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 Great railways of the world

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Great railways of the world   Tue 15 Dec 2015, 21:48

As a kid end of the Fourties already weekly travelling by train. And from that time an interest in all kind of trains and locomotives. I wanted two years after each other to "do" the Transsiberian but by circumstances it didn't happen...and later I heard the seven days trip was rather boring...as I found also boring when I effectively made the journey by nighttrain from Moscow to Leningrad and later from Bejing to Xian...

But now the proposal of the London-Bejing railway link...
but first an impression of the nowadays link:




and the new one:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1256536/200mph-train-link-London-Beijing-just-days.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/7230137/China-steams-ahead-with-worlds-fastest-train.html


And yes the history of these great unachieved railroads as the Capetown-Cairo one:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_to_Cairo_Railway

 Or the Berlin-Bagdad Railway:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Berlin-Baghdad-Express-Ottoman-Germanys/dp/0674064321
https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/boshtml/bos139.htm


I saw last year a documentary in French about that project. For those understanding French (Meles meles?):
http://www.popscreen.com/v/75Y3k/LE-CHEMIN-DE-FER-DE-BAGHDAD-1418-1à5


And for those understanding German (Nielsen?) the same in German:



Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Wed 16 Dec 2015, 10:40

The routes covered by the Orient Express during its' between the wars heyday;

Orient Express


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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Wed 16 Dec 2015, 19:59

Yes, Triceratops, the Oriënt Express

It happened that one of our tenants was an employee on the Venice-Simplon Oriënt Express. Sadly the Wagon Lits stopped some years ago the service on the train and our tenant had to go in pre retirement.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compagnie_Internationale_des_Wagons-Lits

When he leaved for his work in uniform he was impeccable...see the uniform underneath the link overhere:
http://wagonslits.blogspot.be/2010/11/diseno-en-uniformes-wagons-lits-wagons.html
And he could tell stories...

About the Orient Express...and yes the Venice-Simplon Oriënt Express is not the original, but it carries the original restored carriages. BTW: restored in Ostend and in Germany.
And the story of the rich American, who restored the Oriënt Express
https://goo.gl/vSRJ5h



And if you wnat it a bit longer:



Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Wed 16 Dec 2015, 20:05

OOOPS and I forgot in my first youtube film to comment on the rather voluminous lady...was that an advertisement for the good food on the Orient Express?
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Wed 16 Dec 2015, 20:47

OOOPS and I forgot in my first youtube film to comment on the rather voluminous lady...was that an advertisement for the good food on the Orient Express?
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Wed 16 Dec 2015, 20:49

OOOPS and I forgot in my first youtube film to comment on the rather voluminous lady...was that an advertisement for the good food on the Orient Express?
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Thu 17 Dec 2015, 13:33

I looked at the short video, Paul, the Venice Simplon looks like a lot of fun (although one look on their website showed it is very expensive)

Here is a picture of a Canadian Pacific train in the Rockies:

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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Thu 17 Dec 2015, 13:36

This, I think, would be the best way to travel in North America. The big, double-decker coaches on the Amtrak service;


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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Thu 17 Dec 2015, 13:44

Amtrak route map, ( there is a stop in Fargo; woohooo!!!)

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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Thu 17 Dec 2015, 16:48

In 1962 I travelled by train from Ostend to Ljubljana and back and it was indeed great fun and an adventure. Far from being the Orient Express, it was a 'proper' train full of interesting and, to me then, quite strange and exotic people. It's a wonderful journey, following the Rhine and crossing Austria in particular, and border crossings in the middle of the night were like something from The Lady Vanishes.

No fancy dining car, just a counter selling beer and soft drinks at the far end of an exceedingly long and rattling train. Lttle did I think that the charming young radical just about to start at LSE whom I met and who wrote to me for years afterwards would one day be knighted and be the man behind this:

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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Thu 17 Dec 2015, 20:17

"would one day be knighted and be the man behind this:"

Yes, Ferval, life can be strange...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 18 Dec 2015, 21:56

@Triceratops wrote:
This, I think, would be the best way to travel in North America. The big, double-decker coaches on the Amtrak service;



 Yes, the Canadian:


I was there from Banff to Kamloops and then Vancouver...but by bus from Calgary to Vancouver. Saw the salmon fish ladder, the Hell's Gate on the river Fraser...what a memories...


And as it has some historical worth as about the Indians and all...
The transcontinental Railroad
A bit American perhaps but still in my humble opinion interesting to watch till the end. The story only starting after some minutes!


