Monday, October 31, 2011

Cheyenne Union Pacific Station, 1940s

The bus depot that was used jointly by Greyhound and Trailways is also in this view.  Nowadays the station houses the Cheyenne Depot museum; Cheyenne is a famous place in the history of the Union Pacific Railroad.  website

View Larger Map

new book on NZR steam locomotives

The steam locomotives used by the New Zealand Government Railways, from the predecessors dating from 1863 to the end of steam in 1971, have been the subject of an extensive literature over the years -- and the reader will see that from the long list of references printed over pages 332 to 335 of this new book published by the NZR&LS, and even that is only partial.

A question one can reasonably ask, then, is do we really need another book on this subject?  As we have noted before, while NZR steam has been very well covered by books, the 400+ steam locomotives used by private industry over the same time period have received very little attention -- the only two significant books have been Paul Mahoney's The Era of the Bush Tram in New Zealand (now out of print) which covered about half of them but in no detail, and Gerald Petrie's New Zealand Steam Locomotives by Official Number, likewise in no detail.

But to the book in hand: even if they already have all the info, enthusiasts are always appreciative of  photos that they haven't seen before, and there is good and bad news here -- the good news is that is there is a heap of pictures contained in this book's 336 pages and many haven't been seen before; the indifferent news is that they are all black and white, the only colour is on the dust jacket; the bad news is that a significant number which have been printed in large format have been spread across the gutter, losing locomotive details down the spine -- what was the designer thinking?!  It is the sort of grimace-causing blunder that you could expect of a woman designer in a multi-national publisher, but surely not someone in the NZR&LS who should know enthusiasts!

The designer has tried to compensate for the lack of colour photos by using a second colour, a rather insipid green, for different page background elements, but it is not all that helpful; various shades of grey would have worked just as well, and would have saved on the printing bill. (Maybe we should be flattered that they copied our colour scheme, however, if a second colour was going to be used then red would have been the obvious choice; the colour of headstocks and number plates.)

It would have been helpful for particularly younger readers if the metric equivalents of data cited had been included (and under the Weights and Measures Act this is actually a legal requirement).

Initial publicity for the book indicated there would be coverage of steam railcars, but this is confined to two pages and about 200 words of accompanying info.

Sean Millar is a very methodical compiler who must spend eons in front of a word processing program, and he has produced a large number of small booklets over the years on various aspects of technology, particularly NZ buses and heavy machinery, that have filled a gap in available research. This new book doesn't really fit into that category, still, for those wanting a one-stop look-up reference to the subject of NZR steam locos, this should fulfill a handy role.

The book is in A4 portrait format (300 x 210 mm), 336 pages on gloss paper, endpapers, hardcover with jacket.

precarious bus route, Madeira (Portugal)

One assumes/hopes that two-way traffic is governed by traffic lights! Undated postcards.

China opens world's longest bridge

But don't think about crossing it on foot, it's the length of a marathon ... at 26.4 miles (42.5 km) long, it is 5 miles (8 km) further than the distance between Dover and Calais!

The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge links China's eastern port city of Qingdao to the offshore island, Huang Dao. The immense structure is supported by more than 5,000 pillars, is 110 ft (33.5 metres) wide and took four years to build.

Thanks to Bert for sending this in.

Bujun railway station, China

Bujun is a town in Manchuria and was the base of a sizeable coal mine - all we know.

'if you want a good reason for voting for MMP, all you need to do is look at the people campaigning against it'

This was one of the best remarks made at the time of the 1993 referendum when the 'no' campaign was headed by the Chairman of Telecon/m, Peter Shirtcliffe.

On the weekend we were treated to the entertaining spectacle of a short TV One interview with former Finance Minister from the 1990s, Ruth 'Ruthless' Richardson, also voicing her opposition to MMP (the form of parliamentary proportional representation used in Germany and NZ) -- "We need to have strong government!" she proclaimed.  From this and her demeanour, you get the impression that her ideal is a one-party fascist dictatorship.

One of the best known quotes of US President Abraham Lincoln was, 'the government which governs best is that which governs least' -- government is all about compelling people to do things or not do things by force, so the less government, the more freedom there is.  Obviously this is an idealistic view and in reality there are so many people only interested in themselves and no-one else that government is needed to limit their negative impact on society.  Still, the statement remains true in principle.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Linjebuss, 1950s

A promotional pic for Linjebuss Transeuropean bus services of Sweden (see earlier post).  The location and bus type not mentioned.

