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About DavidB-AU

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    Brisbane, Australia

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  1. It's called shisa kanko ("finger call") where you point out important things and speak the status out loud. It's a common occupational safety technique in Japan but train drivers are probably the best known example. Cheers David
  2. Stagecoach takes rail franchise row to High Court https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51170664
  3. There is a lot of research going on about alternatives to coking coal, including carbon from natural gas and even recycled plastic and rubber. But they are a looooong way off industrial use. Cheers David
  4. The Great Southern heading out of Brisbane today. This is a new weekly seasonal land cruise from Adelaide to Brisbane, using (mostly) the spare Ghan set not used during the wet season.
  5. Something that would make a really great exhibition layout would be somewhere on the TER Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur between Saint-Raphaël-Valescure and Cannes. The railway hugs the coast for 40km, doing some tight turns around headlands and bays. Something based on the Viaduc d'Anthéor would be an obvious choice. Imagine a roughly kidney shaped layout with the track disappearing into a tunnel or deep cutting about a train length either side of the viaduct. It would only need a couple of TER local trains and maybe a non-stop TGV Duplex. Cheers David
  6. Australia still beats that with 682 wagons and 8 x 6000hp locos. Gross weight 99,734 t, 7.3 km long.
  7. Morocco also has an unusual royal train formed by two Budd SPV2000s.
  8. Various media outlets have reported the Newhaven Marine is to be legally closed. it is still legally "open" even though it has been closed to passengers since 2006. No mention of when the daily ghost train will cease running.
  9. Will the station have a stall selling the Ankh-Morpork Times? You could have fun with the headline posters. Cheers David
  10. London Passenger Transport Board taking over the LNER line from Finsbury Park to Edgware and an extension to Bushey Heath. Here's a great video about it. Cheers David
  11. Following on from UK Railways Without the Great War, I thought about what might have happened to the the railways without WW2. I can't actually see an alternate history without some sort of war but here's a what if: France stands up the occupation of the Rhineland in 1936 (which was a huge bluff on Germany's part) and Germany turned its focus to the east. The war starts with Operation Barbarossa in 1941, Italy makes a move on Egypt at the same time, the Pacific happens anyway in December. The big differences are no hot war in western or northern Europe (maybe a tense cold war along Germany's western border), no Railway Executive Committee, no Blitz, no North Atlantic campaign, no American involvement in Europe (only in the Pacific). First thing I can see is the Salter Report might be implemented in full. Some more cooperation between the railway companies to keep long-haul goods off the roads, but possibly some branch line closures and replaced with local road traffic. This might have improved the financial positions of the railways in general. I can see some increase in traffic anyway. The BEF may still be in France and Belgium, there would be troop transport and munitions for Egypt and the Pacific, and possibly munitions for Russia. But there probably wouldn't have been mass evacuations, fewer places "closed for the duration" and people would probably still go on holidays. Railway workshops may not have been taken over to produce war materials, or just spare capacity may have been used. What projects that were delayed or abandoned because of the war might have gone ahead? Would GWR have got its diesels earlier and started electrification of the Devon Banks? Would the LNER and LMS have kept pushing speed records? Would SR have spread slidey rail further and got new express passenger locomotives? Would the Northern Heights project have gone ahead? Would nationalisation have gone ahead? Cheers David
  12. There was a proposal to merge the LNWR, MR and L&Y in 1909. I can't find a reference to hand about why it didn't go ahead. If you look at the Board of Trade Railway Returns 1912 (I think the last complete list before the war), of the 15 largest companies the most profitable was the NBR with operating expenses being 55% of revenue. CR was 56%, TVR was 57%, LBSCR as 60%, L&Y and SECR were 62%, GWR was 63%, GER, LNWR, LSWR, MR and NER were 64%, GNR was 65% and GCR was 66% (after a very quick decline from 49% to 68% during construction of the London extension). After that is a big gap and the also rans barely made any profit, if any. Pretty much anything not in the above list was open to being taken over or merged with larger companies. When you look at return on capital, surprisingly TVR came out on top and unsurprisingly GCR was the worst. The companies above average were TVR, GNR, GWR, LNWR, LSWR, LBSCR, MR and NER. So the Big Four could quite easily have become the Big Somewhere Between Eight and Fifteen without any government encouragement. EDIT: This is not counting joint railways. Cheers David
  13. There would have undoubtedly been mergers, although not to the extent of grouping. I suspect there may not have been mergers south of London as they were among the most profitable and (along with the Met) had the most lucrative suburban commuter routes. GWR would simply have continued what it had been doing for decades and bought up smaller companies anyway. It's important to remember Grouping was a compromise to nationalisation. The Railway Executive Committee showed how inefficient it was having so many separate companies and there were serious supporters of full nationalisation in 1918, Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George being among them. The Ways and Communications Bill of 1919 actually included powers of State purchase, but Andrew Bonar Law opposed it and it was dropped from the Bill. Some historians have theorised that the Conservatives were spooked by Red Clydeside, fearing a Communist revolution in Scotland in 1919 (only ~15 months after the Russian Revolution), and the Big Four was the result. Cheers David
  14. I think the discussion is getting hung up on detail about heritage passenger services. There are plenty of prototype examples where commercial operations could generate additional revenue without necessarily requiring higher speeds. - Revenue freight such as stone to Minehead, MOD to Redmire, coal from Wolsingham and bitumen on the Ribble. I have a recollection spoil trains operated on a preserved line but can't remember the details. - Seasonal running of main line DMUs onto preserved lines, for example to Corfe Castle and Bishops Lydeard. Okehampton is a more complicated example but shows how you can mix things up. - Main line rail rail tours running onto preserved lines. - Storing somebody else's preserved loco and support coach. - Charters for film and TV production. - Not quite a commercial operation, but some preserved lines have seen the NMT, RHTT and weed spraying trains. So run more or less whatever you want. Cheers David
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