Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mercedes Benz 327 truck

New York tug in Boston

The New York tug Viking in Boston harbour with a barge that she has completed pushing from NYC.  NYC to Boston is 190 miles (306 km) by road, but further by sea.  (Geoff Churchman)

West German E40 class standard goods train locomotive

The E40 - later 140 - class was the freight train version of the E10 passenger locomotive; 879 were built from 1957 to 1973. This post-computerisation example is seen in Neustadt/Weinstrasse.

Axle arrangement:  Bo-Bo
Length over buffers: 16,490 mm
Service weight:  83 tonnes
Maximum speed: 100 km/h, later 110 km/h
Continuous output: 3,700 kW (general)
Tractive effort: 275 kN

Friday, June 29, 2012

The TSA's Dumb Air-Security Rules Are Not Based on Science

One of the reasons to curse the Muslim nutters is the invasive, expensive and upsetting experience that flying anywhere has become in the decade since 9/11.  But this article on Scientific American points out the inconsistencies and silliness in some of the present procedures.

Boston Tea Party Museum opens

On 16 December 1773, tired of the high British tax regime, Boston, Massachusetts, citizens decided to take crates of tea from 3 ships berthed in Boston harbour and turn the harbour into the world's most expensive ever cup of tea.  This event is generally considered the start of the American war of independence.

The newly opened museum on the harbour front includes replicas of the three ships (which are smaller than you might think) and much else from this event in history.  website

the TVNZ 7 funeral march is in Auckland tomorrow afternoon

The Auckland Save TVNZ 7 Funeral March is tomorrow (Saturday 30th) at 4.30pm. Starting at Queen Elizabeth Square (Britomart) at 4.30pm, participants then walk up Queen Street, Victoria Street West, past the TVNZ building to St Matthew-in-the-City for speeches.

The media will be out in force to get shots of the parade filing past the TVNZ building so if you are in Auckland come along and show your support for public service television. Bring flowers or a candle and tell your friends to come along too. It's a chance to be among friends as the country remembers and celebrates one of the best television channels in New Zealand's history.

Bombardier electric multiple unit, France

A three-car articulated electric multiple unit seen at Mouchard in France. Bombardier - whose head office is in Germany - has supplied many electric, and diesel, multiple units to the SNCF recently for use in the ter (Train Express Regional) services. (Geoff Churchman)

Mexican track-side pottery seller

From about a century ago; the reason for the rail track setting isn't obvious, but presumably this was at a rural station.

International truck

Late model, cab behind engine as is standard in America. Seen in Chicago. (Geoff Churchman)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

refrigerated Saviem trucks, France

A "Camion Frigorifique" and an "Isotherme" (thermal insulated) truck of Transports Mélédo of Ploemeur. Saviem trucks with bodywork by Tual of Trédio.

a Volkswagen Hover Car silently navigating city streets

A year ago, Volkswagen in China launched a marketing campaign called The People’s Car Project (PCP), which invited Chinese customers to submit ideas for cars of the future. Participants were able to tinker with designs on a Web site that Volkswagen set up for that purpose, or they could upload their own designs. Wang Jia, a student and resident of Chengdu in the country’s Sichuan province, chose the latter, envisioning a two-person environmentally-friendly hover car.
Jia sent sketches of a levitating car that could be maneuvered easily in a downtown setting, says Simon Loasby, head of design at Volkswagen Group China. The VW team rounded out the design. “We put a concept together, including a video depicting how it would function,” he adds. “It was the ultimate in dreaming because a full-scale version of the car doesn’t exist.”

read the rest and see the video on the Scientific American website

Monday, June 25, 2012

Raytheon Corporate Jets model RAYTHEON HS 125-3B, France

iron king pulls vans and trailer with his teeth

A 1930s scene of the Eisenkonig Heros pulling 12 tonnes of van and trailer with his teeth, somewhere in Germany.

the library of Le Puy en Velay

This historic town in the Massif Central is well known as one of the three French starting points for those who walk the long pilgrimage route to San Diego de Compostella - in French, Saint Jacques de Compostelle - in Spain; the route is referred to usually as just El Camino..

great maritime songs - 3. 'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald' by Gordon Lightfoot

A tribute to the 29 men who died on 10 November 1975 aboard the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior.

