, 2008 -
The first National Train Day
is this coming Saturday. There will be events all over
, and concerts, special guests and lots of train related attractions in four main cities, Washington D.C.
, Los Angeles
and New York City
. The day is May 10th to commemorate May 10th, 1869
when the “golden spike
” was driven into the final tie in Promontory Summit, Utah.
It joined two major railways, ceremonially creating the nation’s first transcontinental railroad. Except that it really didn't.
That did not actually happen until August 15th, 1870, near Strasburg, CO. Colorado State officials list it
(pdf) as Comanche Crossing, saying "An unpretentious white monument
marks the spot". The "drab concrete pylon" was moved from the actual site and now sits in Lions Park. Next to the monkey bars.
posted by cashman
on May 3, 2008 -
[4.4MB PDF - mirror
]: Cooking on train motors, including recipes, cooking vessels (really, plastic bags and Gladware) pictures of where to stash the food, and resulting dishes.
posted by c0nsumer
on Oct 25, 2007 -
From 1853 to 1929 an ambitious relocation adoption program run by the Children's Aid Society, founded by Charles Loring Brace,
sent kids from urban slums and orphanages out to live on Midwestern farms, with mixed results
. Some became state governors, others suffered abuse
or servitude. Even though we use the name Orphan Train, few of these children were true orphans. Some were half-orphans, having lost one parent to disease or accident. Some had both parents but had run away do to abuse or neglect. By 1910, CAS had "placed out" over 106,000 children and the program ran for another 19 years. Also, similar programs were run by the New York Foundling Home (called Baby Trains), New York Juvenile Asylum, and the Boston Home for Little Wanderers. In all, at least, 200,000 children found themselves moved from the city to small towns and farms across the Nation.
posted by Brian B.
on Mar 16, 2007 -
Luigi Colani, Biomorphic Designer
— This prolific master
has been creating organically streamlined planes
, and other wonderful stuff
the kitchen sink
) for some 60 years
. Wherever you need to go
, you can reach your final destination
in Colani style. More designs here
, and here
[Brits and touristas take note: London's Design Museum will host a Colani exhibition, Translating Nature, from March 3 to June 17, 2007. Bibliophiles can check out the book Colani: The Art of Shaping the Future.]
posted by cenoxo
on Feb 18, 2007 -
When is suicide selfish?
Yesterday in Los Angeles a suicidal local man stabbed himself in the chest, slit his wrists, and drove his car up onto train tracks, lost his nerve and hopped out at the last minute, to watch in anguish as not one but two trains collided with his car and with each other, killing 11 people (so far) and injuring almost 200 others. [more inside]
posted by LondonYank
on Jan 27, 2005 -
Having just returned to Paradise
for a little visit, I am reminded just how cool this little place is (not that I needed much reminding *whimper*), and am looking for touristy things to do here without a car. While I was on my way up on the Pacific Surfliner
train, a fellow rider told me about Santa Barbara Car Free
. Awesome! Also props to CalTrans' alliance with Amtrak in California. The trains and service and overall quality of the passenger rail system is quite a bit different from what I've experienced thus far of the stuff handled by Amtrak alone.
posted by WolfDaddy
on Aug 2, 2004 -
The A-Train For Armchair Travellers
The Man in Seat 61, a train-mad Brit called Mark Smith, provides a wonderful guide, with lots of useful information, to train travel in Europe - though obviously catering mostly to British passengers. Choo Choo!
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Mar 16, 2004 -
Ping Pong Pang Pong ...
(MIDI file). Archives of public transport departure chimes and announcements. From Japan, MIDI files [+
] (via Boingboing) and live recordings [+
] of various elaborate tunes (no I don't speak Japanese, just keep clicking the blue links until you hit an MP3!). European recordings [+
]. The very excellent Shonen Knife
used a sample of the Osaka subway chimes
in their rockin' cover version of the Carpenter's 'Top of the World.' (WFMU archive here, click "Hear the show", song starts with Osaka chimes at approximately 15:23)
posted by carter
on Mar 3, 2004 -
: images from the sides of boxcars, coal cars, miscellaneous freight cars and a caboose. .
posted by hama7
on Oct 19, 2003 -
. To go with yesterday's post
, today I bring you the hotel's that were built alongside the railway. Some of the gradients were so acute that when the train ascended or descended, the table settings and food flew in all directions. The weight of the cars added to the problem, as they were too much for the locomotives of the day, and the cars had to be left at the beginning of the railway's path up the mountain passes. Obviously passengers needed to be fed so a solution had to be found as soon as possible.
Have you been to any of these hotels, and if so, what was your impression? Do you have any favorite hotels?
posted by ashbury
on Jun 25, 2003 -
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.
posted by Jimbob
on Mar 19, 2003 -