Friday, September 18, 2015

Railway boom gate times

It seems the train folk are going to have boom gates lowering earlier when a train is imminent at 46 level crossings. The new trains to be delivered next year accelerate faster and so there is concern that there is not enough of a margin between when the boom gates are activated and the arrival of the train. We have to trust that they have a valid point and accept this, I suppose. As frustrating as sitting in your car at level crossing can be, you need to use some logic about it, accepting that you are perhaps one person in a car while up 1,000 people pass by in the train. God forbid that all those people would be on the road in cars too.

But something could very easily done to speed up the level crossing waiting time for motorists and that is the often ridiculously long period between when the train clears the crossing and the booms begin to rise.

This footage was taken at Gardiner Station. Works are underway to put the trains underground at this location as the level crossing does cause massive traffic problems. The train must travel slowly as it crosses tram tracks.

You don't need to watch all of this video. At 2.52 the rear of the train clears the crossing. 19 seconds later at 3.01 the booms begin to rise. That is heading towards half a minute and for what reason? I would have thought 5 seconds or less is enough. It is probably a full minute before the booms are fully raised and the traffic lights turn green and traffic can move again. This could be cut down to much less with today's technology, even yesterday's technology.

I think I have posted this video before or one similar of a redundant but still operational level crossing near Pakenham in Gippsland, Victoria.

For some amusement, construction of the Pakenham Bypass began in April 2005 and I assume the crossing was closed soon after, yet by October 2008, the bells and lights were still operating and the booms still coming down, in spite of there being no road. I believe the equipment has been removed now. Sometimes our train organisations are less than perfect.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

BAD Gifts

Over the years for our birthdays the Brighton Antique Dealer has given us various gifts, mostly from her own stock. Some I like, some I don't. BAD knows her stuff, so I doubt any is of great value. Here is a photo of a few bits.

The tray on which they sit is paper mache, but it feels like a light timber, which in a way I guess it is.

The jugs are not really me. They are English pottery and the painting is very nice. On the underside are numbers and they are stamped Ducal Ware.

The cruet set is rather nice, with its tray.

BAD told us ring on the neck of glassware is solid silver. It does have a number on it, but I need a better magnifying glass.

The small bottle is for perfume and has a broken glass stick attached to the lid for applying the perfume.

Lastly, metal toothpicks with handles like that of swords on a stand. Very hygienic and kids are strangely attracted to them.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Turnbull ditch list

Now we have a new Prime Minister, he needs to ditch the 'stupid old men'. As R quickly pointed out to me, I am pretty close to being an old man, but I use these words  to represent a certain sort of older male conservative politician.

Kevin Andrews. Nothing was ever proved about Dr Haneef yet night after night Andrews prosecuted the case against Haneef. There were more incidents he was involved in that did him no credit, but as I said, I am getting old and I can't remember them now. Get rid of Andrews and his lovely hat.

The ghostly  figure of Phillip Ruddock is still around? He has been so discredited over so many years. Why are we seeing him on our screens?

George Brandis, trying to sell the government home security data retention policy was hopeless. He has learnt nothing. Just last night I saw him on tv telling us Abbott's downfall was partly a communication problem. Yep George, nothing to do with policy or lack of, or the person himself.

Joe Hockey? Not so old, but so badly tainted by being Abbott's henchman, he has to go.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A week is a long time...........

I suppose I heard about it at the time but I recently heard about it again after another bill failed to pass the Senate. The original measure was to stop any under 25 year old person who became unemployed from receiving the dole (unemployment benefit) for six months. The government has now tried to get a four week period through the Senate, but fortunately failed to do so.

Six months without money? It is not like the dole is very much money. How is anyone to live? Mass homelessness? Soup kitchens? Starvation on the street? Begging? Prostitution? Theft?

While there may be a very few who bludge on the system, you really do need to be pretty smart and have a lot of fortitude to get away with it now. I don't think the image of twenty year old emerging from bed at noon in their family house holds true any more, except perhaps in pockets of extreme social disadvantage.

No matter the political persuasions of parties, they invariably disappoint once in power but this Liberal Party (conservative) government has been quite disgusting.

I rather like this one and a half minute long video I found at The Guardian, an electric only newspaper for us, which is surely threatening The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. If only they could add a few Melbourne car crash and lost children stories, I would be totally hooked.

Unionist Sally McManus has been keeping a blog running sheet called Tracking Abbott's Train Wreckage. You can take a look if you care to here. The final item is, 478. Breaks a promise to provide a stable and unified Government – 14 September 2015 

Up to the video was written a week ago ago, and as the adage goes, a week is a long time in politics. Dina picked up from a speech by our new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, that he said it was a humbling experience to be chosen to be Prime Minister. I find it very amusing that Malcolm could even come close to feeling humble. I would ever go so far to say that Malcolm himself would probably find it amusing. Do we want a humble Prime Minister? I think I want a grand Prime Minister, full of confidence and have clarity of thought and clarity of policy.