railway building in west Africa

Obviously before mechanised days.  At least the amount of déboisement (forest clearing) required to build a railway is a lot less than that required for a road.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Belgian armoured car circa 1920

San Francisco Maritime Park

The Maritime Museum of San Francisco is in the area in the distance and is a must for anyone interested in maritime history. (Geoff Churchman)

farewell to the English Electric multiple units is on Monday

We gather the last use of one of these - which have been used around the Wellington region since 2 July 1938 - is on the Melling line line next Monday.  It departs Wellington Station at 2.17 pm and returns back from Melling Station at 2.39 pm on the timetabled Melling Line service. It will be a melancholic occasion for Peter Shirtcliffe types and full of nostalgia for everyone else.

Here one is seen 4 days ago passing through Petone (Daniel Garland)

great maritime songs - 1. 'Santiano' by Hugues Aufray

Following the posts of great railway songs earlier in the year, here is the first in a series of posts on great maritime songs.

This first is a song well known in the French speaking world - and almost unknown outside it.

Paroles / Lyrics

C'est un fameux trois-mâts fin comme un oiseau.
Hisse et ho, Santiano !
Dix huit nuds, quatre cent tonneaux :
Je suis fier d'y être matelot.

Tiens bon la vague tiens bon le vent.
Hisse et ho, Santiano !
Si Dieu veut toujours droit devant,
Nous irons jusqu'à San Francisco.

Je pars pour de longs mois en laissant Margot.
Hisse et ho, Santiano !
D'y penser j'avais le cur gros
En doublant les feux de Saint-Malo.


On prétend que là-bas l'argent coule à flots.
Hisse et ho, Santiano !
On trouve l'or au fond des ruisseaux.
J'en ramènerai plusieurs lingots.


Un jour, je reviendrai chargé de cadeaux.
Hisse et ho, Santiano !
Au pays, j'irai voir Margot.
A son doigt, je passerai l'anneau.

Tiens bon la vague tiens bon le vent.
{Tiens bon le cap tiens bon le flot.}
Hisse et ho, Santiano !
Sur la mer qui fait le gros dos,
Nous irons jusqu'à San Francisco

[ It is a famous three-master fine like a bird.
Hoist and ho Santiano!
Eighteen knots, four hundred tons:
I am proud to be a sailor.

Hold on to the wave hold on to the wind.
Hoist and ho Santiano!
If God wants always straight ahead,
We will go to San Francisco.

I leave for many months, leaving Margot.
Hoist and ho Santiano!
To think I had the big heart
By doubling the fires of St. Malo.


It is claimed that down there money flows.
Hoist and ho Santiano!
One finds gold in stream bottoms.
I will bring back several ingots.


One day I'll come back loaded with gifts.
Hoist and ho Santiano!
At home, I'll go see Margot.
On her finger, I will put a ring.

Hold on to wave hold on the wind.
{Hold on to the cape hold on to the flow}
Hoist and ho Santiano!
On the sea which arches its back
We will go to San Francisco]

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chicago River mural

One of 28 mural artworks in the pedestrian underpass below US 41 near the lakefront in Chicago.

options for intelligent TV following the end of TVNZ 7

With the cultural cretins in the Beehive having got rid of NZ's best TV channel, the country's thinking people will be contemplating how to replace it for themselves.

The most obvious thing to do is to find good programs on the Internet: apart from free clips, there are economic paysites, for example, offers unlimited movies, shows, documentaries for $US 8 ($NZ 10) a month, but the problem with that is NZ's slow and expensive broadband, thanks to Telecom which wants to fleece people for as much as it can. Highspeed is on the long term horizon, although it may not be any cheaper.

The next obvious thing to do is buy a satellite dish so to pick up Australia's SBS channel.  And once you have that, a good system should be able to pick up broadcasts from further away, such as the French/German arte, the best channel in Europe.

The missing factor in all these is investigative NZ content, of course.  It seems people will have to wait until the next election at the end of 2014 for that.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

TGV coquin

Or naughty TGV by illustrator Thebori.  We don't see a connection, but this sort of post is popular.

cars in Ferrara, Italy, 1960s

Including a Mercedes and a post-war Ford Tudor.

Billard railcar, Corsica, 1960s

The Corsican system - Chemins der Fer de la Corse - is metre-gauge. 