And that other great one already mentioned:




Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 18 Dec 2015, 22:17

And you know me always deviating from the core of the thread...caused by the trans siberian railway...
As I, with my bit of Russian that I learned, became a fervent admirer of the Russian language and by that of its songs...





 and:



Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Tue 29 Dec 2015, 11:57

Well Paul, this thread has certainly brought back some memories. Much as I rejoice in a unified Europe with its easy travel between countries, I have to say that train travel in the old divided Europe was a lot more interesting and always had a certain 'frisson'.

For several years I used to commute daily into London Victoria and on the indicator boards, alongside the host of southern suburban destinations: Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Haywards Heath, Brighton, Worthing etc, there occasionally used to come up more exotic destinations. These were the days before the Channel Tunnel and direct Eurostar services, and so a couple of times a day, if memory serves me right, there were departures, (always from platform 1 or 2), to "Dover, connecting to Dunkirk, Paris, Brussels" … and even more exciting: once a day there was the so-called 'East-West Express', I think it was called: "Dover, connecting to Ostend, for Hannover, Frankfurt, Berlin West, Berlin East, Warsaw, Minsk, and Moscow".

In December 1989, with scenes of the fall of the Berlin Wall on all the evening news, on the spur of the moment I decided to "go east" and experience first-hand some of the last vestiges of post-war communism. I got a few days off work to link up with the factory’s Christmas shut-down, spent a day racing around embassies to get the required visas, and then with just a small backpack set off from Victoria station platform number 1.

The train to Dover was just with normal BR rolling stock, but passport control had been done at Victoria Station so at Dover Marine station you passed directly onto the jetfoil shuttle, and so crossed rapidly to Oostende. The East-West Express train proper started at Oostende: in 1989 it was made up of huge, solid, Russian-built, old-fashioned compartment carriages. And so we rattled off into the night (I think at Hannover we joined up with a separate section that came up from Paris). We arrived at Berlin West (Berlin Bahnhof Zoo) the next morning. I spent the day and a night in West Berlin, and then crossed by foot to East Berlin via 'Checkpoint Charlie'. As a foreigner I still had to go through the whole rigmarole (including a body/luggage search) under the eye of Stasi officers, before I was allowed in. It was the first Saturday after restrictions had been dropped for Berliners (not sure about West Germans generally), and just a few days before Christmas, so at the Brandenburg Gate families from East and West were meeting up, some I guess, were being reunited for the first time in years. It was quite a special time/place.

That evening I caught the train from Friedrichstraße station in East Berlin onward to Warsaw, arriving early the next morning. I hadn’t managed to get a Russian visa, so Poland was the furthest I could go eastwards. My plan was to go from Warsaw, south to Prague, then Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia and so to Istanbul, from where I had a plane ticket back to Britain. In Warsaw, although it was Sunday 23 December, the overnight train to Prague was still scheduled to run. But they wouldn’t sell me a ticket. As a foreigner I had to pay in hard currency, which was no problem as I had dollars, deutschmarks and pounds on me, but there was something about having to get an official currency exchange docket from a bank, and all the banks were closed it being Sunday.

I spent the night in the waiting room at Warsaw Central station. It was a grand Stalinesque building, with huge draughty marble halls, high ceilings, doors that never shut properly, no double glazing (indeed some windows lacked any glazing) and no heating. It was very cold. It also, anachronistically but quiet romantically, smelled strongly of coal smoke, not from steam engines but from the coal heating used on the trains. The next morning, the banks should have been open, but it was now Christmas eve and so they were shut for the holiday. But the tourist office on the station concourse did open and I asked for their help. The lady there spoke good English, and while she did some phoning around, it emerged that she had been with the Cultural Attaché’s office in South Kensington. So she knew Imperial College (where I’d studied), she knew Hyde Park, the museums and Harrods ... and I knew the Polish restaurant at the bottom of Exhibition Road, the Polish Forces Club, and the numerous Polish delicatessen in Kensington (all were cheap and cheerful are so were always popular with IC students). So we rather hit it off. She was however unable to resolve my money/ticket problem, so promptly invited me to spent Christmas with her family. She closed up the tourist office, her husband arrived with their wheezing Trabant car, and I was whisked off on a tour of the city and then to an apartment block overlooking the Vistula River. And there I had a traditional Polish Christmas with herring, potatoes, dumplings, sausage, beetroot, cabbage, duck … and lots of vodka. I slept on the sofa and the TV news was all about revolution in Romania.

