Saturday, March 31, 2012

harbour lights at Gedser, Denmark

Red for port, green for starboard, as regards ships entering the harbour from the sea.

RNZAF 75th anniversary airshow

This was held today in ideal weather at the Ohakea Airforce base, where the RAAF F18 fighter jets were the star attraction, but there were plenty of other aircraft on display.  TV3 clip

downhill at Siberia

At the Siberia curve on the Rimutaka Incline in its last days, a special passenger train consisting of 4 Fell engines in front, 5 Fell brakevans and 10 wooden passenger cars, travels downhill.  For more, see the book New Zealand 1950s Steam in Colour.

buses in Star of David Square, Tel Aviv, Palestine, 1939

Since 1948 Tel Aviv has been the most important city in Isreal and this square is known as Magen David Square‎, Kikar Magen-David, and Star of David Square.

1939 International Harvester truck - Coca-Cola

portrait photos in a train

We mentioned the dangerous practice of taking these on railway lines in an earlier post - here is a safe alternative; photos taken while on a Prague (Czech Republic) suburban electric train.  Not exactly the cleanest train, but maybe that is what the photographer wanted.

1938 Dodge truck

The owner has obviously named it 'Marija Bambina', seen in Malta. The indicator lights in the front fenders wouldn't have been there originally. (Peter Skerry)

NZ vintage car stamps, 1972

The days when you could post a standard letter within NZ for 3c - now it is 20 times that...

Vintage cars are generally defined as those made up to 1930 and all these are; followers of this blog will know what they are.

cars in Main Street, Richmond, Indiana, 1950s

Although some early jazz recordings were made here, this city is best known for a big double explosion which occurred at 1:47 PM on Saturday 6 April 1968 and killed 41 people and injured more than 150. The primary explosion was due to natural gas leaking from one or more faulty transmission lines under the Marting Arms sporting goods store, located at the intersection of 6th and Main streets. A secondary explosion was caused by gunpowder stored inside the building. A documentary about it was made in 2008 for the 40th anniversary.  Only 4 days later on 10 April 1968 there was the Wahine disaster in Wellington (see earlier posts).

the Taulignan - Grignan - Chamaret narrow gauge railway

Another example of a French metre gauge steam railway for local traffic.  Although the postcards taken at Gignan call it a tramway, it was officially Le Chemin de fer Taulignan - Grignan - Chamaret (TGC).  Situated in the Département de la Drôme it connected these three towns, a distance of 11 km, between 1907 and 1932, when it was replaced by a bus service.

Its fleet consisted of:
* 2 locomotives, N° 1 and 2, 0-6-0T type, supplied by Corpet-Louvet in 1907 (construction numbers 1129 and 1130)
* 1 passenger car and some goods wagons.

'Summer Twilight'

An artwork by Richard Pantell showing a girl admiring elevated railway tracks leading over a bridge - our type of subject!

Friday, March 30, 2012

the Remiremont-Gérardmer tramway, France

The Remirement terminus. Is that metal framework in the background for a gasworks?
This was a 26.6 km metre-gauge steam-worked railway in the Département of the Vosges, one of many such lines that used to criss-cross France (see the 1921 map in an earlier post).  This one operated from 1900 to 1935. It had some steep sections: the maximum gradient was 4.8% and for 20 km there was a steady gradient of nearly 4%.

From 1925 the original company ceased and the Département gave the concession to the Société générale des chemins de fer économiques or SE.

From the outset the line employed three 0-6-0 tank locomotives built by Batignolles, numbers 1411 to 1413. A fourth machine quickly joined them. After 1925, the four engines were renumbered by the SE 3141 to 3144. The SE also brought a 2-6-0T Corpet, numbered 1219, delivered in 1909 to the Toul - Thiaucourt line, where it took the number 5. The line also had 12 passenger cars and 27 wagons of 10 tons - numerous during the 1920s.

Hong Kong Victoria Peak funicular

green car days: 1956 to 1989
red cars since 1989
Usually called the Peak Tram, this has been in operation since 1888, except during the Japanese occupation from 1941-1945.  It ascends 368 metres over a distance of 1.364 km, thus an average gradient of 28% (but the minimum is 4% and maximum is 48%) on 1520 mm or 5 ft gauge.

Until 1926 the tramcars had three classes (!):
First Class: British colonial officials and residents of Victoria Peak;
Second Class: British military and the Hong Kong Police Force personnel;
Third Class: Other people and animals.

In the 1908-1949 period the first row seats were reserved for the Governor of Hong Kong, and a bronze plaque stated "This seat reservation to His Excellency the Governor" (Reserved for the Governor of Hong Kong).

