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Fenman last won the day on January 7 2011

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  1. What's today's date, again? Though having written that, one of the big Middle Eastern airlines has installed giant screens in a first class suite that otherwise would be windowless, on which is displayed a view outside the plane (or anything else you fancy from the IFE). Paul PS: Exactly 6,000 posts, Ron Ron Ron? You are a very prolific man!
  2. The 442s were designed for one specific route -- the ex-LSW greyhound-racing track Weymouth-Southampton-Waterloo -- and BR made fantastically efficient use of cascaded electrical equipment from the EMUs they replaced, making them very cheap. They were a step-change up in comfort from the REP/TCs they replaced, the shocking silence inside the coaches being just one of the obvious improvements. ISTR they held the world speed record for 3rd rail stock for many, many years. But being designed for one specific route they later struggled when put onto others, each also requiring expensiv
  3. One of the five coaches was 1st class, with a mixture of compartments and a small open saloon at the driving cab end. AIUI originally the small saloon was supposed to be 2nd class but before launching the trains they decided the compartments on their own didn’t give enough 1st class seating. The Wessex Electrics were great trains, though after multiple refurbishments today they’re a pale reflection. Paul
  4. Which is of course true. But surely the answer is not “let’s keep burning irreplaceable raw materials until they just run out”. That strikes me as equally fatuous. Paul
  5. Women have never been expected to wear a tie, though I suppose in those days they weren’t expected to be CEOs, either. And in my experience, most men’s taste in ties is about as poor as you can get: often shiny polyester, and with some sort of “novelty” pattern that they think is humorous. But isn’t. Thank God we don’t still live in those days. Paul
  6. Quite right. It’s why I think it’s essential that the military is privatised as soon as possible... I would suggest NHS management of the current vaccination programme demonstrates that not all public sector management is run by feckless incompetents. BR certainly didn’t strike me as worse-managed than most other British large-scale private-sector companies of that era, and in some respects it was pretty good (R&D, development and launch of bargain-basement HSTs, etc). Paul
  7. There’s a nice review of the Clayton in the new Hornby magazine: “Excellent”. Well done, Heljan. Paul
  8. The Class 17 has already arrived — though Heljan is expressing surprise at how quickly it has sold out at the warehouse (some still available if you shop around). The Clayton is a good-looking loco, as well as being slightly more modestly-sized than express locos, so maybe there are some hints there for other manufacturers? Hornby had a go at O a few years back, though decided to do it with a revival of coarse-scale Bassett Lowke(!). The fact that range has sunk without trace, never again mentioned by Hornby marketing people, suggests it was a scar-making disaster for t
  9. I think people underestimate the popularity of Claytons: just think over the years how many re-runs Heljan has done of their 00 version. I was expecting this to be a good seller, though I confess I’m also surprised at how rapidly it appears to have sold. Paul
  10. The lovely short film Snowdrift at Bleath Gill (on YouTube’s British Film Institute channel, here) gives a nice indication of the number of people and departments involved in recovering a loco — albeit one trapped in snow, rather than derailed. Paul
  11. And hotter. Much hotter. An ineffective cooling system built to budget and very few opening windows: what could possibly go wrong? Or maybe they were aiming to make the busses as ridiculously hot as the Underground, to try to discourage all use? Paul
  12. So you’ve never been to North Road but you somehow know...? North Road Museum has the ambience of a cluttered junk shop. They’ve got some great stuff, and personally I love poking around in there, but even a cursory glance around will show Darlington Council has not opened the flood gates of funding (I know that because I’ve been there...). Locomotion, on the other hand, has a rather wonderful collection in a light and spacious building, on which care and money is obviously spent (never enough, of course, but what UK museum has as much money as it wants?). A
  13. There is apparently an agreement which is renegotiated / renewed every 5 years. That is not the action of someone / an institution which is giving up ownership, but instead suggests they have a strong attachment to their property, the disposition of which they wish to keep under control. An actively managed loan, no matter how long it is for or how many times it is renewed, does not give ownership rights to the person to whom it is entrusted. Just as pertinent: who in their right minds from this time on will ever again loan anything to the North Road Museum or Darlington Co
  14. Many sites are known — and they’re usually better off just being protected from deep ploughing or construction work (that’s what the last major round of ancient monuments legislation was all about in the 1980s). Scheduled ancient monuments are even more heavily protected than listed buildings. Unknown sites are by definition impossible to deal with until they become known (so you can’t just excavate them to find out what they reveal because they’re unknown...). That’s why it’s now usually a condition of significant planning permission that archaeological investigations must first b
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