British United Airways Carvair

The Carvair was a project of Freddie Laker's Aviation Traders Ltd to convert surplus DC-4/C-54s to carry cars as a successor to the aging and increasingly inadequate Bristol 170 Freighter/Superfreighter, the mainstay of the car ferry airlines since the late-1940s. A total of 21 were produced.

The Bristol Freighter/Superfreighter's main drawback was its limited payload and even the "long-nosed" Superfreighter was only able to accommodate three cars (in addition to 20 passengers). This made carrying cars by air a risky business; a booked car failing to turn up made the flight unprofitable as a result of the one-third cut in payload. Also the average length of British cars increased during the 1950s: the average UK car in 1959 was 10 inches (25 cm) longer than in 1950.

When the major airlines replaced their piston airliners with new Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 jets on their prestige long-haul routes, the price of a second-hand DC-4 dropped to as little as £50,000. The conversion of each of these airframes into car-passenger carriers cost about £80,000. This was easily affordable by smaller airlines. Freddie Laker's cardboard model of a converted DC-4 featuring a door in the nose and a flight deck raised "above" the fuselage had shown that its payload was superior to the Bristol Freighter/Superfreighter. The aircraft was designed to accommodate five average-sized British cars plus 25 passengers as a result of the DC-4's longer and wider fuselage. British Air Ferries (BAF) operated its Carvairs in a flexible configuration, either accommodating five cars and 22 passengers or 2-3 cars and 55 passengers, permitting it to change over from one configuration to the other in about 40 minutes.

In addition, the DC-4's lack of pressurisation made it ideal for low-altitude cross-Channel flights that did not go high enough to require a pressurised cabin. This made the proposed structural conversion straightforward. The new aircraft was christened Carvair from "car-via-air".

Initially it was thought that second-hand, pressurised DC-6 and DC-7 airframes could be converted into larger, "second generation" Carvairs within 15 years of the original DC-4-based Carvair's entry into service.

The actual conversion of the original aircraft entailed replacing the nose cone with one 8 ft 8 inches (2.64 metres) longer, the flightdeck being raised to allow a sideways hinged nose door. It also entailed more powerful wheel brakes and an enlarged tail, often thought to be a Douglas DC-7 unit, but actually a completely new design. The engines were four Pratt & Whitney R-2000 Twin Wasp radial engines.

The prototype conversion first flew on 21 June 1961. Of the 21 Carvairs produced, numbers 1, 11 and 21 were done at Southend Airport and the balance at Stansted Airport. The final three were delivered to Ansett Australia, which supplied its own DC-4s to ATL for conversion, unlike the previous 18 aircraft that were purchased by ATL and either sold on or transferred to associate company British United Air Ferries (BUAF). The first flight of the last conversion, number 21, for Ansett, was on 12 July 1968.

 Eight were written off in crashes and only one is still flying.

amusing Toyota Hilux commercial

Made in NZ, and influence from Peter Jackson-style fantasy is apparent!  And the reality does seem to match the hype - a few years ago the BBC Top Gear program did horrible things to one - including leaving it on a beach to get submerged in the approaching tide - and it still went.

1950s Flxible Clipper tour bus, Rocky Mountains

Introduced in the late 1930s, these buses did not feature a body built around a truck or modified passenger car chassis, rather they were an integrally-designed monocoque unit. Some were used in the late 1950s/early 1960s by Newmans in New Zealand (see earlier post).

1950s transport book for children

A book published in Wiesbaden, West Germany, each page featuring an illustration of an example of each form of transport - bus, tram, train, car, bike, sidecar, airplane, ship, etc.  The title translates as "from the traffic".

Labour promises to cancel Steven Joyce's $1.7 billion motorway and fund railway link instead

The $400 million Orewa-Puhoi Motorway has been shown to have done nothing to alleviate congestion north of Auckland, instead it has simply shifted the bottleneck from Orewa to Warkworth. (
Labour Party leader Phil Goff said today the party would halt the $1.7 billion ($US 1.4 billion) plan to upgrade State Highway 1 between Puhoi and Wellsford. Announcing the policy in Auckland, Mr Goff committed Labour to providing $1.2 billion towards the rail link, representing half the cost of the project.

The Labour leader says the rail investment would get Auckland moving and is the next step in building a modern public transport system for the city. The rail link is favoured by Auckland Council and Mr Goff says Aucklanders overwhelmingly support the project.

