Elliott was among the first outsiders to be given access to Pyongyang's metro. Previously, only two stations could be visited. He posted a nice big gallery of photos and his reflections on a strange (and beautiful) place.
This may sound mundane, but the previously restricted Pyongyang Metro is surely one of the most mysterious, yet beautiful transit systems on earth, each station uniquely themed in ultra-nationalism, parading North Korea’s revolutionary goals and achievements to impressionable commuters. In many ways, it’s a small museum, most of which formerly hidden from outside eyes and subsequently shrouded in conspiracy theories. Sensationalism aside, here’s my journey in over sixty photos of the beating heart of Pyongyang, the Pyongyang Metro.
There are chandeliers everywhere. Even the trains are museum-pieces - and perfectly looked-after.
Previously: Sycophantic Reactionary Foreign Trains Condemned Read the rest
While the railroad at Disneyland in Anaheim, California is out of service for a year and a half while the route is being changed and “The Star Wars Experience” is being built, I thought it might be fun to take you for a ride on The Western River Railroad at Tokyo Disneyland, which remains exactly the same as it was on park opening in 1983.
While the railroads at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris run around the perimeter of the parks and are a both a method of transportation as well as an attraction (the latter at some parks more than others), the railroad at Tokyo Disneyland is something else entirely.
Because of burdensome government regulations regarding railroad operation which would have prevented a typical Disney-style railroad that circled the park with multiple stations, the executives at The Oriental Land Company (a consortium of well-known Japanese corporations formed specifically to build and operate the Tokyo Disney park) and Walt Disney Imagineering cleverly decided to do something different.
Called “The Western River Railroad,” the attraction has four steam powered trains: The Colorado, The Mississippi, The Missouri, and The Rio Grande. There is only one station, which sits atop the entrance to The Jungle Cruise in Adventureland. It functions solely as an attraction, and so there’s a lot more to see (particularly after the subsequent construction of some major attractions after the park opened).
From the station, the train runs around the perimeter of the Jungle Cruise and then past a small scenic station called Stillwater Junction. Read the rest
It looks like this fellow believed he could stop the train with the power of his mind, but at the last minute realized the train wasn't going comply with his command. He ends the performance by shaking his fist and uttering a curse at the disobedient train. Read the rest
You, the mustachioed Wild West villain, have just tied your nemesis to the train tracks. Can you recite your entire evil monologue before the locomotive comes barreling down? You really need them to hear this. Read the rest
The 3-day, $2750/person Rovos Rail train safari from Pretoria to Durban is pulled by 1930s steam trains; features giant, luxurious staterooms with their own bathtubs; offers high tea; and, true to its Edwardian time-warp, passengers are prohibited from working in public areas, lest this break the atmosphere of idle wealth and privilege.
Read the rest
The Central Japan Railway Company has invited members of the public to take test rides on its new magnetically levitated train, which goes over 300 mph. Visit the link to watch a video of happy riders. If Halliburton and Goldman Sachs hadn't taken all our money, we could have neat toys like this, too. Read the rest
This summer, my pal Sarah Smith at Institute for the Future took a ten-day transcontinental train trip to explore the future of food systems and wrote about it at National Geographic
. In this piece, she profiles how the train's chefs, who considered the experience a “renegade culinary adventure," experimented with waste management, local sourcing, daily food practices, and decadence. Read the rest
BNSFME put a GoPro camera on a train tack. If you can't handle the suspense, forward to 1:00. (via Laughing Squid) Read the rest
Calling themselves Los Ferronautas (or "railanauts"), Ivan Puig and Andrés Padilla Domene documented the impacts of the privatization — and subsequent immediate closure — of Mexico's passenger rail lines. Their home-built vehicle could travel on the rails or on the ground, from Mexico City to the Atlantic.
[Video Link] Read the rest
Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, which it bills as “A Grand West Coast Train Adventure,”
is its last remaining full-service sleeper train. The Coast Starlight is home to what would have previously been standard: a dining car, an observation car with floor-to ceiling windows, a movie theater, and a full slate of entertainment options, including the two complimentary wine tastings. Nicole Dieker
takes the trip.
A norry being operated by Doak Khemra moves down the tracks at the village of Stung Touch. Jesse Pesta/The Wall Street Journal.
Jesse Pesta has a wonderful, colorful piece in the Wall Street Journal about a form of transportation unique to Cambodia: bamboo trains, known locally as "norry." Snip:
In Cambodia, real trains are almost as rare as bamboo trains anywhere else. The impoverished country has a network of tracks left over from French colonial days, but there are hardly any actual trains running anymore. Only one line is in service. The railway never recovered from the horrors of Khmer Rouge murder and war decades ago.
Don't miss his great photos and videos accompanying the article online A six-year-old girl photographed just before her first norry ride is told by her mom that it would be like riding "a bat."
"Creaky Trains Made of Bamboo Still Rule the Rails in Cambodia" [wsj.com]
Read the rest
Marty sez, "I've seen lots of homes for sale but this one is quite unique. A rideable scale railroad encircles the property, complete with a trainyard, trestles, the works."
“Railway Resort” is Apparently a Thing (An Amazing Thing)
Read the rest
Here's a fascinating idea for how people could board a high speed train
without it ever having to slow down. Read the rest
My friend Andrew linked me to this nifty old-timey video showing London, Midland, and Scottish Railway employees repairing a steam locomotive. There's a lot of neat stuff happening here, but I particularly loved the part where a guy crawls backwards into the train's firebox to diagnose boiler and engine problems from the inside. TRAINS!
Video Link Read the rest
For the last couple of years, each train line on the London Underground has been given its own voice. Ed Jefferson analyzed the lines' tweets to assign Kiersey/Myers-Briggs psychological temperaments to each. [via MeFi]
You might think that Waterloo & City Line couldn’t even have a Myers-Briggs Type, being a tunnel in London with some trains in it, but you’d be wrong. Whilst the normal way to establish a Myers-Briggs Type is get someone to fill in a questionnaire, it’s apparently possible to use a sample of text to analyse the personality of the author. And while the Waterloo & City Line didn’t have much to say for most of its 115 year history, for the last couple of years, it, and all the other London Underground lines, have been tweeting. So I use samples of tweets to discover what kinds of personalities they have.
I just took the test (an enneagram-style sorting hat of dubious scientific rigor) and join the Waterloo & City Line in being an ESFP.
Regardless of type, of course, the Northern Line (ESTJ) is a complete arsehole on Friday nights. One interesting takeaway: the results suggest that two or three individual writers are handling all the lines. Read the rest
"I was bored so I decided to make a compilation of the crashes on Thomas and Friends," writes YouTube's monsterjamfan100. [via hellojed at Metafilter]
Previously: The ultraviolence of Thomas the Tank Engine was blogged about by Mark more than a decade ago. Don't miss Biggie Smalls the Tank Engine. Read the rest
Neil Young talks model trains with David Letterman. Young isn't just a model train enthusiast, he's also an inventor. From Dangerous Minds:
Young first created a research and development company, Liontech, to help the storied Lionel, LLC train manufacturing company, founded in 1900, create model trains with sound systems and control units. Young then became part owner of Lionel, along with an investment company. It was Young’s designs and inventions for Lionel that helped to bring the company out of bankruptcy in 2008. Young’s first train-related invention was a control unit, the Big Red Button, that enabled his son, who has cerebral palsy, to control the trains.
"Neil Young, Model Train Geek
" Read the rest