Influence in High Places

Elsewhere in the transit universe, allegations have been raised that I have far too much influence in decisions about how our city and our transit system should grow.

I admit it.

Tonight I was at the Toronto Consort’s Marco Polo Project, and there hanging for all to see behind the performers was an illustration from Li Livres du Graunt Caam which now resides in the Bodleian Library.  This beautiful image shows Marco Polo’s departure from Venice on his travels to the east.  (Warning: 5MB image)

Note the large white swans.

These are disguised swan boats, and my influence back into early 15th century transportation is revealed for all to see.

10 thoughts on “Influence in High Places

  1. Erm – it would apear that a couple of the swan boats have been scuttled. Are we detecting the influence of an earlier Von Rothbart?

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  2. From your indisputable knowledge of antique LRT technologies and vehicles I had always suspected that you had a time machine you hopped in to do some railfanning; now I know for sure! 😀

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  3. Hey, does your influence not go back further, to the swan being roasted in one of the Carmina Burana songs? I am NOT implying, however, that you are old!!!

    Steve: That was a failed early model. Back in those days they had a severe way of dealing with unworkable technology.

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  4. The Roman army built roads for their military operations instead of tunnels to sneak up on their enemies unseen, all because of you, Steve!

    Steve: And wouldn’t you know it, those aqueducts were an early attempt at elevated swan boats. It was a great idea — combine two utilities in one — but the water stubbornly refused to flow uphill making bidirectional service difficult.

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  5. Boy, have I got an innovative transit plan for Toronto!

    What I propose is that ALL streetcar, subway and RT tracks be ripped out and replaced by canals built especially for swan boats. All Transit City and other rail transit expansions can be modified into swan boat lines. To top it all off, I even propose that this great new system empty out at the waterfront so there can now be direct transit service to the Toronto Islands!

    Don’t you just live for the day that you can take a one-seat swan boat ride from either the VCC or Richmond Hill directly to the islands?

    Just wait until you read how they’ll run on the streets. They’ll run in these superheated canal troughs and all intersections and places where streetcars presently loop will have special little drawbridges every time a swan boat has to loop or pass through an intersection.

    One hell of an intriguing plan, ain’t it?

    Steve: You forgot the part about how the off-the-farm swan boats won’t fit through the narrow Toronto canals, and we have to breed our own.

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  6. Now now, Steve. Now you know that we mustn’t concern ourselves with such itty bitty details such as what you mentioned. We must worry about these things afterwards when we realize thet we need to retrofit things which were overlooked before. After all, it’s only taxpayer’s money, right? (I hope you saw that I’m being facetious here after all, you’ve got to have some fun, right?)

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  7. Can we have high-rate swans instead of the poky low-rate swans please?

    Steve: We tried high-rate swans, but there were two problems. The first generation of swans lost their feathers and created dangerous wave conditions at high speed, and had to be restricted to modest paddling rates. Also, the swan breeders in Thunder Bay complained that if we had high speed swans, we wouldn’t need as many of them.

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  8. Oh, I think we have been trailing this in Richmond Hill already for several years, but we are using Geese here instead. I’m not sure how much longer it will be before the testing will be concluded, but at seemingly random times the Geese will cross 2 and 4 lane highways. It has always appeared to me that traffic is impeded by this and not enhanced, but that could just be because often there are as many as 4 to 8 younger trainees in tow. With so many trainees being prepared for the Richmond Hill Center station I’m a little concerned about environmental hazards to property. I probably just do not understand the grand scheme of it all, but I still think I would prefer a subway or Vite sub-terrain transport vehicle, preferably before I retire. Thank you for listening, and I really don’t mind the Geese project all that much.

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