We could say that about a small number of awful book reviewers over the years too - it's very tempting to mention names, but should we give such untermenschen any publicity?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Steven Joyce gets his way over TVNZ 7 - so watch it before it's gone

Sadly Steven Joyce and his cronies have shown they don't care about an informed, conscious and actively-involved public and on 1 July, New Zealand will join Mexico as the only OECD countries with totally commercial television chasing ratings above all else.

A third of the country watches TVNZ 7, but Joyce and Co don't want to spend $16 million on it. Yet they'll spend $100 million selling publicly owned energy companies, and - of course - billions on Steven Joyce's autobahns  to extend road traffic congestion around the major cities.  In two years the digital dividend will earn government around $33 million annually.

It isn't all over though: the PBS in the USA gets sponsorship - in return for very brief messages at the beginning/end of programs - from major organisations and private foundations, and this model should be able to work with TVNZ 7, particularly given its viewer numbers.

75 years of the 'Brick House'

Or the Wellington Railway Station, opened on 19 June 1937. We have posted pictures of this Wellington icon earlier, so here is a pic of preserved tank loco WAB 794 amid a party atmosphere last weekend. For more, see our books. (Tony Hurst)

Grumman delivery van

These are very popular in North America, this example seen in Chicago. (Geoff Churchman)

the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium

A (probably) 1960s view of cars on this well-known motor-racing circuit in the province of Liège, conceived in 1921. It has 20 bends and a total length of just over 7 km (4.2 miles).  official website

French comic car cards

"Be careful dear, you've scraped our left fender"
"Big ape, watch the road, we are approaching gorges"
"Slow down, Babonne, I think it's a trap car"
"It's a good trick, dear, everywhere we get priority"

the vote for France's National Front increases in last Sunday's legislature election

With percentage of the vote shares around the country in the 20's common, and some into the 30's, the Front National or FN seemed satisfied with its performance, although it obtained only two seats under the simple majority - over two rounds - electoral system.  One of Francois Hollande's campaign commitments was to introduce some proportionality into the electoral system for the legislature.

The main target of frontistes is the high number of immigrants from Muslim countries who, with their high birth rate and unemployment rate, burden France's welfare system.

Clamart station, France

The Gare de Clamart on the line from Paris-Montparnasse to Brest, in the département of Hauts-de-Seine, in the region Île-de-France: originally opened in 1840, rebuilt 1905 (first pic) and rebuilt again recently - second pic from wikimedia.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wellington English Electric multiple unit on Guinée stamp

A stylised artwork, based maybe on the single track section near Upper Hutt.  For lots more, see the book New Zealand Railway Memorabilia.

how to spot a drunk driver

A person driving under the influence (usually of alcohol but sometimes drugs) will exhibit two or more of these characteristics:-

* Pulling in front of you too closely
* Straddling a lane marking.
* Almost striking an object or another vehicle.
* Applying the brakes for no obvious reason
* Taking wide turns.
* Excessive lateral movement (weaving).
* Driving on the wrong side of the road or on the shoulder.
* Driving at very high or slow speed - at least 15 km/h (10 mph) above/below the limit.
* Following another car too closely.
* Driving without headlights when dark.
* Signaling inconsistently with what they are doing.
* Stopping inappropriately in places such as at green lights and crossings with no pedestrians.

Get straight on a cellphone to the police either via the country's emergency number or a dedicated traffic number (e.g. in NZ *555, in the USA *SP)  to report the details (this is a permitted exception to the no cellphones while driving law) - these people are a menace and must be removed from the road - by the police, not by you.

NZ sailing ships stamps, 1975

For details of the 19th century ships, see our books.

cars in Tauranga circa 1960

A hand-colored postcard.

Greece should be a cheap holiday destination next year

It now seems inevitable that either Greece will leave the Euro zone currency of its own volition before 2013 or it will be expelled.  There are naturally a lot of questions about why it was accepted into the Euro zone in the first place given that lying and cheating on the part of government there is endemic and that paying taxes by citizens is for the most part treated as voluntary rather than compulsory.

But those are questions that Euro-bankers and politicians need to answer.  For travellers it means that when Greece goes back to the drachma - which will then be rapidly and massively devalued - Greece will be a cheap place to go for that summer holiday.