Friday, August 31, 2012

traffic in Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada, early 1950s

A view of Main Street.  The cars have changed since then but not the buildings.

Silver Fern railcar stamp

A Grenada stamp featuring NZR's Silver Fern class railcars on the central plateau in winter snow. It was a series of only three examples from 40 years ago, however, being placed for their first 19 years on the prestigious North Island Main Trunk daylight run from Wellington to Auckland gave them a high public profile.  For more info, see  our books.

Bart, Richmond terminus, California

Richmond is the north-west terminus of the Bay Area Rapid Transit or BART, centred around San Francisco (see earlier post).  In the foreground are Amtrak tracks serving the same location.

weird and wonderful bookends

Book ends provide a way of adding bookshelf space to the tops of cupboards and the like.  This company, Knob Creek Metal Arts in Kentucky, has come up with a variety of quirky designs for them.  The above is one of 28 shown on this webpage

Jet Assisted Take-Off

With the help of 8 externally mounted solid fuel rockets, a Lockheed KC-130 could operate from very short runways.  The Marine KC-130T, named Fat Albert, the support aircraft for the Navy's Blue Angels aerial demonstration team, used to perform Jet Assisted Take-Offs as part of its popular air show routine.  (Commissioned of R.G. Smith in 1985 by McDonnell Douglas and gifted to the Smithsonian Museum)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

the Rittnerbahn, Bolzano, Italy

Today the Rittnerbahn (in Italian: Ferrovia del Renon) is split into an aerial cable way from the city of Bolzano/Bozen to a plateau high above the city and a metre-gauge electric railway along this plateau, but when built the ascent of the mountan side was by a rack and pinion electric railway from Bozen/Bolzano.  When opened in 1907 the line started as a tramway at Waltherplatz in the city centre, where it shared the track with the Bolzano town tramways as far as the Brenner Road. From there to Maria Himmelfahrt the line was a rack railway, climbing 990 metres until it reached the plateau. A special rack locomotive was placed behind the trams to push them uphill. In the middle of this ascent was a crossing loop so that two trains could cross. The train that went down to Bolzano produced some of the power that was needed to get the other train up. After arriving in Maria Himmelfahrt on the Ritten plateau, the locomotive was uncoupled and the trams were able to proceed unaided on normal tracks to the terminal station in the village of Klobenstein. The full length of the line, from Walterplatz in Bolzano to Klobenstein, was 11.75 km.

In 1966 the aerial cableway was opened, leaving the adhesion light rail line from Maria Himmelfahrt to Klobenstein, a distance of 6.6 km.

Below are a few pics taken last month by Geoff Churchman showing the present day experience.

not far above the Bolzano terminal
just below a pylon which takes the gondolas away from the view of Bolzano.
preserved heritage cars in the barn near the top aerial cable way station

the track leading to Maria Himmelfahrt with a pylon of the aerial cable way.

Metra trains, downtown Chicago


Seen looking north at the Van Buren station (on the lakefront side of Michigan Avenue) at tracks used by Metra and South Shore Line trains.  Chicago plays second fiddle to New York in popular perception, however, the city offers much of what New York does and is more elegant, tidier and pedestrian friendly.
Further up Michigan Avenue looking north towards one of the crossings of the Chicago River.

Perth to Fremantle railway passenger service restoration, 1983

As it happened, Fremantle became a busy place at the beginning of 1987 when the Americas Cup yacht races were held there.  The restoration of passenger services was with the diesel-multiple unit sets then in use.  These made their made to Auckland after the Perth system was electrified in the early 1990s - for details see our books.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

the 'Liberty Clipper' of Boston

Liberty Clipper is a 125 ft (38.1 metre) tall gaff-rigged schooner ("tall ship") named after the sloop John Hancock used for smuggling tea into Boston before the American Revolution.

Built to exacting specifications with 3 head sails (jibs), a fore sail, and a main sail based on designs for real privateers, the Liberty Clipper lets guests imagine what sailing into Boston Harbor on a tall ship 250 years ago might have felt like.  People can choose from several different types of tall ship cruises offered throughout the summer and early fall in Boston Harbor.

Read more here:

famous book quotes

"In books lies the soul of the whole past time" (Thomas Carlyle)
"A good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured upon purpose to a life beyond life" (John Milton)

Those who visit our main website will know that each month we put a quotation about books on the home page.  Here are a couple which have been used for the interior decoration of grand buildings in the US; in the Library of Congress and the Chicago Cultural Center respectively.

New Grand Hotel, Salt Lake City, Utah - fireproof!

Rather akin to claiming the Titanic was unsinkable you might think. Of more interest are the streetcars which ceased in the city in December 1945.  The system had its genesis in 1872 and was electrified as from 1889. An article on the system is here

The Mormon Temple is one of the city's major visitor attractions.

London and Northwestern Railway bus, Holywell, Wales

"Running between Holywell and the Station" - 1910s?

Monday, August 27, 2012

great maritime songs - 12. 'Ferry across the Mersey' by Gerry and the Pacemakers

Hasenpother station, Liepaja, Latvia, 1905

Libau is the German name for Liepaja, see earlier post.

IC RE school bus

Virginia based. Model year?

McMahon's Point, Sydney, 1890

A painting by Arthur Streeton (1867-1947), showing a Sydney Harbour steam ferry at this north shore harbour point, not far from where the harbour bridge was later built in the area in the background.  This scene was featured on an Australian $5 stamp.

Seaboard Railway's "Orange Blossom Special" to Florida

Beach resorts and orange groves, just be careful of the hurricanes and the snakes...  A late 1930s postcard of the all-Pullman car Orange Blossom Special which had been inaugurated on 21 November 1925.

