Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Riga now

Martin has sent me a couple of Riga shots showing the "now" to your "then" .

 The lone survivor of the old cars undergoing restoration in Depot 5.

Posted by PicasaFinally here is a recent picture of 1901. The new tram in the background makes me think that perhaps we should go to Riga next year.

Riga 1990

We first visited Riga in June 1990 when Latvia was still part of the Soviet Union. It is difficult now to imagine the economic situation 20 years ago. Basically the shops were empty and our big treat every day was to have an ice cream at 3:00 pm.

There was considerable tension between Latvian and Russian speakers. The driver of the Museum tram was an outspoken Latvian nationalist who was taking a party of Russian speaking school children round the city. He insisted we travelled on the front platform with him, closed the bulk head door and ignored the children.

Most of the trams were Tatras running in pairs with both trolleys on the wire. Electrically operated frogs were used with complicated twin wires at junctions.

Route 10 had a handful of these older bogie cars and trailers.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Martin Miller visited Riga last September.

Attached are three pics taken in Depot 5, which is also the works, in September last year. Much snowbroom maintenance for the upcoming winter and a delightful water carrier conversion. It was my first experience of "Russian Gauge".

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Monday, August 29, 2011

rails i ferradures

Yesterday railsiferradures posted a comment on this blog inviting readers to look at their web site. This is a fascinating site with pictures of unusual tramways very often horse drawn. The only problem is that it is written in Spanish but it is well worth visiting for the pictures.
The two pictures I have published are taken from Dennis Gill's book Tramcar Treasury published in 1963.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Appalling accident in Rio de Janerio

My thanks to Geoff who sent me this news in the form of a comment to a previous post.

"Sincere sympathy to the families of those killed and injured in the appalling accident on the historic Rio de Janeiro tramway.
See  "

Kath and I visited Rio in the late 1980s and travelled on this amazing tramway. We join Geoff in sending our sympathy.

Disturbing news from Edinburgh

Strange bedfellows

As part of the preparations for the weekend Depot V doors had been opened allowing me to get this picture of Sheffield 189 and Halle 902.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

A rainy day

It rained from 10:30 until 15:30 yesterday and there was a shortage of wet weather trams.

I was J'burg 60's conductor.

Of the 3 trams out, Glasgow 812 was the only one suitable for the prevailing weather conditions.

Wim - my understanding is that my driver had the choice of Chesterfield 7 or Jo'burg 60 on Friday and it was already starting to rain. If I had been the driver, I would have declined both of them and signed off but as conductor I merely got out my umbrella.
The next day when the weather was better Blackpool 40 and LT 1622 were out. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Romania 1993

There have been a lot of visitors to this blog from Romania in the last week. So here are some pictures taken on a brief visit in September 1993. We flew on a Tarom charter flight from Manchester to Constanta and hired a Dacia car to drive to Iasi. However the car was in a terrible condition and didn't feel safe at speeds above 50 kph so we only went as far as Galati. These pictures were taken in Braila and Galati.

In 1993 many of the trams were in very poor state. Deliveries of new trams had ceased and the second hand German trams were only just beginning to arrive and we didn't see any. The trams pictured are Tatras or Romanian built Timis cars,

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Thursday, August 25, 2011


Peter Dale has just finished construction and painting of his white metal and etched brass kit of a Bristol Tramcar. The vehicle is OO in scale - fully operational with pick up from the pole.

 Pictures by Ken Jones with special permission from P.C. Dale

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Kath took this picture of a diesel powered guided bus yesterday.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Martin Miller has sent me these pictures taken in Mestre near Venice.

 Martin asks is it a tram, a trolleybus or not in this world? So I checked with Google and the answer is 'Tram di Mestre'. It opened as recently as 20th December 2010 and looks to be very similar to the system in Caen, northern France.

Graham Feakins has emailed:
Regarding your latest item about the Mestre ‘tram’, the system is more properly described as an electrically-powered, guided bus.  See here:  

Thanks Graham - no doubt you remember Martin.

Coincidentaly this is post number 1297 on this blog.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Reply to Wim and Hugh

Thank you both for your comments on yesterday's blog post. I think that the TMS Board is trying to control every little detail of a diverse organisation by issuing directives rather than consulting the people they expect to do the work. They need to get out more often.

Between March and July I was seen at the Museum most weeks. I attended the AGM and the Chairman acknowledged that I was taking notes for The Journal. A week later, on the day they decided to sack me, the Chairman, the Treasurer and the Editor all received drafts of my AGM Report. At no time did a single member of the Board offer to discuss Ian Dougill's letters with me.

I hadn't replied because I felt the tone of the letters was insulting to someone who first became editor 39 years ago and had always followed the rules and submitted copy for approval. Over the years I worked closely with Geoffrey Claydon, a solicitor, to ensure that The Journal was as accurate as possible. We used to meet and review every issue a few days before it went to the printers. Latterly I submitted complete PDF page files by email to Ian Dougill for approval. So where's the problem Wim? I don't need your lecture.

I have produced 57 Journals on time and on budget and feel that I should have been consulted before snotty, 'sign this or else' letters were sent out.

The main reason I was not prepared to sign is that frankly I don't think that Ian Dougill is the right man to be Board Member Responsible for The Journal. He has far too many and too diverse responsibilities to carry them all out effectively and he is not a natural journalist or a lawyer. Had the Board consulted me I would have explained my reasons for not signing in more detail and then have expected to be asked for my resignation.

Finally the TMS should adopt a policy of marking sensitive letters "Private and Confidential" and consider making them less impersonal and abrupt when dealing with volunteers. I know from the AGM that the Chairman shares this view. He referred to it as cosseting volunteers.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A letter from the Chairman

'A letter to Society members and employees - Journal matters' signed by the Chairman of The Tramway Museum Society has appeared on the traffic office noticeboard. It explains why I was dismissed as Assistant Journal Editor. Presumably he had to go to this trouble because the Hon Sec forgot to include this news in the last issue of Contact.
A simple statement would have sufficed. For example "The Assistant Journal Editor has been dismissed for failing to comply with instructions from on high. The Board hopes he will enjoy more time with his family."
Finally it would have been a courtesy to have been sent a copy of the letter, which mentions my name 5 times, rather than waiting for me to find it. 

I will reply to Wim's and Hugh's comments in detail tomorrow. I did tell the Editor that I could not sign the document as written. I would have been (and still am) willing to explain my reservations to any member of the Board. If we could not then have reached agreement at least I could have been afforded a dignified farewell.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Five tram Friday

Posted by PicasaYesterday was another busy Friday. Rack 2, Blackpool 166 and Sheffield 74 were the three service cars which ran full throughout the day. Berlin 3006 was out for driver training but also provided a crew for lunch reliefs and operated some service journeys. Liverpool 869 is currently restricted to UDEs.
I was 74's conductor, the only double decker, so busy, busy, busy. However much to my surprise I was asked to take a trainee so my workload was considerably reduced as I did downstairs and Ian did upstairs.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Frank Bagshaw sent me these 3 pictures. Coastal tramway terminus at Adinkerke (De Panne).

The turning circle at Ostende with a Westende shortworking.


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Thursday, August 18, 2011