Jack May

Friday, January 21, 2011

World traveler and renowned photographer Jack May (ERA #2275) will present our January slideshow.

The streetcar is no longer a very significant player in the urban transportation modal mix of Japan, mainly because the largest cities in The Land of the Rising Sun have built subway (heavy metro) systems. Like similar cities in the U. S., those areas tended to discontinue their electric street railways in favor of buses after high-capacity underground lines were built.

But there are some exceptions: some cities continue to realize that buses cannot perform an efficient job of carrying large number of riders on their heaviest routes, and in two cases there are large urban areas that have not invested in subways — specifically Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These two cities, both victims of atomic bombs, still have substantial streetcar networks, while others have just a few lines. As far as the Light Rail Revolution has affected Japan, so far only one city has built a new system, but more may be coming. Meanwhile new laws about accessibility have resulted in the introduction of low-floor cars that operate side-by-side with traditional trolleys.

Jack May’s 35mm slide presentation will cover some 15 cities that operate streetcars, with a few glimpses of interurban, light rail and scenic operations. Given the high quality of Jack’s photography and the depth and breadth of his subject matter, there is no excuse not to be there.

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