Saturday, 13 March 2010

Something Missing

Today has been a wonderful day but let me start at the beginning which wasn't this morning but last night. Carol and Matthew were away for a weekend at Shannon's so I was home alone. Sitting at my computer on Friday evening I was wondering what I was going to do tomorrow and my eye caught a thread that I was following all week on Google Buzz about a Photo Walk in Parktown. So I phoned Craig and asked if it wasn't too late to join them at six in the morning. Craig then mentioned the Tweetup On Rails and I was game.

After a lovely early morning in Parktown I found myself at the Bombardier Depot Site at Midrand standing next to the Gautrain. Wow, this was the biggest Tweetup to date, 200 I believe. The CEO of the Gautrain Management Agency and Project Manager, Jack van der Merwe, even came to speak with us and answer questions and trust Cecilia to ask all the pointy questions. All the while the twitters were doing their thing.

Well soon afterwards I felt myself in a dream state boarding the Gautrain for a test run. After minding my head, I soon found a seat right next to the drivers cab. Looking out of the window I saw the train moving. I didn't even felt the transition from standing still to motion at all. But something was missing as we cruised up to 140kph on the outbound leg and 160kph on the return leg. There was no noise. No clickady clack of the tracks. The something missing was the blaring lack of noise. Not even the hum of the air conditioning. If I didn't see the outside moving past or feel the acceleration I would have argued until the cows came home that we were not moving. It didn't even feel like a train and I have been on plenty. I am trying to rack my brains if there was any noise on the TGV and Thalys that I travelled on when I was in Europe last.

The Gautrain is much quieter but the Thalys First Class is still the best. I think it was the food and wine on the Thalys that swings it for me but maybe high speed long distance trains are still to come in South Africa as I posed the question to the CEO and he hinted somethings in his reply. We need this to compete with domestic air travel.

Well done to Greg and Maritha for organising the visit, I really enjoyed it and it was good to finally but a face to the Gautrain person that enjoys my blog, Maritha.

Great Video
My photos are posted on South African Railway News
More pics on Facebook

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