Thursday, 7 November 2013

how the future will look

Switzerland is spot on with public transport. A superb national rail network links to dozens of private lines, many narrow gauge, as well as numerous funicular railways, cablecars and urban tramways. Where there isn't rail there is trolleybus or even old fashioned diesel buses. Basically you can get anywhere you want in the country, quickly, cleanly and cheaply. Nobody needs to own a car.
This is the Forchbahn, a suburban light railway which links several small towns and villages to Zurich. It's a single track line but has a very intensive service. The last mile or so is on Zurich city tram tracks, the trains get right into the city centre.
Yet back in the late 1950s this line was under threat of closure. Back then it was a rickety rural tramway, but the Swiss saw sense and rather than close the line modernised it. It's now an absolute showpiece and should become the model for rural and suburban transport throughout Europe,
When the oil runs out the Forchbahn will keep running. House prices will remain the same, people will still be able to get to work, to the shops and indeed anywhere else they need to be by changing to the rail network at Zurich.
This is a roadside route so the land footprint is tiny. The line is electrified using hydro power so is sustainable. The vehicles looked modern even back in 1987, they will almost certainly be running for many decades yet.
This is the future, 1987 style, and we should all be doing everything we can to bring this to the towns and villages of Britain.



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