Greyhound bus station, Indianapolis, early 1950s

A varied mix of buses in this view. And before it was the bus station, it was the trolley station...

'the Europe of the fat noses'

You can imagine a bookshop here being mystified by a title like this and adding that it's a book about Nohabs wouldn't help!  In continental Europe, Nohabs are one of the most popular vintage diesel locomotives among enthusiasts.  According to the introduction, Cet engouement vient de leur esthétique tres particulière, apparues au tout début de l'essor de la traction diesel en Europe.  A cela s'ajoute une accoustique phénonoménale, allant du ronronnement de chat assoupi au clairon triomphant de l'echappement au huitième cran. (This passion comes from their very particular aesthetics, appearing at the beginning of the rise of diesel traction in Europe. Added to this is a phenomenal sound, from the purring of a dozing cat to triumphant trumpet exhaust in notch eight) -- how about that!

NOHAB (Nydqvist och Holm AB) was a engineering business in the city of Trollhättan, Sweden, and in the 1950s began manufacturing diesel-electric locomotives under licence from General Motors EMD.  The countries that bought the most were Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway and Hungary. 

The specifications of the locomotives in each country varied but in general they were A1A-A1A type with an EMD 567 prime mover of 1700 - 2000 hp.  This is a book of nice photos taken in each of the countries mentioned above, plus some second hand examples in places as exotic as Kosovo.   128 pages in 230 x 165 mm, colour throughout, hardcover.

We will do some more posts on these from time to time.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Handley Page H.P. 42 over Croydon airport, London

A painting by Frank Sturges of G-AAXC Heracles, a Handley Page H.P.42. Along with the H.P.45 this was a British four-engine long-range biplane airliner designed to a 1928 Imperial Airways specification by Handley Page of Radlett in Hertfordshire.

The H.P.42/45 were the land-based airliners of Imperial Airways in contrast to the airline's later flying boats (see earlier post). Eight of these aircraft were built, four of each type; all were named with names beginning with the letter "H". One was destroyed in an airship hangar fire in 1937 and the others were impressed into Royal Air Force service at the outbreak of WW2, but all had been destroyed by the end of 1940.

G-AAXC was named Heracles (also known as Hercules), the son of Zeus and Alcmene in Greek mythology and noted for his extraordinary strength. Heracles first flew on 8 August 1931 and was requistioned by the RAF on 3 March 1940. The aircraft was destroyed in a gale 16 days later at  Whitchurch Airport, Bristol, when it was blown together with Hanno and damaged beyond repair.

Breslau horse trams and cabs circa 1900

A colored postcard of the Ring Ostseite or east side of the ring.  Since 1945 Breslau has been Wroclaw in Poland.

brewery bus tour

An intriguing postcard, probably pre-WW1, although it could be later - is the "Canada" sign a reference to prohibition? Canada actually introduced prohibition in 1918, two years before the US, although individual provinces began repealing the laws in the mid-1920s.  The US didn't repeal its anti-alcohol laws until 1933.  The card was "Printed in Saxony".

British Caledonian air hostess uniforms, 1970

British Caledonian was an independent airline which operated out of London's Gatwick Airport from 1970 to the end of 1987, when it was absorbed into British Airways. Caledonia is another name for Scotland and the patterns seem to be appropriately tartan.

The aircraft in the background is a Boeing 707-340C

Nashville bus

An undated postcard but looks to be 1940s; in any event from the days when internal US postage for a postcard was 1 cent.

1949 Studebaker advert

from Bideford through Westward Ho! to Appledore, England

One of three 2-4-2 side tank engines built by Hunslet Engine Co. Ltd. of Leeds that provided the power for trains of this short-lived railway, seen in 1910. The three were named Grenville (works number 713), Kingsley (works number 714) and Torridge (works number 715). Protective plates or skirts were attached for safety while running through the streets section (despite the speed limit of only 4 mph in these areas) and a form of cow-catcher was later fixed to the front. One engine, Torridge was put on the track facing Bideford and the other two, Kingsley and Grenville faced Appledore as the line had no turntable.

The 10 km isolated standard gauge line opened in 3 stages between 1901 and 1908, but closed in 1917 after being requisitioned by the war office.  Reopening the railway after the war was contemplated but with its dubious financial basis, didn't happen.

an odd AA patrol car

A pic of an Automobile Association patrol car somewhere in the southern Wairarapa in the 1940s, possibly at the junction for the road to Martinborough on what is now SH2.

