Trains, Trees and Tow Trucks

A couple big trains passing each other.

Not sure what was going on here. A long line of tow trucks in a huge parking lot. Maybe the drivers are sharing trade secrets on how to hook up a vehicle and sneak away without being noticed. The fog obscures the images.

The mist or fog covering Winnipeg this morning created frost on the trees. Referred to as “Hoar Frost.” The word “hoar” comes from an Old English adjective that means “showing signs of old age”. In this context, it refers to the frost that makes trees and bushes look like white hair.

Countries with the largest railway networks 

RankCountryRailway length
Date of
NotesElectrified length
Historic peak length
Area (km2) per km trackPopulation per km trackNationalized or Private
1 United States250,0002014 <1,600409,00043.711,373Private
2 China121,0002015 65,000Present length79.3111,218Nationalized
3 India1150002016 27,99948.3417,796Nationalized
4 Russia86,0002013 “Commercial operational length”(50,000)
not verified
5 Canada46,5522008 129214.48716Private
6 Germany43,4682010 19,97358,2978.221,881Nationalized
7 Australia38,4452008 2,715199.94572Both
8 Argentina36,9662008 13647,00077.451117Nationalized
9 South Africa31,0002014not verified24,80039.391,742Nationalized
10 France29,6402008 15,14021.532201Nationalized
11 Brazil29,303(2012)1,520285.576397Private
12 Japan27,1822009 16,70216.105451Both
13 Italy24,179(2007)16,68312.462507Both
14 Ukraine22,300(2010)9,75227.072048Nationalized
15 Romania22,298(2008)3,97110.69854Both
16 Poland19,627(2008)17,358about 24000 before 198915.931946Nationalized
17 United Kingdom17,732(2008)5,32834,000 (before Beeching axe)15.003825Both (Franchised)
18 Mexico17,1662008 22114.436,697Private
19 Spain15,947(2012) 9,62333.553062Nationalized
20 Kazakhstan15,372(2010) 4,000180.711,171Nationalized


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.


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.


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.


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.


The mother of all escalators.


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.


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.


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.