Cool Hotdog Cars

“Wienermobile” is a series of automobiles shaped like a hot dog on a bun which are used to promote and advertise Oscar Mayer products in the United States. The first version was created in 1936 by Oscar Mayer’s nephew, Carl G. Mayer, and variants are still used by the Oscar Mayer company today. Drivers of the Wienermobiles are known as Hotdoggers and often hand out toy whistles shaped as replicas of the Wienermobile, known as Wienerwhistles.

Wienermobile_OURDOG_plate
wiener2

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile has evolved from Carl Mayer’s original 1936 vehicle to the vehicles seen on the road today. Although fuel rationing kept the Wienermobile off the road during World War II, in the 1950s Oscar Mayer and the Gerstenslager Company created several new vehicles using a Dodge chassis or a Willys Jeep chassis. One of these models is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. These Wienermobiles were piloted by “Little Oscar” (portrayed by George Molchan) who would visit stores, schools, orphanages, and children’s hospitals and participate in parades and festivals.
In 1969, new Wienermobiles were built on a Chevrolet motor home chassis and featured Ford Thunderbird taillights. The 1969 vehicle was the first Wienermobile to travel outside the United States. In 1976 Plastic Products, Inc., built a fiberglass and styrofoam model, again on a Chevrolet motor home chassis.
In 1988, Oscar Mayer launched its Hotdogger program, where recent college graduates were hired to drive the Wienermobile through various parts of the nation and abroad. Using a converted Chevrolet van chassis, Stevens Automotive Corporation and noted industrial designer Brooks Stevens built a fleet of six Wienermobiles for the new team of Hotdoggers.
With the 1995 version, the Wienermobile grew in size to 27 feet long and 11 feet high. The 2004 version of the Wienermobile includes a voice-activated GPS navigation device, an audio center with a wireless microphone, a horn that plays the Wiener Jingle in 21 different genres from Cajun to Rap to Bossa Nova, according to American Eats, and sports fourth generation Pontiac Firebird taillights.

wienermobile1
Wienermobile-NAIAS-2005
Wienermobile-2

There are currently eight active Wienermobiles, six of which are the full-sized familiar models (the other two are the Mini and the food truck versions) with each assigned a part of the country. The “hotdogger” position of driving the Wienermobile is open to U.S. citizens, and the job lasts from the first of June until the following first of June. Only college seniors who are about to graduate are eligible. Both current hotdoggers and Oscar Mayer recruiters visit college campuses across the country in search of the next round of hotdoggers. Candidates are screened from an average of 2000 applicants. Every March, a pool of thirty final-round candidates are brought to Kraft Foods and Oscar Mayer headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, for interviews. Each vehicle can hold two hotdoggers, and twelve people are chosen. Currently there are about 300 hotdogger alumni.

wiener1
wiener3

They apparently come in all sizes.

A Real Life Batmobile

This Batmobile. Saw this in a parking lot. Luckily the operator showed up and he gave me the scoop. It is a construction company, BAT construction out of Kamloops B.C. BAT is the owner’s initials. They do all kinds of work in mines, canyons and in the mountains. Scaling is removing loose rocks near rail lines and roads. They rappel down cliffs and pry loose rocks. Also use alot of explosives. The operator was an Aussie who was in Winnipeg to see a “Mate”. 

Also has flanged steel wheels adapter below the back bumper allowing it to travel down rail lines.

The Deepest Metro Stations in The World

The average metro train doesn’t go beyond a few stories underground. But sometimes the geology and the geography of the region, such as the presence of rivers and swamps, forces engineers to go deep underground. The Arsenalna, a station on Kiev Metro’s Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska Line, is such an exception.

Arsenalna station is located 105.5 meters below the surface, making it the deepest metro station in the world. If you made a vertical shaft on earth as deep, you could drop the entire Statue of Liberty into it and still have more than twelve meters of headroom left to drop other stuff. To board a subway train at this station, commuters have to take two seemingly never-ending escalators to the bottom. The journey takes up to five minutes.

metro
metro1
metro2

The mother of all escalators.

metro3

The world’s second deepest metro station is located on Saint Petersburg Metro, which is one of the deepest metro systems in the world and the deepest by the average depth of all the stations. The system’s deepest station, Admiralteyskaya, is located 86 meters below ground. The Saint Petersburg Metro including Admiralteyskaya has some of the longest escalators in the world, exceeding 130 meters.

metro4
metro5

Damn those Russians build massive sturdy escalators!

