Friday, August 18, 2017

Cairo is getting a light rail system

It will cover 66 km and run at speeds up to 120 km/h.

Two major Chinese state companies, AVIC international and China Railway Group, signed a deal with the Egypt's National Authority for Tunnels to build a $1.24 billion light rail system surrounding Cairo, Reuters reports.

Running for 66 km and with 11 stations in districts surrounding Cairo, the public transit system will carry 340,000 passengers daily once completed, according to the National Authority for Tunnels' head Tarek Gamal El-Din.

The trains on the railway, on which construction will start in 3 months, will move at the speed of 120 km/h once completed. The exact route and districts the project will be covering are yet to be announced.

The announcement comes in line with China's development strategy Belt and Road, which aims to build transport links between Asia and Europe in order to bolster trade activities between countries in both continents.

1962 Buick 2-door hardtop

Italian 3-phase AC electric loco from 1908

The class E550, a five-coupled-axles type of which 186 were built until 1921 and were used on the lines wired for this until 1965.


1960 Oldsmobile Super 88

1919 White bus

In San Francisco. (

Barcelona gets its turn for an 'allahu akbar' attack

It's been 13 years since the Madrid train bombings (which were more deadly than the attack in Paris of November 2015) so Spain has been overdue for attention from the Islamic State group.

The toll at the the time of writing is 13 dead and 50+ injured, some gravely.

The big problem for authorities is how to stop a Muslim terrorist from hiring a big vehicle and doing this. And even if there's a "no hire" list akin to a "no fly" list, a Muslim terrorist can simply steal one or use a fake ID.

UK Guardian article

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

cars outside the Pacific Union Club, San Francisco, 1940s

A well-known building and one of only two to survive the earthquake and fire of 1906.

British Aircraft Corporation One-Eleven

This one belonged to the Oman Air Force, seen at an RAF Fairford airshow.  It was produced from 1963 to 1982 in the UK and from 1982 to 1989 in Romania under license, known there as the Rombac One-Eleven.


British ship of the coast of Aden (Yemen) circa 1910

A place called Steamer Point.

Victorian Railways 4-6-4 in 1964

R 723, location not stated. See earlier post.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Lillevand Station on the Tryvandsbanen, greater Oslo, late 1910s

Now spelled Lillevann. Opened in 1916, taken over by the Holmenkollbanen in 1920, now part of the Oslo Metro system.


what happens when grade crossing lights are ignored


the maddest country on Earth

the Dear Leader's marching girls
No, not Iran or Saudi Arabia (although both are up there) but the Hermit Kingdom.  Here's an inexpensive book published a few months ago which is worth a read. The publisher's presentation:

For decades, North Korea denied any part in the disappearance of dozens of Japanese citizens from Japan's coastal towns and cities in the late 1970s. But in 2002, with his country on the brink of collapse, Kim Jong admitted to the kidnapping of thirteen people and returned five of them in hopes of receiving Japanese aid. As part of a global espionage project, the regime had attempted to reeducate these abductees and make them spy on its behalf. When the scheme faltered, the captives were forced to teach Japanese to North Korean spies and make lives for themselves, marrying, having children, and posing as North Korean civilians in guarded communities known as "Invitation-Only Zones" - the fiction being that they were exclusive enclaves, not prisons. From the moment Robert S. Boynton saw a photograph of these men and women, he became obsessed with their story. Torn from their homes as young adults, living for a quarter century in a strange and hostile country, they were returned with little more than an apology from the secretive regime. In The Invitation-Only Zone, Boynton untangles the bizarre logic behind the abductions. Drawing on extensive interviews with the abductees, Boynton reconstructs the story of their lives inside North Korea and ponders the existential toll the episode has had on them, and on Japan itself. He speaks with nationalists, spies, defectors, diplomats, abductees, and even crab fishermen, exploring the cultural and racial tensions between Korea and Japan that have festered for more than a century. A deeply reported, thoroughly researched book, The Invitation-Only Zone is a riveting story of East Asian politics and of the tragic human consequences of North Korea's zealous attempt to remain relevant in the modern world.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

the North Korean Dear Leader's equally deranged newsreader

from the library - 'Pacific Electric: from Railway to Freeway'

This book was published in 1984 and, as is obvious, covers the gradual conversion of the one-time 1,000 mile Pacific Electric interurban railway system in the greater Los Angeles region to rubber-tired transport.  The use of buses by Pacific Electric began in the WW1 era and continued into the 1960s by which time the last railway line -- L.A. to Long Beach -- had closed, see earlier posts.

