Thursday, January 14, 2016

slow speed

Pneumatic tubes and pneumatic-tube inspired trains such as the Hyperloop are often all about speed and efficiency. Since the invention of trains, designers have wanted them to go faster and faster. There is a photoessay on these fast trains for those interested here.

But fast is not always best. Germany's new ICE trains are in fact slower than the predecessors, but more energy efficient. Slower trains also made me think of an unforgettable trip from Tokyo to Sapporo on the slow, overnight train, Hokutosei.

My husband and I bought the last sleeper tickets available when we arrived in Tokyo, the transaction seemingly impossible from Melbourne. The gorgeous midnight blue train with golden trim was waiting patiently at the station the day of our departure. We had to make our way through a little collection of train enthusiasts, long lens cameras in hand, to board. Inside we found curtained windows, wooden finishes and banker's lights at the restaurant tables, where we sipped on cherry liqueurs and watched the night go by.

I know it is not about pneumatic tubes, but sometimes it is just nice to travel in the slow lane for a while, rather than be speeding and whizzing along, with those capsules.

p.S. I just found out that the Hokutosei is one of those treasures and joys of travel which have disappeared, the line discontinued in August last year.

Photos my own.

1 comment:

  1. Anna, love the story of this overnight train. A vanishing breed it seems. I've been on such a train in Spain, and of course on Via Rail through the Canadian Rockies. Unfortunately I don't sleep well in any vehicle, not even planes...