Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ship Monte Olivia at night

Monte Olivia was a Hamburg South American Line (Hamburg-Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft) steamship built in 1925. The ship was mainly operated on the Hamburg - Lisbon - Bahia - Rio de Janeiro - Santos and River Plate service, but was also used for cruising to other places like along the Norwegian fjords and to Spitzbergen. At the beginnning of 1940 the Monte Olivia was commissioned into service in the Kriegsmarine as an accommodation ship for the cruiser Nürnberg and Waldemar Kophamel, located in Kiel. She then served as a garrison ship for MARS (Naval Store Depot) in Gotenhafen, and in May 1944 as a garrison ship for the 8th Kriegsschiffbau-Lehr-Abteilung, in Hamburg. The ship was bombed and sunk at Kiel in 1945 and scrapped the following year.

Weight: 13,750 grt
Length: 159,70 metres
Width, 20.05 metres
Depth, 8.1 metres
Engines 4 x MAN 4-stroke 6cyl diesels, 2 shafts
Horsepower: 7,000 effective
Speed: 14.3 knots
Maximum range: 16,450 nautical miles at 14 knots (using 1,700 tonnes of oil)

Mayschoss on the Ahrtalbahn

The line through the Saffenberg with the station upper centre.
The Mayschoss station now (Google Earth)
The Ahr valley is a twisting side valley west of the Rhine in Germany, and is very picturesque with steep hills and several vineyards.  The old postcard shows the ruin of the Saffenburg on top of a hill which the river winds around, as well as the station at Mayschoss, which is still there but now used as a guesthouse.  Two railway tunnels used to run through the hill underneath the ruin, now only one does as rail traffic is fairly light and the second track is now a cycleway.  The line used to run 42 km to Adenau, but since the end of the 1990s has been cut back to Brück, 29 km from the junction station with the main line along the Rhine at Remagen. More info and pics at www.ahrtalbahn.de

back in 1955...

Gasoline (petrol) in the US cost 20.5 cents a gallon (3.8 litres), at least at this service station.  The sign also provides a breakdown of where that purchase price went - state, federal and city taxes were about a third of it.

the Breslau Freiburger Bahnhof / station

We mentioned the Breslau main station in a previous post; this station not far to the northwest of it was a smaller station built by the Breslau-Schweidnitz-Freiburger Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft or railway company connecting Breslau with Freiburg in Schlesien or Silesia. After WW2 the station was renamed Wroclaw Swiebodzki, but was not maintained in good repair (not that many buildings were in the communist era). It is still there but as far as we know isn't used as a passenger station nowadays.

the Boston and Albany RR

A B&A Pacific type steam loco seen at Weehawken in January 1951
The Boston and Albany Railroad or B&A connected Boston, Massachusetts to Albany, New York, later effectively becoming part of the New York Central Railroad system in 1914. A passenger service is still operated on the line by Amtrak as part of its Lake Shore Limited train, and the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company or MBTA Commuter Rail system uses the section east of Worcester as their Framingham/Worcester Line.

1953 Dodge trucks

dump truck version

Monday, May 30, 2011

1973 London Underground tube stock

A photo of 1973 Tube Stock seen at Osterley on the Piccadilly line in November 2007.  As the tunnel profiles of the different London Underground lines differ, the shapes of the trains used on them also differ significantly. (Bernard Chatreau photo)

early 1950s Studebaker pickup

The external differences between the 1950 through 1953 models were minimal.

RENFE poster 1959

A Spanish National Railway poster with a conquistador theme, for use in German speaking countries, 1959.

GWR 100th anniversary 1935

An artwork used for a Great Western Railway poster on the occasion of its 100th anniversary in 1935.

a wind up Smart Car?

Someone is having fun.

Lindau, Lake Constance


The Bodensee (as it is called in German) is a picturesque and popular recreation area.  The main town on its shores is Friedrichshafen, but to the east of it is Lindau, most of which is on an island connected by causeways for both road and rail, and there are lake ferries.

