rail construction

Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara (December 21, 1949 – October 15, 1987) was a Burkinabé military captain, marxist, Pan African theorist, FEMINST and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. Viewed by supporters as a charismatic and iconic figure of revolution, he is commonly referred to as “Africa’s Che Guevara”. Sankara seized power in a 1983 popularly supported coup at the age of 33, with the goal of eliminating corruption and the dominance of the former French colonists. He immediately launched one of the most ambitious programmes for social and economic change ever attempted on the African continent. To symbolize this new autonomy and rebirth, he renamed the country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso (“Land of Upright Man”). His foreign policies were centered on anti- imperialism , with his government eschewing all foreign aid, pushing for debt reduction, nationalizing all land and mineral wealth, and averting the power and influence of the IMF and World Bank. His domestic policies were focused on preventing famine with agrarian self-sufficiency and land reform, prioritizing education with a nationwide literacy campaign, and promoting public health by vaccinating 2.5 million children against meningitis, yellow fever, and measles, components of his national agenda included planting over ten million trees to halt the growing desertification of the Sehal, doubling wheat production by redistributing land form feudal landlords to peasants, suspending rura poll taxes and domestic rents, and establishing an ambitious road and rail construction program to “tie the nation together”. On the localized level Sankara also called on every village to build a medical dispensary and had over 350 communities construct schools with their own labour. Moreover, his commitment to women’s rights led him to outlaw female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy, while appointing women to high governmental positions and encouraging them to work outside the home and stay in school even if pregnant. His revolutionary programs for African self-reliance made him an icon to many of Africa’s poor.Sankara remained popular with most of his country’s impoverished citizens. However his policies alienated and antagonised the vested interests of an array of groups, which included the small but powerful Burkinabé middle class, the tribal leaders whom he stripped of the long-held traditional right to forced labour and tribute payments, and France and its ally the Ivory Coast. As a result, he was overthrown and assassinated in a coup d'état led by Blaise Compaoré on October 15, 1987. Sankara’s body was dismembered and he was quickly buried in an unmarked grave,while his widow Mari and two children fled the nation A week before his murder, he declared: “While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas.”


New Business! by Michael Peverett
Via Flickr:
Pan Am Railways began shipping Poland Springs water in Eimskip containers out of Portland last year. Intially the containers were drayed to Merrill’s Marine Terminal for loading onto rail cars until construction was completed on the intermodal facility. This week, the second phase of Poland Spring’s new transportation plan started with containers also being loaded on rail cars at the long dormant intermodal facility at the Maine Central yard in Waterville. Portland, Maine April 9, 2016


Physic Garden at Novartis, Basel

This Physic Garden is based on the monastery garden where, in ancient times, monks developed their knowledge about the pharmaceutical properties in plants, a knowledge that provided the foundation for today´s research efforts. These were often hidden places, laboratories in the outdoors, secluded from public life, containing secrets of utmost importance.
The garden is semi-enclosed, and the visitor enters through a zig-zag movement between backdrops of tall hedges.

The slightly sunken basin adds to the preciousness of the plants, and placed inside the frame of a low granite wall, these fragile specimens become untouchable. They are viewed from slightly above. Bridges of light construction, without railings, span the sunken bed, permitting the daring visitor a closer examination of the plants, each of which is labeled with an engraved bronze plaque mounted at the edge of the bed.

Along the sides of the sunken bed are four “log racks”, reminiscent of a library. The types of wood selected represent tree species from which substances have been extracted and used in ethnopharmacology. All in all, 70 plant species are on display in the Physic Garden.

by Thorbjörn Andersson and Sweco Architects

We rode Harley-Davidson’s incredible electric motorcycle
Outside of Harley-Davidson’s Lower Manhattan store on Monday, a group of Harley enthusiasts leaned against the railing of a construction canopy, smoking cigarettes and chatting about work while they waited in line to be one of the very first people in the world to take a ride Harley’s newest motorcycle. The bike they were waiting for wasn’t the latest loud, hulking monument to two-wheeled American chrome though: this was something altogether different. Harley was introducing Project LiveWire, its first electric motorcycle, and it had brought over a dozen of them to its Manhattan store for a limited preview of the bikes before they go on tour around the US for the rest of the year, beginning today. LiveWire is far from the type of bike that Harley enthusiast are used to. It has a single gear, a touchscreen dashboard, and no gas to speak of. Oh, and it’s quiet. Really, really quiet.

One of a handful of Panzer III “rail-cruisers” constructed with the intention of anti-partisan operations. The rail-wheels could be lifted up to allow normal off-rail operations using its treads, but when deployed, the tank could reach 100 kph on the tracks.



For the first couple of years of the Handcar Regatta in Santa Rosa I was always working for Burning Man, so when I stopped going I could finally attend and was lucky enough to go to two of them.  People put a lot of effort into their machines.  There are two abandoned tracks running down the center of the old-timey district and twelve thousand people showed up to watch all duded up in their steampunk finest.  Then light-rail construction took over the tracks, but they managed to bring it back in 2013, but canceled it last year.  I never got a chance to build one- never had the time and money line up and summers were always a super-busy time for me.  Who knows, maybe someday I’ll get a chance.  Don’t miss this event if it happens again.

Submission – Future/Fantasy High-Speed Rail Map of North America by Lukas (age 12)

Hi, my name is Lukas and I am 12 years old. I love to read your blog and other mapping blogs. I was looking online and i found a map of a hi-speed rail system for America designed by the government. I thought the system’s design was horrible, because it was made of isolated corridors and networks that were in no way connected to one another and had too many stations for smaller towns like Millbrae, California and Bakersfield, California. I drew this map of a made-up interconnected hi-speed rail system for the US and Canada. Average speeds would be around 180 mph, while top speeds would be 220 mph. I got my inspiration from the government map and my own travels on the TGV and Eurostar in France ( I am half-french ). Please rate the map and system, I think it is one of the best rail maps i have ever drawn!

Note: the map is slightly discolored, the Colonial ( east coast ) route is yellow and the Big Sky Zephyr ( Chicago to Seattle ) route is an orange-yellow color.


Transit Maps says:

Lukas becomes the youngest contributor to the site with this great hand-drawn map of his vision for high-speed rail in North America. He’s certainly set his sights high, with lines all the way across the USA and all the way up through Alaska to Fairbanks and through Canada up to Edmonton.

Lukas notes that the other high-speed rail maps for the US that he’s seen break things up into smaller unconnected corridors. Unfortunately, this is probably the only way that any sort of high-speed rail will ever be constructed here. The vast distances across the country, low ridership and the ease of air travel all conspire against long-distance HSR. France, by comparison, is much smaller. A trip from Paris to Nîmes in the south of France takes around three hours by TGV and covers a distance of some 400 miles – which is only about the same as the distance between Portland, Oregon and Boise, Idaho.

However, I have to say that I love this map: it’s creative, fun and well-drawn. Drawing a map like this by hand will put Lukas in good stead if he ever decides to try and make a map using a computer – it’s often a great idea to sketch things out first.

I particularly love the awesome names Lukas has used for his routes: some of them are very evocative of the areas they serve – the Fjordrunner up to Alaska is my favourite, while Big Sky Zephyr and Princess Alberta are positively poetic.

I’m not going to give this map a rating out of 5 – it’s not really possible to compare a hand-drawn map to professionally-made transit maps – but I will say that I think Lukas has shown great creativity, critical thinking and solid design skills with this map and should definitely keep making them. I look forward to seeing more!