Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Transport

Thursday July 31 2014

Yes, that about says it:

image

Taken by me, yesterday afternoon.

Sunday July 27 2014

I just heard someone say in an American TV sitcom (I love American TV sitcoms) that they’re not going to answer the phone without knowing who it is, “like it’s 1994”.

I still do this, with my old 1994 style phone, which I greatly prefer to mobiles, because when I am out and about, I don’t have to answer it, and because phones connected to your house with wire cannot be lost, and because I know exactly where it is when it rings, and because that ring never changes.

Quite often, when I do answer, it’s a junk phone call, offering to extricate me from a financial error that I personally have not made by urging me to commit another financial error, and as soon as I realise it’s junk, I put the phone down.  Does this constitute some sort of “success” for the junk phoning enterprise?  Look, they answered!  Because obviously they knew who we were, this not being 1994, and yet still they picked up the phone!  Hey, we’re getting through!

Much of life these days seems to consist of doing many futile things, but contriving for these things the appearance of non-futility.  These days?  I suspect all days that have ever been, with humans involved, and no doubt many other species also, both before and now during the human epoch.  Only the futile things and the means of contriving a non-futile appearance for them change from time to time.

I don’t mind junk phone calls.  If they were more frequent, they would annoy me.  As it is, if there is a pause in incoming phone calls lasting a few hours, it is soothing to be informed, even if only by a robot actor voice spouting nonsense, that my phone is still working.  The pause was because nobody wanted to talk to me.

When answering junk phone calls, I pause any music that may be playing.  I do not mind this.  There is a part of my brain (yours too?) where you remember the musical phrase you were listening to when you last paused the music, and when you unpause it you carry on listening just as you would have done normally.  I even suspect that pausing deepens my response to particular pieces of music, by fixing particular moments of them in my brain more firmly than might have happened otherwise.

Since I am now rambling like the really old person that I am rapidly becoming, let me ramble some more.  In connection with none of the above, here are the wheels of a big mobile crane that I photoed in Victoria Street a while back.  Click on it to get the crane:

image

I like cranes.  That one is, I think, the Spierings SK599-AT5.  I love how you can find out about things like this, these days.  And this time it really is these days, rather than all days. 

Here is a link to a toy version of this crane.  Do contractors use toys like this to plan their jobs, I wonder?  As well as just to decorate their offices or amuse their spoilt children?

It is now late morning on Sunday.  Are sermons like this, when the priest is getting old, but is too well liked for anyone to want to sack him?  With a blog you can ramble anyway, because nobody can sack you.

Saturday July 19 2014

You don’t see many of these these days:

image

I’m talking about round headlights on cars.  About ten years ago, and I have photos that notice the moment, car headlights, having been round for about three quarters of a century, went absolutely mental, with silver moldings and weird shapes of all kinds.  It’s been like that ever since.  Now, a car with round headlights is an old car.

Like this one, the car with the above headlight:

image

It appears to be one of these, or if not then something very like it.  I photoed this car this afternoon.

A while ago, I started photo-collecting round headlights, and the cars that sport them.  There may accordingly, although I promise nothing, be a huge spread of them here, any month, or year, or decade, now.

Some new cars these days have pretend round headlights, such as the new German Mini.  But they are only pretend round.  Look carefully, and they are not properly round, like the one above.

Monday July 14 2014

Today, by some means or another that I forget (other than it was the internet) I learned that the new trains for Crossrail will supplied by Bombardier.  Oh yes, I learned it here.

And then, and again I forget how exactly, I learned about this bizarre vehicle, the Bombardier Embrio:

image

Oh yes, how I got to this was I googled for Bombardier pictures, and in among lots of airplanes and some trains, I saw this weird one wheeled thing, and investigated.

It looks like something Sylvester Stallone would ride in a movie.

It isn’t real.  It is only a “concept” vehicle, and concept vehicles never happen.  They just become part of the past history of the future, along with flying cars, robots to do your vacuuming and serve you tea, and elaborate space travel by the end of the last century.  Still, weird.

I think what made me dig this up was that I have a soft spot for Bombardier, having done a few days, over the past few years, of planespotting at London City Airport, my favourite airport in the world.  Lots of the planes that fly in and out of there are made by Bombardier.  The world’s famous planes are made by Boeing and Airbus.  But the quirky ones, the ones with propellers, the ones you don’t recognise, are made by companies like Bombardier.

