Sunday, July 31, 2011

1951 Pontiac advert

Robert Mugabe's mansion in Harare

We featured Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe's personal bus in an earlier post, so here are some pictures of his personal fixed accommodation:

And how do most of his subjects live?  The example below is relatively luxurious in Zimbabwe:

thanks to Bert for sending this in

trams in Wanganui

The first old postcard scene shows a sea of trams around the Post Office corner (six of them); the second, one turning from Victoria Ave into Taupo Quay where the railway station was located; the third a view further up Victoria Avenue.  Wanganui had electric trams from 11 December 1908 to 24 September 1950. The service went two ways from the city centre, inland to Aramoho and out to Castlecliff and the Port. The Castlecliff route competed with the Castlecliff railway and the success of the trams at winning patronage led to the cancellation of passenger trains in April 1932.

As was usually the case, trams were replaced by buses in 1950.

The Tramways Wanganui Trust is currently completing restoration to running order of Wanganui tram No.12 and plans to renovate Wanganui tram No. 8 and New Plymouth Birney No. 8 to run on a heritage tram line currently being planned alongside the Whanganui river between the new tram shed and the berth of the Paddle Steamer Waimarie.

the Cab Forward

An advert from 1943.
In Wellington, "The Hill" for railwaymen was a reference to the Rimutaka Range, but in California, it meant Donner Pass, at 7,000 ft (2,144 metres) much higher and more formidable than the barrier the Rimutaka Range presented, particularly when it it formed a part of the original trans-Continental Railroad.  To solve the problem of smoke nuisance inside the tunnels on this route (and elsewhere), Southern Pacific developed the Cab Forward, as the name suggests, steam locomotives with the cab in the front.

A book in our library, Cab Forward by Robert J. Church (published in 1982) provides a comprehensive account in its 312 pages plus fold out diagrams. It is probably out of print now, but a second hand bookstore may have one.
A model of a Cab Forward

the ALCo alligator

The first loco in the centre of this sea of Santa Fe blue and yellow locomotives at the Summit of Cajon Pass in 1968 -- one of the rare locations in the US where there is left hand running on double track -- is an ALCo RSD-15 which could be ordered with either a high or low short hood; railfans nicknamed the low short hood version "Alligators" because of their unusually long low noses.

The total production between August 1956 and June 1960 was only 75 and of these 50 were bought by Santa Fe. Built at the American Locomotive Company at Schenectady, New York, the RSD-15 was powered by an ALCo 251 16-cylinder four-cycle V-type prime mover rated at 2,400 horsepower (1.79 MW); it superseded the almost identical ALCo 244-engined RSD-7, and was catalogued alongside the similar but smaller 1,800 hp (1.34 MW) RSD-12, powered by a 12-cylinder 251-model V-type diesel engine. The two bogies (trucks) each contained 3 axles powered by General Electric model 752 traction motors. These bogies had an asymmetrical axle spacing due to the positioning of the traction motors. The six-motor design allowed higher tractive effort at lower speeds than an otherwise similar four-motor design.

Five of the 75 locos are preserved today.

More specifications

Length 66 ft 7 in (20.29 metres)

Width 10 ft 1 in (3.07 m)

Height 14 ft 11 in (4.55 m)

Locomotive weight 335,000 lb (152.0 tonnes)

Fuel capacity 3,350 US gallons (12,700 litres; 2,790 imp gal)

Engine type 4-stroke diesel

Generator GE GT586

Top speed 65 mph (105 km/h)

Power output 2,400 hp (1.79 MW)

Tractive effort :

Starting: 95,600 lbf (425.2 kN) at 25% adhesion;

Continuous: 79,500 lbf (353.6 kN) at 12 mph (19 km/h)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chicago steam

It may have been fantasy, but it still looks good.

the TEAL 'Coral Route'

The Short Solent was produced by the Short Brothers in the second half of the 1940s. The first Solent flew in 1946 and production ceased in 1949. In New Zealand Solents were used by Tasman Empire Airways Limited or TEAL. Five were in operation between 1949 and 1960. On their scheduled routes they flew between Sydney, Fiji and Auckland. A flight to Sydney from Auckland would take 7½ hours(!) compared with less than 3 hours today.

In 1951 TEAL introduced its Coral Route service which became one of the world's prestige passenger routes.

TEAL Solents could carry 45 passengers. The aircraft had two decks. An onboard chef cooked meals to order and meals were eaten at tables with linen table cloths and a complete silver service. There was even a powder room!

ZK-AMO flew its last flight on 14 September 1960 between Fiji and Tahiti. It is now preserved at MOTAT in Auckland, the only MK 4 Short Solent left in the world.

edited from the Vintage New Zealand 1930s - 1990s blog (calling the 1990s "vintage" makes one feel old!) and detailed info is in the book The Aircraft of Air New Zealand and Affiliates since 1940.

witticism of the week

Rupert Murdoch was quoted today as saying he is deeply touched by all the messages of support left on Amy Winehouse's phone.

Erie Railroad and Victorian Railways, Australia - who copied who?

Erie Railroad F units at Maybrook (New York), and a Victorian Railways diesel, double-cabbed B 60, at Enfield NSW being delivered from the Clyde Engineering builder to VR on 10 July 1952 (wagons for VR also are behind on flat transporter wagons because of the different gauges).

There is more than a little resemblance in the liveries, so which came first?  Actually the copier was VR, although the question is why?

As can be seen in the ad below from 1955, Erie didn't stick with that livery for everything.

Auckland wharves, 1900s

Two colored postcards from the 1900s, the second shows a harbour ferry, most likely headed for Devonport.

