138 rue de bonheur

Everything Happens for a Reason


I came across an article today in a magazine I subscribe to and it really got my attention on how we as a society has changed to accommodate ones physical build. This has taken me most of the Morning to gather up facts, pictures and some old artifacts. Of course being a train Nut, most of this story has to deal with travel on public transportation of the kind on steel tracks.

In a recent article in the March edition of “Chicago” Magazine, writer Jeff Ruby aka (The Urbanist) wrote about Chicago’s new fleet of Elevated Rail Cars. ( The Cars from El). In describing the new cars he told of the Modern Seats being 171/2″ wide. This got me thinking after seeing a picture of these new seats of how much seating on public transportation has evolved

I remember riding Public transportation in Chicago when I was young and remember the seating arrangement on the cars of the Elevated trains. In the early 40’s the cars where wooden and not heated in the Winter but the windows did open for Summer travel and the seat were upholstered and 47-51″ wide. Then in the 50/60’s the cars became Modern and seating was 37″ wide and they were upholstered in a plastic fabric. Most of the seats were double but a few were single and  ran along the sides of the car, these where also 171/2″  For the most part, 17 1/2″ was the norm for passenger seating from the early 20’s to the present day. In researching seating requirements I found this to the norm in Aircraft also. So if it’s becoming the norm to charge an Airline Passenger twice for a seat because his or her Ass fails to meet the norm, being 17 1/2″ wide, I foresee the day when Public transportation will prohibit travel on any of it’s means of transportation unless one conforms to it’s safety regulations. Thus reducing the obese public back to normal requirements of possessing a 17 1/2″ wide Ass.


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