I also like the way that railway carriages have changed during my lifetime.  They have got better and better, with their automatic doors and spacious interiors.

Friday July 11 2014

City A.M. has a report about another possible bridge across the Thames, this one being one that will connect Chelsea to Battersea.  There is another map here, also showing all the various options for where exactly to put this bridge.  And I see that I already mentioned this Chelsea to Battersea bridge idea in this earlier posting.

This makes three new London bridges that are now being talked up, planned, hustled, whatever.  There is also the Joanna Lumley bridge, which will go from Temple tube station to across the river from Temple Tube station, or then again maybe not.  Both this and the Chelsea to Battersea bridge are footbridges and bikebridges, but they are also forever talking about a big road bridge just down river from City Airport.

If this Chelsea to Battersea bridge gets built, it will be only a dozen minutes (two to three dozen minutes if I want to get close) from my front door, so you can bet that (although I promise nothing) I will be photographing its progress relentlessly.

I hope they make it look good.  Bridges can look so great that it is a serious shame when they don’t look great.  It’s good that they’re going to have a competition for this one.  This, I think, will unleash a contemporary force that is starting to interest me a lot, which is internet informed public opinion.  Now, all the various contending pictures of what they might or might not do can get published and talked about beforehand, far more easily than in the years B(efore the) I(nternet).  The people who rule the world basically don’t care exactly where, or even if, this bridge gets built, so they are perfectly willing to let its final design be settled by Vox Pop.  And Vox Pop, when it comes to bridges, is a force for good, I think. If you are going to spend 8X million quid on a bridge, you might as well spend 9X million quid and make it look really good and distinctive.  That’s what I think Vox Pop will say, and for once I agree.

LATER ON FRIDAY (i.e. not the small hours of Friday morning): More bridgery today from City A.M., this time in the form of a plug for that East London road bridge, already mentioned above.

Tuesday July 08 2014

Yesterday, London was bent totally out of shape by the Tour de France.  It became a French provincial city for the day, as I suppose some French people think it is always.

It rained.  I was otherwise engaged, and in any case did not fancy fighting my way through crowds for the mere chance of snapping a herd of cyclists racing past me for about twenty seconds, especially after I had watched a Lance Armstrong documentary on my television.  What a shit.  And what a shitty sport.  Besides which there would, I reasoned, soon be plenty of photos on the www of the drugged up veloherd pouring past the Docklands Towers, the City and its Big Things, Parliament, Buckingham Palace and so on.

Most of the pictures I found today involved Parliament and Buckingham Palace rather than more modern Big Things, and the veloherd (all with hats designed by Zaha Hadid) of course, and the best Tour de France in London snap by far that I found today was taken three months before the big day, when they were still telling everyone about it:

image

Classic.  Seriously, what better background could there be to a sport that is all about wheels?

Original and slightly bigger picture, with the story, here.

Tuesday June 24 2014

City A.M. is now one of my go-to places first thing, and there I read today:

Transport for London (TfL) will be introducing screens displaying how many people are sitting upstairs and which seats are available, in a trial system to begin in two weeks.

The display screens will be situated next to the driver as people board the bus and between the driver and the staircase before passengers go upstairs.

I am struck by two electronic sign innovations that have already arrived on the London transport scene.

There are those invaluable signs at bus stops, telling you what is due, when, and where it will go.  The only problem with these signs is that not every bus stop has them.  I know, I know, you can crank up the bus app on your mobile.  But I prefer not to have to bother, and anyway, that’s a lot of fuss just for a bus.  (Note the vagiaries of the spelling there.)

And the other innovation, much more recent, is those little signs that tell pedestrians - i.e. me - how many seconds will elapse before the pedestrian sign will be turning red.  Very helpful.  I don’t want to freak out motorists by getting in their way, but nor do I want to neglect an opportunity to cross if I can do so without freaking out the motorists.  These latest signs tell me what I need to know.  And it’s amazing how far you can travel in three seconds, if you know that three seconds is all that you have, but that you definitely do have three seconds.

So, will these new sign inside buses be any use?  Judging by earlier TfL electronic signage efforts, my guess is yes.

