Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

Home

www.google.co.uk


Recent Comments


Monthly Archives


Most recent entries


Search


Advanced Search


Other Blogs I write for

Brian Micklethwait's Education Blog

CNE Competition
CNE Intellectual Property
Samizdata
Transport Blog


Blogroll

2 Blowhards
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adloyada
Adventures in Capitalism
Alan Little
Albion's Seedling
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Alex Singleton
AngloAustria
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Biased BBC
Bishop Hill
BLDG BLOG
Bloggers Blog
Blognor Regis
Blowing Smoke
Boatang & Demetriou
Boing Boing
Boris Johnson
Brazen Careerist
Bryan Appleyard
Burning Our Money
Cafe Hayek
Cato@Liberty
Charlie's Diary
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
Chicago Boyz
China Law Blog
Cicero's Songs
City Comforts
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Clay Shirky
Climate Resistance
Climate Skeptic
Coffee & Complexity
Coffee House
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Contra Niche
Contrary Brin
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Скрипучая беседка
CrozierVision
Dave Barry
Davids Medienkritik
David Thompson
Deleted by tomorrow
deputydog
diamond geezer
Dilbert.Blog
Dizzy Thinks
Dodgeblogium
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
dropsafe
Dr Robert Lefever
Dr. Weevil
ecomyths
engadget
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
English Cut
English Russia
EU Referendum
Ezra Levant
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Flickr blog
Freeborn John
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
ft.com/maverecon
Fugitive Ink
Future Perfect
FuturePundit
Gaping Void
Garnerblog
Gates of Vienna
Gizmodo
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
HE&OS
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Ideas
Idiot Toys
IMAO
Indexed
India Uncut
Instapundit
Intermezzo
Jackie Danicki
James Delingpole
James Fallows
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Jihad Watch
Joanne Jacobs
Johan Norberg
John Redwood
Jonathan's Photoblog
Kristine Lowe
Laissez Faire Books
Languagehat
Last of the Few
Lessig Blog
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Alone
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
listen missy
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Londonist
Mad Housewife
Mangan's Miscellany
Marginal Revolution
Mark Wadsworth
Media Influencer
Melanie Phillips
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael Jennings
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
Mick Hartley
More Than Mind Games
mr eugenides
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Natalie Solent
Nation of Shopkeepers
Neatorama
neo-neocon
Never Trust a Hippy
NO2ID NewsBlog
Non Diet Weight Loss
Normblog
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
Oddity Central
Oliver Kamm
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
phosita
Picking Losers
Pigeon Blog
Police Inspector Blog
PooterGeek
Power Line
Private Sector Development blog
Public Interest.co.uk
Publius Pundit
Quotulatiousness
Rachel Lucas
RealClimate
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Rob's Blog
Sandow
Scrappleface
Setting The World To Rights
Shane Greer
Shanghaiist
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sinclair's Musings
Slipped Disc
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stephen Fry
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Style Bubble
Sunset Gun
Survival Arts
Susan Hill
Teblog
Techdirt
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Agitator
The AntRant
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Croydonian
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Filter^
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Futurist
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Sharpener
The Speculist
The Surfer
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
things magazine
TigerHawk
Tim Blair
Tim Harford
Tim Worstall
tomgpalmer.com
tompeters!
Transterrestrial Musings
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Unqualified Offerings
Violins and Starships
Virginia Postrel
Vodkapundit
WebUrbanist
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours


Websites


Mainstream Media

BBC
Guardian
Economist
Independent
MSNBC
Telegraph
The Sun
This is London
Times


Syndicate

RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0
Atom
Feedburner
Podcasts


Categories

Advertising
Africa
Anglosphere
Architecture
Art
Asia
Atheism
Australasia
Billion Monkeys
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Books
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Brians
Bridges
Business
Career counselling
Cartoons
Cats and kittens
China
Civil liberties
Classical music
Comedy
Comments
Computer graphics
Cranes
Crime
Current events
Democracy
Design
Digital photographers
Drones
Economics
Education
Emmanuel Todd
Environment
Europe
Expression Engine
Family
Food and drink
France
Friends
Getting old
Globalisation
Healthcare
History
How the mind works
India
Intellectual property
Japan
Kevin Dowd
Language
Latin America
Law
Libertarianism
Links
Literature
London
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
Movies
Music
My blog ruins
My photographs
Open Source
Opera
Other creatures
Painting
Photography
Podcasting
Poetry
Politics
Pop music
Propaganda
Quote unquote
Radio
Religion
Roof clutter
Russia
Scaffolding
Science
Science fiction
Sculpture
Signs and notices
Social Media
Society
Software
South America
Space
Sport
Technology
Television
The internet
The Micklethwait Clock
Theatre
This and that
This blog
Transport
Travel
USA
Video
War


Saturday September 25 2010

Quota photo time.  (That didn’t take long, did it?)

image

The reason I chose that particular snap was it made me laugh, and it made me laugh because it looks like a toy train layout, rather than proper trains.  The trains are implausibly short.  The tracks are a mad jumble, with every inch filled, to no obvious purpose.  There is the track that goes up onto a bridge, far too steeply and quickly.  There is the ridiculously tight turn, to fit everything onto the table.  Above all, and the phrase is peculiarly apt, there is the fact that we are looking down on it all, as we do with toy trains.  (A simple trick to make toy trains look real is to put the camera right down there on the toy ground, thereby photoing the toy trains from below like you mostly photo real trains.)

