Bombardier’s Blundering Is Alstom’s Gain

Recent problems with Bombardier’s delivery of new trams for Toronto has made Canadian customers look elsewhere. For two long, Ottawa has twisted arms of Canadian transit operators to buy the Canadian Bombardier product, to keep production going, propping up the giant multinational company and garnering votes from Ontario and Quebec. This is not to say […]


The Sad Fate Of Gadgetbahnen

Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. Build a more expensive and complicated transit system and politicians, bureaucrats, and academics will fall all over themselves beating a path to your door; so is the sad story of proprietary transit systems. What many people, who advocated for unconventional or […]


Perils of a Proprietary Transit System

Bombardier Inc. loves proprietary transit systems, because of the “gotcha” factor. Once a transportation authority purchases a proprietary transit system, they are stuck with one manufacturer and if problems arise, too bad. This is what happened in Caen, where in 2002, the city’s transportation authority purchased the proprietary Guide Light Transit guided bus system or […]


The Perils of Proprietary Railways

The Sydney Australia monorail was another expensive and short lived line. Now torn down, Sydney is now investing in light rail. The pitfalls of buying into a proprietary railway are many; for what was once “high tech” and “state of the art”, soon becomes yesterday’s tech and obsolete. Owners of proprietary railways, like to sell […]

atmospheric railway

The atmospheric railway, the original gadgetbahnen – With appologies to I. K. Brunel

The atmospheric railway can be said to be the first ‘gadgetbahnen’ as it was the first attempt to replace regular railway locomotives with atmospheric trains. On paper, the atmospheric railway was a sure winner but in revenue service a failure. What surprises myself is that this complicated transit mode ever worked at all, as the […]


Lartigue monorail, a very early gadgetbahnen – A history lesson for TransLink

The Listowel & Ballybunion Railway, a steam operated Lartigue monorail, ran from 1880 -1928 and is another good example that proprietary railways, even though they may operate in revenue service on one or two lines, fail to become a successful transit mode and are seldom copied. Intriguing yes, practical no, but for fun let’s have […]