Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wellington trams on Crawford Road, 1950s

Trams and nothing else - four on their way into and out of Wellington's eastern suburbs on an early summer morning in the 1950s along Crawford Road, Kilbirnie.  For plenty of colour photos like this, see the books Wellington: a Capital century and Wellington Transport Memories. (oil painting by Wallace Trickett)

another year over

Rather like the people of Zimbabwe, for the last three years we have said to ourselves 'this coming year can't get any worse' - but it does.  This past year had the impact of the Christchurch earthquake in February as well as Bill English's tax hike on products, but you wonder if more generally it's a case of people wanting to spend less, or ever more distraction in electronic form.  Probably it's both, and indeed we have added to the latter with all the posts on here, however, they are intended as appetite whetters for reading a book on the particular subject.

We plough on. Thanks go to customers around the world, and those who have sent pics for inclusion in this blog.  Have a happy and safe New Year's!

John Chapman's Transport Paintings

Born in Blackburn, Lancashire (as in the Beatles 'Day in the Life'), artist John Chapman has taken a long interest in transport subjects and this recent book is a nice collection of more than 120 of his paintings,. mostly set in the 1950s.  His stories of his personal experiences of the of many of the subjects help to engage the reader. The themes include cityscapes, countryside, depots and wharves. Most of the cars, trucks and vans were seen in this part of the world, and the rest of the subjects have a feeling of familiarity because of all the British movies and TV shows that made it here.  The book has 144 colourful pages in a 270 mm square format, hardcover with jacket (on which the illustration is of New Market Street, Leeds, circa 1950).

Miami, Florida, then and now

A view of Flagler Street (named after railroad magnate Henry Flagler) in the early 1950s and the approximate Google streetview now.

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Vulcan railcar at Greymouth, 1964

On a not unusual wet West Coast day, a Vulcan railcar arrives at Greymouth station on 3 January 1964. The car is probably still waiting for the crossing lights to stop flashing.  In the background is the well-known S-shaped trestle rail bridge which was demolished in 2006 (despite Historic Places Trust opposition) and replaced with a concrete bridge a little further upstream. (Weston Langford)

White Bus advert 1945

Friday, December 30, 2011

'there are lots of interesting details in this transpress nz book'

Canadian Pacific's 'Empress of Britain' advert, early 1950s

See previous posts for more.

fun in North Africa, late 1930s

What are presumably somebody's holiday snaps from a bus trip around an unspecified North African country, but given the French on the bus, likely Algeria or Morocco.  Is that bus a Brockway?

Le Perthus - a town split between two countries

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This town in the Pyrénées is mostly in France, but some of it is in Spain, and the border runs along the middle of some of the main street.   The first view dates from 1955 showing the then French customs house, La Douane Francaise, where a Chausson bus is stopped.  One notes the Ford Zephyr, probably driven by a British tourist.

The current Google streetview shows the Spanish side of the main street, Avenue de la France, on the left and the French side on the right.  The large but short obelisk marking the border with a numeral on it can be seen next to three pedestrians.

from the early days of the Berlin Wall

"You leave West Berlin in 70 metres" - at the Brandenburg Gate after the Communists had constructed the Berlin Wall in August 1961. The "cowboy" style construction was later increased with a more substantial structure.

1948 Chausson bus in a difficult situation!

Presumably the route has not been tested for a bus before. The location is not specified - the French alps maybe?

vehicles in Colombo Street, Christchurch, 1930s

Looking south at Cathedral Square: a tram, a bus, cars and bicycles.  "The Bank Corner" was a reference to the bank on the left, replaced by a much bigger building by the Bank of New Zealand, or bnz as it now calls itself, in the 1960s.

Milford Dart tunnel vision

Public submissions on this controversal proposal close at the end of January.  In essence the idea, pushed by a private enterprise, is to build a new road including an approximately 11 km long tunnel between a dead-end road at Glenorchy on Lake Wakatipu to a point on the Te Anau - Milford Sound road and thus create a shortcut between Queenstown and Milford, which presently involves a 286 km drive.

It's hard to view this without having ambivalent feelings.  It is not a Steven Joyce type proposal to replace a railway line with a motorway; instead it puts in place a transport link that doesn't presently exist, and would only be for buses, not cars or Mr Joyce's big trucks.   But it would go through a pristine National Park. 

Understandably Te Anau businesses don't want it, as it would potentially take visitors away from Te Anau. Alternatives to the tunnel mentioned include an aerial cable-gondola over the mountains instead of the road and that sounds much more like a winning idea in every respect.  More on the TVNZ website

vehicles in Saint Avold, France, late 1930s

A general view of cars, buses and the tramway in the Place de la Victoire, and a view of the tramway which lasted from 1910 to 1944.  More photos and info on it here

the Glass Train

Arguably this is the best-known German railcar, even though it was only produced in a series of two units in 1935-1936. Because of the 'vista dome' style wide glass windows both on the sides and the tops, it became known as Der Gläserne Zug (the glass train), officially as ElektroTriebwagen Baureihe 91. Of the two, one was destroyed in the Munich shunting yard in March 1943 during an Allied bombing raid, the other was taken over by the Deutsche Bundesbahn and used over the scenic mountain lines in the south, until it was badly damaged in a crash in 1995. It has now been repaired non-operational and is on display in Augsburg. Until the 1970s it was in a red/cream livery, then repainted in a blue colour, then a darker blue. HO scale models in the latter were made by both Märklin and Fleishmann.

