Birds on the wiresIn the past green activists in Germany have pursued their cause by having steam trains banned, whilst expressing little opposition to new roads. Now, the French Transport Users Federation (FNAUT) has offered a three point punishment to a local section of the National Movement for the Environment (MNLE) for its opposition to the Orléans tram project. Local MNLE officials complain that the tram will leave no room for cars on main routes through the city, and that birds flying along the river Loire will hit the tram wires on the George V bridge. They suggest that the road should be ’reserved for pedestrians, cyclists and cars’.Meanwhile, in the Netherlands storks are making homes on railway catenary masts. Nesting in this secure habitat, they have little difficulty in avoiding power cables. Perhaps they are more agile than their Great Bustard relatives who are delaying progress on the Berlin – Hannover high speed line (p370).Water ridesPassengers on Netherlands Railways’ IC+ experimental train can sample the unusual experience of water-cushioning in one first class compartment. Sleeptrends, which manufactures water-beds, has supplied water filled base and back cushions for the seats, and if they prove successful NS will examine the possibility of developing a driver’s seat. This could have benefits in reducing sick leave due to back problems.DieterSeven of European Night Services’ 139 coaches for cross-Channel overnight trains were put into secure storage at a British army depot on April 17, while the four railway partners continue to review commercial prospects for the project (RG 4.97 p214)Accident proneIn Australia new rolling stock seems to have a tendency to crash before it even enters service. Last year Sidetrack noted the near write-off of one of Queensland Railways’ Gold Coast interurban EMUs.Now comes news from New South Wales that the first of seven Adtranz low-floor cars for Sydney’s Ultimo – Pyrmont tramway was in a road accident on the Hume Highway near Gundagai on April 30, whilst in transit from Dandenong works. Fortunately the LRV was only slightly damaged, but was returned to Melbourne for repair.