Did you hear former Prime Minister Julia Gillard now approves of gay marriage, even though when she was Prime Minister she said she was resolutely against it. Did anyone ever believe that she was against gay marriage? It was just too out of character.

I mention this this because in a similar vein, I have never believed Malcolm Turnbull really supported fibre optic to the node at the end of our streets and not fibre optic to our homes. Time will tell. Turnbull made millions from his isp Ozemail that went on to become iiNet. What is it like for people in the bush? Bush Babe can tell you right here. While it is a long post, it well worth a read if you want to understand what it is like to live in the bush, away from the convenience of the city and fast and cheap broadband.

While I don't vote for the Liberal Party (conservative), and you probably haven't noticed that in any post I have written, I have never used The Abbott's first name. In the above post I have used Turnbull's first name. Are you picking up that I may have a modicum of respect for Turnbull? To his credit, Malcolm is much more presentable than The Abbott, believes in our taxpayer funded broadcaster the ABC, and along with supporting public transport, is also a frequent user of the same.

Moving a castle #101

Quite a number of years ago, our friend here in Melbourne moved to the northern Japanese city of Hirosaki. She still lives in northern Japan, but in a larger city that wow, has its own Shinkansen bullet train service, a high speed train service most of us can only dream of and will never see in Australia.  We caught the Shinkasen as far as we could back then when we visited her in Japan in 2010 and then changed to a local train, which was still very fast. When I think about the Japanese train system, I feel quite depressed when comparing it to our own.

Anyway, getting off track (pun not intended).

For a number of years I featured photos taken from a web cam in Hirosaki Park during the cherry blossom blooming season. Hirosaki has a good display of blossom and is a popular place for many Japanese to visit. Because the city is in the north of Japan, the trees bloom later than in the south.

You can see some photos of the blooms here as I posted at the time. Note Hirosaki Castle in the last photo. This link takes you to a post about the day we visited the castle. That was two cameras ago, but I quite like the few photos.

You nor I would have ever heard of Hirosaki if not for our friend moving there, yet here the city popped up on the BBC world news service. The castle has got to go, temporarily.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The weather is a'changin'

After 14 degrees on Friday, on Saturday post winter we had our first 20 degree day. Today, Sunday was sublime with a temperature of 25 degrees and little wind. Tomorrow it will be 27 and windy. Too hot too soon for my liking but we have experienced a long and quite cold winter. Saturday was the first day we did not have the heating on and today, not even thinking about heating. Never mind that our heating has been on for months, only being shut down while we sleep.

Within two days elms are bright green with their ready to release hops. Plane trees are full of ready to release pollen and tiny bright green leaves are showing on branches. There are a few remaining magnolia flowers, but as with most blossom trees, leaves are appearing as the petals fall.

Melburnians got out and about on such a fine day. Every Jewish person in Melbourne needed to buy bagels in Balaclava, causing massive traffic jams. Every person from Upper Bayswater North needed to lunch in St Kilda and caused massive traffic jams and overloaded trams. Those who did neither of the above clogged up our outer parks, such as Lysterfield Park, and Mount Dandenong.

And if Melburnians did none of the above, maybe they went into town and clogged that up as well. I have that they did that on good authority. 

Bless, by Tuesday the temperature will drop back to 14 and rain is forecast. As I have learnt from all over the world, 'well we need the rain' is quite a common expression.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Selections

I am joining River and others for Sunday Selections.

It was a cold autumn morning, as I can tell from these first photos taken as I left home. Eureka Tower is up in the clouds.

The Shrine Gardens are a bit misty.

Even less of Eureka Tower now.

I photographed the photographer. I am sure he gave me a dirty look.

Fifteen minutes later, blue sky was appearing.

Shadows were being cast.

And I was looking around the Southbank area.

Remains of the Sandridge rail bridge.

Tiered lunch seating?

The mist comes and goes for a while.

Gattina, your beer is here.

Some native plantings close to the Southbank promenade.

Some of this cobble stone paving appears to have been here for a very long time. Does my gut look fat in this photo?

These sculptures lining Sandridge Bridge move up and down the bridge, but so slowly I can never detect any movement.

The Ice Bar cometh and the Ice Bar closeth, due to unpaid bills and rent, I heard.

Not like.


School lads about to board a ferry.

An older European accented man had this cockatoo and I thought it was for picture posing for a fee, but no. He was happy for anyone to pick up the cocky and snap away. The feathers raised around the bird's beak are probably warming the cold air a little as it inhales through the nostrils in the beak.

I forgot to check properly but it seemed to me you could bypass the ticket barriers at Flinders Street Station by walking through this shop.

Mirka Moira's mural is half hidden away and looking rather shabby.

Railway station capacity wanting? Close a platform and turn it into a cafe. I am not sure if it will be successful. We haven't tried it yet.

Mind, it is not accessible from the station.

Looking west down the Yarra River.

Railway safety advertising.

Bad photo taking, with the sign chopped off. This the Travellers Aid centre, to assist strangers to Melbourne who need help or may be in a spot of bother. I think it is run by volunteers.