04 February 2009

Lego Goes Urban - Streetcar

Well you knew it had to happen sooner or later on this blog. And since there are no petition drives in the land of Lego, our pretend-city is getting a streetcar!

Our old friend Akos Kostyan in Hungary built this on special request. BKV, or "Budapest Transport Limited" company wanted a LEGO model of their new streetcar (which they call a "tram"). They actually approached LEGO Hungary to have one built but LH turned down the offer. Akos told BKV it would be impossibe to model this tram in LEGO bricks but decided to give it a try. "I decided to concentrate on the shape, so I used non-transparent "windows". A lot of thinking went into the pantograph design but the biggest challenge was building the drivers cabin. I still have to figure out a coupling system for the tram, right now the cars are not connected, so the tram can only be used as a static model. It has two 9V train motors and the cars are on wheels, so otherwise the tram could probably run on train tracks without problems."

Here's the real thing he modelled it after. Excellent work Akos! Too bad he's so far across the pond, or I'd pack up my Legos and a few brewskies and stop by to play.


Anonymous said...

Mike, that's a pretty long streetcar.

I'd call it a light rail train.

But, you're right, Euros would call it a tram.

CityKin said...

Yeah, it is quite long, and I think it is a new "tram" for an existing system that operates separated from traffic in part.

I had a related Budapest post last year based on an old postcard of the center transit hub.

Quote from another site:

"The history of Budapest Transport Limited (BKV Ltd.), with its legal predecessors, dates back more than a century. Until 1995, it was a municipal public service organization under the name of Budapest Transport Company. Since 1996, it has operated as a stock company under private sector accountability principles, with its shares owned by the Budapest Municipality.

The company operates bus, tram, underground, trolleybus, and suburban railway lines in an integrated system, along with a cogwheel railway and a funicular, the latter mainly as a tourist attraction. The length of the total network is 1,097 kilometers (682 miles), on which the company operates 149 bus lines, 32 tram lines, 14 trolleybus lines, three under-ground lines, and four suburban rail-way lines.

The company served almost 1.5 billion passengers in 2000. Of these, 40.7 percent traveled by bus, 26.2 percent by tram (including those traveling by cogwheel railway), 22.6 percent by metro and underground, 5.9 percent by trolleybus, and 4.6 percent with the HEV suburban railway. The current modal split in Budapest stands at 60/40 in favor of public transit, and our farebox coverage of operating costs and depreciation is in the range of 56 percent.

An important characteristic of the company's network is its density; every one of its 4,619 stops is within 400 meters (437 yards). In the inner city, that length is 300 meters (328 yards)."

Anonymous said...

If you go here: http://www.pro-transit.com/PICS/Light-Rail.asp -- there's a photo of the new Budapest vehicles.

Plus, there are lots of photos of light rail and streetcars from all over the world. We just added about forty new pics yesterday.

Have a look. Some of the new streetcars and light rail vehicles the Europeans are putting out there are really terrific.

Anonymous said...

I love it. Everything is easier when you are a kid!