Day 92 of 96 – Even More Trains

20 Dec

Does anyone here know if a non-underground train was proposed for the City of Ottawa’s light rail project? It would not surprise me in the least if it did not even occur to anyone that an elevated train could do the job and I think this has to do with the general perception of Canadian trains.

To explain what I mean, I will tell you a story.

When I was younger my dad used to take me fishing up the Ottawa Valley. There were two places we went to quite often. One was just outside of Pembroke and the other was a few kilometres past Deep River – birthplace of the atomic medical isotopes. What these places had in common was that they were both small rivers that were located right below railroad bridges that were part of Canada’s only transcontinental railway.

Once when I was about eight years old, we were out there fishing under one of those bridges (I can’t remember which), and I was having a very successful day. When I was a kid I *loved* fishing, similar to the way a regular person loves roller coasters or the Space Shuttle. So I was sitting there by the edge of the water, my bobber floating about half way across to the other side, I was staring at it intensely because I thought I had a bite (there was a current so it was hard to tell).

Then, all of a sudden there was a blast from an air horn that sounded like a cold war-era, nuclear-powered, air-raid siren and this massive freight train came barrelling down the tracks overhead. It was like I was at ground zero for the end of the world. I crapped my pants, jumped up, threw my rod away, and ran out of there as fast as I could. I thought that the bridge and train were going to come crashing down on top of me.

Yes, that’s right – a train made me crap my pants. I imagine most people have had similar experiences – Canadian trains are incredibly noisy and scary. There’s some sort of regulation in Canada that says any time a train crosses a road it has to blast that stupid horn. It’s no wonder no one wants to be within ten miles of one of those things, let alone next to the tracks.

As a Canadian-train-fearing Canadian it’s really strange to be in Germany. They have all these massive trains that travel at incredible speeds and they are all super quiet – even the freight trains. I must say, they sound almost pleasant. I’ve been a couple times to this restaurant near Hackeser Markt. An upscale place, the staff are super-friendly, they brew their own beer, and Jürgen Prochnow once stopped in there for lunch – it’s located just two blocks away from where they were filming a scene for the sequel to Das Boot – the direct-to-video “Der Zug”.

What I find so incredible about this place is that it’s located directly below four separate railway lines (two S-Bahn lines – eastbound / westbound and two Deutsche Bahn lines that service east / west Regional Bahn and ICE trains.) A train passes overhead at least every four minutes but no one in the restaurant even notices – it’s that quiet.

All of this leaves me wondering for how long the equivalent restaurant-underneath-a-Canadian-railroad would remain in business. Probably not very long, with the customers crapping their pants every five minutes and all.

Not very long, let me tell you. Not very long at all.

4 Responses to “Day 92 of 96 – Even More Trains”

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