We don't know what the car is, but could be a pre-war Vauxhall with the rear turned into a coupe and large headlights or foglights fitted.

the former Auckland station

The not yet completed station in 1930.  The tracks for the platforms to the right are not yet in place, but otherwise it looks like the design.
The scene in November 1959.  The tram tracks are still in the asphalt but trolley buses have been the only electrically powered vehicles for 3 years.
This imposing building was designed in the mid-1920s, approved and built.  The only problem with it is that it was built in the wrong place -- a good half mile from the former station in downtown Queen Street, it was too far a walk for many commuters to feel like using it.  It took until the early 2000s for the Britomart underground terminal to be built at the original location.  With opposition from Steven Joyce, it seems like it will similarly take a long time for the logical underground extension of this station to be built to link with the western line.

This building's architecture clearly had several influences, particularly various Union Passenger Terminals in America.  Since its closure it has been turned into accommodation and other uses found for the rail yard.

View Larger Map

Friday, October 28, 2011

1964 Ford Galaxie station wagon

are the chainstores all that important to book sales?

It seems that Whitcoulls has declined to stock the Rugby World Cup official souvenir book (see earlier post), and have decided to publish their own. It raises the question - if a chain like this doesn't stock your book, does it matter in the scheme of things?

The answer is yes and no.  It matters to the extent that the more outlets that stock your book, the faster it will sell, but publicity including word of mouth mean that a book will find its customers anyway, it will just take longer.  In this case customers will just go instead to the shops that have the book, and in every town there will be at least one.  The only people who lose out in this case is Whitcoulls, not just on the initial sales, but also in reputation.  And in general the more often that people get told by a shop that it doesn't have the book in stock that they want (and in this case won't have it), the less people will feel like bothering with them again.

1964 Holden EH Premier

Doesn't it look scrumptious?  This EH model had a 2,930 cc 6 cylinder (in line) engine, power of 115 bhp (86 kw) at 4000 rpm and torque of 175 lb-ft (237 Nm) at 1600 rpm. Top speed was stated as 97 mph (156 km/h).  Officially it was a 5 seater.

By this stage, Holdens represented a sixth of NZ new car sales. Pic from NZ Classic Car magazine.

Wellington is once again NZ's second biggest city

You can't beat Wellington on a good day - a painting called "Morning's Glory, Wellington" by John Crump, an illustration in a new book called Artists Impressions of New Zealand
A few years ago the population of greater Christchurch overtook that of Wellington.  However, the latest figures show more than 10,000 people left Christchurch in the year to June. Although 1700 arrived, the net loss of population is still almost 9000 and represents a 2.4% reduction.

Statistician Kim Dunstan says that means urban Wellington now has a bigger population than urban Christchurch. However, he says the Christchurch City Council is still the second biggest in the country as Wellington is governed by a number of local authorities.

Kim Dunstan says detailed population figures aren't due out until December but Statistics New Zealand is confident Wellington is now the second biggest city in the country.

at the car show

In this country the Subaru Impreza is a boy racer car of choice, it seems from this it may also be a police car of choice elsewhere.  (In NZ the police use Holdens from GM Australia.)

new book of 100 Mad Cars

Reportedly Simon Cowell's favourite car - the Maybach Excelero, only 700 horsepower, top speed only 217 mph (350 km/h) and 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds.  With its price tag of £5 million ($US 8 million) you'd need to be Simon Cowell to afford it.
As those who regularly watch the program know, the BBC Top Gear show often features super high spec performance cars, which have outrageous price tags to match; the sort of car you'd need to be a TV/movie star, lawyer or bank executive to even want, let alone afford.