The former Soviet Union has some of the most deepest underground metros in the world. Park Pobedy, located on the Moscow Metro, lies 84 meters underground, warranting it the third position in the ‘list of deepest metro stations in the world’. The Moscow Metro is also the deepest in Russia, having a maximum depth of 97 meters.

Like many Russian subway stations, Park Pobedy is beautifully decorated.

metro
metro1

Yet another contender to the title of the world’s deepest metro system is Pyongyang Metro, in North Korea’s secretive capital city, with tracks lying at over 110 meters underground. Commuters ride down to the Puhŭng Station—one of only two that foreigners are allowed entry— on escalators accompanied by the “sound of revolutionary anthems booming from antique loudspeakers.” The journey takes nearly four minutes.

Because of its depth, the metro stations double as bomb shelters, with blast doors in place at hallways. The metro is so deep that the temperature of the platform remains a constant 18°C all year.

metro2
metro3
metro4
metro5

Road Construction Season in Winnipeg

There is an old saying that goes “in Winnipeg you have two seasons winter and construction.” As soon as the intense freeze ends the weather allows for road construction. And do they construct. Many roads, streets and highways are inundated with machinery that tear up the asphalt and lay down new pavement.

Below is Smith Street, a major artery that leads straight into downtown. It’s now down to one lane and the gridlock looks painful.

Fascinating Suspension Railway in Germany  

The Wuppertal Suspension Railway is a suspension railway in Wuppertal, Germany.  Wuppertal is part of the massive metro area that includes, Frankfurt, Cologne, Bonn and Essen. Eleven million people live in the consolidated metro area.

Its full name is “Electric Elevated Railway (Suspension Railway) Installation, Eugen Langen System”, it is the oldest electric elevated railway with hanging cars in the world and is a unique system.

Designed by Eugen Langen to sell to the city of Berlin, the installation with elevated stations was built in Barmen, Elberfeld and Vohwinkel between 1897 and 1903; the first track opened in 1901. The Schwebebahn is still in use today as a normal means of local public transport, moving 25 million passengers annually (2008).

The suspension railway runs along a route of 13.3 kilometres (8.3 mi), at a height of about 12 metres (39 ft) above the river Wupper between Oberbarmen and Sonnborner Straße (10 kilometres or 6.2 miles) and about 8 metres (26 ft) above the valley road between Sonnborner Straße and Vohwinkel (3.3 kilometres or 2.1 miles). At one point the railway crosses the A46 motorway. The entire trip takes about 30 minutes.

atrain

Construction on the actual Wuppertal Suspension Railway began in 1898, overseen by the government’s master builder, Wilhelm Feldmann. On 24 October 1900, Emperor Wilhelm II participated in a monorail trial run.

In 1901 the railway came into operation. It opened in sections: the line from Kluse to Zoo/Stadion opened on 1 March, the line to the western terminus at Vohwinkel opened on 24 May, while the line to the eastern terminus at Oberbarmen did not open until 27 June 1903. Around 19,200 tonnes (18,900 long tons; 21,200 short tons) of steel were used to produce the supporting frame and the railway stations. The construction cost 16 million gold marks. The railway was closed owing to severe damage during World War II, but reopened as early as 1946.

atrain1
atrain2

The Wuppertal Suspension Railway nowadays carries approximately 80,000 passengers per weekday through the city. Since 1997, the supporting frame has been largely modernised, and many stations have been reconstructed and brought technically up to date. Kluse station, at the theatre in Elberfeld, had been destroyed during the Second World War. This too was reconstructed during the modernisation. Work was planned to be completed in 2001; however a serious accident took place in 1999 which left five people dead and 47 injured. This, along with delivery problems, delayed completion. In recent years (2004), the cost of the reconstruction work has increased from €380 million to €480 million.

On 15 December 2009 the Schwebebahn suspended its operations for safety concerns; several of the older support structures needed to be renewed, a process that was completed on 19 April 2010.