Finally on 26  December the banks opened I got my currency docket stamped, bought my ticket and that evening caught the train. At the Polish/Czech border I might have had trouble with Polish customs officials, as I’d given my Christmas hosts a quantity of Deutschmarks for their children, which obviously weren’t included on my currency declaration, but thinking something like this might happen I’d secreted a load of cash in the lining of my rucksack, so I was allowed to exit without problems.

I arrived in Prague the next morning, and after touring the city (great place) got the night train onwards to Budapest. But here there was another hitch. All rail services to Romania had been suspended and it seemed half the Hungarian army had been mobilised and were travelling back to base. I changed plans and that evening caught the train direct to Bulgaria via Yugoslavia. The route via Yugoslavia is much longer and so I didn’t have much time in Sofia (I had a plane to catch from Istanbul on the 31st), so I immediately caught the rather slow stopping train down to Turkey, which was at least already there waiting to go at the platform. For some 20 hours I shared a cramped compartment with an extended family of Turks (or maybe it was two families, I never was sure). It was a long, slow journey down to Istanbul but it was fun, we played chess, the children were incredibly well behaved, and after some six hours or so I found myself baby-sitting while stopped at a station in the middle of nowhere, while their parents went in search of hot water to make tea. With the journey extended by several delays we ended up all pooling whatever food and drink we had: fruit, bread, olives, sausage, beer, spicey turkish fried sandwiches (like samosas), raki, falafels, a powerful goat's cheese, gooey honey-cakes, ... the lot. And they also carefully looked after my bag, as well as my coveted corner seat by the window, when at the Bulgarian/Turkish border (Edirne), I was briefly turfed off the train for not having my Turkish visa up to date. I doubt you'd usually get anywhere near the same familial involvement with your fellow passengers on the quick two hour flight direct from London to Istanbul. 

As you approach Istanbul the railway line, at least for the last kilometre or so, runs along a narrow strip of land sandwiched between azure sea and the ancient walls of Constantinople - it's quite a magnificent approach to a city - and then finally you pull into Istanbul Sirkeci station, "Gateway to the Orient". But for me in 1989 after just a day in the city I was back at Gatwick airport by the evening of 31 December.

As I say train travel has a certain je ne sais quoi. But it's changed: it used to be a relatively reliable and cheap way to get around, and if one took overnight trains you could avoid having to pay for accommodation. But the trains were all so much slower then, taking typically 8 hours or so to get between major cities, journeys that these days would take a couple of hours with barely time to have a nap. And of course back then you got lots of stamps in the passport: not just the visa and the normal entry and exit stamps, but odd date stamps and customs stamps from various train officials too.

Ah happy memories!
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Wed 30 Dec 2015, 16:04

Further to my ramblings above,  I've just found these in an old photo album (the dates differ slightly to my narrative - such is the weakness of memory). The photo captions are as originally written by me in 1989.

"You are now leaving the American sector" - Checkpoint Charlie, 24 December 1989:




Christmas Eve, 1989, in front of the Brandenburg Gate - DDR side:



Note that the prominent Christmas Tree, visible through the central arch, is in West Germany, on the other side of The Wall.

... and then just 10 months later, in October 1990, I passed through 'Checkpoint Charlie' once again. Now Friedrichstraße was a completely open thoroughfare, and there were no longer any barriers, ... but the old 'facilities' on the East German side were still there, although now completely abandoned and vandalised:

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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Wed 30 Dec 2015, 21:25

Meles meles thank you so much for your railway memories...

"These were the days before the Channel Tunnel and direct Eurostar services, and so a couple of times a day, if memory serves me right, there were departures, (always from platform 1 or 2), to "Dover, connecting to Dunkirk, Paris, Brussels" … and even more exciting: once a day there was the so-called 'East-West Express', I think it was called: "Dover, connecting to Ostend, for Hannover, Frankfurt, Berlin West, Berlin East, Warsaw, Minsk, and Moscow". "

My first trip alone abroad was to London I suppose in 1962. I got a "Go as you please" ticket for 7 days on the London network underground, busses and even green busses, with which I went to Windsor Castle...
Ostend, the car ferry to Dover (in the summer I had worked some days on it in the catering) and that was nearly 4 hours sea while the car ferry passed frist along the French coast to Calais and then made the cross-over to Dover.
And if memory serves me well they spoke not about Victoria Station but about Victoria Street Station...

