Friday, May 31, 2013

narrow gauge tank loco in Dahomey

A metre gauge tank loco from French colonial days. Dahomey is now known as Benin.  Exactly where Boukoutou is, or the date of this, we know not. 

ferries in Apia, Samoa


The MV Lady Naomi operates a service from Apia, Western Samoa, to Pago Pago (pronounced 'Pango Pango') in American Samoa.  Samoa Express provides services within the islands of Western Samoa. Both were built in Japan and are owned by the Samoa Shipping Corporation - specifications are on its website  (Geoff Churchman pic)

Danish transport toyshop advert, circa 1950

Excluding the girl doll perhaps... Legetøjshjørnet simply means toy corner; however, the origin of the brandname Lego from Legetøj is obvious.

traffic at Princes and High Streets intersection, Dunedin, 1900s

A long time popular picture postcard location - see earlier posts and our books.

a little social comment

Los Angeles Union Station, like all big stations in America, has a permanent if invisible police presence, mainly because of the Muslim terrorist risk, but it means that it's a place where people should behave themselves in other respects.  Recently two of us were sitting in the waiting hall when a black man came along saying he was hungry and could we spare some nickles and dimes so he could buy a Subway sandwich.  Anyone who walks through a big American city will be used to this, and invariably what they want is money for booze and drugs.  We put this to the test by offering what food we had in our bags - crackers, cheese, nuts - but as we expected no he wasn't interested and moved on.

Within a minute along came two uniformed police officers asking us what the guy wanted, perhaps they wanted to know if he was a dealer.  We simply said he was asking for food which they seemed to accept.

Still, you see homeless people around, the shopping cart people who spend the nights in parks (something not necessarily unpleasant in southern California). There are groups who want to help the genuine ones who deserve help rather than the ones who will simply spend their takings at the liquor store.  One of these is Volunteers of America. Removing vagrants from the streets is surely in everyone's interest.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

historic postal vehicles in Israel


A First Day Cover from a few days ago.  The stamp on the left features a 1949 Ford delivery van.  Someone may know what the 4-6-2 steam loco is on the middle stamp

Douglas DC6 advert, 1952

The "you fly around the weather" map suggests some fairly major course deviations between Chicago and San Francisco(?), still it illustrates the point.

Portland, Oregon, street railways

A blue line (east-west) train heads eastbound into the city from Hillsboro out of the tunnel under Washington Park.
An eastbound green line MAX light rail train for Clackamas in the downtown
One of the Czech built streetcars - Skoda's 10T model, originally also called Astra 10T.  The US firm Inekon did most of the design work, while Skoda built them in its Pilsen plant.
The horse streetcar (tram) era in Portland lasted 20 years from 1872 to 1892, replaced gradually by steam power and then electricity in 1889. Interurbans became part of the scene until 1958.

But by the the early 1980s it was clear that the benefit of electric railways was needed again and so began the light rail system known as MAX (Metropolitan Area Express), of which the construction of the first 15-mile (24 km) route started in 1982, and opened on 5 September 1986. These were joined by the separate Portland Streetcar in 2001 which uses lighter vehicles with shorter lengths for tighter curves than MAX trains but there are several interchange points.

There are now 4 MAX lines with an aggregate length of 52.4 miles (84.3 km) (outside of the city area much of it is on dedicated right of way), which unusually use two voltages: 750 Volts DC on sections west of NE 9th Avenue & Holladay Street and 825 Volts DC nominal on the remainder. The two voltage systems are electrically isolated. A fifth line is planned to open in 2015 with a length of 7.3 miles (11.7 km).

The Streetcar has two lines - the second was opened last September - with a total route length of 7.2 miles (11.6 km).  Downtown Portland is now served very well by the street railways now in place.

More historic pics and info here (current pics by Geoff Churchman)

Bramming rail poster Denmark

"Bramminge goes in for new initiative".  Age unclear but looks 1950s with a Nohab diesel.  Spelt without the end e today, this is obviously a railway crossroads 17 km east of the port city of Esbjerg..

