Monday, April 23, 2018

Kicking Horse Pass spiral tunnels view, Canada

This pass in the Canadian Rockies at the Alberta–British Columbia border and the Banff–Yoho national parks boundary is the highest point on the Canadian Pacific Railway, at an elevation of 5,338 feet [1,627 metres]. The approach from the east is by way of the Bow Valley; from the west end, two circular tunnels were cut into the valley sides (completed in 1911) to reduce the gradient of the railway. It was explored in 1858 by James Hector of Captain John Palliser’s expedition. Hector was kicked by his horse while crossing the pass—hence its name.

The Trans-Canada Highway came through the pass in the 1960s.The tunnel under Cathedral mountain is 3,255 feet [992 metres] long with a turn of 291 degrees, and the one under Mount Ogden turns through 217 degrees over 2,992 feet [912 metres]. The ruling grade is 2.2%. The tunnels were completed in August 1909, and replaced the route up the "Big Hill", which had a 4.5% grade. There is/was a lookout just off the Trans-Canada Highway from which you could observe both portals of the tunnel. Passengers can ride this route, at least in the summer, on Great Canadian Railtours' Rocky Mountaineer train from Calgary to Vancouver.

When the tunnels had been bored, they were off on one tunnel by 18 inches when the two ends connected, and 6 inches on the other. (via Britannica Online)

Sunday, April 22, 2018

South Australian narrow gauge T class locomotive

A 4-8-0 type for cape gauge (3 ft 6 inch) of which 78 were produced between 1903 and 1917.  This one was seen at Broken Hill in NSW.

More info

traffic in St. Vincent Street, Port Adelaide, Australia, circa 1917

As in many other places, trams disappeared decades ago but they seem set for a return here, according to this article.

1984 Leyland Titan bus

Seen in Paekakariki, NZ, ex-London Transport.  This was originally licensed to carry 70 passengers -- 44 downstairs and 26 upstairs -- but is now only licensed to carry 2 as it is being converted into an RV.
The Gardener diesel engine.

Friday, April 20, 2018

respected Independent reporter Robert Fisk says there was no chemical weapons attack in Syria

For UK Prime Minister Theresa May it's clearly an obsession on her part to "blame and punish the Russians at every opportunity, regardless of the truth".  The rebel-aligned "White Helmets" who made the claim are known to be a highly dubious bunch.

"Robert Fisk’s bombshell first-hand account for the UK Independent runs contrary to nearly every claim circulating in major international press concerning what happened just over week ago on April 7th in an embattled suburb outside Damascus: not only has the veteran British journalist found no evidence of a mass chemical attack, but he’s encountered multiple local eyewitnesses who experienced the chaos of that night, but who say the gas attack never happened.
"Fisk is the first Western journalist to reach and report from the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack widely blamed on Assad’s forces. Writing from Douma in eastern Ghouta, Fisk has interviewed a Syrian doctor who works at the hospital shown in one of the well-known videos which purports to depict victims of a chemical attack."

Full article

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

GMC SW1200RS switcher

A total 769 units of the SW1200 Bo-Bo type switcher were built by EMD, and 287 were produced by the associate of EMD in Canada, General Motors Canada, between 1954 and 1966. The RS denoted large front and rear (on some units) numberboard housings, EMD Flexicoil B-B trucks, and larger fuel tanks for road-switcher service. Of the 297, the majority, 208, went to Canadian National.

The prime mover was a V12 567C diesel engine with a 1200 hp output.

car for Tijuana Tours, circa 1910

From the look of it, originating from the U.S. side of the border. Someone may know what it is.

Monday, April 16, 2018

1955 Mercury Montclair

With a 1958 Chevrolet on the left.

Canadian National SD70M-2

Seen near Coteau, Quebec.

"The SD70M-2 is the SD70ACe's DC-traction counter-part. Like the SD70ACe, the locomotive was rated at 4,300 hp. NS ordered all of their SD70M-2's at 4,000 hp. Norfolk Southern (NS), Florida East Coast (FEC), and Canadian National (CN) were the only customers to purchase this locomotive new.

"CN has the most SD70M-2's of any railroad, at 190 units."


wide track RV

NZR De with a passenger train north of Porirua in 1958

It's not recorded what this train was, but the cars weren't for Main Trunk expresses, nor why a De diesel rather than an Ew or Ed electric was hauling it as far as the then end of the wires in Paekakariki.