And yes already from 3 years old on the trains nearly each week from near Ghent (where we stayed, my sister and I, with our grand-mother) to our house in Ostend.
And later from 12 years on, alone each day by train from Ostend to my school near Ghent. That story difficult to explain...as fish merchants, my parents, who had also a clientele in my grand-mother's town near Ghent, had my school with some 600 boys and my sister's one with some 600 girls as customers. And it was in the highdays of the school struggle between the public and the Catholic subsidized schools and each pupil counted...thus if we left the school, my parents lost the two schools...and as there were in those times more than half the children, who stayed at school to eat, that made some roughly 600 children that had each Friday fish on the menu and in the fast even more...and it was only much later that the parents got rich with their commerce Wink ...
BTW: If someone knows why in the Catholic countries there is fish on Fridays...?)
Yes, and it was only me who had to travel each day by train, my sister had to stay at school as a "pensionnaire", perhaps because my parents didn't want such a young girl alone on the trains...after all those years it is still a guess...


And in summer time the trains to Ostend overcrowded...many times I had to sit the whole trip on the luggage of the tourists in the entrance of the carriage...but if we had the luck to be able to travel with an international D train...that was an experience...and we were allowed even with our school season ticket to travel on them...and, I still vividly remember, there were shields on the carriages with Wien and another with Ljubjiana...
Unbelievable what one all can find on the web nowadays...I found it all back...

And Ostend station that I so many times entered... 







Meles meles, found even your train:
http://www.streamlinerschedules.com/concourse/track11/ostwest197105.html



And yes entering these trains as a young boy of 13...starting the dreams...

Kind regards, your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Wed 30 Dec 2015, 22:36

Meles meles,

" I've just found these in an old photo album (the dates differ slightly to my narrative - such is the weakness of memory). The photo captions are as originally written by me in 1989."

In 1974 (while it was during this trip that the Cyprus invasion by Turkey happened) I went by second hand car (not by train) together with my first wife to Czecho-Slovakia and Hungary...first to Hungary...with an extra jerry can of petrol, because they had warned us for lack of petrol stations in those countries...in Hungary all passed well...even to enter Hungary from the Austrian border...
But then on to Czechia...sunday afternoon to Konopiste...for the castle...
But it was all closed...and quiet...apart from a bear who walked freely in the depth of the castle mouth...hallucinant scenery...
And you don't believe it but I found it all back...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konopi%C5%A1t%C4%9B
And the bear





Then searching for an hotel or a bed and breakfast...I found a road sign with a label of an hotel...through a dark allée of the wood I came to the hotel...up to now only seen Trabant cars and small Ladas, but here Volvos and Mercedes all over...came at the reception and asked for logies...but the personel was obviously wearied with my question...they said in fluent German that there wasn't immediatly place for us...and as I a bit angry said that there was a sign of an hotel on the road and made nearly a row of it...the man became immediately friendly and phoned for an excellent hotel...I have always thought that I came there in an elite hotel from the Communist party...

And yes to leave Czechia by car at the border, three hours and the whole car double checked by the customs...and rifles and mitrailettes every where...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Sat 02 Jan 2016, 14:22

Paul, talking about international rail destinations from London before the days of the Channel tunnel … these two consecutive films (circa 1949) are of The Golden Arrow/la Flêche d’Or Express, which ran daily between London Victoria Station and Paris Gare du Nord, ... and might be of interest:



... and part two:



The Golden Arrow Express was linked to a dedicated cross-channel ferry service, but passengers still had to disembark at Dover, embark on the ship, and re-embark onto a separate SNCF train at Calais.

But there was also for a long time a non-stop rail service from Victoria station to Paris via the Night Ferry. This was an overnight sleeper service and the carriages themselves were carried across from Dover to Dunkerque, without the passengers needing to be disturbed, and then carried straight on to Paris. The train was made up of sleeping cars provided by the Companie Internationale des Wagon-lits (of "Orient Express" fame) plus luggage and mail wagons.


      ...train loading at Dover. 

The first train left London Victoria Station at 10pm on 14th October 1936 and arrived at Paris Gare du Nord at 8:55am the next morning. The first return journey left Paris at 9:50pm on 15th and arrived in London at 8:30 on 16th. From then on the service ran daily in both directions, a return journey costing £9.20 in First Class and £7.10 in Second until September 1939 when the service was suspended on the outbreak of war. The service was restarted on 14th December 1947 from Paris and in both directions the following night. In 1957 a through sleeping car from London to Brussels was added to the train and in 1967 a through car to Basle in Switzerland was also added, but this was not a success and was withdrawn in 1969. By 1974 all of the original train ferries had been replaced with more modern vessels, but, faced with competition from faster air travel and then eventually Eurostar via the Tunnel, the service ended on 31st October 1980, with the final departures from London, Paris and Brussels.