Manufacturer: Waggonfabrik Fuchs, AEG
Fleet numbers: ET 91 01 – ET 91 02
Seating places: 70
Car length over buffers: 20.6 metres (67 ft 7 in)
Maximum speed: 110 km/h (68 mph)
Weight: 51 tonnes (50 long tons; 56 short tons)
Acceleration: max. starting: 0.58 m/s2 (1.9 ft/s2)
Electric system: 15 kV 16⅔ Hz AC
Axle arrangement: Bo-2

1927 American LaFrance fire truck

More at

'fruit, sunscreen and a transpress nz book is all I need for a great day'

old and new Metlac railway bridges, Mexico

the original 1872 bridge, a 1911 postcard

The highest railroad bridge in North America at 430 feet (131 metres), the Metlac River bridge was part of a 1980s upgrade to the entire Mexico City-Veracruz line that included several other high bridges such as the Vaqueria Viaduct and the Atoyac Bridge.

The modern Metlac Railway Bridge is a prestressed concrete beam bridge with 2 railway tracks. The original 1972 highway bridge is parallel to the railroad bridge and is just a few feet lower. The original 1872 Metlac bridge was the most famous railway bridge in Mexico for decades, curving 92 feet (28 metres) above the river. Now abandoned, it can be seen from the higher bridges. (

Martin Aircraft advert, early 1950s

The Glenn L. Martin Company was an American aircraft and aerospace manufacturing company founded by this aviation pioneer which produced important defense aircraft for the USA and its allies during WW2 and the Cold War. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Martin Company moved gradually out of the aircraft industry and into the guided missile, space exploration, and space utilization industries.

In 1961 the Martin Company merged with the American-Marietta Corporation, a large sand and gravel mining company, forming the Martin Marietta Corporation. In 1995 Martin Marietta merged with Lockheed to form the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

early skiplane over the European alps

the little joys of the automobile

Getting out and pushing was certainly a regular experience with the British cars that dominated NZ's roads from the late 1940s to the mid 1970s.

Paris traffic jam, 1920s

It would great to view even just a few of those vehicles now.  Scene at the Palais Royal.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Der Kaiser himself in the fighting line

Not just the Kaiser but the whole General Staff according to the caption of this postcard, presumably from WW1.  But what is that contraption in the sky in the distance?

DIY vehicle repair kit

No doubt NZ locomotive drivers were each supplied with one of these during the Toll Australia era :-)

1927 Renault PN bus

Seen in the Place de la Concorde, Paris. This is one of the vehicles now in the museum AMTUIR (Musée des transports urbains, interurbains et ruraux)

1906 Peugeot bus

'it's a bit cooler here so I can keep reading my transpress nz book'

The Göltzschtal viaduct, Germany, the world's biggest masonry viaduct

This impressive railway viaduct was was made of bricks; 50,000 a day were delivered to the site. Not surprisingly its construction took five years from 1846-1851.

It is 574 metres long, has 29 arches with the longest span 31 metres, the height of the rails above the the Göltzsch river is 78 metres.  Unlike the Elstertalbrucke (see earlier post) it survived WW2 intact.  A detailed history is here

the Southerner passes through Goodwood

A scene from 1995.  Goodwood was where Albert Churchman grew up.

Johnson outboard motor advert, 1953

Although not stated, the '25' is probably a reference to the speed in knots that it will take a boat this size to.

Routemaster on Westminster bridge

Until the completion of the 'Gherkin' in 2003, this was the obligatory London scene in any movie or TV item and was in the top five obligatory tourist photos. This painting by M. Jeffries shows a 1950s Routemaster, maybe a 1960 Wolseley car opposite and further back a late 1940s car and then an RT.

Prague tram paintings

Just a few of many by Czech artist Yuriy Shevchuk - website

Paris double deck trams

The street and date not given, probably 1910s. A zoomable tram and metro map from 1910 is here

BOAC VC-10, 1960s

Obviously a montage - in those days flying so low over central London would have caused much annoyance, not least to MPs in the Parliament, nowadays people would think the pilots were Muslim nutters.

BOAC was the main customer for the Vickers-Armstrongs VC-10, for whom it was designed. A total of 12 Type 1101 VC10 were purchased in 1964-65, followed by 17 Type 1151 Super VC10 (a minor modification with an extra fuel tank in the fin) in 1965-69. The VC10 became a popular aircraft in the BOAC fleet, both with passengers and crew, being praised for its low cabin noise level and comfort. BOAC (and later British Airways) obtained higher load factors with the VC10 than with the 707 or any other aircraft of its fleets. Operational experience soon resulted in the deletion of the inboard thrust-reversers due to continued tailplane buffeting despite the engine repositioning.

Apart from the twin-pair rear mounted jet engines, it had a generous wing equipped with wide chord Fowler flaps and full span leading edge slats for good take-off and climb performance and its rear engines gave an efficient clean wing and reduced cabin noise. The engines were also further from the runway surface than an underwing design - of importance considering the nature of the African runways. Technology from the V.1000 and later Vanguard programmes included structural parts milled from solid blocks rather than assembled from sheet metal. The entire airframe was to be coated against corrosion. Planned flight-deck technology was extremely advanced, with a quadruplicated automatic flight control system (a "super autopilot") intended to enable fully automatic zero-visibility landings. Capacity was up to 135 passengers in a two-class configuration. Vickers designer Sir George Edwards is said to have stated that this plane was the sole viable option unless he were to reinvent the 707 and, despite misgivings on operating cost, BOAC ordered 25 aircraft.

Successor to BOAC, British Airways, retired all its then 15 remaining VC-10s in 1981, one for preservation and the rest sold to the RAF.  Apparently a few are still flying.