The recent aerial views place the locations in the old postcards.  A bit further to the east out of sight is Austria, and to the south is Switzerland, the border is on the lake.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fiat railcars at Morrinsville

A scene at Morrinsville (east of Hamilton) in 1964.  The two coupled Fiat railcars on the left will be split for different destinations.  The one in the distance is travelling the other way. For more info, see our books. (J.D. Mahoney photo)

Nord Express poster, 1927

A poster from the golden age of travel that has a rather nice mix of art styles of the period, particularly Cubism.  This train took you all the way from London or Paris to Riga in Latvia or Warsaw in Poland, both routes going through Berlin.  The originals of these posters are now very sought after.

EMD SD40-2

Three new General Motors EMD SD40-2 locomotives are seen at McCook, Illinois, in September 1972, the first two awaiting delivery to the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México or National Railways of Mexico, the third for the Chessie system. The SD40-2 was a standard workhorse of North American railways of the 1970s through the 1990s and 3,957 were produced between 1972 and 1989.  They had an EMD 16-645-E3 prime mover, V16, turbocharged, which produced 3,000 hp (2,240 kW) powering traction motors on each of the six axles, thus a Co-Co type. Length over couplers was 68'10" or 21 metres.

1963-1965 Moskvitch 403

small gauges, left to right: amps, benzine (petrol), oil, water


This is a Russian car that was produced from 1963 to 1965. In total, a little over 105,000 were assembled. This is a recently restored example.

Length: 4.04 metres
Wheelbase: 2.38 m
Height: 1.56 m
Width: 1.55 m
Curb weight: 980 kg
Engine size: 1.36 litres
Max power: 34 kW (45 hp)
RPM at max power: 4,500
Max speed: 115 km/h

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Santa Fe train on Cajon Pass, 1972

In August 1972, a unit train from North Bergen, NJ, to Los Angeles, a journey of about 100 hours, hauled by 3 General Electric U36C's totalling 10,800 hp, is seen on Cajon Pass, California; see earlier posts. (Santa Fe photo)

British railway mileposts

An old postcard showing a Great Western Railway 4-6-0 as well as the different designs of milepost used by the big four railway companies, GWR, LNER, LMS and Southern, prior to the 1948 nationalisation.

custom motorbike adornment

Someone watches too many Alien movies.

old Libau

Libau is the German name for Liepaja, now a port city in Latvia with a population of about 85,000.  At the time of these early 20th century postcards, it was part of the Russian empire.  It gained independence in 1918 but in 1940 it suffered under Stalin's invasion followed by the standard expropriations and deportations.  The Germans liberated it the following year (except for about 7,000 Jews who were exterminated in sand dunes north of the city), but when Stalin's armies advanced again in 1944 the city held out until the end of the war--it was only recaptured by the Soviet army on 9 May 1945. The fighting devastated the city; most of the buildings and industrial plant were destroyed.  During the period of Soviet occupation until 1991 it was a forbidden zone military port; since then the commercial port has been re-opened.

1941 Lincoln convertible

Presumably a warm summer night is depicted.

Hindenburg over Manhattan

The giant German airship Hindenburg over Manhattan, NY, in 1936, possibly on its first trip there. It was 245 metres or 803.8 feet long and the largest class of flying machines of any kind, and the largest airship by envelope volume (200,000 cubic metres or 7,062,000 cubic feet). Designed and built by the Zeppelin Company Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH on the shores of the Bodensee (Lake Constance) in Friedrichshafen, the airship flew from March 1936 until infamously destroyed by fire while docking at Lakehurst, New Jersey, 14 months later on 6 May 1937.  The hydrogen gas combined (some say) with the coating on the hull made it a brief but spectacular incident of just 37 seconds. Of the 36 passengers and 61 crew on board, 13 passengers and 22 crew died, as well as one member of the ground crew, making a total of 36 lives lost in the disaster.
In this view the swastikas on the tail fins seem to have been surgically removed from the photo.

another strange postcard

The caption on the reverse side simply says Schraubenwelle gebrochen or propeller shaft broken.  Who would you send it to?  "Hi honey, we had a bit of bad luck on the voyage and as you can see we had to abandon ship"?