I cannot seem to find much film of the 'Night Ferry' service but there is this ….. the quality isn’t very good at all, but starting at about 11 minutes, it does depict the the whole operation of the London-Dover-Dunkerque-Paris 'Night Ferry' rail service in early 1950s:




Steam trains, steam ferries, sleeping compartments and proper restaurant cars ... where gentlemen always wore a suit and tie, and ladies always wore hats … That was the way to travel, eh? It might have been slower, a lot slower than Ryanair, but it was travel with a bit of elegance and class. Travel for travel-sake rather than simply to get somewhere.


Last edited by Meles meles on Sun 03 Jan 2016, 08:35; edited 6 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Sat 02 Jan 2016, 15:11

And Paul, I never said thankyou for finding the evidence of the Oostende-Moskva, East-West Express ... As I grow ever older it's always nice to be told, now and again, that one's memory is still acccurate, spot-on, and true. Merci beaucoup. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Sun 03 Jan 2016, 20:09

Meles meles, thank you so much for the footage about the Golden Arrow.
I made the first time in my life the Dover-London experience by train. In the other direction than seen on your footage. For me it was as youngster, who had not travelled abroad yet, apart from a short trip to a bordertown in Holland and a journey of one day to Dunkirk in 1950 with our new car, quite something to enter the capital of the British Empire about which I had already read that much...

And as I mentioned Dunkirk, as it is also mentioned in your Golden Arrow film, in 1950 when we arrived with our new car, I still remember the utterly devastation at the harbour...
Our new car: a Commer Hillman:



Our was better and new...and blue...

And about the devastation of Dunkirk in 1950:
http://www.sous-mama.org/la-base-abri-de-dunkerque-de-1941-a-1958-blog-121.html
https://www.facebook.com/225682817442534/videos/988919767785498/
https://www.facebook.com/Dunkerque-et-environs-début-et-milieu-du-XXe-siècle-225682817442534/videos?fref=photo



When I just said that I wasn't before in England it was not the full truth...I was already been in Dover...when as student on the car ferry...only three crossings...while I was two times seasick...give up my job...and went on stable ground...as a help to the bricklayers in the building branch...
And my ferry:
http://www.doverferryphotosforums.co.uk/mv-artevelde-past-and-present/




Meles meles, I have to admit that my youngster's life was not as I suppose Priscilla's life, who seemingly experienced that much more...or such a Syrian refugee one's now arriving in Belgium, but nevertheless it are for me all sweet (by the years Wink ) memories...

Kind regards, your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Mon 04 Jan 2016, 20:05

@PaulRyckier wrote:
And as I mentioned Dunkirk, as it is also mentioned in your Golden Arrow film, in 1950 when we arrived with our new car, I still remember the utterly devastation at the harbour...


Yes I was interested in that too, the still obvious devastation of Dunkerque (which I erroneously called Calais). In a similar vein I was also interested in all the talk of luxury travel, 1st class service in the dining cars, afternoon tea and drinkies in the bar ... because in 1949 there was still food rationing, of meat, sugar, butter, cheese, milk etc (and indeed even bread had been briefly rationed for the first time just a year earlier in the hard winter of 1947/48). But as in wartime, restaurant food was not rationed, although there was a strict limit to how much one could pay for a restaurant meal. So that film clip did rather brought home, yet again, how if you were well off, you could get anything, and that in practical terms rationing only really affected the ordinary person, who couldn't afford fancy restaurants, cocktail bars, international train travel. My parents were married in the summer of 1948 and they couldn't even get hold of a few bottles of wine for the toast, and though their wedding cake was fashionably constructed of three tiers, only the small top level was an actual cake ... the other two were made of cardboard and plaster! They did however spend their honeymoon (2 years after getting married) in Paris, so they may well have travelled on the Golden Arrow (but probably 2nd class and with their own packed lunch and sandwiches).
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Wed 06 Jan 2016, 21:21

Meles meles,

"because in 1949 there was still food rationing, of meat, sugar, butter, cheese, milk etc (and indeed even bread had been briefly rationed for the first time just a year earlier in the hard winter of 1947/48). But as in wartime, restaurant food was not rationed, although there was a strict limit to how much one could pay for a restaurant meal. So that film clip did rather brought home, yet again, how if you were well off, you could get anything, and that in practical terms rationing only really affected the ordinary person, who couldn't afford fancy restaurants, cocktail bars, international train travel. My parents were married in the summer of 1948 and they couldn't even get hold of a few bottles of wine for the toast, and though their wedding cake was fashionably constructed of three tiers, only the small top level was an actual cake ... the other two were made of cardboard and plaster! They did however spend their honeymoon (2 years after getting married) in Paris, so they may well have travelled on the Golden Arrow (but probably 2nd class and with their own packed lunch and sandwiches)."


