Swan Power in L.A.

A reader, Vic, remembering my fondness for Swan Boats as the only possible solution to our transit woes, sent along a link to an article in the Long Beach (California) Press-Telegram. 

I know that many people who read this blog don’t use an RSS feed to see recent comments on old threads, and since the last post about Swan Boats was last July, I thought that you wouldn’t want to miss this.

The article details (with lovely photos) the seven-week project by Sierra Brown to commute to class once a week by  different human powered forms of transport.  The grand finale was an 11-mile paddle by Swan Boat.

18 thoughts on “Swan Power in L.A.

  1. Oh great! NOW it’s legit! And I’m sure the TTC will want to do a feasability study, only to contract out Swan manufacturing to Bombardier. I get a sinking feeling…..

    Steve: No, it will be the Ontario Swan Boat Development Corporation which will, after a tortured existence, wind up as part of Bombardier after Queen’s Park has invested millions to, er, keep it afloat.


  2. CITY NEWS at SIX had a charming video news article last night on the “Swan catcher of Hamburg” … the man who every winter herds the swans from a local river (that freezes) into flat bottom boats for a trip to a heated pond where they winter.

    It was quite remarkable to watch the Swan boats of Hamburg transport the docile swans (once they were IN the boats) to their heated winter pond… unfortunately it’s not on the CITY website nor could I find it on Google to post for Steve and all to see. 😦

    Steve: The swan herder is Olaf Niess, and you can get many hits on this story by Googling his name. Here are a few.

    From Reuters: Swan catcher Olaf Niess at work

    Getty Images


  3. Speaking of keeping it afloat, do you think a Swan Way along the Don or Humber will suffer similar problems to the LRT vis a vis signalling and even ice? Will they have to utilize shuttle geese…er, busses?

    Steve: You have not been paying attention! Swan Sleighs will ply the frozen waterways. This is bi-modal transportation, all the rage in some circles.

    My real concern is that if this catches on, there will inevitably be personal Swan Boats. The TTC will have to dredge huge ponds where these Boats can moor while their owners commute to work on the really big, transit-sized craft. A debate about free mooring for Metropass holders will ensue, no doubt.


  4. Before OSBDC is taken over by Bombardier, They will manage to convince Toronto to build a demonstration project. It is expected that Canada’s Wonderland, and Six Flags will be greatly interested in this technology.

    OSBDC will also look into the feasibility of building HSSL(High Speed Swan Lines), between major cities in Ontario.


  5. There is a potential health hazard far worse the ozone depletion should the TTC adopt this form of transportation : Swan Flu! Very costly.


  6. The thing I find most worrying in this proposal is the great danger of “standing on the right’ in Swan Boats or even swan barges. If a swan were to capsize due to this uneven weight distribution I forsee immense loss of life and, after a public enquiry, calls for a costly rebuild. Perhaps those wishing to stand could continue to do so on the right while those who prefer to walk around during transit (keeping warm will be a concern to many) could walk on the left?

    Steve: We will have half of them facing ahead and half astern and, therefore, they will all be standing starboard. Of course, in the interest of public education and safety, there will be a large poster campaign to explain which end of the swan is which. This will be conducted in concert with the TSSA, the Technical Swan Safety Authority who will proseletize on the dangers of port (the nautical orientation). A further campaign will be required to distinguish between these and the dangers of unknown ports (thieves and vagabonds) and spiritous ports (imbibing of).

    I await the scene of our leader, Admiral Adam, reviewing the fleet with suitable musical accompaniment.


  7. Will there need to be articulated technology – the swanoose perhaps (swan with a goose)? And will certain suburban council members become frightened with the gaping backside of the swan which would require a cover a la Shiner’s Skirts (I’m guessing it would be Ford’s feathers).

    Will a CIS supervisor at Roncesvalles inevitably short turn some of the swans…leading to a flockup of the service?

    And are the swans 100% low to the water, with design restrictions to handle the steep and windy restrictions of the Don and Humber? Will Counsellor Stinz be trying to stealthily lobby for a pelican instead – to which Admiral Adam will tell her he doesn’t want her pelican…or albatross for that matter.

    Steve: The image of passengers set adrift mid-journey seems rather appropriate for the TTC.


  8. ‘…the Technical Swan Safety Authority who will proseletize on the dangers of port (the nautical orientation).’
    I see the implementation of Swan Technology as a great excuse for returning to an older tradition : Naval-issue rum. MMMMMMMMM! For medical purposes of course, but very useful to those passengers who have been stranded by a swan-turn along the Don in the middle of the night. Most Swans rarely make the trip all the way from the lake to Steeles.


  9. So if the Don River becomes too crowded, how will the TTC handle the unannounced short turns? And will passengers have to wait for 10 minutes or 20 minutes for five boats going on their route to dock? Last but not least, something tells me that when they build the integrated swan docks at Broadview Station, they’ll forget the array of locks and leave connecting passengers high and dry.


  10. “So if the Don River becomes too crowded, how will the TTC handle the unannounced short turns?”

    Well, they’ll have to sing for one, won’t they! It’ll be known as a swan song.


  11. Hi Steve:-

    I’m anticipating piped in Tafelmusik playing Handel’s Water Music at all of the Swan docks. It will make the wait for a short turned bird palatable!



  12. It is a shame that the Press Telegram didn’t contact you for an expert quote about Swan Boats. Your site is #1 on a Google search for “swan boat transit”, after all.


  13. Swan boats can’t go to the airport, unless you clip their wings so they don’t fly. Too bad they can’t be like turkeys and not fly.

    Turkeys don’t fly?! I didn’t know turkeys don’t fly!

    Steve: Maybe these vessels will be restricted to short hops.


  14. Swan Power Rules…Rocks… Glides!!!

    Swans now have as many comments as TTC AOB & Capital Budget COMBINED! 😛

    Steve: Remember that sage political advice — when they start laughing at you, you’re in trouble.

    It’s less painful to laugh than to think about the situation the TTC and the City find themselves in today.


  15. Who got Walter’s allusion. Perhaps not too many. I often wonder if, as future generations age gracefully, they will fondly remember classic lines from today’s TV. Since I no longer watch US network television shows, I will miss out. (Just in case there actually is some quality output.) In any case, long live Les Nesman.


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