The reason for all this being that this is not a real railway, as God made railways.  It is the Docklands Light Railway.  Whose trains, let it be noted, like toy trains, contain no living drivers.  They are guided, like toys, by remote control.  Although, I think the tracks at the back may be real train type tracks.  Don’t know.

Taken in Docklands, from one of the towers, in July 2006.

Right snobby buggers in London.

The rest of the world call them TRAMS.

Posted by Furor Teutonicus on 26 September 2010

I think a tram is something that runs on a road for at least part of its journey. The DLR is entirely separated from the roads, is almost never at ground level, and uses a mixture of old railway alignments and viaducts, new viaducts, and new tunnels. Plus it has a much more complex signaling system than a typical tram system. It’s a light metro, essentially. Having initially built it as a light metro, transport authorities in London have regretted the “light” part ever since, as demand is now enormous, and a huge amount of money has been spent increasing capacity. Many trains are now three car, for instance (ie one and a half times the length of the photo).

Posted by Michael Jennings on 26 September 2010

Did adding cars to them not cause problems with platform lengths?

Posted by Furor Teutonicus on 27 September 2010

Indeed. A good portion of that “huge amount of money” has been spent on rebuilding essentially every station in the network.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 27 September 2010

Michael

Thanks for answering the complaint about calling them trains.  All I would have said is the thing about trams sharing the roads, unlike the DLR which never does this.

I also wonder if the fact that trains on the Continent seem to use lower platforms to our regular trains here might have something to do with this argument.  Off hand, I can’t recall whether the DLR platforms are lower, or the same height as regular trains here.  If they are the same height, that’s a further distinction between them and trams, which deposit passengers direct to the road, do they not?

Also, isn’t there some kind of DLR type thing in South London, involving Croydon, which does call itself a tram system?  There is certainly a new system there somewhat like the DLR, because I’ve been on it, and because I see a station on it every time I visited friends who used to live in Wimbledon.  I seem to recall the platforms for that being quite low compared to regular train platforms.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 27 September 2010

I worked in Canary Wharf for over 10 years and I currently live in Croydon.

The DLR is a lot more like the underground than the Croydon Trams, however, both of them have the ability to “get inside” the population centres they are designed to serve, which distinguishes them from ordinary trains which usually have stations outside and separate.

Although many stations are like normal “open” train versions, the DLR has stations inside offices and the Croydon Tram has stops on the high street.

I’d definitely refer to the DLR as a train, and the Croydon system as a tram.

Posted by Ian on 27 September 2010

Yep, I’ve also spend lengthy periods both living in Croydon and working at Canary Wharf.

Trams usually have well defined stopping points with platforms, but relatively low platforms. The DLR does have pretty high platforms and dedicated stations.

Underground trains with stations inside offices and shopping centres are not that unusual. Usually one tends to find the station in the basement, whereas the DLR and systems like it (of which there are others in the world, for instance the one in Vancouver) often have stations inside buildings above ground. I think one of the defining characteristics of metro systems is that they tend to have stations “inside population centres”, too, so I don’t really buy this as a distinction between “trams” and “non-trams”. Maybe it’s a distinction between “urban transit”, and “mainline trains”, although I can think of mainline train systems that get inside the population centres they serve, too.

The Croydon Tramlink uses a mixture of existing railway alignments (the section from Wimbledon to Purley Way outside Croydon) and streetrunning trams. This sort of thing (dedicated track outside population centres but street running inside) is quite common, but so is the reverse. So called “premetro” systems are common in Germany and various other places (Antwerp, Boston, San Francisco). In this case, the trains will run on the streets outside the city centre and through a tunnel underneath it. Usually an existing tram system has been fed into tunnels in order to speed up journeys through the city centre. In many cases the intention was to eventually remove the outer sections from the streets too, but this never happened as it was too expensive. I would still describe these as “trams” but not everyone would. So there is inevitably a certain amount of arbitrariness about where trams stop and trains start. “Light rail” doesn’t help much, as it includes things that most people would clearly consider trams and most people would clearly consider trains.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 28 September 2010

XX I also wonder if the fact that trains on the Continent seem to use lower platforms to our regular trains here
Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 27 September 2010 XX

Only very few of the low level platforms left in Germany. and all of them on local lines. However, the “low platform” designed trains are still used, and it makes for an interesting “leap of faith” when boarding from the high platform stations.

Posted by Furor Teutonicus on 28 September 2010

Oh. “Here” is Germany, bye the way.

Posted by Furor Teutonicus on 28 September 2010

The Teutonicus did give us a strong clue. ;-)

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 28 September 2010
Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.