On 10 November 2011 Wuppertaler Stadtwerke (Wuppertal City Works) signed a contract with Vossloh Kiepe to supply 31 new articulated cars to replace those built in the 1970s. The new cars were built in Valencia, Spain. When they were introduced the line’s power supply voltage was raised from 600 to 750 V.

In 2012, the Wuppertal Suspension Railway was closed for significant periods to upgrade the line. The closing times were 7 to 21 July, 6 August to 22 October and weekends in September (15/16) and November (10/11).

The modernisation was completed and the line fully reopened on 19 August 2013.

Exif JPEG
atrain4
atrain5

The cars are suspended from a single rail built underneath a supporting steel frame. The cars hang on wheels which are driven by an electric motor operating at 600 volts DC, fed from an extra rail.

The supporting frame and tracks are made out of 486 pillars and bridgework sections. For the realization Anton Rieppel Head of MAN-Werk Gustavsburg invented 1895-96 a patented structural system. The termini at each end of the line also serve as train depots and reversers.

The current fleet consists of twenty-seven two-car trains built in the 1970s. The cars are 24 metres long and have 4 doors. One carriage can seat 48 with approximately 130 standing passengers. The top speed is 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph) and the average speed is 27 km/h (17 mph).

The Kaiserwagen (Emperor’s car), the original train used by Emperor Wilhelm II during a test ride on 24 October 1900, is still operated on scheduled excursion services, special occasions and for charter events.

atrain6 station
atrain7

On July 21, 1950 the Althoff Circus organised a publicity stunt by putting a baby elephant on a train at Alter Markt station. As the elephant started to bump around during the ride, she was pushed out of the car and fell into the river Wupper. The elephant, two journalists, and one passenger sustained minor injuries. After this jump, the elephant got the name Tuffi, meaning ‘waterdive’ in Italian. Both operator and circus director were fined after the incident.

atrain8

Driving one of these things would be a great job.

atrain9
atrain10
atrain11

Automobile safety tips from decades past 

Popular Science magazine had many articles devoted to automobile safety back in the 1930’s, 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s.  The car explosion in those decades revealed many problems and concerns as cars became bigger and faster.  Many of the tips Pop Sci brings up from back in the day could be utilized in today’s world of mass automobile use.

Keep your eyes on the road!

If this cover image doesn’t terrify you into driving safely, we don’t know what will. According to the illustrator, driving 30 miles and hour is as dangerous as driving on the roof of a building.

Manitoba Public Insurance should start preaching these same basic rules.  I don’t know about the one of suspecting every pedestrian of suicide.

1. Learn to judge the conditions of the road and the drivers. 2. It isn’t how fast you can go, it’s how fast you can stop. 3. Keep one car length between you and the car in front of you for every 10 miles on your speedometer. 4. Suspect every pedestrian of suicide. 5. Every intersection is a crash point, so slow down. 6. Signal properly. 7. Expect the worst from the other car.

Get those brakes checked regularly

Speed limits in certain States back in 1960 was 30 mph.  That would be about 52 kph.

Keep those tires up to date and checked out regularly

Cities with the worst traffic in the world 

Beijing traffic jam

BEIJING

Claim to fame: A 60-mile traffic jam on an expressway heading into Beijing lasted 13 days in 2015

Life in the slow lane: The 2015 jam on National Expressway 110, which links Beijing and North China’s Hebei province, caused by construction and a number of accidents, shocked the world. But Beijingers are used to epic-scale gridlock. Despite the city’s six surrounding ring roads, numerous expressways, and the government’s restrictions on car use, urban planners simply can’t keep up with the massive influx of new cars that many of Beijing’s approximately 20 million increasingly wealthy people (many of whom have never driven a car before) have recently bought. Some 248,000 new cars were registered in the first four months of 2010, according to the Beijing municipal tax office, a rate of 2,100 new cars per day.

Driving in Beijing, which came in first on IBM’s latest survey of “commuter pain” among major world cities, is a truly frustrating experience: 69 percent of Beijing motorists admitted that on occasion they have just given up and gone home, 84 percent claimed traffic affected work or school performance, and the average commuter suffers through almost an hour of traffic just commuting to work. The city is pinning its hopes on one out-of-the-box solution: an enormous, solar-powered bus that literally drives over traffic.

