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Transport / Mass transit

Podcast: The permanent way

This week, we’re not mucking about: we’re going full-transport nerd.

First up I tell Stephanie about my abortive adventures inter-railing in the long hot summer of 1999, an almost entirely appalling experience about which I briefly considered writing a very short memoir under the title Belgian Boy Scouts and Psychosomatic Diarrhoea.

The inspiration for this was the news that a German MEP has proposed free interrailing passes for every EU citizen on their 18th birthday. (Jack May wrote that up for us here.) So we share our experiences of scary nuns and Soviet buses on Europe’s transport network, and discuss whether better transport links really could create a European identity. (The travel time maps I refer to at one point can be found here.)

Next up, the Guardian technology writer and New Statesman escapee Alex Hern pops by to talk us through the hyperloop: why it is a real thing, why it will nonetheless almost never happen, and why it typifies everything wrong with the entire Silicon Valley culture.

And to wrap up, Stephanie and I talk about trolleybuses, suspended monorails, outdoor escalators and whatever other weird transport systems come to mind. (If you enjoy that you may enjoy this piece about how city transport networks cope with whopping great hills.)

We also, briefly, get sucked into existential terror by the arrival of president Trump.

The episode itself is below. You can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Enjoy.

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