As my first memories only date from the end of the fourties I nevertheless heard a lot about the rationing from during the war and immediatley after the war. My parents as fishmongers had even to collect the rationing tickets to distribute their fish...
But amazingly, I always heard that in Britain the rationing lasted a lot longer than in the occupied Belgium freed in 1944...it was even shorter than in France.
December 1947 was the last rationing in Belgium and in France December 1949
http://www.herodote.net/almanach-ID-2925.php
If you can trust this link and "herodote" is a reknowed French forum it was due to the Marshall plan and a borrowing of the US to France that the recovery really started...
But for Belgium I didn't find on the web the reasons for the better health of th Belgian economy after WWII...
And for the retardement of Britain I found a lot of contradictory explanations on the web...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationing_in_the_United_Kingdom
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-495096/Britain-1947-Poverty-queues-rationing--resilience.html

PS. And thanks for all these valuable memories that you evoked for me...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Wed 10 Feb 2016, 10:21

Paul, this has been on BBC 2 recently. A new series of Michael Portillo's railway journeys, this time in the United States;


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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Wed 10 Feb 2016, 22:13

Triceratops, thank you very much for this episode.
I really appreciated it while her on the continent we haven't access to BBC I-player...
But perhaps somewhere somehow we will be able to catch it on another channel.
You can say you can watch it directly on BBC 2 when it happens, but I can't follow it all...in the past I followed BBC2 and the German ARD and ZDF and still following the French-German ARTE but with my nowadays "workload" and my "fora" you can't do it all Sad ...

Kind regards, your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Thu 11 Feb 2016, 10:22



1st Class carriage, ex-Sierra Leone, now on the Welshpool & Llanfair railway. Running on some special services this year. Should also have in service our French-built (for the Wehrmacht) loco that ran for many years in Austria, with original Austrian coaches from the first decade of C20th.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 12 Feb 2016, 12:46

Paul, the only other episode of the current series I can find on youtube is number 5, Garrison to Albany:





EDIT: Revise that, they're all there;

Great American Railway Journeys
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 12 Feb 2016, 21:36

Many thanks for these links Triceratops.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 09:54

Reading the news today about Flying Scotsman's return to the rails, made me suddenly think of this, the famous 1936 documentary about the LMS mail train from London to Scotland.

"This is the Night Mail crossing the border
Bringing the cheque and the postal order ...."

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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 10:15

Paul, I had to delete links you'd posted on 30th December in a post - they are Google Search results without any attempt to represent them in short format and therefore screwed up the format of the whole page here.



MM - had you seen this report from yesterday? Poor trainspotter Ryan Allen travelled 50 miles and waited an hour to capture a video of the Flying Scotsman as it sped through Little Bytham in Lincolnshire. Then this!

“I had a feeling this would happen!" Ryan wrote online ...
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 10:25

I read that she arrived late into York ... "because of the wrong sort of trainspotters on the line!"
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 10:54

Further to 'Night Train' (above) ... I do like these old public information documentaries, and it must be something about the rhythmic sound of steam trains that makes them couple so well with poetry:



... although this isn't quite in Auden's class, indeed it's almost erotically risqué at times:
 
"As the engine goes,
With a swing and a shine,
Past the engine sheds,
There's a man on the line,
Who gave her that shine.
He's the fitter,
His was the skill.
His were the hands
That uncoupled her rods,
Stripped her gear,
Packed her glands
With his firm, skillful hands."

...ooo-err missus!  Shocked  It sounds almost Mills & Boon ... although it just doesn't quite scan does it? But the film of the train is good.


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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 12:22

@nordmann wrote:
MM - had you seen this report from yesterday? Poor trainspotter Ryan Allen travelled 50 miles and waited an hour to capture a video of the Flying Scotsman as it sped through Little Bytham in Lincolnshire. Then this!

