Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
Bamboo trains are apparently a relatively common sight in rural Cambodia.
When life gives you a deserted train track, make a train.
At least that's what these Cambodians appear to be doing. Check out their norry, a railcar built from bamboo, a small engine, and old tank wheels. The thing absolutely flies. Core77 has the technical analysis:
By using a stick to increase or decrease tension on the belt, the "engineer" can induce belt slippage as a rudimentary form of throttle control. Braking is provided via a foot pedal that contacts one of the wheels through the platform, using raw friction. The motors caught on and the pole-drive has gone by the wayside.
With train service suspended from Boston to Baltimore, and a few days off school or work, now seems like the perfect time to get your own version of the norry together.
Just kidding. Don't try this at home, especially if your home is on a commuter rail line.