The alignment and the single track were later replaced with straight double track along the shore of the Porirua Harbour, and several years later the same was done with the road.

For more see our books. (Derek Cross pic)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Gazans burn thousands of tires near the border with Israel

Because of the toxic nature of the smoke, it's illegal to burn tires in California and presumably elsewhere.

This was part of a regular Hamas-organised display of Gazan attitudes towards their neighbors.  As well as air pollution, the Gazans also indulged in throwing Molotov cocktails over and placing explosives on the border fence, as well as shooting at Israeli border personnel.

Portrait pictures burnt included not only the usual subjects -- the Israeli PM and Defense Minister and the U.S. President -- but also the Saudi Crown Prince who recently recognized Israel's right to exist.

early 1960s Morris LD van and a Morris truck in Wellington

Obviously a promo photo for the new company vehicles. "Morepork" is the local imitative name for an owl, but being butchers' supplies, perhaps the brand was also a pun?

1946 Riley 1.5 Litre Saloon

According to the Bank of England inflation calculator, £763 including purchase tax in 1946 would be about £30,400 ($US 43,500) now.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Kurow on NZR's Hakataramea Branch

Which it would have been at the time the photo was taken.  Hakataramea was 1.8 km further on, but that was closed in July 1930 and the name then changed to the Kurow Branch.

This line served a major role in building hydro dams on the Waitaki River, and it lasted until these were complete in 1983.  The 59 km line from Pukeuri (on the Main South Line) was then closed and lifted.  For more, see our books.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

50 years since the 'Wahine' disaster

Detail from an M.R. Jackson painting of the less than 2-year-old interisland ferry Wahine on the rocks near Seatoun just inside Wellington harbour on 10 April 1968.

Although the 53 fatalities didn't make it the worst shipwreck in NZ history, it is the worst in living memory, and something which those who were in Wellington at the time will never forget.

The storm not only caused the sinking of the Wahine but also caused a lot of damage to the city: roofs were blown off and prefab classrooms at the Karori primary school were ripped off their foundations.

For details, see the book Strait Crossing by Vic Young.  The new book All at Sea also has some coverage of the event.

Monday, April 9, 2018


A 4-8-2 of which 35 were built by Schneider & Cie between May 1948 and June 1952, the last new class of passenger steam locos in France.


50 years ago the NZ interland ferry 'Wahine' looked like this

But a severe storm was approaching and hit Cook Strait early the next day...  (Wallace Tricktt painting)

the future for books is bleak

Sunday, April 8, 2018

NZ NIMT express crosses a mixed train at Kakahi, 1910s

In the King Country, with an X on the express.

Sydney single decker electric trains in Lavender Bay

A pic taken in the 1960s from about where Wendy's Secret Garden is now (below).  This short branch line was originally for cross-harbour ferry connections, but the tracks in front of Luna Park became simply a stabling area for the electric trains after the Harbour Bridge was completed in 1932.

One notes a Union Steam Ship Company ship berthed in the centre distance.

For lots more, see the book Railway Electrification in Australia and New Zealand.

restored Stalin era Soviet Gaz-12 ZIM now worth $350,000

Needless to say, it was a car for Communist Party elite and army generals, even if (unusually) ordinary citizens could buy one if they could afford to.

More pics of this one here

Info about the model, produced 1950-1960, here

a NSW freight train with a 38 class and 60 class on the Hawkmount Bank

On the main north line about 130 km north of Sydney. With a 2.3% or 1 in 44 grade it was a popular place to take pictures. No date - 1960s?.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Thursday, April 5, 2018

old Prussian steam atmosphere in West Germany, circa 1970

Two pics of the Prussian G 8.1 (in DB service class 055) 0-8-0. Over 5,000 examples of this class were produced between 1913 and 1921.


1978 Chrysler Imperial le Baron 2-door hardtop

traffic in Moscow, 1970s

With a Party slogan about 1 May, which was the date that the Soviet Union had big parades of its latest military hardware.

'a real book is much better than a smartphone'

the Queensland NGR electric trains

Those attending the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast will likely notice one of these New Generation Rollingstock or NGR 6-car trains as there are now 9 in service, the first was on 11 December 2017. Their introduction wasn't problem-free, as is sometimes the case.  A total of 75 are being built.


freshly restored Di 1102 at Ferrymead

Seen last Sunday.  The ditch lights weren't there originally and the cab side windows don't look authentic, but otherwise it looks straight out of its box. See the previous post on the Di class. (Bob Boulton pic)