“I had a feeling this would happen!" Ryan wrote online ...




Fair play to Virgin all the same, they have offered Ryan a holiday in Atlanta, GA, to look at the trains there.


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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 12:25

I think this has been posted before, but no matter:

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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 13:00

The BBC outdid themselves later with this one, Trike ...



It has some great "then and now" moments in it too.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 13:41

Thanks for those Trike and Nordmann. I was born and raised on the south coast not far from Brighton, went to university in London, then lived and worked near Gatwick Airport, and then commuted from there into London for two years ... so I reckon to know the London to Brighton line quite well.

It hasn't changed much really has it ? Actually the line itself, (the bridges, cuttings, tunnels) has probably changed hardly at all from the 1850s when it was originally built. So watching those film clips I found myself going: ... after Purley station there's a cutting, yup, and then a bridge, then a tunnel, ... voila, then it's Redhill station, here we are, then there's a bridge, ... then Gatwick Airport (ooo that's changed a bit), then the motorway approach bridge (that's new), then Three Bridges station and the line off towards Crawley and Horsham, then there's one, two bridges, then a tunnel, yes, ... then a deep cutting with another bridge, then the big viaduct ... etc .

Very sad I know, in a train-spotterish sort of way, but it did bring back memories.


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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 13:59

The Fox has been demolished;

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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 14:21

The Fox at Three Bridges .... Hmmm, in the 1980s their beer was usually shite and in the 1990s they turned it into a horrible chav-tastic, gastro-pub, and they swapped beer for spritzers and alcopops. By 2000 it had become like a bar in Magaluf. 

I had long since moved away to Kingston-upon-Thames (still fairly chavvy, although a more snooty type of chav), but as I was dating a British Airways steward I still had occasion to pass by The Fox as it was just opposite Three Bridges railway station and he lived just around the corner. I was always amazed that, at whatever time you passed, whether morning, afternoon, night, weekday, weekend, ... there was always one 'young lady', ... shod in just one shoe (strap broken) and with one boob almost hanging out of her disheveled dress ... being 'shown the door', whilst both she and her 'gentleman' friend, and assorted other female companions, with slurred expletives, all loudly questioned the parentage of the pub's bouncers.

Frankly I'm pleased to learn that The Fox has finally closed.


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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 14:38

Really went downhill then, Meles. I worked at MEL* on Manor Royal, for a while back in 1972, and was in digs in Poundhill, so The White Knight and The Fox were the two nearest pubs. Back then, The Fox was OK , no need for bouncers in those days.


*Also demolished; it was at the junction of Manor Royal and London Road. I could catch the Gatwick bus on Friday evening be back in Glasgow by about 7-8pm.


The old B-CAL 1-11*, regular as clockwork;



*British Caledonian no longer exist, and I doubt if any 1-11s still do.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 14:52

Trike ... I worked for Telcon Metals on the Manor Royal estate from 1984 to 1987. I lived in a house (shared digs) at Somerville Drive, Poundhill, just round the corner from 'The Tavern on the Green'. The 'White Knight' I always thought was a bit rough. In the 80's I used to drink at 'The Parson's Pig' (out along the Redhill Road ... admittedly it was a bit of a walk/stagger), or later (2000-ish) at 'The Hillside', on the Balcombe Road heading south towards Cowdray Forest. Oh, happy memories.


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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 15:11

It's been so long ago, I can't remember exactly. Telcon Metals, I'm afraid I don't recognise, there was a factory called Metalbox that made tin cans, I think they were directly opposite MEL , apart from those two I don't remember a single one.

Same with the pubs, The Sun on the London Road was the nearest as far as I can recall, and I can remember drinking in the Appletree after playing football ( just a factory kickabout, nothing special). The Windmill in Gossops Green, my last pint ( it was a Friday lunchtime) in Crawley before moving back home.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 15:42

Trike, my memory too is a bit hazy, but I think Telcon Metals took over the site that was occupied by Metal Box, that is on the south side of Manor Royal Avenue, just around the corner from the junction with the London Road.

But of course it's all gone now. Telcon was bought up by a US Company (Carpentier) in the late 1980s, who I believe then sold off their metals division to a German company (Vacuumschmeltze), just a few years later. The site, and all the specialist equipment and plant were sold, and the space became offices.


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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 15:56

@Meles meles wrote:
Trike, my memory too is a bit hazy, but I think Telcon Metals took over the site that was occupied by Metal Box, that is on the south side of Manor Royal Avenue, just around the corner from the junction with the London Road.

