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Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The Tram Did It

Vienna, like any self respecting capital city, has a daily free sheet, and the quality and insight of Heute (Today) means that you can find plenty of discarded copies to read. Yesterday’s edition was available in all parts of the Schnellbahn service en route to the airport.

And the eye catching headline showed that press attitudes to rail borne transport don’t vary much between Austria and the UK. Tram rams lorry. Er, what? Yes, I translated in the right order: the original German started “Bim rammt ... “, a Bim being a tram.

A tram leaving the interchange stop at Schottentor on Line D (in Vienna, despite recent re-jigging of routes, some lines still use letters rather than numbers) was making a left turn off the Ringstrasse to head north towards the suburb of Nussdorf. This would entail crossing the roadway.

The idea that the tram driver, with an articulated tramcar plus a trailer, potentially both filled with punters, would have made the move without the traffic signal showing a clear aspect, is absurd. Most likely is that the lorry driver either misread or missed completely the equivalent traffic light, and thus the contact.

But the hacks’ mindset, as in the UK, states otherwise, so the humble tramcar becomes demonised.

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