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Progress with Talent

by DoDo Mon Aug 18th, 2008 at 03:39:54 AM EST

Totay I had a gruelling day: Murphy worked overtime to break down everything from shunters to software. Then back in Budapest, I ran around for stuff still missing for Prague/my bike trip. All this on the hottest day of August, I drank three litres but must have sweat even more.

But on my trip home, a pleasant surprise awaited me:

Mid-August Monday Train Blogging - afew


For two years, I commuted in trains which would be obvious proof of the insanity of the saving policy forced on state railways – would rail execs travel in them. Like this one:

You see 35-year-old cars full of graffiti pushed by an even older locomotive. You don't see even more graffiti and scratching, vandalism and filth inside. And you don't smell that filth, and every single toilet, whose minimal maintenance includes chlorine – the chlorine-urine smell combination is really special. Oh, and without air conditioning, these metal boxes can get really hot in the summer.

The newest stock on my line was the refurbished version of the previous. An almost total reconstruction on the cheap, but still a waste of money as a failed construction. They are graffiti- and more vandalism-resistant and with easily washable floors, but pulled by the pictured locomotive, there are strong longitudinal vibrations. The new doors in the new, thin section walls in turn have the same eigenfrequency as those longitudinal vibrations, so they resonate and make quite some noise. Air conditioning is a joke: absolutely insufficient even below 30°C, but loud.

But today, this critter took me home:

This is a four-car TALENT made by Talbot (now belonging to Bombardier) in Aachen. The Hungarian State Railways has ten of them, normally used in local traffic towards Vienna. I suppose it appeared here thanks to the ongoing delivery of 60 similar trainsets by rival Swiss maker Stadler.

So, some progress! And air conditioning.

Then again, 70 may seem much, but a serious modernisation of just Budapest suburban service would demand at least a hundred double-deck trainsets, not to mention track work. There isn't a single rail flyover in Budapest, nor a metre of separated track for suburban trains on mainlines.

Still, let's enjoy progress. Here is one of the three Jacobs bogies (car-joining bogie) of my TALENT:

...and here is an Old And New contrast again, this time on a single picture and with a shunter loco:

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Check the Train Blogging index page for a (hopefully) complete list of ET diaries and stories related to railways and trains.

Display:
Oh, about "MÁV-START".

MÁV was the state railways. Now it is cut up in separate still state-owned or sold stock companies. The creators of new passeger transport company thought they need some new name that is expressing youthfulness, a fresh start and modernity. What they came up with was incredibly bland: "H-START" (H for Hungary, START for you guess what). Then they yielded to negative reaction somewhat.

The new managers' new activity also looks idiotic. For example, on every compartment door of every car, they sticked printed A4 sheets asking with nice letters: "Don't freeride!". Their idea to improve the cleaning of cars was another series of A4 sheets, on which cleaners were supposed to stick little coloured squares 'proving' they did their job. Today both sets of A4 sheets are full of derisive comments written by passengers...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 06:34:29 PM EST
Garbled first below-the-fold sentence corrected.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 06:43:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I assumed that "TALENT MÁV-START" meant that the passenger information system had crashed and was being rebooted. :)
by Gag Halfrunt on Wed Aug 20th, 2008 at 06:39:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, goodie, another train blog. Here's a chance to brag about what I did this past weekend.

The Denver & Rio Grande Western was the famous narrow gauge (3 foot) railroad in the Colorado mountains. As their business failed in the 20th century they gradually abandoned their mountain lines, so that by 1970 there was only one segment still in operation. They kept part of it as the famous Durango and Silverton tourist railroad, and sold a very scenic 60 mile section to the state tourist boards of Colorado and New Mexico, who run it as the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.

The C&TSRR is more of a museum than a railroad, because this section of the system was primarily used for freight. There are terrific steam engines and lots of freight cars, but hardly any passenger stuff. It's clearly the best historic railroad, but you have to be somewhat of a hard core enthusiast to enjoy it.

The "Friends of the C&TSRR" is a club that has for the past nine years been working to restore an old pile driver, used to build retaining walls and trestles. This project was just completed a few weeks ago here in Colorado Springs, and the equipment shipped by truck to Antonito to rejoin the system. We tried it out a few weeks ago with some depressing results, but this past weekend got a proper steam line from a locomotive to the pony engine in the pile driver, and managed to get it working properly. Here are a couple of pictures from the event.

No graffiti involved...  :-)

Pile driver "OB":

Hooking up the steam line:

Demonstration:

by asdf on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 11:17:06 PM EST
Nice! But where's John Henry?

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 05:27:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... he died with a hammer in his hand.



I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 01:19:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want to get technical about it, John Henry was actually competing with a rock drill. A pile driver is a completely different animal.

Rock drill:

by asdf on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 07:56:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
John Henry was competing against the machine that drives stakes into ties to hold down rail. It might not be a pile-driver, but a pile-driver is a lot closer than a rock drill.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 12:26:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, so this is seriously NOT worth arguing about!  :-)

And I am NOT arguing!  :-)

BUT: John Henry was driving the drilling steel into the rock so it could be blasted for making train tunnels. That is what a rock hammer is used for, although actual rock hammers run on air, not steam.
http://www.ibiblio.org/john_henry/steel.html

Pile drivers drive huge piles (bigger than telephone poles) into the ground to make retaining walls or the foundations for bridges. You can't do that by hand, you have to have a pile driver.