PCC trolleycars in San Francisco, 1971

Two views taken in April 1971 by Herbert Maruska from almost the same camera position, the second shot obtained by turning to the right and walking back a little, showing a PCC streetcar (tram) exiting the Twin Peaks trolley tunnel.  PCC cars were a feature of San Francisco and a line with three preserved examples operates along the San Francisco Municipal Railway's F-line roughly following the waterfront. 

One notes the nice looking 1961 or 1962 T-Bird in the second photo.

View Larger Map

westbound PLM steam at Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Cote d'Azur, France

A colored postcard, probably pre-WW1, the location below.  The layout is still much the same today, although the railway is now electrified and the jardin fleuri seems a bit less fleuri.

steam trains in old Oregon 1 - Cow Creek

Postcards from the 1910s showing track and passenger trains in the scenic Cow Creek Canyon, a part of then Southern Pacific's route in south-central Oregon, close to the California border.

Friday, July 29, 2011

1955 Mercury advert

Denver & Rio Grande Western F7 locos at Bond, Colorado, 1966

Two photos taken by Herbert Maruska on 28 August 1966: the California Zephyr headed by F7A 5761 and the Yampa Valley Mail headed by 5744.

Externally identical to the successor F9 units, EMD's F7 series were built between February 1949 and December 1953, with a total production of 2,366 A units, and 1,483 cabless B units. They were B-B type; length of 50 ft 8 in (15.44 metres) for the A units, 8 inches less for the B units; width of 10 ft 7 in (3.23 metres) and were fitted with an EMD 16-567B V16 prime mover with a power output of 1,500 hp (1,100 kW).

New Haven Railroad ALCo FA-1

We posted a pic of a New Haven Railroad ALCo DL-109 in 1958, so here is the same railroad the same year and the same loco manufacturer -- a postcard of an ALCo FA-1 heading a freight train.  (For more info, see the post on Santa Fe's ALCo FA-1)

custom motorbike petrol tank

From a viral e-mail.  As they say in France, aucun commentaire.

transport etymology 12 - crew

Crew of the ship Carmanian, at San Francisco, 1900. David Kelly, a 17 year old New Zealander, is on the far left, second row.
At first in English "crew" denoted a squad of military reinforcements. Soon its meaning spread to any band of soldiers, and by the end of the 16th century the word was being used for any group of people gathered together with or without a particular purpose. The most familiar modern application, to the people manning a ship, emerged in the latter part of the 17th century. 

Nowadays, in transport it means the people who sail or operate a ship or boat, operate a train or fly an aircraft, but of course it is a general synonym for team in a non-sporting sense.

The word appeared in the late Middle English period, between 1425 and 1475 as crewe "augmentation", hence reinforcements, body of soldiers, from Middle French creue, literally "increase", noun use of feminine of Old French creu,  past participle of creistre "to grow", in turn from Latin crēscere.
Pics of the Carmanian are from this webpage where her history will also be found.

only a £685,000 multi-car prang

in yesterday's news--

Oops, it's a £700,000 prang... Hapless blonde crashes her Bentley into a Merc, Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin

28 July 2011
When in Monte Carlo, everything is done in style. And that includes crashing your car. This was the moment when a woman driver caused a £700,000 five-car pile-up as her Bentley collided with a Mercedes, Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin.

Disaster struck as the hapless blonde negotiated the traffic around the Place du Casino in her £250,000 Bentley Azure.

The driver of a white Mercedes S Class worth £75,000 was the first victim as the 2.7-ton Bentley scraped down the side of it before ploughing into a £143,000 black Ferrari F430.
A staggering £685,000 worth of supercars were involved in the inpromptu game of demolition derby.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Otira ZigZag, 1900s

This was the main road over the Southern Alps between Canterbury and the West Coast, a colored postcard from the 1900s.  In fact it remained the main road until the Otira Gorge Viaduct was opened in 1999 which bypassed the ZigZag.  In 1923 the Otira railway tunnel was opened, allowing trains to travel the route.

For more information and photos, see the book On the TransAlpine Trail.

1959 Chevrolet Corvette

Launched in 1953, the Chevrolet Corvette has been an icon sports car for GM ever since.  It prompted Ford to respond with the Thunderbird two years later, although that was only a two-seater sports car for the first three years.

Specifications (for the 1960 model) are on this webpage

NSW Royal Train, 1901

NSW Government Railways C3229 steam locomotive is seen attached to the Royal Train for the Duke of York's visit to Australia in 1901.  The beginning of that year saw Australia's Federation when it ceased being a collection of British colonies.

Christchurch trolleybus, 1955

Christchurch English Electric trolleybus 210 from 1931 turns into High Street in February 1955 before the system closed. This bus is now preserved at the Ferrymead Heritage Park and as far as we know is still operated on the system there on the first Sunday of every month. (A.W. Perry)

1941 advert featuring a Lockheed 18 Lodestar

Shown in South African Airways livery -- the waterfall below it is Victoria Falls, through which the South Africa / Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) border runs.

Luxury Trains book reduced in price

The NZ distributor of the book Luxury Trains (published by teNeues) has reduced its price from $140 to $55 so we have snapped the stock up.  It is an extra-large format all-colour coffee table book featuring refurbished historic and recent luxury trains in different countries, both interiors and the ambiance of travelling on them at famous stations, including the revamped Southern Cross station in Melbourne and action pics in landscapes.  A book railway enthusiasts are sure to enjoy; 230 pages on heavy matt art paper, hard cover with jacket.