Sunday, 30 March 2008

Train of the day

LRT line 1 in Kuala Lumpur. It runs through the city centre on stilts. I prefer elevated railways in cities to underground ones, because you can look out of the window.

Other elevated railways I like: the Hammersmith and City line, between Paddington and Hammersmith. Metro lines 2 and 6 in Paris. (Line 6 is the one that goes over the river near the Eiffel Tower.) The Northern Line through Golders Green and Brent Cross. The east-west S-Bahn in Berlin.

In Kuala Lumpur (or KL, as we old Asia hands call it), the LRT is very efficiently run: fast, frequent, modern and cheap. Unfortunately the 2 LRT lines, the monorail and the suburban electrics were all built as separate - in some ways almost "competing" - projects, and the powers that be have not understood, or only understood too late, the importance of integration in urban transport networks. What a pity they were too proud to learn from European experience (and indeed the mistakes of London in the 19th and early 20th century). I believe they've now hired in some Dutch chap to try to knit it all together and with the buses too. If anyone knows how to do this, it is the Dutch. When they've finished with him, maybe he can come and sort London out.

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