I was so unbelievably bored during my flight to Oslo this morning I spent some time thinking about trains again. In part prompted by the pathetic state of the train service in Norway and in part by the inconvenience, discomfort and over-all misery of air-travel.
I've been thinking about trains for a few years now. In my not so humble opinion almost everything about trains is wrong. I find it odd that trains have not changed significantly in 100 years. Most trains still have the same basic (flawed) design. In addition the way trains are operated is unnecessarily limited.
What depresses me is the stubbornly short-sighted approach we have taken to railways. Right now there is much talk about fixing the current ailments of our railways. Sadly there is very little talk about attacking the problem at a more fundamental level: having a fresh look at the problem and in light of the past 100 years of innovations actually building something that reflects our current technology AND attempts to solve problems rather than just patching up the old rubbish.
Norway can afford the research and development effort needed to bring about radically different train systems. But in essence, we insist on behaving like some odd third world country. We piss on our innovators and lean heavily on our fortunate winnings in the lottery of natural resources. The government would never be prepared to inject the needed capital. And they would make damn sure nobody else is tempted to do it either.
Deep down I know it would be futile to take a weekend to write down my thoughts on how to fix trains. But I still hope I'll find the time to do it anyway.
And yes, the train from the airport was delayed this morning. Causing me to arrive late for my meeting. Trains in Norway are a joke.