Technostalgia

Intrigue On The Orient Express

Orientexpress1883

Hercule Poirot solved a murder aboard the Orient Express. James Bond fought a rival spy aboard it. Ray Bradbury featured it in a short story. It defined luxury in an era of rail travel, and was the must-ride train for Europe’s wealthy. The Orient Express, first run in 1883, would eventually connect Paris to Constantinople.

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User Input

User Input: Locally Amazing

snow_blower_train2

In all my years in the Great White North, I’ve never actually had the opportunity to watch a train clearing snow on the tracks. I’ve always lived near train-tracks, but the routes I’ve been in proximity to are so frequently travelled that there just isn’t the need for it. Snow never gets a chance to build up to the point where heavy-duty snow-clearing equipment is required.

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Startup

Startup: Meta Hiding

I remember hiding comic books in my school texts as a lad, so I’m not sure if this is to hide the fact that you’re using an e-reader from people who would judge you for it, or if it’s to hide the e-reader from sticky fingers.

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Startup

Startup: Domino Fire

trestle_collapseWe don’t normally put real news up here, but the “Oh look cool” factor was too much to ignore. In Lampasas County, Texas, and old train bridge caught fire. Decades of coal dust, oil, and other flammable materials on the ancient wooden structure spread the fire the entire length of the bridge and the fire department was helpless to stop it. Check the video after the jump to watch as the collapse of a single trestle causes the whole thing to go down like dominoes.

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Startup

Startup: Parking Lot

Now that’s a lotta corn syrup.

 

Technostalgia

Little Red Caboose

Bringing up the rear of my little train week is this little red caboose. With apologies to Prince…

I guess I shoulda known By the way you parked your car trackside That it wouldn’t last

See you’re the kinda railcar That believes in endin’ a train Love ’em and leave ’em fast

I […]

Deconstructing Technology

Cabbages on Rails

The EMD F40PH is in use with several train operators. It’s a capable train for passenger service even though it is somewhat outdated now, despite production ending in the early 1990s, due to the more efficient designs coming from GE and others over the last decade. Amtrak had several F40PH locomotives when they […]

Go-Fast Technology

TGV’s Futuristic Train

TGV, or Train à Grande Vitesse, is France’s high-speed rail service. It was the fourth high speed rail system to open when it went into service in 1978. It’s original trains, TGV Sud-Est, has captured the imaginations of more than one generation. Originally painted a bright orange, the unmistakable Alstom-built trains became a […]

Startup

Startup: Train Plowing Through Snow

Train plowing through snow

Trains can’t be held up by snow. They have an important role in life and commerce. So, when a huge snowstorm dumps several feet of snow in Arthur’s Pass National Park, New Zealand the trains have to keep going. Hit the jump to watch video of trains clearing snow so the Kiwi’s can ride the Midland Line from Christchurch to adventure.

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Tech Travels

Ridin’ the Rails

When your country spans an entire continent, as does the US and Canada, rail travel is destined to play a major role in its development and growth. Until the mid-1800s, traveling west was a long term and risky proposal. With the intercontinental railroad and advances in steam locomotives the prospect of going west became less and less daunting. Soon, the entire continent was accessible by rail and car. The jet age seemed to be the death knell of rail travel, and it very nearly has been. However, Amtrak and Via Rail both still offer rail service that is at once modern and classic.

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