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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oh Lord, won't ya buy me a cobra tram?


Finally a new music video. Just before heading out to dinner with friends in Zurich I heard Janis Joplin's Mercedes Benz song. All I can say is that it was inspiring ... and I am not the only one, there's lots of versions on YouTube.

We went to dinner at a great little neighborhood restaurant with big windows on one of Zurich's public transport priority streets. All night long trams passed by until finally it clicked ...

Cobra trams are Zurich's new low floor streetcar. They were a bit undependable when they first arrived although seem to be doing well now. They are quite elegant: big windows, lots of room around the doors to move in and out, nice seats, clean lines and quiet. Their wheels are independent (in other words there is not a common axle between wheels on either side of the streetcar) which make them very quiet.

Unfortunately as the public transport vehicle manufacturing industry has consolidated over the last few years the major manufacturers have discontinued the "cobra" design, so Zurich's are unique. Here's a press release by the manufacturer Bombardier describing the cobra trams (PDF).

1 comment:

spag said...

Great video, Andy :)

I also like the Cobra tram design, especialy that despite the technological advancements, they are sticking to the round-cornered, separate windows, to keep the traditional Z├╝rich tram look.

I was interested in your link on public transport priority streets but your site seems to be down. I hope it will be back online soon.

daniel