The hardback book has 196 pages full of bus pictures, including maps and timetable brochures, great for historic bus enthusiasts!

Trump tells the Dear Leader in Pyongyang that the U.S. Military is Locked and Loaded

The U.S. is ready with "military solutions" for the North Korea threat, President Donald Trump tweeted Friday morning, promising they are "locked and loaded," and adding, "Hopefully, Kim Jong Un will find another path."

Trump's escalating rhetoric kicked off Tuesday with a vow to meet Pyongyang's nuclear aggression with "fire and fury." On Thursday, he warned North Korea that if it "does anything" to the U.S. or its allies, "things will happen to them like they never thought possible." In contrast, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday that war with North Korea would be "catastrophic" and said diplomatic efforts were yielding results.


As has been commented before, the people of the Hermit Kingdom are now so poor, backward and indoctrinated in aggression that neither South Korea nor China want them and are quite happy to leave the Dear Leader's regime alone, provided it leaves them alone.  Because the media in N Korea is totally controlled by the regime and most of its citizens are unaware of what exists beyond its borders, Trump may be hoping that his firey remarks will get reported there in a hope that those further down the ranks will be made aware of how awful their government is.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

an unusual customer in the drive-through

a 4-8-4 leaving Wellington art

Painted by Peter Baker in 1968, using a similar vantage point to the photo in the post a couple of days ago. The Ka class has probably headed trains out of Wellington more often on fan trips in the last 3 decades than they did during the steam era, as by the time the class appeared in strength the electric wires were in place for the Ed's.

For lots more, see our books.

the SS 'Monowai' art

A famous ship in NZ maritime's history. The Union Steam Ship Company ship is the subject of a Sunday 13th and Thursday 17th broadcast called New Zealand Maritime Memories on Coast Access Radio 104.7 FM. The program will also feature music by Hans Zimmer from the movie Crimson Tide.

The oil painting by Wallace Trickett shows her in peacetime duties on a cruise around Milford Sound in the South Island. It was purchased by the Otago University History and Culture department in Dunedin.

For lots of details about the Monowai, see our books.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

the first Swissair hostess, 1934

Nelly Dyner, the first Swissair Flight Attendant, in front of a Curtis Condor, in service in 1934. This plane had a capacity of 15 passengers and a range of 800 km at 245 km/h.

1949 Kromhout-Autocar truck

The Kromhout-Motorenfabriek was based in Amsterdam.

'learning from books is fantastic'

traffic on the Maasbruggen, Rotterdam, 1960s

A bridge for trains and another for road traffic. One notes a big truck+trailer for Mercurius which makes art supplies.

Phares Ducellier poster, 1900s

"Look, he's about to rub her breasts!"
"She's a floozy."

Monday, August 7, 2017

pastilles tin with railway compartment theme, Holland, 1910

"Have a Droste pastille Madam: it'll make you feel real good."
"Ooh, it sounds exciting."

trains depart Wellington, early 1970s

Whether the photographer was lucky or this was arranged is a matter of conjecture.  A double-headed Da-hauled train of containers on the Main Trunk and an Ew-hauled suburban train on the Hutt Valley line.

The old Welcome to Wellington sign can be seen on the lower level.  After the foothills motorway was opened in 1969 it ceased to be on the main entrance road and was removed after a short time.

For lots more, see the book Wellington Transport Memories.

1954 Austin A30

NZR K class book art from 1948

Not the best executed, but of interest to collectors regardless.  For lots more, see the book New Zealand Railway Memorabilia.

Israel joins the Egyptian and Gulf states ban of Al Jazeera

Israel plans to revoke media credentials of Al Jazeera journalists and close the network's office in Jerusalem, the country's communication minister has announced.

Ayoub Kara made the announcement on Sunday during a press conference in Jerusalem, where Al Jazeera was barred from attending.


Given how hostile Al Jazeera is to Israel, it's hardly surprising. Nearly every day the channel repeats footage of the fighting of 2014 between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip taken in it and portraying the Palestinians as innocents, without ever presenting the reasons why the fighting occurred. Egypt sided with Israel on Gaza and still does, but mentioning that doesn't suit the Al Jazeera stance.

cars in Medford, Oregon, 1925

Sydney O class tram in the Oregon Electric Railway Museum

These were nicknamed "toastracks."   Website

1961 Porsche 356B Karmann Hardtop

Source with more pics