Monday, February 27, 2017

'W' for railroad whistle

In advance of a grade crossing.  You might think that 'whistle' is archaic as diesels and electrics have horns, but it's traditional.  Another thing which is traditional is that the sequence of 2 long, 1 short and then 1 long blast in North America is Morse Code for Q meaning "the Queen has Right of Way."

the Steven Joyce autobahn in NZ is finished

The 18 km of Expressway between McKays Crossing (a bridge over the railway line) and Peka Peka (a spot on the highway north of Waikanae) was finally open to traffic last week.  The overall cost is officially put at $630 million, but it doesn't end there: another $330 million is being spent on extending this another 10 km to the Otaki township, while at the southern end another $900 million is being spent between McKays Crossing and a point on the Johnsonville to Porirua motorway.

There aren't autobahn speeds though -- the national limit of 100 km/h (62 mph) still applies.

In the Auckland region Steven Joyce is having even more enjoyment with a number of similar projects happening there. (

two NSW 44 class with the Southern Aurora to Melbourne, 1962

This was the year the standard gauge line was opened between the NSW border and Melbourne. See earlier posts.

France: Deradicalization of jihadists a "Total Fiasco"

The report implies that deradicalization, either in specialized centers or in prisons, does not work because most Islamic radicals do not want to be deradicalized.

Although France is home to an estimated 8,250 hardcore Islamic radicals, only 17 submitted applications and just nine arrived. Not a single resident has completed the full ten-month curriculum.

By housing Islamists in separate prison wings, they actually had become more violent because they were emboldened by "the group effect," according to Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas.

"Deradicalizing someone does not happen in six months. These people, who have not been given an ideal and who have clung to Islamic State's ideology, are not going to get rid of it just like that. There is no 'Open Sesame.'" — Senator Esther Benbassa.

"The deradicalization program is a total fiasco. Everything must be rethought, everything must be redesigned from scratch." — Senator Philippe Bas, the head of the Senate committee that commissioned the report.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

1954 MG TF 1250

Motosacoche poster, 1900s

"With this motor bicycle you'll be able to escape really fast,"

rift with Saudi Arabia sees Egypt switch to Iraq for oil supplies

The Iraqi ambassador to Cairo Habeeb Mohamed Al-Sadr says that Iraq has signed an agreement to supply Egypt with one million barrels each month, according to the state-owned Al-Ahram.

Al-Sadr said the Iraqi Oil Marketing company SOMO sent the contract for the oil exports to the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum for final approval.

The Iraqi Ambassador added that the first batch of oil is expected to be delivered within the last 10 days of March 2017.

Al-Sadr told Al-Ahram that there will be strategic joint energy projects that are expected to link Iraq, Egypt, and Jordan together.

Egypt had to shift to Iraq for oil supply after Saudi’s oil company of Aramco decided to halt a five-year agreement to import 700,000 tons of petroleum products each month to Egypt in October. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi signed the oil agreement with Saudi King Salman in April during the latter’s visit. During the same visit, they signed the controversial Tiran and Sanafir Red Islands agreement.

1959 Ford Edsel Ranger

In NZ colors of black and silver!

'I like to read a real book when lying in the sun'

1952 MG TD Mark II

Air NZ Saab 340 at Nelson

For details, see the book The Aircraft of Air New Zealand and affiliates since 1940.

1950 Karrier and Commer trucks ad

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017

Russian steam train in the Caucasus, a century ago

the first railroad in Texas

In 1850, the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway was chartered. This important step marked the beginning of Texas’ Railroad Age.

The Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway (BBB&C) was the first to begin operations in Texas, the first component of the Southern Pacific open for service, and the second railroad west of the Mississippi. Needless to say, the BBB&C was an important milestone for the history of railways not only in Texas, but the United States as well. The first locomotive that ran was named after Sidney Sherman, a key figure in the Texas Revolution and one of the original owners of the railroad. In 1853, the first 20 miles of track were opened from Harrisburg west, and Sherman’s train was ready to leave the station.

The Harrisburg, as the BBB&C was commonly referred to, extended its rails to Richmond on the edge of the Brazos in 1856. By 1860, the BBB&C railroad track extended 80 miles to Alleyton, near the east bank of the Colorado River. The onset of the Civil War halted construction of new tracks. In 1867, two years after the Civil War ended, the BBB&C extended its business over the Columbus Tap track, which helped the company cross over the Colorado.

The BBB&C eventually faced financial troubles and was sold in 1868 to Col. William Sledge for $13,000. Col. Sledge kept a 25 percent interest and sold the rest to a group that included Thomas W. Peirce. This group reinvented the Harrisburg, and they bought new locomotives and cars, which had not happened since before the Civil War. Facing difficulties with bridges and the Brazos River, however, the BBB&C had trouble staying efficient enough for business. In 1870 it was sold again, this time for $25,000. Peirce became president of the company and merged it with Columbus Tap and the Brazos Iron Bridge. The name was changed to the Galveston, Harrisburg, and San Antonio Railway.
Harrisburg did not develop into the major city on Buffalo Bayou as the first backers had originally hoped, but the railroad was still successful, in a sense. It was the first railroad in Texas and today is a major part of Southern Pacific’s transcontinental Sunset Route, which stretches from New Orleans to Los Angeles. It handled heavy freight traffic as well as Amtrak’s Sunset Limited west of Houston.