This latest Top Gear book, 100 maddest cars, is a collection of most of them, although it is not just the numbers that have been used as the determinant for inclusion: "There's something else that sets a truly bonkers machine apart from the regular sensible stuff on the roads".  This compilation of 100 such cars by the pseudonymous Stig should intrigue car enthusiasts of all persuasions.  210 x 170  mm format, 208 pages, colour throughout, hardcover.

controversial redevelopment of Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof

A very recent view by Geoff Churchman
Partly opened in 1922 and fully in 1928, the present Stuttgart, Germany, main station was declared a monument of national significance in 1987.  Despite this, as part of the controversial Stuttgart 21 project, the two wings are being demolished - the north wing demolition was started in August 2010. Widespread resentment of the entire project to bring the train station underground is expressed by increasing mobilization of the Stuttgart citizenry. In particular the planned felling of some 260 huge and old trees has nurtured a resistance hitherto unknown in Stuttgart politics. More than 18,000 people have registered as Parkschützer (Park Protectors); about a thousand have vowed to stay in the path of demolition crews while chaining themselves to the trees.
impression after the redevelopment

the short Angels Flight funicular, Los Angeles

An undated postcard, but probably early 1950s - text on the back: "Built in 1901 by Colonel J.W. Eddy, lawyer, engineer and friend of President Abraham Lincoln, Angels Flight is said to be the world's shortest incorporated railway. The counterbalanced cars, controlled by cables, travel a 33 percent grade for 315 feet [96 metres]. It is estimated that Angels Flight carried more passengers per mile than any other railway in the world, over a hundred million in its first fifty years."

This was the original Angels Flight location connecting Hill Street and Olive Street, operated from 1901 until it was closed in 1969, when its site was cleared for redevelopment.

The second Angels Flight location opened nearby to the south in 1996, with tracks connecting Hill Street and California Plaza. It was re-closed in 2001, after a fatal accident, and took nine years to commence operations again, on 15 March 2010. It has been running safely since, except for another closure from 10 June 2011 to 5 July 2011, with 25 cents the cost of a one-way ride, now 50 cents.

Lookout Mountain’s Incline Railway, Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is a funicular located on the side of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee, opened in 1895 and nowadays operated by the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority, the area's public transit agency.

Passengers are transported from St. Elmo's Station at the base, to Point Park at the mountain summit, which overlooks the city and the Tennessee River. The railway is approximately one mile (1.6 km) in length (single track except for a short two-track stretch at the midway point, allowing two cars to cross), and has a maximum grade of 72.7% - the billing as the world's steepest passenger railway is suspect, however: similar billing is made by the Katoomba Scenic Railway in NSW, Australia, and the Pilatusbahn in Switzerland.


Auckland's Victoria Park road tunnel opening

While Wellington has 5 road tunnels and one bus tunnel, Auckland hasn't had one until now. This SH1 tunnel is 450 metres long and runs under Victoria Park.  The $340 million tunnel will be open to vehicles in November and will increase motorway capacity across Victoria Park, which is the last major traffic bottleneck on Auckland's central motorway network. It will carry three lanes of northbound traffic, while the existing Victoria Park flyover will be reconfigured to carry southbound traffic.

However, its first use last night was for a charity dinner organised by the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and trucks, cars and buses were replaced by red carpet, miniature trees and cocktails.

One thousand guests and dignitaries pulled up a chair and a cocktail on the tarmac for a once in a lifetime dinner experience inside the newly constructed motorway onramp tunnel. "We've never done anything on State Highway One, and we've never done anything in a tunnel before,'' said Stu Robertson, the director of Orange Group which put the event on. The dinner was a chance for the staff including engineers, architects and builders who contributed towards the tunnel's construction, to see it in all its glory,

The road was vacuum cleaned and the tunnel walls were washed in preparation for the lavish event. Power had to be supplied as well as two temporary kitchens on platforms, one at each end, to prepare the guests' meals, Robertson said. Music was provided by the Avalanche City, Annabel Fay and Lisa Crawley along with a floor gymnastics performance by Eve Gordon.

Once final drinks were served, NZ Transport would install 'cats eyes' on the road in time for the official opening walk-through with Prime Minister John Key on Saturday which 17,000 people had reserved tickets for.

Ronald McDonald House was the choice charity for the event, with proceeds going towards the completion of the new Grafton Mews facility. It will provide an additional 18 rooms to families with children in hospital care. NZ Transport Agency had an "overwhelming" response from the public to walk the 450 metre stretch underneath Victoria Park. Registrations easily reached the 17,000 maximum number of people that could be managed safely. The walk-through was a 'thank you' to Aucklanders, NZTA Auckland and Northland State Highways Manager Tommy Parker said.

(rewritten stuff story, TVNZ video)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Little River Station, Canterbury

An undated postcard of the terminus of this branch railway.  Although the branch closed nearly half a century ago, the station building still exists, now a tourist shop on the road to Akaroa.  This hillside view is looking south. For more info on the railway see our books, and posts on here.

View Larger Map