Thursday, 18 December 2014

Boris, you spendthrift twat, here's how it should be done.

From snipelondon/scoop:

Just four regular commuters are now using the Emirates Air Line cable car between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, down from 16 last autumn, new figures released to The Scoop reveal.

Only four Oyster card holders used mayor Boris Johnson’s £60m link more than five times in the week ending 19 October, triggering a regular users’ discount.


Now, what was Boris thinking when he commissioned this?

I can only assume he was thinking of the Wuppertal Schwebebahn, one of the greatest forms of public transport ever.

They wanted to link up a few towns in a steep-sided river valley, but by the turn of the 20th century, the only practical solution was to build a monorail directly over and along the river itself. Just for extra kicks, the carriages hang underneath the rail, not above it.

I've been on that, it is awesome, but of course, most people using it are normal commuters*, so for them it's no more exciting that taking an underground train is for people who take the underground every day. So you have to play it cool rather than jumping about excitedly and saying "OMG! We are in a train several yards above a river!"

* The added joy of this is that the Schwebebahn is known locally/colloquially as the "Pendelbahn". The German word "pendel" can mean two quite different things. I didn't dare ask whether "pendel" refers to the side-to-side rocking motion (like a pendumulm) or the fact that people use it for commuting i.e. going back and forth.

7 comments:

Lola said...

And here is the link to the English wiki page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wuppertal_Suspension_Railway

For us mere plebs who don't have much German....

James Higham said...

Comes down to cost and convenience, no?

The Stigler said...

Personally I like the clipper boat to Greenwich. Great way to see the city.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, ta.

JH, originally yes, but that doesn't detract from the fact that sometimes the most cost effective solution is breathtaking from a human/engineering perspective - tunnels, bridges, upside down monorails and so on.

TS, that's another good one.

Kj said...

Pendelbahn are used about all aerial tramways, so it's most likely derived from pendulum. The Schwevebahn is brilliant, the genious is that it's crammed into the city in all sorts of weird ways.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Kj, I have only ever heard "Pendelbahn" in connection with the one in Wuppertal, and it is not a widely used phrase, just locally.

And you are probably right, but somehow I do not want to know.

DBC Reed said...

I think there is some confusion between cable cars,(aerial tramways)and suspension railways.It doesn't seem likely that cabins suspended from cables are ever likely to carry the heavy commuting that the Wuppertal
suspended-from-rails set-up makes possible.And there is the question of routes.