Friday, May 27, 2011

relief-printed book cover from 1900

The book title sounds like a cure for insomnia (and it probably was): we only post it because it is an example of a nice pattern used for the cover for a hardback book with no jacket.  In those days real rather than imitation cloth was used.  Also the royal blue and gold scheme is quite attractive.  Publishers of fine editions still go to this sort of effort, but alas it wouldn't work for sales in downmarket bookstores.

Rotterdam port

A poster for the port of Rotterdam, not dated but circa 1914. Located at the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta on the North Sea and at the heart of a massive rail, road, air and inland waterway distribution system extending throughout Europe, it is no surprise that Rotterdam has become the largest port in Europe and was the world's busiest from 1962 to 2004, when it was surpassed by Shanghai in China. The third busiest port is Singapore.

The ship depicted in the poster seems to be the 32,000 grt Statendam built for the Holland America Line, by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Before the ship was completed during WW1 she was acquired by the British government and operated for them by the White Star Line. After several trips as a troopship she was sunk by submarines off the British Isles in 1918.

Ala Littoria poster

A poster for the Italian airline from 1934 showing either a Wibault 282 built in France in 1933 or a Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79 built in Italy in 1934 -- probably the latter.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Whitcoulls, Borders NZ stores sold

Rich-listers Anne and David Norman--who own the Farmers department stores in NZ and jewellers Pascoes, Stewart Dawsons, Prouds, Goldmark and Angus & Coote, and Stevens homeware--have bought the 62 Whitcoulls and five Borders shops from administrators Ferrier Hodgson for an undisclosed sum.  Staff were told of the sale this afternoon, and David Norman said store closures would be avoided ''if at all possible''.

Ian Draper, the former managing director of Whitcoulls and then the REDgroup, would be appointed to run the business.

The last bit doesn't sound promising, but it's obviously too soon to make any comment or prediction about the printed books business of these stores.  But needless to say, we hope that intelligent people interested in books will be hired to resurrect it.

Three quake-damaged Christchurch stores--Whitcoulls on Colombo Street in the city, Cashel Mall and Eastgate Mall--are not part of the purchase.  The first two have been off limits since the February earthquake.

Three other New Zealand stores--in Papamoa, Upper Hutt and at Albany's Mega Centre--are considered financially non-viable and likewise not included.

pictorial survey of Polish locomotives

This recent book provides an all-colour compendium of photos of locomotives and multiple units that have been seen on Polish railways in the last couple of decades--steam, diesel and electric--with basic data about each.  The pics are mostly portraits, but there are also action scenes.  The text is only in Polish but as there isn't a lot of it, that shouldn't be a major deterrent to those who don't read Polish.  It has 352 pages, landscape format, hardcovered.

The world's most peaceful countries, 2011

The latest Global Peace Index puts NZ in second place after Iceland.  With the notable exception of Russia, colder countries seem to rate better than warmer ones generally; the top 10:
1. Iceland 1.148
2. New Zealand 1.279
3. Japan 1.287
4. Denmark 1.289
5. Czech Republic 1.320
6. Austria 1.337
7. Finland 1.352
8. Canada 1.355
9. Norway 1.356
10. Slovenia 1.358
Full analysis on its website

1930 Mercedes SSK Comte Trossi

One of the most revered sports cars in the world is the SSK and this one features the most dramatic body of them all. It's nicknamed after Carlo Trossi who was its first owner and had close connections to the industry. Read more at supercars.net

every Chevrolet convertible since 1912


This collection belongs to Dennis Albaugh in Ankeny, Iowa, just north of Des Moines. The private collection consists of 110+ Chevrolet convertibles...all years from 1912 to 1975 and Corvette convertibles from 1953 to 1975. That is a Chevy convertible from every year of manufacture except 1939 -- the reason? Chevy didn't make a convertible in 1939 -- and ended its convertible line in 1975.

The billionaire who made his fortune selling farm chemicals also has his own 18 hole golf course, copied somewhat after Augusta National.

Thanks to Cliff for sending this in.