The Null Device
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An artist in Portland, Oregon bought an old Pullman rail sleeper car and converted it into a living/working space. The interesting thing here is that it's not sitting in a yard somewhere, sans wheels, but is on the North American railway network. It's stabled at a private siding, for which the owner pays $150 per month; electricity, cable TV and DSL are available. Should the occupant get bored of their locale, they can move anywhere on the railway network by getting a freight rail company to attach their wagon to a train and move it, for $1.50 a mile.
Now that it's known that one can rent private sidings with facilities, and contract freight train companies to move your home around the railroads, perhaps a new subculture of bohemian railcar dwellers (let's call them "boho hoboes") will arise, comprised of similar sorts of people that live in houseboats in Europe. And perhaps the railway revival that some are saying expensive oil will lead to will include new private, full-service sidings catering to the new hipster-hobo class.
I wonder whether something like this is possible outside of America. Could Europeans take advantage of the European railways' open-access rules to do something similar? If so, could an European rail dweller bounce around the entire EU at will for euros per kilometre? What about in Britain? (Though there, the problem arises that British rail cars, and the spaces between platforms, are quite narrow, which could make living arrangements somewhat cramped.) Could one make a railcar home compliant with British and continental standards and the Channel Tunnel's safety standards and cross the Channel with it? I'm guessing that in Australia, where the railway networks are more fragmentary and limited (and old sleeper cars are somewhat scarcer), such a thing could be more difficult.
(via Boing Boing Gadgets)