lostcarpark: (Default)

Originally published at James's GUFF Trip. Please leave any comments there.

Wednesday, I was catching up with stuff during the morning, so didn't get moving till after lunch. I got the bus into central Wellington, and as it goes to the railway station, I stayed on it till there. Being a little bit of a train nerd, I popped in to have a look at some New Zealand trains.

All the trains present were what I would call EMUs (electrical multiple units). The most interesting was one called "The Cyclops", which is apparently the last single headlight train in New Zealand, and has been repainted in its original 1950s livery. I got chatting with one of the train workers, who took my photo in front of it.

Walking back towards town, I passed the parliament building and had a look. There are three main buildings, but the most recent one is an interesting round structure known as the Bee-hive.

The rest behind the cut... )
lostcarpark: (Lego Manga Figure)
I'm working to put together the next couple of issues of my fanzine, Brick Fix. Issue 3 should be ready quite soon - possibly early July, but I still have a few gaps to fill, so if you can get something to me by next weekend, it will be received enthuastically. Issue 4 will be to bring to the Worldcon in Australia and will be printed in mid August. I'm hoping you'll contribute to either or both.

The overall theme is still Lego and Science fiction, and anything that loosly connects with either or both is very welcome. I do also have specific subthemes for these issues, so I'd be especially interested in pieces that link into those.

Issue 3 will have a bit of a trains theme. So I'd be really interested in pieces about Lego trains or science fictional trains.

The theme of issue 4 is a bit harder to sum up in one sentence. Over the past few decades technology changes have made it easy to build and maintain relationships over longer distances to the point where I know people on the other side of the world better than I do my next door neighbour. Both sci-fi and Lego communities have embraced these technologies and rely on them heavily - in fact Lego fandon among adults almost wouldn't exist without the internet. So I'm interested in your thoughts on how this affects us as a species, whether these developments are a good thing, and how we'd cope if we lost them.

I'd also like to do a bit of a Doctor Who feature in issue 4.

Please leave a comment or email me if you'd like to contribute to either.
lostcarpark: (Lego Train)
Al, Helen and I spent a plesent Sunday afternoon exploring the world's largest miniature railway or is it the world's smallest public railway? We also took a trip up the old lighthouse at Dungeoness. However, we weren't able to visit the visitors' centre at the nuclear power plant because it's closed permanently.

The railways is quite cool. They have tiny steam locomotives running on 15" gauge track. However they are 1/3 scale representations of big locomotives and look really stunning.

Photos here.
lostcarpark: (Lego Train)
The 8:32 Drogheda-Pearse was a supposed to be 6 car set. There was announcement after we were sitting on it for ten minutes, but the volume was too low to make out. There was a second announcement telling every to disembark to the (invisible) train on platform 2. I asked the driver what the problem was and he said brakes. Apparently there's no spare in Drogheda, so we told a train would arrive from Dublin at 8.55. Then, everyone got back on the original train, apparently responding to some hidden cue, and there was an announcement apologising for the late running. The engine then revved for a few minutes. Another announcement then told us the train is now out of service, and another train would be arriving on platform 2. According to the timetable, there should be a train from Dublin at 9.05, though it's supposed to go on to Dundalk. At 9.10 a train saying Dundalk on the front a pulled in to the service depot. A few minutes later it reversed out, and finally made it's way on to the platform. It finally departed at 9.18, but is only a four cars long, so it's likely to get very packed, especially since it will also be picking up everyone who's early for the 9.30 service. It's also occurred to me that we left about 2 minutes before a non-stop Enterprise normally passes through, so we'll be holding that up too.
lostcarpark: (Default)
I was on the first public run of thje new Sligo train on Wednesday. It's a very nice train. Comfortable, smooth, and reasonably fast. The Sligo route has been running with commuter trains for the last couple of years, and they aren't really suitable, though it's a toss up which is better between them and the 1970s coaches they replaced.

Like the commuter trains, the new trains have an engine under each coach, but you'd be hard pressed to notice. Even under full acceleration it's easy to forget it's there.

The passengerb area is well laid out, with comfey seats, big tables, and plenty of leg room. Unlike many trains, the seats all line up with the windows, so you always get a good view. There are power sockets at every table, so laptop power is not a problem, though there's no WiFi.

The toilets are neatly laid out, with acres of room in the accessible toilet. The standard toilet is very compact, but it it all works surprisingly well.

The journey was pretty uneventful, though the timekeeping was a little sloppy, leaving about 3 mins late at both ends. They made up the time, but if you can't get it right for the press run, when can you?

Unfortunately my new camera didn't arrive until yesterday, but I'll post up some photos from my camerphone later.

January 2016

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