(More rhyming fun with esses (?) there.  It could so easily have been and gues and yess.  And before that, fus and buss.  (Does such tangenting pis you off?  (And are you fed up with this multiple bracket gag? (This, I think, being the record.))))

As politically controlled entities go, TfL is not too shabby, although goodness knows what it costs.  Especially given that they are now dragging their feet (which is all it will take for Uber to get truly motoring in London) when it comes to crushing Uber.  It’s the same mentality, d’you think?  TfL likes electronic signage, whether the signs are public or personal.  Could be.  Do you think the next thing will be big public Uber signs that you can use to whistle up cheap and cheerful transport, if you don’t have a mobile on you? Again: could be.

Saturday June 21 2014

I just came across this video, here, again, which has had many hits on Youtube. Like millions of others, I like it a lot.  It’s Louis C.K., complaining about people who complain about modern life and all its wondrous new gadgetry.  I was going to stick the video here, but it wouldn’t fit.  (Anyone know how to make it 500 wide instead of 560?  Maybe I should redesign my blog wider.) But follow that link and scroll down a bit to where it says: “- it’s very funny”; and then, in white on black at the top of the video: “+Everthing’s+Amazing+ +Nobody’s+Happy”.  And then click and enjoy.

Part of why improved gadgets don’t automatically make us happy is that everyone gets to have a go on them, but what really makes a lot of us happy is improved relative status.  New gadgets create a different world, in which we may as likely as not be demoted in status, below others who understand the new gadgets better.

There is also the particular genius of the gadgeteers to be considered, compared to our own ungenii.  New gadgets can make many of us feel like savages, out of our depth in a world of wonders, less capable (because utterly incapable of producing such a wondrous gadget), rather than more capable (through possessing the gadget).

In the article linked to, there is speculation that old people are more easily pleased, by things.  I certainly enjoy digital photography, as all regulars here will know, and you obviously enjoy that or you’d not be a regular.  I also enjoy typing verbiage into my magic machine and this magic blog.  Perhaps a reason why these things please me so much is that I am old, and had been waiting for such things to be possible for such a very, very long time.  For decades, I fretted about my inability to make pictures without fuss and write stuff without fuss, and show both to other people whenever I felt like it, again without fuss.  Now I can do these things.  Any envy I feel towards the people who contrived these wonder is dwarfed by the pleasure I get in doing these things, finally.  I know, I’ve been showing off my pictures and babbling away at various blogs for well over a decade.  But like I say, I’m old, and more than a decade is nothing to how long I spent waiting for these things to be possible, all the while not even knowing if they ever would be.  I had become used to knowing that these things might never happen, which means that I still can’t quite believe that they have happened, which means that they still make me happy.

