Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Danubian interlude

No posts for a few weeks. The first two weeks in September were spent cruising up the Danube from the delta in Romania to Linz in Austria. I have written before about the joys of this means of transport and will not repeat myself. But forget the "blue" Danube - it's a sludgy brownish-grey most of the time (which is not to say the trip was in any way disappointing - it was wonderful).

I am always captivated by the trams of Europe. Bucharest, Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna have wonderful examples. The services are (or at least appear to be) frequent and of course there are few hold ups. Unlike the underground with its clumsy block signalling systems, the trams can make full use of the track, and when necessary, use all the available space (as the platform staff like to say) in the turning circles at the end of each line.

Here's a nice shot from Budapest to whet your appetites.

Meanwhile I learn that the long awaited new train stock for the Metropolitan will be introduced next year. Designed for "easy access" (even though most of the stations are not), there will be fewer seats and lots more standing room. Oh joy. LU does not really understand what it is like to do long distance commuting. My emergency planning embraces some sort of portable seat, like a shooting stick but not with the sharp pointy end, so that there will be a degree of comfort on those when the trains are crowded. With a bit of luck the current round of spending cuts will delay these new trains for a few years, then I can retire and all this heartache will cease.