Writing transport

Bearing in mind ‘April is the cruellest’ month, I’m glad my March has been the kindest so far this 2017.

It kicked off with a whistle-stop press trip to the US, courtesy of Siemens Mobility (see the May 2017 issue of Ville Rail & Transports and Rail Engineer, July 2017). of which in detail at a later date).

Over three days, our group of journalists discovered the constructor’s rail business stateside – from rolling stock to services. The Sacramento plant was impressive; Chris Maynard gave the best presentation ever (“I want to avoid death by Powerpoint,” he reassured us upfront); the team at SFMTA so patient as we took photo after photo after photo of everything tram at their depot in San Francisco.

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Highlights outside of the work programme were getting to ride San Fran’s historic, open platform tram, seeing crazy M&M’s flavours, and talking about Dashiell Hammett in a top floor bar, all gilded gold, late into the night.

Back to earth to a Paris with spring in the air, missing the Orly incident by a day and by landing at Charles de Gaulle airport on the other side of the city.

Onward and upward

Next up: interviewing two inspiring gentlemen on matters of transport; one French, one American, both charming. The pleasure was all mine as I  steered the questions (and to a certain degree the answers) in MY direction.

“A designer has to have a new idea every three minutes,” Frédéric Simon from NIMOS Design told me.

A journalist too. But juggling many different topics, even when all under the umbrella of transport in my case, is a challenge.

‘Curiouser and curiouser’

Next stop was the SIFER rail fair in Lille, north of France. Here I met some interesting suppliers with stories to sell about their products and systems.

Curiosity is definitely the name of the journalist’s game – ask a question and therein usually lies a tale.

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This was the case at the Rosehill Rail stand, with its Anti-Trespass panels (approved by Network Rail) made from recycled tyres moulded into what looks like a form of medieval torture rack.

ILME explained its new coupler, innovative because capable of withstanding 3,000 hours of saline exposure compared to the standard 500.

SNCF Réseau was presenting Altametris, its new subsidiary dedicated to drones/UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).

And so flows writing transport…

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