Posted in sport, Television

Wimbledon 2012

David Ferrer defeated Juan Martin del Potro  after a routine win in the fourth round at Wimbledon today ad will nw play Andy Murray in the quarter final after Murray defeated Marin Cilic with straight sets victory.The pair had been forced off yesterday with the fourth seed leading 7-5 3-1 and endured more disruption today before Murray clinched a 7-5 6-2 6-3 victory under leaden skies on Court One. His isthe fifth successive year Murray has rached the quarter finals  Wimbledon.

Posted in locomotives

A4 Pacific 4468 “Mallard” sets world speed record for steam locomotives on July 3rd 1938

(Click image to enlarge)

on 3 July 1938 The London and North Eastern Railway A4 Class 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive Number 4468 “Mallard” set the official world speed record for steam locomotives at 125.88 mph (202.58 km/h). The record was achieved  on the slight downward grade of Stoke Bank south of Grantham on the East Coast Main Line, and the highest speed was recorded at milepost 90¼, between Little Bytham and Essendine. It broke the German (DRG Class 05) 002’s 1936 record of 124.5 mph (200.4 km/h) Mallard still officially holds the record and as plaques affixed to each side of the locomotive commemorate the feat.

tt was built at Doncaster, England in 1938. While in other respects a relatively typical member of its class, it is historically significant for being the holder of the official world speed record for steam locomotives. Mallard was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as an express locomotive to power high-speed streamlined trains. Its wind-tunnel-tested,[1] aerodynamic body and high power allowed it to reach speeds of over 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), though in everyday service it was relatively uncommon for any steam hauled service to reach even 90mph, much less 100.

1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials   In 1948, shortly after the formation of British Railways, the decision was taken to test locomotives from all of the former ‘Big Four’ companies to find the best attributes of speed, power and efficiency with coal and water. There were two ways of testing and comparing locomotives: either at the Rugby Locomotive testing plant, which was not ready until late 1948 or by testing in the field itself. The results of these trials would be used to help design the British Railways Standard design of locomotives.   The express passenger locomotive designs which would be compared were: London Midland Region (former LMS) Princess Coronation class, Eastern Region (former LNER) Class A4, Southern Region (former Southern) Merchant Navy class and Western Region (former GWR) 6000 Class or King class. Three Gresley A4 locomotives were chosen to represent the Eastern Region: E22 Mallard, 60033 Seagull and 60034 Lord Faringdon. All of the locomotives had the Kylchap double blastpipe chimney arrangement and were fresh from Doncaster works. Mallard had emerged from Doncaster with a fresh coat of post-war garter blue livery, stainless steel numbers 22 with a small ‘E’ painted above them (for Eastern region), new boiler (her fourth) and third tender of her career.   E22 Mallard was used on 8 June 1948 on the Waterloo-Exeter route. Driver Marrable took the famous A4 with a load of 481 tons tare, 505 tons full, the same that had been used on the previous trip by 35018 British India Line. Mallard got through Clapham Junction in 6 minutes 57 seconds, Woking in 28 minutes 47 seconds. At Hook there were adverse signals, causing Mallard to slow to a crawl. Even so, Salisbury was reached in 108 minutes and 28 seconds. Despite the signals earlier, the train was only 5-and-a-half minutes late. The net time was 95.5 minutes.   Mallard failed after this trial and 60033 Seagull took over. 10 June saw Seagull achieve the run in 96 minutes 22 seconds, but had departed 3 minutes late, meaning Seagull had arrived with the same load 3.5 minutes early. For Mallard, the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials were over, but Mallard was to return to the Waterloo-Exeter line for a Locomotive Club of Great Britain (LCGB) railtour in 24 February 1963 after wch it was retired, having covered almost one and a half million miles (2.4 million km).

It was restored to working order in the 1980s, and as  some specials between York and Scarborough in July 1986 and a couple of runs between York and Harrogate/Leeds around Easter 1987. Mallard is now part of the National Collection at the United Kingdom’s National Railway Museum in York. On the weekend of 5 July 2008, Mallard was taken outside for the first time in years and displayed alongside her A4 sisters, thus reuniting all four A4s extant in the UK for the first time since preservation. She departed the museum for Locomotion, the NRM’s outbase at Shildon on the 23 June 2010, where she was a static exhibit, until she was hauled back to York on 19 July 2011 and put back on display in its original location in the Great Hall.

Posted in books, films & DVD

John Carter

I’ve recently bought the DVD of this sweeping , old-fashioned swashbuckling action adventure which is Directed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton (Best Animated Film, WALL-E, 2008)  and is Based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ exciting classic novel “Princess of Mars”.

The film stars Taylor Kitch as a war-weary, former Confederate captain frm Virginia named John Carter, who finds hmself inexplicably transported to the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars) after he enters a mysterious cave, and soon finds that, Far from being deserted, Mars boasts many of its own wierd and wonderful inhabitants including a race of barbaric 15ft/5m tall blue/green aliens called Tharks who capture John and hold him prisoner.

At first he finds their customs very odd, however he manages to earn their respect after clobbering a few of them, saving a few lives and demonstrating his prowess with a weapon, and even manages to win a few friends in Tars Tarkas, Woola and Sola, and becomes a Chieften among them.  The Tharks then capture a beautiful but fiery Princess from the great City of Helium, named Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) and John takes rather a shine to her, unfortunately though he and the Martian princess get off on the wrong foot, since Carter knows nothing about the culture and customs of the red humanoid race, and they soon find themselves at odds with each other, gradually though she warms to him and he learns all about Martian history and discovers a planet inhabited by different races who are all continually squabbling with each other.   So John, Sola, Woola and Dejah decide to escape from the vicious Tharks and undertake a dangerous journey back to the Red Skinned Martians of Helium. However this proves to be harder than it looks and he has to undertake many hazardous adventures which bring him into conflict with  the Barbaric Green Skinned Warhoons, the Vile Warlord Tal Hajus, The Red Skinned people of Helium, the civilised peoples of Zodanga and the Black Pirates of Barsoom among many others before he reaches his destination

Events come to a head and John unwittingly becomes embroiled in an epic conflict against the forces f evil when he finds himself in the midst of an all out war between the various civilizations on Mars and those of destruction that will determine the fate of Mars and the survival of every single person on the planet!

The film also stars Willem Dafoe, Mark Strong, James Purefoy and For some odd reason it got a lot of bad press that it didn’t deserve. I’ve read all three Barsoom Omnibus’ and seen the film and I thought they were all great fun, sort of like a good old-fashioned, swashbuckling adventure/romance story along the same lines as Star Wars.