2024 Meetings

Jack May & Harvey Laner

Friday, January 19, 2024

The Aarhus Letbane is one of two brand new light rail systems in Denmark. This system opened in 2017. Pictured above is a northbound Stadler Variobahn car appro aching the Dokk1 stop at the civic center, which contains performance spaces, the public library and government offices. Photo by Jack May

For January, we are privileged to view presentations by two veteran speakers and photographers, Jack May, and Harvey Laner. Leading off is ERA’s longtime conventions and international trip chairman and past editor of Headlights Jack May. There has been a great deal of electric traction activity in Scandinavia over the past few years as the light rail revolution spread into a few more cities in the region along with additional lines in others. New systems include Lund, Sweden (2020); Odense, Denmark (2022); and Aarhus, Denmark (2017), and also new lines/extensions in Bergen, Norway (2010, 2022). When Jack received a notice that a German organization of tram enthusiasts, the VDVA, was holding its annual convention in the region, he decided to overlay his travel plans with those of the VDVA to help take an inside look of some rail transit operations that usually can only be done when arranged by organizations like ours.

In addition to the modern LRVs in those cities, he was able to see/ride and photograph vintage trams in a number of additional places, including Trondheim, Oslo, and Bergen in Norway; Gothenburg in Sweden; and visit the National Tramway Museum in Denmark, Skjoldenæshololm on its members day. The program will consist of digital scans of his slides from this visit plus a sprinkling of earlier views from travel in the region during the last ten years, adding Stockholm and Malmo, Sweden to the mix. If time permits, there will be views of electric traction in Doha, Qatar, from Jack's abbreviated visit a year ago.

For the second part, we will see Harvey Laner’s video of the famous Vicinaux rural tramway system as it existed in the 1990s. In November of 1990 and again in June of 1991, Harvey Laner visited the heart of Wallonia, one of the three regions of Belgium along with Flanders and the Brussels Capitol Region in search of the last remnants of the once expansive Belgium Vicinaux, the legendary rural tramway system.

The fully narrated program covers the sole remaining portion of the former Vicinaux line 90 that was still operating on track and alignment that had not been replaced with pre-metro infrastructure.

Both speakers will take questions at the end of their presentations. Harvey’s Vicinaux video is being presented as a prelude for ERA riding the last portion of the Vicinaux network on its May 2024 trip to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. So, register for our Benelux Tour by January 31, 2024 if you’d like to join this outstanding tour in May 2024!

January 2024 Meeting Notice

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