That sounds about right, Meles, as far as I can recall.

I always meant to go back for a visit sometime, but it's changed so much, it's maybe best left as a memory now.

...........................................................................................................................................................................

Anyway, back to trains, passenger comfort on the Brighton Express was much better than this;



Indian Railways pack on their passengers to every conceivable space.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 26 Feb 2016, 21:04

@Meles meles wrote:
Further to 'Night Train' (above) ... I do like these old public information documentaries, and it must be something about the rhythmic sound of steam trains that makes them couple so well with poetry:



... although this isn't quite in Auden's class, indeed it's almost erotically risqué at times:
 
"As the engine goes,
With a swing and a shine,
Past the engine sheds,
There's a man on the line,
Who gave her that shine.
He's the fitter,
His was the skill.
His were the hands
That uncoupled her rods,
Stripped her gear,
Packed her glands
With his firm, skillful hands."

...ooo-err missus!  Shocked  It sounds almost Mills & Boon ... although it just doesn't quite scan does it? But the film of the train is good.


Thank you so much for this film, Meles meles.

It evokes a time of my childhood. The clothes, the "atmosphere" of the time. For instance the "alpins" of the railway workers, the clothes of the ladies all reviving the rememberance of my time using the train...start of the fifties...
And I forgot to speak about speed...the same speed as nowadays...the traject Ostend-Ghent not changed in time since the Fifties...also 130 km/hour (80 miles/hour)

Yes, and end of the Seventies I did the journey London-Edinburgh with a modern train (with a seven days go-as-you-please pass) and I bet not faster than the Elizabethan Express steam train...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Sat 27 Feb 2016, 08:30

What struck me about both 'Night Train' and 'Elizabethan Express' was the precise organisation, all achieved without any computers: just slide rules, dividers, paper and pencil to calculate the complex schedules; telephones, telegraph signals, bells, and simple indicators to show whether the track was clear; all the signals and points controlled by simple mechanical levers, rods and wire links; and lots of mechanical clocks presumably all kept synchronised by a regular telephone time signal from London. Yet for all that, at Crewe station half a dozen mail trains from around the country rendez-vous within a 13 minute time window, and in that time, the locomotive was changed, the crew changed, 100 tons of partially-sorted mail was transferred from the other trains onto the Scottish Night Mail, and 50 tons off-loaded to the several waiting trains, all by hand, and presumably with few mix-ups. And then it was off again.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Mon 29 Feb 2016, 13:34

I watched this film on dvd yesterday, Paul Schofield as an obsessed German taking artworks from Paris to Germany and Burt Lancaster as the Resistance fighter determind to stop him;

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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Mon 29 Feb 2016, 15:23

Remember that one from film club at school!
Preferred this one, though!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r3uVroqlMg
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Tue 01 Mar 2016, 15:23

That caught me unawares. I was expecting Von Ryan's Express and not Will Hay.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Tue 01 Mar 2016, 20:57

@Meles meles wrote:
What struck me about both 'Night Train' and 'Elizabethan Express' was the precise organisation, all achieved without any computers: just slide rules, dividers, paper and pencil to calculate the complex schedules; telephones, telegraph signals, bells, and simple indicators to show whether the track was clear; all the signals and points controlled by simple mechanical levers, rods and wire links; and lots of mechanical clocks presumably all kept synchronised by a regular telephone time signal from London. Yet for all that, at Crewe station half a dozen mail trains from around the country rendez-vous within a 13 minute time window, and in that time, the locomotive was changed, the crew changed, 100 tons of partially-sorted mail was transferred from the other trains onto the Scottish Night Mail, and 50 tons off-loaded to the several waiting trains, all by hand, and presumably with few mix-ups. And then it was off again.
 Did you ever hear two excellent plays by Alan Plater: Only a matter of time (R4 1 Nov 00 1415) and Time added on for injuries (R4 2 Nov 00 1415), where James Bolam and Alan David have a verbal punch-up in two settings a century apart in rural Wales; Bolam is the industrialist who wants to rip up the countryside and build railways, and David is the Welshman who objects.
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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Thu 03 Mar 2016, 10:28

Mallard was built at Doncaster on 3 March 1938. On the 3rd July that year, Mallard achieved a speed of 125.88 mph, the fastest ever by a steam train;

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PostSubject: Re: Great railways of the world   Fri 04 Mar 2016, 09:34

The Forth Rail Bridge opened on the 4th March 1890; a short documentary about the bridge:

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