Noted rail photographer Jack May will be the presenter of our January 2019 meeting. Jack will be showing slides from two trips to Europe in 2018. His visit to Paris and certain other cities in a triangle to the north and east begins the show. He will then take us to Poland and Ukraine, where tramway operations contrast sharply with those in the west.
The first part of Jack’s slideshow will mainly feature modern trams operating over new lines and extensions, but historic cars will also be included as Jack inspected several museum tram operations in Belgium. As we’ll see, it is amazing how light rail has caught on in the “City of Lights” with a series of nine lines now in operation (and more under construction), operating an impressive assortment of LRV equipment. Jack’s four-country journey to 12 different tramway cities also covers some areas visited by fellow electric traction buffs during ERA’s 2018 tour of southern Germany.
In Poland, Jack visited Warsaw, Olzstyn, Upper Silesia (Katowice), Poznan and Lodz. Older trams dating from the communist era have been modernized, with many replaced by low-floor units that are as up-to-date as any in the world.
In the Ukrainian cities Jack visited, though, the tramways can be characterized as a step back into a past where the PCC car still reigns supreme. Under constant threat from Russia, there has been little money to spend on new trams. Legacy systems in Kharkiv, Dnipro, Kamianske, Zaporizye, Kryvyi Rih, Mikolaiv and Odessa provide reliable service with well-maintained rolling stock over a network of lines whose infrastructure is constantly improving. Portions of the networks visited are still quaint, while single-track lines, some going through woods and forests, may bring back memories of long-gone American systems.
Two brand new tramways, Luxembourg and Olzstyn, will also be included. And if time permits, there may be slides of a spring trip to Scotland and Dublin. Please join us in the new year for a wonderful presentation!