Thursday, July 31, 2014

1965 Bedford Beagle

Introduced in 1964, the Bedford Beagle was an estate car conversion of the Bedford HA 8cwt van, which itself was based on the Vauxhall Viva HA. It initially was fitted with a mere 1057 cc engine and only had drum brakes all round, with minimal interior trim. It received minor engine upsizes in 1967 and 1972 before being discontinued the following year.

PT Cruiser wedding limo, Novgorod, Russia

A fusion of a modern limo and an historic horse-drawn carriage - something different anyway.  More here.

'I like being surrounded by books'

1920s Hispana Suiza truck, Spain

Seen in July 1936 at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. At the time there were 179,500 vehicles in the country for a population of about 24,700,000 inhabitants, thus one for every 138 citizens.

Hitchbot, a hitchhiking robot making its way across Canada


NEW YORK (CNN) – Your parents told you never to pick up hitchhikers, but this is an exception. A robot is trying to hitchhike across Canada by himself (herself or itself?). It’s called “Hitchbot” and its creators started its journey by leaving him on the side of the road.
Hitchhikers often look a little shady. But have you ever seen one this shade? You must literally pick up this Canadian hitchhiker named “Hitchbot.” It can talk but not walk. Up until now, reporters have been taking it for rides. Now the robot consisting of rubber boots, a bucket body and a cake container head is on the road for real.
A robot hitchhiking solo almost 4000 miles from Halifax to Victoria dependent on the kindness of strangers. Hitchbot is the brainchild of two Canadian professors, Dr. David Smith and Dr. Frauke Zeller.

Read the rest and see video

The Hitchbot webpage

1973 Bedford truck

A brochure cover for use in continental Europe.

sea level railway tracks in Helsinki, Finland, circa 1910

Not an obvious city motif, but nice regardless. Helsingfors is the Swedish name for Helsinki, rarely used, although Swedish is an official language in Finland, spoken by about 6% of the population.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The People's Film - Volkswagen NZ commercial

If you recognize the still photos it's because they were in our book 50 Years of Volkswagens in New Zealand.  This has sold out in NZ/A but our US distributor still has a small quantity left.

1961 Chevrolet/Step Van promo

Obviously a product of GM Canada.

buses in Céret, France, circa 1910


A town in the Pyrénées-Orientales département close to Spain so the buses shown must have provided cross-border services.

Greek ship stamps, 1958

Two contemporary and four traditional sailing ships. The lower right one is labelled as a design for the mythial Argo, the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed from Iolcos to retrieve the Golden Fleece, named after her builder, Argus.  The stamp next to it could be also.

tanker truck wall decal

Designed to decorate a plain wall, available commercially. Most likely to appeal to someone who drives one.

Wellington city Volvo trolleybus

From the early 1980s, seen near the Kilbirnie depot.  For more, see the book Wellington Transport Memories.

'I like to relax with a good book'

impressive scenes of locomotives plowing through snow covered tracks at Arthur's Pass

On the Midland Line, the route of the TranzAlpine, see our book.

10 things that will disappear within most people's lifetimes

From a viral e-mail. US-oriented, but other first world countries will have the same trend.  We don't agree with number 4, but NZ/A pubished books for the general market are certainly facing extinction. And in respect of 6, interestingly vinyl records are starting to make a comeback

The Post Office will continue to have (at least potentially) a major role in delivering parcels.  UPS and FedEx are big competitors in the US but they aren't bargains on price.


Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them.

1. The Post Office

Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2. The Cheque

Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with cheques by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process cheques. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the cheque. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper

The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. It will go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

4. The Book

You say you will never give up the physical book you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books.

You can browse a book store online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half of a real book. And think of the convenience!

Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget you're holding a gadget instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone

Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it any more.

Most people keep it simply because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for the extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes .

6. Music

This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalogue items," meaning traditional music the public is familiar with, older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit.

To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book,

"Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."

7. Television

Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things to take up the time usually spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are sky-rocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

8. The "Things" You Own

Many of the very possessions we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of this is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." It means when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet.