In 1926 the steam worked cable winding machinery was replaced with an electric motor.  In 1956, the  system was equipped with a new generation of lightweight metal bodied cars, each of which seated 62-seat passengers. Unusually for a funicular line, three such cars were provided, only two of which were in use at any one time. The third spare car was kept in a car shed near Kennedy Road station. In 1989 the system was comprehensively rebuilt in 1989 by the Swiss company, Von Roll, with new track, a computerized control system and two new two-car trams with a capacity of 120 passengers per tram. By the time of the handover in 1997 it carried some 2 million passengers annually. Today this figure has doubled.

electric tram in Stretenka Street, Moscow circa 1910

Ulitsa Stretenka. The tram gauge is 1524 mm or 5 ft, operating on 550 Volts DC.

English Electric multiple units cross at Ngaio

Seen at Ngaio on the Johnsonville branch in the early 1990s before the olive green and ivory livery was changed to light blue and yellow in the TranzRail era from 1995.  Another photo that was considered for but not used in the book Wellington Transport Memories. (Mark Cole)

the SNCF's preserved operational 10-wheeler

Locomotive number 230 G 353 (ex-4353 of the Paris-Orléans railway) was the sole 10-wheeler preserved in working order by the SNCF and was for a long time its icon steam loco, serving promotional uses.

General French 230 (4-6-0) details:
Users:  PO, État, then SNCF
Designation:  230 4200 (PO); 4-230 G (SNCF); 3-230 K (SNCF)
Nickname:  La Chieuvre (the goat?)
Built:  1915 - 1922
Commercial use:  1915 - 1970
Builders:  Sté Batignolles, SACM, NBL
Number:  170
In preservation:  230 G 352 and 353
Firebox : Belpaire 
Grate surface: 2.73 / 2.77 m²
Boiler Pressure:  12 or 13  kg/cm² (171 / 185 psi)
Heating surface: 132.9 / 163.65 m² 
System: Simple expansion 
Cylinders: 2; bore/stroke: 500 / 650 mm 
Leading wheel diameter: 820 mm
Driving wheel diameter: 1,750 mm
Weight in service: 67.8 tonnes
Adhesive weight: 48.6 tonnes
Length excluding buffers: 11.44 metres
Tender: 17 D 
Water capacity: 17 m³
Coal capacity: 4 tonnes
Total weight: 107.7 tonnes
Total length: 16.733 metres 
Maximum speed: 100 km/h

NZ book reading habits

Men lag behind as Kiwis still prefer traditional hard-copy books to e-books.

Women read far more than men.   Indeed, one in four men in New Zealand admit they have not read a book in the past 12 months.

But, according to a survey, 9 per cent of New Zealanders have read more than 50 books in the past year. Most of these bookworms were aged over 65.

But whether you read one or 100 books, New Zealanders are still attached to hard copy books and prefer them to ebooks.

The Research NZ survey, commissioned by New Zealand Book Month, asked 505 people about their reading habits. The results, released yesterday, found 23 per cent of men hadn't read a book in the past year, compared with only 8 per cent of women.

New Zealand author Paul Thomas said, sadly, those results did not surprise him. "There's always been a lot of talk around the fact that women read a lot more than men, women tended to be the book buyers rather than men and it was having an impact on the nature of publishing," he said.

"Even with sportsmen books, it's mostly women buying the books to give to men as gifts."

The increase of sport matches shown live on television seemed to be drawing men away from books.

Mr Thomas also mused that those findings might be because of boys' preference to play video games or sport whereas girls were traditionally more studious which encouraged better reading habits.

The survey found men would much rather pick up a newspaper, magazine or browse the internet in their free time before reading a book, whereas women rated books as their preferred choice over other forms of reading.

Another of the survey's findings which didn't surprise Mr Thomas was that 20 per cent of over 65s reported having read more than 50 books in the past year compared to just 4 per cent of 18 to 44-year-olds.

"The 65 and above generation have grown up going to the library ... and I'm not sure that that's something that young people really do any more. You go to the library to get something to read for recreation as opposed to study, but that doesn't really seem to be the way any more," Mr Thomas said.

And despite the growing number of New Zealanders reading electronic books, 77 per cent of those surveyed who had read at least one book in the last year said they would still prefer to read a paper-based book than an ebook.

NZ Book Month organiser Megan Dunn said it was interesting electronic books hadn't dented book sales.


* 84 per cent read at least one book in the past year.
* 9 per cent read more than 50 books in the past year.
* 23 per cent of men and 8 per cent of women read no books in the past year.
* 4 per cent of men and 13 per cent of women read more than 50 books in the past year.
* Of those who had read a book, 77 per cent would prefer to read a paper book.
* Of those who had read a book, 14 per cent would prefer to read an ebook.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ford Shelby GT 500 Police Car

Now this is the type of police car that should be able to catch crims!

Steven Joyce says no money will be allocated to repair Napier-Gisborne railway

In last December's NZ cabinet reshuffle, anti-rail Steven Joyce was promoted to number 4 in the cabinet and given the role of "Minister of Economic Development" (which in practice means Minister of Road Development) while the Transport role was given to Gerry Brownlee (see earlier posts).

