I wish I could say that I were a “proper” blogger and took these photos myself but alas they are courtesy of Stiri de Cluj although to avoid use of their bandwidth, I am hosting these images myself.
As you can see, the new trams (Rom: tramvaiuri) or light rail trains that will soon be circulating around Unicorn City have been officially unveiled. There is still more work to be done on some of the track lines before they are ready to go but all in all it’s a major improvement and one of those unequivocally good things that’s happened to the city of late.
It’s kind of interesting because with the completion of the enormous stadium last year, these new trams running on brand-new tracks and a lot of other things (Cluj Days comes to mind), the mayor could be easily coasting into a re-election landslide next week if…. well, you know, if he hadn’t been such a greedy bastard and took so much money in kickbacks and bribes. I mean think about it. PDL (the “orange team”) is having its fair share of problems around the country but here in U City they’ve got a really strong base and when people see shiny new public transportation and a refurbished park, why not keep the same guy in office? Ah well, I guess greed makes people do stupid things.
The Unsleeping Eye picked up the Polish ambassador to Romania’s tweets the day the contracts were finalized on these beautiful trains because indeed they all come from a big factory in Poland. I haven’t been inside one yet but you can see from the following photo that they look really good on the inside as well.
I had to laugh, and not exactly happily, to note what was on the computer screen there. If you click on the photo you can see it in the larger size that somebody forgot to switch the language of the computer display because it’s still in Polish and says “sroda”, which means Wednesday. I surely do hope someone figures this out before they go into operation because I doubt many people here know what “niedziela” means LOL.
I’ve been riding buses and trams for years in Romania and a lot of them originally came from operation in other countries. The trams all seemed to be from Germany (often former East Germany) and a lot of Cluj’s buses are from Paris, France. But no matter what Romanian city I was in, the public transportation people never, ever remove the interior signage. Why not? I never understood that. I’m not talking about metal plaques bolted to the frame or other things that would be difficult to remove but basic paper signs or sometimes stickers on the glass. These could be removed in five minutes with a razor blade or covered over with something in Romanian and yet they never are. Half the French I know (merci d’avancer vers le fond du bus) comes from staring at these signs while riding around.
Signage aside, they are beautiful trams and I can’t wait to ride them. Sadly, there’s been some chatter that the color of these trains makes them “gay”. Uh… there’s nothing wrong with something being “gay” but we must keep in mind that these are mechanical pieces of metal and plastic and therefore cannot have a sexual orientation. Trains or anything else that is not alive are never “gay” or “straight” or “bisexual” or anything else.
I think what people truly mean but are inhibited by a lack of language skills from saying is that the color might be considered effeminate or “of or pertaining to women”. In other words, pink or light purple are considered to be a color appropriate only for a woman and thus a man riding in such a train has his “manliness” put in peril… somehow.
Uh, this preoccupation with pink (or whatever other color) being a “female” color is a bit of historical nonsense that’s less than 100 years old. There are lots of pink things in nature and some of them, such as flowers, might today be considered “female” but other things, like raw meat, could equally be considered “masculine”. To me it’s all quite stupid but if you feel your fragile manhood is in question by riding the Unicorn City tram then just tell yourself it’s the color of raw meat, okay?
True story – I’ve always loved riding the rails, whether the “proper” big trains like CFR or else the smaller light rail systems like the tram. The very first time I came to Cluj I was so entranced with the tram system that I bought a ticket and just rode it around in a loop for about 45 minutes even though I had nowhere I needed to go. Fun times! Now I can’t wait to ride this one and hear the computer remind me, “Urmeaza statia Eroii Revolutiei cu peronul pe partea dreapta“.
And I say Romania is my country!