(from the Legacy of Texas

Lodge sparkplugs ad, 1950

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Catherwood Tour Bus poster for Ireland and Scotland, 1931

Info here

'a real book is much better than a little screen'

LOT Polish airlines poster 1948

It's possible this is meant to depict one of the five 4-engined SNCASE SE.161 Languedoc aircraft that the airline had for a short period in 1947-1948.

Southern Pacific 'Decapod' class F-5 2-10-2

Built by Baldwin; an example seen in Ripon, California, in 1954. A 'decapod' means 10 coupled driving wheels.

"During 1923 and 1924 [Baldwin] delivered fifty-one of them which the SP designated as Class F-5 with road numbers 3718 through 3768 assigned. These locomotives had 63" diameter drivers, 29.5" x 32" cylinders, a 200 psi boiler pressure, they exerted 75,145 pounds of tractive effort and each weighed 397,900 pounds. The 52nd locomotive was number 3769 delivered in 1924. It was fitted with Uniflow valves on delivery and Classified as Class F-6. The valve gear was changed to Walschaert valve gear in 1925. In 1931 the locomotive was fitted with Caprotti valve gear, which was removed when number 3769 was rebuilt and reclassified as a standard Class F-5 in 1937."

U.S. dealers order 3,000 of the export model 2017 Holden Commodore

U.S. Chevrolet dealers have snapped up an entire year’s allocation of Holden Commodore-based SS sports sedans ahead of order books for the car closing at the end of this month.

Chevrolet confirmed to Wheels overnight that even the extra 1000 cars that Holden will build for the US export market this year on top of its existing 2000 units had gone.

“All US dealer orders are in for the allocated production of the 2017 Chevrolet SS,” Chevrolet said. “This includes any additional units that were confirmed for production last year.”

Favor motorbikes and cycles, 1937

Dunedin Public Library bookbus, 1960s

A late 1930s Leyland. (Dunedin City Council)

impatience and satisfaction

Görlitz tram with the Landeskrone, DDR, 1960s

There is still a tramline there. See earlier post.

Barford Pioneer road roller, 1950s

Being used in the construction of Wellington Airport, 1957. Aveling-Barford was owned by Ruston & Hornsby (1934–1967) and British Leyland (1967–1988).

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

a model of the port of Brest two or three centuries ago

Another model diorama in the museum there.  The whole town had to be rebuilt following WW2, see earlier.

'who put the transpress nz book up there?'

Geneva car and motorbike show poster, 1948

trams in Oxford Street, Sydney, circa 1958

It looks like the second rake comprises 7 cars,


1939 Ford Prefect Sedan E03A

Seen in Haifa, Israel, with a 1950s Vanguard behind.  A better photo of one here

Islamic militants fire rockets at Israel from Sinai, twice this month

Israel's anti-missile defense system, the Iron Dome, in action
For the second time this month, militants have launched rockets towards Israel.

According to the Israeli military in a statement on Monday, two rockets fired from Egypt’s Sinai region struck Israel’s Eshkol region. The rockets caused no damage or casualties.

“Earlier today, projectiles launched from the Sinai Peninsula hit an open area in the Eshkol regional council. No injuries have been reported. Forces are searching the area,” said the IDF, reported the Guardian.

According to the Guardian, the rockets were fired after Amaq News, a media outlet run by ISIS-affiliated militants, claimed that four of its fighters were killed in Egypt’s North Sinai by an Israeli drone strike. Haaretz reports that a Palestinian man from Gaza, identiifed as Mohammed Id, was among those killed in the alleged Israeli strike.

The claims have not been confirmed by any Israeli or Egyptian authorities.

However, similar claims were made by Hamas after rockets were fired towards Israel’s Eilat earlier this month. According to the Guardian, Hamas accused Israel of killing two Palestinians in Egypt’s Sinai region via an airstrike.

Earlier this month, four rockets were fired towards Eilat, causing no damage or injuries.

It's likely this is 'sales propaganda' for ISIS and Hamas, rather than any expectation by them that it would do damage.  Most of their attacks in the last few years have been on Egyptian soldiers and policemen.

Clearly their presence in Sinai is proving hard to eradicate, despite surveillance and actions from both the Egyptian military and Israeli Defense Forces.

cars in Heretaunga Street, Hastings, 1950s

As can be seen, at the time of the spring Blossom Festival. The Morris J type half ton van was a common sight in NZ.

Sweden’s riots: Police forced to shoot at Muslim mob in capital – yet their Prime Minister is in denial

Sweden's capital Stockholm was plunged into chaos on Monday as police were forced to fire at rioters after violence erupted in an area described as high risk.

The terrifying scenes took place just hours after the country’s Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, slammed Donald Trump for claiming Sweden was in crisis as a result of its liberal refugee policy.

extra horsepower for the Lada?

Tay St tram, Invercargill circa 1912

Probably 1912 as that was the opening year and no motor cars are visible. See earlier posts and our books.

Maserati 4CLT/48