Tomorrow's Transportation Yesterday!

Grab Bag

One day back in 1976, right after the first Gas Crisis, a fellow from Illinois wandered into the store where I worked. He claimed to have the rail replacement for the automobile; the solution to our energy problems; and foisted upon me a fifty page pamphlet touting and explaining his concept - the Helix-Tram - sort of a tightly-wound monorail, I guess that you could call it.

Let me say that it's a darn shame that this and other fine alternatives to the automobile have been cast aside by think-inside-the-box skeptics. Accordingly, I've proclaimed it "Wx4 Mission #2" (Mission #1 is to win a Cadillac Escalade in a craps game) to advance the Helix-Tram concept after a hiatus of 25+ years.

On this page you'll find excerpts scanned from the original document. If you like the concept, email me and I'll furnish you with Helix-Tram Investigations' address. I'm sure that the Postal Service will gladly forward your inquiry to whichever psychiatric institution it is that currently serves as headquarters. You might also take the hint located at page left and donate some funds towards the endeavour. Medication ain't cheap these days, you know.

Here's the basic setup. Number 1 is the "Capsule" (see next diagram, below), and number 2 is the rail. The remaining numbered items are other stuff. You'll notice that this is the "Inner City Model", as items 5-11 have already been stripped from the setup. Also, since the wheels are not numbered, I'm deducing that they are not major components.

Yes, "We [definitely] must overcome his/her claustrophobia" (possibly by employing handcuffs, whips and chains), but there possibly are other things to overcome, as well - say, psychotic episodes. I'm thinking that those plastic inner walls ought to be PADDED inner walls. And what "certain" types of music are we talking about here? What happens if the majority stockholder turns out to be Canadian and insists upon 100% Celine Dion elevator music? Make my Capsule double-padded, please!

Then, there's also the whole deal about ADA compliance: How do you gracefully dump somebody from a wheelchair into one of these machines? Hey, and where do the bicyclists put their bikes? No way are ya gonna get Federal subsidies without wheelchair and bicycle access. I suppose that each Capsule will require separate wheelchair and bicycle compartments...This is starting to get darn complicated.

On the up side, these Capsules would be super-handy for the elderly. Should some old geezer meet his final reward in one of these things, it could double as a coffin. You simply could tie a black ribbon around the Capsule and blast-off it to the cemetery, C.O.D. Darn convenient, darn convenient...

Yikes! You've got to use turntables to switch tracks? This is starting to get out of hand! I really should have read through this stuff before posting it. Based upon my observations of railroad turntable technology in action, you're also gonna need a crane at each turntable to dig wayward Capsules out of the pit.
Oh, now give me a break - we're going to blast holes through our houses for installation of the Tram tube? What's THAT gonna cost? It's gotta be more than that stinking sewer assessment that I just paid-off.

Theoretically, this all looks well and good, but what if I want to get to Uncle Mel's house two streets behind my house? Hopefully the nearest lateral tube won't be located several states over, in Utah. It also seems to me that I'd have to use at least a couple of those infernal turntables to negotiate my way to Mel's - but what happens if my drunkard next door neighbor piles-up his Robitussin Time Release Capsule 5000 into a pit...and the crane operators are on strike?

I can see that the five relatively normal people living in the San Fernando Valley are going to have reservations about this system, as well. I mean, like, these folks are all living, like, in the midst of crack houses and two-car-garage porno studios, so every time a Capsule, like, shoots through the living room its, like, "YEE-euw! Where has that Capsule been?!!!"

OK, I'm truly sorry that I wasted your valuable time with this nonsense. Any Escalade owners out there want to shoot craps?