Hello Vancouver

I decided not to go back to the conference today because frankly life is too short to waste it on people who want to invalidate other trans people’s lives and experiences. Instead Kevin and I took an early ferry and made use of the extra time to have a look around Vancouver.

I have to say that, on the basis of the few hours we had, Vancouver is not the world’s greatest tourist city. However, it does have absolutely amazing public transport. In fact it seems like the whole of British Columbia does. We spent an awful lot of today on buses, ferries and trains. Everything ran to time, and all of the connections worked flawlessly.

Vancouver is also interesting in that a large part of its light rail system runs on a linear induction motor system. I remember seeing Eric Laithwaite demonstrating the technology when I was a kid, and everyone expected it to be the next big thing. In fact its most notable achievement was being used as the launch mechanism for Fireball XL5, but it is used for light rail. Vancouver’s system is the biggest outside Asia, but there’s a lot of such systems in Asia.

Please note that the Vancouver system is not maglev, it is an ordinary train, running on rails, that uses a linear induction motor for propulsion. It seems to do a really good job because the track has gradients that no traditional light rail system could handle.

We didn’t do much today except ride trains and boats, and fail to find a decent source of high quality maple syrup. However, we did find a Peruvian restaurant for dinner which was a good thing to have done. Tomorrow morning we go our separate ways: Kevin back to the Bay Area and me to Toronto.

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