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  1. Not even close, if this Iberian horror is any guide..
  2. MDMRC are lucky to have him, in the circumstances.
  3. Ah, but there are all sorts of “imaginary”! there are the never-wazzers like the LMS 4-6-4, LNER 4-8-2 and BR Standard 2-8-2 which have at least one wheel in reality. There are speculative types like the Caprotti Crosti 4-6-0 which weren’t built, but could have been. There are locos which are purely speculative, or plain unworkable. Then there are all sorts in between..
  4. See earlier comments regarding the lasting resentment engendered by the electrification of the ECML between Peterborough and London, causing WAGN to become a generic synonym for “taking advantage of a captive market”
  5. I can’t quite find the designs with the trailing bogie credible - apart from anything else, the tenders look too small? Austerity, LNER and BR experience seems to demonstrate that the 2-8-2 and 2-10-0 represent the limit of usable size for U.K. conditions, with the 2-8-0 the biggest type for most practical uses in the pre-nationalisation era.
  6. Just spent a tiresome night in a Premier Inn in Grimsby. Why does a modern hotel chain at the upper end of the “business and overnight” sector think it’s acceptable to have no air-conditioning? Stuffy and unpleasant. Food was downright poor and the cider tasted watery, didn’t finish my pint (which is most unusual). Typical location on a nondescript light industrial estate made for constant traffic noise through the night. I’m also finding that the whole “working in the U.K. to slow down a bit” isn’t really working out. The general relentless pace, disorganisation, and squalid site conditions just aren’t ringing my bell at all. The phone is ringing again, Ive already turned down a couple of nice little jobs.... I’ve presently got a possible Jack-up move in N Sea and a survey trip to the Caspian in the offing, if they come up it’ll be “have bag, will travel” time again.
  7. It was the flagship of Foraky’s exploration operation for the NCB, through the 60s, 70s and early 80s. It also drilled shallow oil and gas wells around the Notts/Lincs area, including one in Gainsborough. There was a whole contracting sector drilling these exploration holes and oil wells, along with the ground freezing for the Selby and Boulby mineshaft sinking in the 70s and early 80s BDF are still involved at BP’s Wytch Farm operation, and have at least one rig working on fracking in the NW
  8. Not a railway item, but from the British Drilling and Freezing Co website, a Failing 2500SE rig which I worked on in the early 1980s, and was far from new then! Whether this rig is still actually operational is a fairly good question, given the lo-res pictures which appear to be long out of date (judging by the aluminium McDonald helmet and general lack of PPE in the second picture) and the question of what work it might actually perform? However, elderly landrigs like this still appear occasionally (I was briefly involved with a rig of this sort in the Easington area in 2005) and it DOES appear on a website originally designed in 2009 for a company which is still in business, so I think it deserves at least a mention in passing...
  9. Alternate history is an endless source of such things, but I rather doubt that. The period 1873-1896 was a time of financial depression, particularly in the U.K. Germany began a long process of wars of expansion and unification in the 1860s, and the United States sucked in huge sums of foreign capital for its own projects - most notably, the building of a Trans-Continental railway and the industrialisation which followed. As to preventing WW1, I also doubt that. Relations between Britain, France and Germany have long been strained by their similar, conflicting interests. Britain and France came very close to war in 1912, and Germany fully expected the BEF to make a gesture and then retreat in 1914 - indeed, the French also thought this likely. There was little political support for alliance with France, and if the Germans had (as they fully expected) repeated their smashing victory of 1870 without engaging the BEF, then the British would have had few options but to negotiate a settlement. I don't see how a Trans-Channel Link would have materially affected that, least of all a Bridge - which can be easily blown and subsequently rebuilt (a Tunnel is a much more difficult proposition in that respect)
  10. It all seems very faux-Victorian, what do they call it, steam punk? I’d envisage a sort of super-Forth Bridge with a bascule section, or possibly a tunnelled centre section from artificial islands with Gothic castellated portals?
  11. Oh, you can’t leave it at that! Do tell!
  12. Much of the once-huge Wolverton works are simply abandoned and derelict, although parts have been redeveloped and the West end is still in use, including the traverser which must date back to pre-grouping days. Eastleigh is less decrepit, since the whole site is in use
  13. ... banjo players famously never quite play the same thing twice, unlike fiddlers.. it’s because few banjo players can read music, whereas most fiddlers have varying degrees of formal tuition and can “read the dots”. Trumpet Hornpipe has at least two different endings, depending upon the opinion of the player leading the set... most “session” players will interpolate phrases from other tunes in the same timing, if only to see if you’re paying attention!
  14. I took these pictures inside the Wolverton works in March 2017 - a place little changed since the steam era, including the gantry cranes which lift the EMU bodies off their bogies It gives the impression of a more recent operation camping there while waiting to move....
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