Friday 9 October 2015

From Around The World (And Essex)

A bonus post today - wasn't planned but these three items caught my eye in a short space of time and I thought I'd share them.

Now what do you think of when I mention French Railways? Modern, sleek, extremely fast SNCF trains hurtling South? Rubber tyred double deck Metro trains in Paris? Yes me too. However it appears there is another not so well known side to French Railways - yes you guessed it - rural services. In some spots there can be only one train a day down wooden sleepered, overgrown tracks, and unreliable with it. In other areas commuters are having to catch trains earlier than the ones they need just to get to their destination on time, and the passengers have had enough. So what are they going to do? Well they're going on strike. Yup the passengers are going on strike. But it is a very specific sort of strike. For two days passengers are going to refuse to show valid tickets, instead showing a fake protest ticket which outlines their grievances. I know the French have recently caused absolute misery and chaos in Kent with the blockades of French ports but you also have to have a grudging respect for the French people. When they say "non" they mean "non". They don't just whinge about things they do something abut it. I can't help wondering what the scene at Liverpool Stt would be next time everything goes belly up (probably sometime in the next 10 mins) and everyone refused to show their tickets at the barriers. Anarchy! Anyway to read the full story in Mailonline click here.

 From gay Paris to not so happy Colchester and my thanks to Paulo for letting Twitter world know about this video showing the extreme patience needed to be a bus driver. I have no idea what started all this but according to the cameraman not much was missed before he started recording, and after he stopped they both got off, the man taking pictures of the bus, presumably not for enthusiast purposes! For those interested the vehicle involved was First Essex Scania 65680

Finally I was doing a bit of channel hopping after the lunchtime news today and caught the last part of Chris Tarrant's quite excellent programme on extreme railways around the world. This week he was in Bolivia, and it could be said that the rail network there is in even more need of updating than ours. However they have solved the shortage of rolling stock by using replacement buses. Literally.

The rolling stock on Bolivia's Rio Mulatos - Potosi line
I present the Mercedes minitrain. How ingenious. Only trouble is it's not that fast, the line sometimes disappears underwater and some gradients are so steep the co driver has to get out and put earth on the rails just so the train erm bus can get a grip on the rails. The entire journey takes a whopping 7 hours but passes through some of the most stunning scenery imaginable. I was lucky enough to find a website with many pictures and description of the route, and you can also watch the programme on Channel 5's catch up tv. To access the website click here.

This gave me an idea. Are there any heritage railways around that don't have any bridges or tunnels? If so I think a good project would be the Volvo Olympitrain. Any takers?

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