Why aren’t people happier about amazing new stuff?
Vespa GS in Lower Marsh
The Not-V2 at London Bridge Station
Ubernomics
Quota photos of and from Tate & Lyle Park
Tricycles
Me and the first cranes at London Gateway last September
Old bus No 2
Bag Man
A old bus doing regular bus stuff
Jiaozhou Bay Bridge (aka Spaghetti Junction on Sea)
Photographing while on a skateboard
Vauxhall bus station now – and when it was being constructed
Star car
New train
Other things last Wednesday
Reflections in some somewhat broken windows
Under Blackfriars Bridge
“In order to comply with Google’s regulations …”
Zooming in on that approaching bus
Seven London bridges from the ME Hotel Radio Bar
Photoing the A380 from above – from the ground
“O my Hornby and my Barlow long ago!”
Westminster Tube photos
Could I please walk on Norman Foster’s proposed bike-ways above the trains (and take photos)?
Tube interrupted
Sculpture at St James’s Tube
More photos of things past
Father Christmas Aerodrome
The Kelpies of Falkirk
Happiness is Gold Blend at only £3 instead of £4.50
Gloomy Earl’s Court picture
Eurostar before St Pancras
Sperm Bike
A vanished building and a bendy bus
Smaller is more legible – big is more fun
The roof of Victoria Station
Owl at Canning Town railway station
Morgan – Abbey reflected in Morgan – Abbey reflected in other cars
Huge semi-submersible ships
Baltimore: cranes - a bridge - scaffolding
London Gateway from above
New apostrophe-shaped footbridge in Hull
An old Mini and a new Mini
A scaffolder likes Jeremy Clarkson
BMdotCOM insult of the day
Views from the Hackney Wick station footbridge
Reflections on a strange coincidence involving an Android app and a malfunctioning bus stop sign
Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
Wedding photography (3): Technology as sculpture
A Fleet Street lunch
Remembering a warmer day
Crossrail grubbings
Art without Artists
Giant cranes made in China for new London super-port in Thurrock
Alastair James on Blythe Hill Fields and smartphones
Waterloo Station’s new upper deck
At the bottom of the Shard
Reflections on and in Westminster Tube Station
Looking along Victoria Street to The Wheel (and on how to be liked (or disliked) by Google)
Big London Things with clutter in the foreground
XXL?
A new crane has already arrived
Here are (a lot) more photos that I took on March 27th
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom internet headline of the day
Michael Jennings on how the taxis at Skopje airport are an evil racket and what he did about it
Does anyone know how I can straighten these gasometers?
It got my attention
Tower Bridge with railway clutter in the foreground
This is transport
Beware the Men In Orange!
Viaduct from above
Photographers at Eros and Art in the tube
The Shard looking like it’s in a 1950s postcard
Steve Baker MP
Space launch monster
Today I’m in a “How very odd!” mood
Ancient and modern (but mostly ancient) cars in Regent Street yesterday
Transport photos
London from the east
Summer blogging break
Quimper cat on Harley-Davidson
The Royal Victoria Dock is not (but looks like) a transporter bridge
Quota hedgehog sculpture
A favourite Sunday snap
Collision photo
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom narcissistic self-quote of the day
Even the Goodyear Blimp is now obsessed with safety
More signs of the times
Strata from a station
The Big Dig and some smaller digging
Signs - all in my bit of one railway carriage
That’s what I call a Health and Safety Notice
The bike behind the theatre
Self portrait plus meaning of life
Clumbersome
A Spanish geography lesson
A Spanish high speed train bridge and a Spanish aqueduct
And here’s the proof!!!  Sixteen little square pictures!!!
Transport redirect
The Brusio spiral viaduct also looks like a toy train layout
Adverts on taxis and cars
Transport Blog restarts
Beyond the Dome with Goddaughter One
Google rolls out computer controlled cars
Another strangely punctuated headline and a depressing television play
More bridge magic
The Razor through a bus and without the bus
Real life toy trains
Mmmmm … bookshelves!
Farnborough (5): Supacat Bloodhound Falcon
Farnborough redirect
Lynxes and an A380
A response to the cyclist menace
Pink railway clutter
I do love a steam train on a viaduct
Big box computers versus laptops
Soviet space leftovers
Light and shade
When the foreground tries to ruin the shot - but only makes it better!
Rubbish bridge in Shangai
Car in in front of sloping houses
Airplanes converted into architecture
How my camera and the internet explained an old bus
Quota vapour trail
Six lions on a white Mercedes bonnet
I never knew Marmite came in tanker lorries
Biker shadow
Sushi and scaffolding at Victoria
Why do pregnant women now do quite a lot of driving of their husbands?
SAY NO TO GOVERNMENT MOTORS
Towers under the weather - and a steam engine steams to the rescue
Free Skullcandy on a bus in snowy Edinburgh
Three airplane photos
Osprey pictures
The Shard is definitely being built!
Strange purple cat with four eyes
Wuhan railway station under construction - with sunset behind