The train was handled by the Pennsylvania Railroad from New York City to Washington, D.C., the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad from Washington to Richmond, and the Seaboard Air Line Railroad from Richmond via Raleigh, Columbia, Savannah and Jacksonville to Miami. A section went to Tampa and St. Petersburg, as a winter season only service.

The service was suspended during WW2 and its last run was in 1953. The equivalent train today is Amtrak's Silver Meteor.

Kansas City Union Station - 2

The mention of "new" indicates this postcard must date from late 1914. See earlier post.

Auckland, La Rue de la Reine,1954

At least Queen Street is thus described in this French postcard with a date of May 1954.  Cars of the era, the former CPO to the centre-left and the ubiquitous trams - in fact until the early '50s it was hard to take a daytime photo of a major street in one of the major cities without having a tram visible. 

aerial topdressing in NZ

As those who have the 3-volume DVD set Classic New Zealand Aviation know, the spreading of pasture fertilizer by aircraft has played a major role in the development of farming in NZ, here honoured on a 1960 stamp.  For details, see the DVD set.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

one reason you need a gun in Florida

Imagine opening your hood and discovering this ... and in Florida there is a good chance of it.  Some 144,000 of the invasive Burmese pythons are estimated to have been imported there in the last couple of decades, and after the owners have had enough of them, most get dumped, typically in the Everglades.  There are plenty of other snake species including poisonous ones that have been routinely dumped too, and they are now a real problem. Like pests such as rabbits and possums in NZ, shooting them is the quickest and most environmentally friendly way of dealing with them. Just be super careful when handling guns - and in this case shoot the snake's head on the ground after you have got it there...

electric ship "Strathnaver"

The reference to "electric" presumably means diesel-electric, which in 1931, the year Strathnaver was launched by P&O, was new technology. Initially, Strathnaver had the RMS prefix for Royal Mail Ship, later this was changed to SS.  Strathnaver was the first of a series of Strath class ocean liners built in the 1930s by the Vickers-Armstrong shipyard, in Barrow-in-Furness, then in Lancashire. Strathnaver was the sister ship of the RMS Strathaird and the two became known as The White Sisters, being the first P&O liners to be painted with white hulls and yellow funnels,

Two further Strath class ships, slightly larger and with only one funnel, the Strathmore and the Stratheden, joined Strathaird and Strathnaver on the Sydney run from the mid 1930s. A fifth ship, the Strathallan, was completed in 1938, requisitioned as a troopship a year later, and sunk in the Mediterranean in 1942 taking troops to the landings in North Africa, though with more than 5,000 people on board, casualties are thought to have numbered only a dozen or so. Increasing unreliability of the older pair of Strath liners led P&O to replace them both with the SS Canberra.

traditionally Dutch

A windmill and a rowboat on a stretch of water... Age unknown, the signature looks like "Hoek"

Saturday, August 25, 2012

HMS Supply on Australian bicentennial $10 banknote

This side of the special plastic bicentennial banknote issued in 1988 (other notes at that time were paper) featured the Royal Navy ship HMS Supply, launched in 1759, the oldest and smallest of the First Fleet ships which had carried naval supplies between the Thames and Channel ports for 27 years. The ship left Portsmouth on 13 May 1787, and arrived at Botany Bay on 18 January 1788 with the First Fleet under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip (from Cape Town). She was captained by Henry Lidgbird Ball and the surgeon was James Callam. Supply was also the first ship to sail into Port Jackson.

After the establishment of the initial settlement at Port Jackson, Supply was the link between the colony and Norfolk Island, making 10 trips. Following the loss of HMS Sirius in 1790 she became the colony's only link with the outside world. On 17 April 1790 she was sent to Batavia for supplies, returning on 19 September, having chartered a Dutch vessel, the Waaksamheid, to follow with more stores.

HMS Supply left Port Jackson on 26 November 1791 and sailed via Cape Horn reaching Plymouth on 21 April 1792. She was bought at auction in July 1792, renamed Thomas and Nancy, and carried coal in the Thames area until 1806.

the Library of Congress - 2

While on the subject of Washington DC, one of the must-visit buildings for anyone interested in books is the Library of Congress, which as mentioned in the previous post, has to be the world's most beautiful library.  It is hard to do justice to it with photos, but here is an exterior and an entrance hall pic.  Photos of the gorgeous main reading room are not allowed, but see the previous post.

a DC-3 in DC

An example of the classic DC-3 introduced in 1936 now displayed in the marvelous collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the National Air and Space Museum, one of the Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC.  Below it is a Boeing 247-D introduced in 1934, the resemblance is obvious.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Union Steam Ship Co. railway tracks on Rarotonga

And triple track at that - but the Union Steam Ship Co. system wasn't that extensive :-).  Rarotonga is the main island of the Cook Islands, constitutionally part of NZ.  For more info, see our books.

traffic in Heretaunga Street, Hastings, early 1960s

Obviously a hand-tinted b/w photo, actually looking across the railway line which divides Heretaunga Street West and East.  The layout here has been changed since then and in the foreground is now a park.

Parked on the right are a Rover 80, Vauxhall Wyvern and a Ford Prefect with an American car behind it. There are two VW Beetles visible and a Bedford truck.

Peugeot car in Latvia, circa 1930

It looks like a rally but the nature of the occasion is not recorded.

pre-WW2 MAN bus

Seen in Königstein, Germany.

Christchurch trams, 1920s

Having mentioned Wellington's former trams, here is photo of similar vintage taken in Christchurch.  Probably only the street layout remains today.