Early last week a storm caused three big washouts – one of which measured about 100 metres and another about 40 metres – along a three-kilometre stretch of the Napier-Gisborne line between Gisborne and Wairoa. According to KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn, "from what can plainly be seen, the damage is extensive and any repairs would take considerable time to complete."  Mr Quinn said he did not know how long the line would be out of action and he would not comment on whether the damage would have any bearing on its future.

As those who read this blog know, the future of the line has been in question for some time. KiwiRail said last year that it would make a decision on its future later this year, with mothballing or closure possible options.

Tonight on the Campbell Live show on TV3, Steven Joyce was interviewed on whether his ministry would make funds available to repair the line.  As could have been expected, Joyce could barely conceal his delight in saying "no" to John Campbell's question, at the same time trumpeting his spending of $2 billion on roads.   This despite the fact that on the preceding filmed item, the manager of Gisborne transport company Weatherall Transport said he wanted the railway to continue. Last year it became KiwiRail's "retail provider" and put additional business on rail.  And not only Weatherall Transport - several other business owners also say that it is essential.  But clearly we'll have to wait until there is a change of Government.

something for Gerry Brownlee

railway yard of Longueau, France, circa 1930

What in French is called a gare de triage or marshalling yard, rather than a passenger station.  This area is not far to the south-east of Amiens.

retro caravanning

While on the subject of confined-space vehicles, this Close-Up item from last night looked at people who restore 1950s caravans for fun.  They may be novel now, but they may not be so much fun to live in if you like to have room to move.  But never mind the caravans - that 1958 Dodge is worth looking at!

Fiat 500 police car

"You must be joking - how could they catch crims in one of those?" As its top speed was given as 95 km/h (59 mph) and it took over 13 seconds to reach that from zero, we wonder too.  The other question it raises - did the Italian police have any minimum height requirement?

Timbertown, Wauchope, NSW

A few pics taken on 1 October 2001 of this re-created 19th century Australian bush sawmilling town on 39 hectares (87 acres) outside the coastal town of Wauchope (pronounced 'war-hope') in northern New South Wales.  The 2 ft gauge (610 mm) railway at the time had a Fowler and a Hudswell Clarke.

HMS Leander in the Panama canal

Shown being lowered in one of the locks.  As some may know, this cruiser, launched in 1931, was loaned to the Royal New Zealand Navy from 1937 to 1945 when she was returned to the Royal Navy; subsequently she was sold for scrapping at the end of 1949.

Class and type: Leander-class light cruiser
Displacement: 7,270 tons standard; 9,740 tons full load
Length: 554.9 ft (169.1 metres)
Beam: 56 ft (17 m)
Draught: 19.1 ft (5.8 m)
Installed power: 72,000 shaft horsepower (54,000 kW)
Propulsion: Four Parsons geared steam turbines; Six boilers; Four shafts
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h)
Range: 5,730 nautical miles at 13 knots
Complement: 570 officers and enlisted
Original configuration:
8 × BL 6 inch Mk XXIII naval guns
4 × 4 in guns
12 × 0.5 in machine guns
8 × 21 in torpedo tubes Armour:
3 in magazine box 1 inch deck 1 inch turrets
Aircraft carried: One catapult-launched aircraft
Original type was a Fairey Seafox catpult and aircraft later replaced with Supermarine Walrus

car on rails near Brisbane, 1922

They look like VIPs and the car was intended for transporting such.  The name on the grille isn't legible.

'we like to read transpress nz books wherever we are'

railway stations of Liechtenstein

Given that the Principality of Liechtenstein, located between Switzerland and Austria, is only 160 sq km (61 sq miles) in area, you might be surprised that it even has a railway. However, it is only 9.5 km (5.9 miles) in length, connects Austria and Switzerland, and is administered by the ÖBB or Austrian Federal Railways as part of the route between Feldkirch, Austria, and Buchs, Switzerland. Liechtenstein is nominally within the Austrian Verkehrsverbund Vorarlberg tariff region.

There are four stations in Liechtenstein, namely Schaan-Vaduz, Forst Hilti, Nendeln, and Schaanwald, served by a stopping train service that runs between Feldkirch and Buchs provided by the ÖBB.

EuroCity and other long distance international trains also travel along the route, but do not normally stop at the Liechtenstein stations.

The denomination of the stamps is in Swiss francs which Liechtenstein uses.

electric tram in Rue de Paris, Le Havre, France, late 1900s

In contrast to the previous post, this city has changed a lot since the 1940s: it was devastated by Allied bombing prior to D-Day in 1944 and was rebuilt in modernist style by architect Auguste Perret after the war.

View Larger Map

cars in High Street, Holyoke, Massachusetts, 1940s

Apart from one way traffic today, this street hasn't changed much.  See also the post about the Mt Tom funicular near here.

train at Dutch internment camp, WW1

"Internment camp at Zeist". Holland was neutral in WW1, so presumably the camp was for servicemen from the belligerent powers who were on Dutch territory?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ab's at Frankton, 1964

Two of NZR's 152 strong Mädchen für alles AB class steamers seen at the old Frankton (Hamilton) depot in 1964. (Trev Terry).