If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or hand held device. This is the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out a photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Joined Handwriting

Already gone in some schools who no longer teach "joined handwriting" because nearly everything is done now on computers or keyboards of some type (pun not intended)

10. Privacy

If there ever was a concept we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. It's gone. It's been gone for a long time anyway.. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. The TV show "Person of Interest" isn't as far out as you may think. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits.. "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

All we will have left with, and can't be changed, are "Memories"

poster featuring a Great Western Railway bus, Wales


Age uncertain, but according to this webpage, "Horse-drawn vehicles and early buses and vans were originally all-over chocolate, with black canvas tops where relevant and lettering in either white (canvas) or gold (bus sides).
"The two-tone chocolate and cream colour was gradually introduced to both horse-drawn and motorized vans and buses, and was fully standard from 1923 onwards. This featured cream canvas tops and panelling above the waist-line, and chocolate below."

However, the bus in the photo, dated 1907, looks the same type as in the poster.

map of France cover featuring a 'Panoramique'

The reason for this name given to this autorail is pretty self-evident.  See earlier post.

Mexican sleeping car

Seen in Guadalajara, circa 1986. One notes a sizeable crack in the third window from right, the sort of thing that invites imagination about how it got there.

shipping at Westport, mid 1900s

The cranes were still there in the 1960s. For more, see the book New Zealand Maritime Images: the golden years.

Staten Island Rapid Transit steam, New York, late 1900s

A Class D Alco built 0-6-0 switcher at the St George terminal at the island's most northern point and where a ferry connects to Manhattan.  Steam was replaced with third rail electricity in 1925. At the time the SIRT was owned by the Baltimore and Ohio.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Niagara Junction Railway center-cab electrics

A total of 7 of these General Electric model E10B were acquired in 1952 by this 11-mile (19 km) shortline with numerous sidings, road numbers 14-20. The operation became part of Conrail on 1 April 1976 and NJ 20 was later Conrail 4756 whose electric operation was discontinued in 1983 and this unit was sold for scrap.

Output: 1,000 hp
Traction motors: 4 x GE 731 (one on each axle)
Weight: 252,000 lb (114 tonnes)
Gear ratio: 87:16
Tractive effort:  57,600 lb

Los Angeles Railway streetcar 666

But not hell-bound, instead going to 116th Street & Vermont.  No date, but probably circa 1950.

'I knew a transpress nz book would have it'

SNCF 3rd class passenger car model

HO scale, manufacturer not stated.

UAZ armored vehicle, Russia

Converting a normal light truck into a vehicle for use by frontier guards, anti-terrorist squads and mothers doing school runs... more here

20 years of trains through the 'Chunnel', England/France

The completion of the tunnel under the English Channel (as the British call it) or La Manche (as the French call it) was significant in both historic terms and in transport terms as it became possible to move passengers and freight by rail without involving a ship between the two countries for the first time.  At some 50 km and comprising two single track tunnels plus a third service tunnel, it was a substantial undertaking with inherent financial 'challenges' both during and following completion.  But it made a big difference to the time involved in travelling between London and Paris/Brussels.

This is a French issued 20th anniversary stamp from this year.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Polish parcel transport theme stamps, 1979

traffic in Cathedral Square, Christchurch, late 1950s

Obviously well after the trams had ceased.  For more, see our books.

'how much longer do we have to wait for this train you want a picture of?'

A tribulation rail enthusiasts will likely have experienced.

1969 Italia IMX

Plus a hood ornament :-) Produced by Intermeccanica of Turin, and distributed by Genser Forman of New Jersey, the Torino, later named Italia, was a low production volume sports car of the late 1960s, with sales around the 100 to 120 cars per year level. These cars were Ford V8 powered, with Ford running gear. Presented at the 1969 Turin Automobile Show, was this modified Italia, which conformed to Italian requirements and added a few features such as a rear movable airfoil. It remained a prototype.

traffic in Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota circa 1900

1930 Cord L 29 4-door sedan

San Sebastian, Spain, car race poster, 1930

'a transpress nz book is a real help to study'

traffic in Berlin, 1936

A color film obviously intended for tourist promotion with an inevitable strong Nazi political propaganda component, but still a fascinating look at how it once was with trams, buses, S-Bahn trains and cars of the time.