Of lists and distant totally photorealistic skyscrapers
Slumponomics
More recorded cricket chat and some further Oval hindsights
Model T parts flatvert
Back lit by the sun
Stuff in the foreground I wasn’t expecting
Instapundit turns into Idiot Toys
Hotelicopter
Bike made entirely of wood
Toys and big toys
Acton
Unamazing photo of amazing road
Who is Arnold Leah?
The Long Walk is easier if you have a couple of horses pulling you
Parliament photoed by a bus!
Flat train picture and regular train picture
Thames river boats
It could be a rather small funeral
Roll out the Lino
I am not drunk - I just didn’t know what to put so I just started
Random links
Old postage stamps
Another fine day and more not Billion Monkey pictures
Cat Car
Palming them off with a sunset
A movie staircase and a window
That went okay
Nothing here again
If it’s not Art it can be rather fun
Number on a bus roof
Tama the feline stationmaster saves the Wakayama Electric Railway Co.
A thin bridge in Wales
Another great viaduct
Switching from dumb bombing to smart bombing
Billion Monkeys close up and London from far above!
To Greenwich by train and back by bus
Birds
Clarkson on Sarah Jessica Parker
Two adverts in the tube
Crackers
The original Burtynsky Nanpu bridge picture
What I have seen so far while abroad
Here they stand
Ducks - frogs - turtles – beavers – Galaxy Quest
Those were the days and these are no longer the days
Wired bridges
Giant table football table and hamster powered cars
Why it helps to be exposed to the lower classes and to dogs when you are young
Classic car thinness
Travis Perkins of Pimlico Road are not good at delivering timber
Airplane over Putney
Celebrating a victory
The Gatwick Beehive
Big, Bigger, Biggest - starring Heathrow Terminal 5
Wedding photo
The Rite of Spring sounds to me like technology rather than nature
Meltdown in Russia … and New Zealand
The moving bridges of Chicago
Toshiba’s violin playing robot
I love the internet
At Bethnal Green railway station
Flat viaduct and spiral bridge
LAHTML
Michael Jennings on telecoms at Samizdata
It’s true what they say about how hard it is to pronounce Chinese – oh beansprouts!
More horizontal thinness
Blurry Billion Monkey on bus in front of even blurrier Wheel
Not obviously but maybe …
Guess the city (2)
Billion Monkey Maria Sharapova lookalikes!!!
Talking about St Pancras at St Pancras
Another cat!
Millau Viaduct with goats
More St Pancras snaps
Long train with mountains
Thin Canadian bridge
The space between the buildings
Hear ye hear ye
For Skimbleshanks read Tizer
Tinsley Viaduct
Eurostar says goodbye Waterloo hello St Pancras
The A380 bulge
Fourteen British viaducts
A train called Professor George Gray
Cat power!
Photos - four transport - two artistic
Fly-pasts - air displays - crashes
Renaissance Man
Feral Real Photographers and naughty Billion Monkey!
Further pictorial shallowness
The cranes are migrating to China and Michael Jennings will be talking about China
Engadgetry
Lots of links
Billion Monkeys photo spaceship launch!
Voluntary World 3: Transport Blog illustrates the Muggins principle
Bridge over bright water
City Cat runs on air
Sunset with bike
Free trade explains the success of the Swedish Model
Assorted London quota photos
Toy train to Darjeeling
It’s Friday again
Zong
Just making conversation
Halo over Oxford Circus
London tricyclists are getting strong
Amazing map of amazing new Moscow bridge
A spring in their step
New Moscow road bridge
Dirty vapour trail over London
Robot car park in New York
Very very low cost kitten in space
World War One talk at Christian Michel’s
I am about to become a published photographer
The Dyson DC14
Billion Monkeys and people waving blue things!
No more photos for a bit after these ones
Happy day after Christmas Day
Big ships
By the rivers and canals of East London with Goddaughter One
Billion Monkeys photograph things!
Pictures of and from Albert Bridge
Geek girl I like your thinkings - are nice - I want have sex with it
Airship over the Wheel
Two sunset photos
Antoine Clarke and I don’t talk about elections
Grassy car with blog
A very small A380
Tourists on the move
Sssssssss!!!! White man!  Take my photo!!
Cute Brazilian car
A little transport history
Car attack – the plot thickens
Patrick Crozier talks with me about Japan
Patrick and Brian mp3 about libertarianism and spreading libertarianism
Bartók outside South Kensington tube
Happy trails
I also miss Transport Blog
A car called Jesus
Presumably the noise is not a problem
Chrysler 300C with bling
Non-zero tolerance at Clapham Junction
The Hungerford footbridges
The Falkirk Wheel
Watching them watching me
Another Billion Monkey and some Celluloid Gorillas in Victoria Street
Coming soon
Capitalism sermons and Bentley wings
Tube photos
A kink in the Range Rover grill
Bugatti Veyron
Nice view
Comedy tonight and another car headlight today
Looking at the cars
Inflight entertainment and information
Two Ambassadors and a blurry cyclist
Picture of a star riding in a stretch limo
So that’s this done
Rolls Royces
Some art to be linked to from elsewhere
Look what I saw from the airplane