'if only I had a transpress nz book'

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

SNCB Belgium railcar type 608

Seen in the station of Brussels Midi circa 1956.

the California end of Route 66

On Monday the two of us in LA spent the Memorial Day at the beach - Santa Monica pier is the official end of the historic Route 66 from Chicago (see earlier post).

The place itself is a bit like the Queensland Gold Coast on steroids, so we then went to the next beach down, Venice, which is more funky, alternative and interesting. Below is Conan the Librarian of the Small World Books bookstore on the promenade.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Saturday, May 25, 2013

1972 International fire truck, Brussels, Belgium

1966 Buick advert

double-hulled vaka or canoe in the Fiji Museum, Suva

Vaka is the standard Polynesian word for a canoe (in NZ Maori: Waka).  We published a book called Nga Waka Maori about them in 1998. This is the star exhibit in the Fiji Museum - info here

And while on the subject of Suva, below is the Parliament House as seen from the locked gates, used occasionally in between military dictatorships.  These have had a noticable detrimental effect on the economy; according to Geoff Churchman who took these pics:

"We gave an ethnic Indian taxi driver $US 50 to show us around, which he did for 90 minutes.  The roads had seen little if any maintenance for a long time, and vehicles often emitted large amounts of smoke.  While going down a hill he said he had better pull over and let a truck behind go in front, in case it had no brakes!  He wasn't complimentary about ethnic Fijians, which was no surprise, but he showed us land which used to grow rice and other crops and now only grew weeds after the ethnic Fijians had taken it back from the Indians.  He said the economy kept going down and that was reasonably obvious.  At least there was a big new stadium for rugby matches."

Friday, May 24, 2013

traffic in Kaivokatu, Helsinki, Finland, 1960s

Looking east with the central railway station to the left (see earlier post).

Dunedin trams in the Octagon, 1900s

For more see earlier posts, and naturally our books.

Crans sur Sierre télépherique poster, Switzerland, 1951

According to this webpage, this has now been replaced by a funicular? 

1952 Dodge Pickup

Spotted for sale in Solana Beach.

Muslim attacks like that in London happen every day in the Third World

One of the Muslims - reported to be from Nigeria - who deliberately ran over a 25-year-old British soldier in south London yesterday and then proceeded to stab him to death, hack into him with knives and a machete, then drag his body into the road.  One of these Muslims was also armed with a gun, causing arriving police to shoot them both, albeit not fatally.
When Muslim attacks on innocent people happen (or are thwarted) in First World countries they get a lot of attention in the news media.  Largely unreported are those which happen in underdeveloped countries every day.

Fortunately, there is this website which keeps a constant track of the atrocities committed by adherents of this religion.  It isn't pleasant reading, but it demonstrates the big global picture.

1961 Ford pickups advert

British sports car centre in Santa Rosa, California, 1960

Along with the MGs are a couple of Morris Minors on the left, which have seldom been described as sports cars! Of the makes mentioned, only Jaguar is seen on American roads today.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ford to close its Australian plants in 2016

Ford has confirmed it will cease its manufacturing operations in Australia by October 2016 with the loss of 1200 jobs and the Falcon brand which has been a major name in automotive history in both Australia and NZ for over 50 years (see earlier post) will cease.
Ford Australia President and CEO Bob Graziano said the company made a loss of A$141 million (NZ$169m) after tax in the last financial year, with a loss of A$600 million (NZ$720m) over the last five years.

Ford Australia employs more than 3,500 people at its manufacturing plants at Broadmeadows, in Melbourne's north, and Geelong. However, Mr Graziano said around 650 jobs would be lost in Broadmeadows, while 510 positions would go at Geelong, and there will still be a sales presence in Australia, which, one presumes, will simply sell assembled cars from its US parent.

traffic on Mannerheim Avenue, Helsinki, 1966


Looking from the Parliament buildings, including trams (streetcars). This long street was named after Finland's General Carl Mannerheim of WW2.

float plane base, Vancouver, Canada

This is one of the largest such fleets in the world. Some info on it here (Geoff Churchman pics)