I appreciate this discussion!  :-)

by asdf on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 08:11:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm with you on this. John Henry was the first song I sang in public (a la Donegan) in the days of skiffle. I much later took the trouble to investigate what the words that I was singing, about a culture which I did not understand at all, meant.

The story is, of course, about a heroic man versus a machine. It doesn't really matter what the machine is, the matter is that it recorded the transition between human labour and machine labour - and is thus iconic.

Years later I made a movie about a Tamrock rock drilling machine with thee drilling jibs that used lasers to align itself automatically to ensure tunneling accuracy. I actually thought of the John Henry legend during that time: it was about me as an 11 year old singing about a myth about which I understood basically nothing, compared to a later appreciation of the problems in involved in making tunnels through rock.

Me, me, me. But that's what it's about....... the baggage that comes with imagery.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 08:30:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... I never heard the "Big Bend Tunnel on the C and O road gonna be the death of me" version of the first when growing up, and I guess its imprinting but I've never heard it since, probably even if it was actually sung that way.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 08:35:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... well, HELL YEAH it is ... I'm still recovering from the rough draft of my train diary making the wrecklist at Agent Orange. After the "this is serious, someone is wrong on the Internet" atmosphere of Agent Orange, arguing about something of no real import is therapeutic.

The finished version is now up as the Midnight Thought for this weekend's Midnight Oil at the EENR

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 08:39:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 08:40:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The shaker holds the bit, and turns it after each strike of the hammer...

by asdf on Mon Aug 18th, 2008 at 09:21:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... it has been conclusively disproven that he died with a hammer in his hand. I guess that means he's still alive somewhere.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 10:40:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was a good, fun ride.  Do you still have the cog railroad line?

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 01:53:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the Pike's Peak Cog Railroad is going strong. They now run (or try to run) year-round, although in the winter they can only get about half-way up the mountain.

Geography:

  • Colorado Springs is 70 miles south of Denver.
  • Pike's Peak is immediately west of Colorado Springs, about 10 miles by crow.
  • Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is about 150 miles southwest of Colorado Springs, in the mountains.
  • Durango and Silverton Railroad is even further, around 250 miles. It is a very long day's drive away, because the roads are narrow and slow.
by asdf on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 08:14:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Congratulations, DoDo.  Hope you get many more nice surprises.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 01:46:49 PM EST
Nice photos, they look like the Sageata Albastru trains in Romania.  I feel your pain bro, I still regularly ride those old metal unique smelling "boxes" ;)

Pax

Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Mon Aug 18th, 2008 at 09:09:31 AM EST
Welcome back, soj!  

I had only seen your name as one of the original tribbers.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Mon Aug 18th, 2008 at 07:24:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well "back" might be a little exaggerated but I figured I've been back in Europe long enough I might as well poke my head over here :)

Pax

Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 12:46:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Has anyone here ever read the book  Aramis: or the Love of Technology by Bruno Latour?

It's about the French Aramis transit project which cost $500 million in research alone, begun in the 1960s and squashed in the 1980s. It foresaw splitting subway cars into pods for a total transit experience.

I believe we need to revisit the plans.

Latour's book contains memos from the genesis of the project all the way up to killing the project.

That beginning of Aramis also reminds me of Howard Reingold's Teledildonics project. Reingold wrote a message to his listserv late one evening about an electronic body suit for online sex (basically, buzzwords from an online chat would send signals to certain parts of the suit which could manipulate or electricize parts of the body). There were only 14 people on the listserv, and Reingold was only fantasizing about the suit. When he woke up the next morning, he had 1,000s of emails in his box as his idea had virally spread. A month later he was invited to speak at a Siemens conference in Germany. After his talk about the body suit (which he had named Teledildonic) a few Japanese execs from SONY were waiting for him with a check to purchase it. Reingold's suit was still just a fantasy. Eventually though they funded the project.

This just reminds me that some of our so-called technological progress requires a lot of faith.

by Upstate NY on Mon Aug 18th, 2008 at 11:03:20 AM EST
I read "Aramis ou l'amour des techniques" long ago, as well as several books and articles from Bruno Latour. He's been researching and teaching at Centre for the Sociology of Innovation of the Ecole des Mines de Paris in the fields of sociology of science and socio-economy of innovation together with Michel Callon.
 

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Aug 18th, 2008 at 12:01:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, "Progress with talent" would make a nice motto for ET...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Aug 18th, 2008 at 12:28:30 PM EST
I think I recognise the passenger cars on the first train. In Denmark we call them "cattle waggons" and they will be phased out as soon as the IC4s become operational (hey, miracles can happen - and if the latest batch actually work, they'll only be what? five years overdue)... or someone in the DSB gets tired of waiting for the damn Italians and calls DeutcheBahn like they oughta have done from the word go...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 24th, 2008 at 05:01:02 AM EST
(Another forgotten reply)

Hm... you probably refer to Bn cars. On the photo, you see Bhv cars, both of which are domestic production (Danish resp. Hungarian). After some research, I can see why you see similarity, especially as (I didn't know) the Danish ones were recently re-painted blue. But, while both are older passenger cars with 80 seats at 2+2 in saloons, with a similar shape, the Bhv are crappier in every respect:

DSB BnMÁV Bhv (old)
Length:24.5 m23.74 m
Width:3,040 mm2,832 mm
Doors:2x double (thirds)2x single (ends) + 1x double (center)
Top speed:160 km/h100 km/h
Air conditioning:heating+ventillationheating
Built:1973-19831961-1972


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 4th, 2008 at 06:14:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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