The main building focused on that is no longer there is the Berliner Schloss (Palace) but recently it was decided to rebuild it in part. The new building will have the cubature of the former palace and include authentically reconstructed facades on three of the four sides of the building, whereas the interior will be modern. The building, under the name of Humboldtforum, is going to be finished sometime late this decade.

PCC trolley car stops outside Pier 23, San Francisco

One of the heritage streetcars on the Muni's F line, see earlier posts.

1972 Rolls Royce convertible

Ideal for an English summer when it's not raining.

life in the Gaza strip

With world media focus on this tiny area yet again, this BBC webpage is an interesting analysis of Gaza.

Viewed from afar, it is pretty clear that if Gazans want to improve their lot, the first thing they need to do is get rid of Hamas, whose practice of regularly firing rockets into and sneaking through tunnels to conduct guerrilla raids in Israeli territory is hardly the way to establish good relations.

Gaza's other neighbor, Egypt has no time for Hamas either and has likewise imposed an economic blockade.

As everywhere else, even if you don't like your neighbor, you have to recognize their right to peaceful coexistence and an environment of mutual respect is needed.

Pan Am Sikorsky S40 and S42 seaplanes

Sikorsky S40 art
S42 undergoing maintenance in Florida (State Archives of Florida)
A 1936 illustration for "Fortune" magazine.
The Sikorsky S40 four-engine clipper was produced in three units in 1931 for Pan Am, the largest commercial airliner of the time. The S-40s could carry 38 passengers, a significant increase over the predecessor S-38's capacity of eight passengers. The aircraft featured a pantry with an electric refrigerator and stove as well as beautifully appointed smoking lounge with book-ended mahogany wood paneling. Six life rafts were carried on board. Despite the significant capacity increase, the S-40s were not the most aerodynamic aircraft due in large part to the numerous flying wires and strut braces that were used as an exterior support framework, hence the nickname "Flying Forest". Only the three were built as Sikorsky was designing (during the maiden flight of the S-40) and building the better S-42 as a replacement, introduced in 1934.

The ten S42 four-engine clippers were important for Pan American in developing its system of global routes. The S42 carried up to 37 day passengers or 14 sleeper berths plus 4 crew and had a gross laden weight of 38,000 lb (17,273 kg). It was used on Latin American, Atlantic and Pacific routes by the U.S. international airline.   In 1935 a Pan Am Sikorsky S-42 flying boat took off from San Francisco in the first commercial flight from the US mainland to Hawaii, landing 17 hours later. None has survived.  more pics here

the Milwaukee Road's Olympian Hiawatha promo, circa 1953

The route is listed on the top artwork. See earlier post

Sunday, July 27, 2014

moonlight over Port Chalmers harbour, Dunedin 1900s

For more, see our books.

PKP passenger timetable book cover 2006, Poland

a little satire

"Making a virtue from need: Israel introduces tolls in [Hamas] tunnels"

electric passenger tractor and trailer

from a viral e-mail

late 1950s 'Phoenix' 760 of the Shanghai Automobile Works, China

This was the first production car produced in China by the Shanghai Automobile assembly line on 28 September 1958, called Fenghuang (meaning Phoenix in English), primarily for upper-mid-level government officials. Few were produced. The Phoenix models are distinguished by round headlights and fins to the rear.

In 1964, the Phoenix name was changed to Shanghai SH760. In 1968 and 1974, the SH760 underwent a series of cosmetic updates (SH760A and SH760B respectively). The final SH760 was produced on 25 November 1991, after a total production run of 79,526 cars. Production peaked in 1984 at around 6,000 units. It was powered with 2.2 litre I6 engine I6 that was a copy of the Mercedes-Benz M127.