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About kenw

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  • Birthday 15/05/1950

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  1. When I did a lot of US travel [work-related] in the 70s, I would always look for a Ten-eleven if possible. A smoother flight than any other aircraft – I'm sure straightfeed can remind us what the technolgy was. Such a shame that it was not bought by more operators, but Boeing was able to offer better financial terms because of its range of different models. Later I worked on PR and marketing with the engineering team behind the RAF tanker conversions, although I was never able to fly in one. These days I've had my fill of airports and air travel – rail and sea are my preferred modes of travel.
  2. Bring back the train ferry. All is forgiven. True confession time, I thought it was magical: meeting up on Victoria's "international side" before departing at 22:00, waking briefly for the shudder and clank as we rolled on board, then waking properly to see the French countryside passing by. What's the nearest rail connection to any BF ports in the UK? Surely the PM's building budget could fund the rail spur – and maybe someone can find either an existing train ferry in need of some TLC, or convert an unloved ro-ro? πŸ˜‡
  3. Thanks, Chris. That's the photo I'm longing to take. And of course the matching pair – departing Portsmouth and arriving back here. Sorry, I should have responded to your original post. I think I read it, went away and tried two or three different dates in September and October with different results – unavailable / full / not responding as well as a some good dates. But at that point I was distracted – had to head out for a physio appointment. Thanks again. Ken
  4. Back at Ouistreham today (en route home from a seaside stroll and lunch at Lion sur Mer) thought I'd try some pix of the incoming Normandie from the West side – ie just by the entrance to the ferry terminal. Not as successful as my pix from the East a couple of weeks ago, but for the record, here's a shot of her completing the turn into the berth. (Apologies for the fisherman's line which you can see crossing the BF logo. I did spend a couple of minutes trying to remove it in Photoshop, but at 20:00 it's still warm here in Caen and the balcony beckons for the last hour or so). Incidentally, although there are no foot passengers yet, the afternoon Maritime Express bus was running – a driver route learning trip. Which saved us a walk back to the Port. All we need now is some definite info on when we will be able to travel again.
  5. Footies update? Statement from CEO dated yesterday 3 August, quoted on F/book [my emphasis] Statement on BF website [UK site as linked from here] at 10h00 today 4 August when I went looking for availability in September and October Does M Mathieu's "small number" exclude Caen-Portsmouth? How can zero in late October to available in November – so, more or less overnight – be seen as building / adapting / learning ???
  6. I'm told by transport/logistics folk that the wagons used by the primeurs service need "much work before reintroduction to a new service" [I think that's their transliteration and summary for my benefit] although without any detail. In railway technical circles there has apparently been some discussion of whether they can be overhauled / rebuilt or should be replaced. If it's "only" the reefer systems that are obsolete then that could be straightforward – but if the bogies and/or suspensions are life-expired that would be a different story on technical, timescale and financial grounds. I don't know what the yard is like at Perpignan, but – returning to the original thread – Bayonne will definitely need civils work – including roadways, marshalling areas and ramps – to handle piggyback traffic. Plus some updating of trackwork, control and signalling will probably be needed. Given SNCF's record with infra / civils, while the actual work on the ground could / should be completed in months, I think it would need continuing, hefty pressure from PM Jean Castex to deliver a complete project in less than three years or even longer.
  7. Poole (with the exception of Poole Harbour itself) and Portsmouth "hardly breathtaking" ?!?!?! Sorry, Sir/Madam, but I don't understand. From landfall to berthing both offer compelling views as the finale to your trip. One of my friends, a regular to/from Portsmouth reckons he is always last man to reach the car deck because he can't tear himself away from sightseeing on the open deck whatever the weather.
  8. Le Havre is actually very interesting and with some well-directed and well-targeted promotion could and should appeal to the UK market, particularly weekend / mini breakers. Great beach, with a wide choice of refreshments, much for the "culture vultures' – modern art and of course the postwar architecture – plenty of shops (including the Docks) and sightseeing (boat tours, the funicular etc etc). To say nothing of the surrounding area – think Deauville, Honfleur, Fecamp and Etretat to name but a few.
  9. Thanks for that. One surprising point in the PM's statement – which I think was made at the rail-served Bonneuil container port on the Marne – upstream from Paris is that the rail authority will not charge operators fees for use of these routes in 2020-21. Or am I mistranslating my blend of the spoken and written texts? [Which also wouldn't be too surprising.] Yet M Castex said that the govt was expecting proposals for the three projects by the end of the year. I presume he means "proposals" in the sense of requests for development and launch funding, since AIUI the project planning is already under way with BF and its partners / associates including SNCF. And I heard a few weeks ago that developing the routes would take at least 18 months, not least because new rail wagons may have to be specified, designed and built – route-specific mods of the existing LOHR design as used on the alpine and Calais trailer "piggyback" routes. The handling facilities at each end will also have to be built / modernised. Each of the three routes may need different rail vehicle types, depending on how the services will operate, just to add another layer of complexity. So the offer of free paths this/next year has me a bit confused.
  10. Just delete "German" and insert "– with the possible exception of those in China –" after "shipyard". Look around the world and we see yards closed permanently, others shut or with limited working because of Covid-19, and most of the rest cutting back on people, hours or scope of work. At least one well-known group is quietly doing the rounds of former competitors, asking if they can take on subcontract work ranging from block fab to fittings and fit-out. Maybe I haven't been paying close enough attention, but I'm not clear how much of the E-flexers is in-house and how much bought-in and from where.
  11. Never mind Le Bar, do we see Pierre LE BEAR ??? Or is s/he still in confinement?
  12. After all the months in confinement, I haven't quite got the timetable back in my head. Today, after a birthday lunch for MrsW in the port (La Marine in Place Gen de Gaulle) we went for a stroll past the lighthouse and along the jetΓ©e. I thought that we had missed seeing the afternoon departure, so it was a thrill to see Normandie heading up the channel. The camera was handy and it was the first time I'd had a close-up view of the approach and mooring manoeuvre. Which, btw, is a smart bit of seamanship. Here's a quick slideshow. I've deliberately downscaled the images to fit as a single upload; if anyone wants full-size pix for any reason, just ask (The originals are all Raw / Photoshop / TIFF files about 40Mb each, but will make decent images >10Mb)
  13. Thanks for that. We saw a pic the other day showing that the town centre was packed. We'll probably head for the Ibis at the Port de Plaisance and just have a stroll around then spend late afternoon and early evening sitting on the terrace with a glass or three until dinner. Do you have any restaurant recommendations within walking distance? If we don't want to venture further there are three or four restaurants within 500m of the hotel, so we can hopefully avoid the crowds.
  14. Latest info appears to be no footies "for the foreseeable future". So we've abandoned the idea of an autumn trip back from Caen to Portsmouth. BTW our "back of a spreadsheet" maths was that a four day trip – two nights in Ibis / Premier Inn – would cost about Β£350 plus meals, cab fares etc for two of us. (Assuming footie fares at similar prices to last year). One of the errands we wanted to do while we were there was to collect some bits of hifi kit from my cousin who lives at Lee on the Solent. But another bit of maths tells me we can get a door to door delivery, including the packaging, for about Β£50. So I think after the rentrΓ©e has reduced the crowds, a few days in Granville is back on the agenda. And in the meantime, days out here in Calvados.
  15. At least she looks like a ship rather than a skyscraper office block that's fallen over. My wife, who was a purser on the old Oriana and Canberra, has only one comment to make about most modern cruise ships: "The good thing about being on board one of those monstrosities is that you can't see how awful it looks!"
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