MOSCOW

Claim to fame: Muscovite drivers face the longest traffic delays in the world, with waits averaging about two and a half hours

Life in the slow lane: Drunk driving, bad weather, streets designed only for military marches and Communist officials in limousines, and well-connected individuals skipping traffic continue to make driving in this city an exasperating — not to mention costly and dangerous — experience. The Russian Transportation Ministry claims that $12.8 billion — more than the GDP of Iceland — is lost every year due to the miserable traffic conditions. Overall, Russia’s road-accident mortality rate is more than twice as high as some members of the European Union — despite the fact that Russians have about a third the amount of cars.

The Kremlin has addressed the traffic issue on numerous occasions, but with the country’s road infrastructure ranked 111th in the world and falling rates of public spending — despite the Transportation Ministry’s pleas to add almost 250 miles of road to ease congestion — Muscovites are not happy. One study showed that over the past three years, two in five residents of the capital have had to wait at least three hours for traffic to clear (an impressively low figure considering there are 650 traffic jams on average every day).

MEXICO CITY

Claim to fame: In 2006, a single political protest caused a backup of half a million cars

Life in the slow lane: Some might think that freeway-clogged Los Angeles is North America’s worst traffic nightmare, but according to IBM’s survey, Mexico City is almost four times as tough for commuters. The Mexican capital has become famous for Darwinian traffic habits (an average of 1,500 pedestrians are killed in accidents a year) and pollution so heavy that it likely shortens life spans. Despite city initiatives to decrease the heavy traffic congestion largely caused by simply too many people and too few roads, more than half of Mexico City drivers said that the traffic has negatively affected school or work while 62 percent said that traffic is getting worse in a city with streets first designed by the Aztecs.

One uniquely Mexican trait is definitely not helping matters: The city averages about eight and a half street protests per day, further clogging the streets with demonstrators from all over the country. The city even has a website specifically designed to note every protest and the likelihood of resulting traffic blockages.

SAO PAULO

Claim to fame: The city holds the world record for the world’s longest traffic jam at over 165 miles on May 9 in 2008

Life in the slow lane: A traveler to Sao Paulo might wonder why so many drivers can be seen doing such menial tasks as shaving, watching movies, or playing video games while at the wheel. Given that Paulistas regularly spend three- to four-hours each day in traffic jams that can be over 100 miles long, it should not be too surprising that motorists are making themselves feel at home. Not only do Sao Paulo roads handle the city’s more than 20 million people poorly, but the city has simply not done enough to fix matters. The fast-growing and sprawling, decentralized megalopolis –spread across more than 3,000 square miles — suffers from extra traffic due to its lack of any fully functional ring roads.

Designated bus lanes, subway additions, and a car-restriction system that allows only a limited number of drivers on the road each day have done little to lessen the massive traffic congestion that costs the city an estimated $2.3 billion a year. The gridlock has gotten so bad that Sao Paulo’s well-connected and wealthy have made the city home to the second-largest helicopter fleet in the world.

LAGOS

Claim to fame: Frequent massive car accidents cause fatalities in the dozens

Life in the slow lane:Driving in Lagos is characterized more by the act of sitting — the standstill nature of driving in this booming city is so ubiquitous that Lagosians have created their own term for their city’s traffic: “go-slow.” Near the top of many lists for fastest-growing city in the world, Lagos for many years lacked any overarching plans for infrastructure, as its infamous traffic attests.

Overcrowding is not the only problem afflicting Lagos’s roads, however– vehicle-wrecking potholes, few working traffic lights, carjacking, corrupt traffic police, and flooded roads are also common. Traffic in Lagos, a coastal city on the Atlantic Ocean, is plagued by the fact that drivers are often forced to take narrow bridges, causing bottlenecks. Worst yet, according to urban lore, it’s dangerous to try to buy any items from street vendors while stuck on a bridge because there is a good chance that they or others nearby — knowing you have nowhere to move — are armed and looking to steal all your belongings.

In Canada Toronto is by far the worst.  An average of 80 minute commutes per day.  Montreal is a close second.  Bangkok and Cairo have notorious traffic.

In the U.S. it is Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Houston and Seattle.

Traffic on interstate outside New Orleans before Hurricane Rita.  All the traffic is going in the same direction.

Morning commute over bridge in Chongqing, China.

Moscow evening traffic jam.

Chicago has the worst traffic jams in the U.S.