Category Archives: Television

Circumnavigating Australia — Melbourne and Puffing Billy


Puffing Billy

Our cruise ship departed Adelaide on Sunday, March 1. Two days later Radiance of the Seas docked in Melbourne. But this day we would not be touring Melbourne. Instead, we had a date for a ride aboard the Puffing  Billy Railway, a narrow-gauge heritage railway.

Locomotive 14A

There’s a lot to see on this excursion, so we’ll be enjoying it this week and next. And there’s a lot of history on this line, from the stations to the equipment used.

Menzies Creek Station

For instance, today I’m presenting photos of Locomotive 14A. From the Puffing Billy website:

Built in 1914 and painted Canadian Pacific red & dark brown, this locomotive was issued to the Colac to Crowes line and saw service on all four lines, but mostly on the Colac to Crowes line. It was withdrawn from service in 1962 at Colac and sent to Newport Workshops for storage where it remained, except for a brief time at Bendigo North Work-shops in 1963. After overhaul, it was brought to Belgrave in 1965 where it has seen almost continuous service since. In 1978, it became the first of the preserved NA’s to trial a historic colour scheme for which the Canadian Pacific red & dark brown was chosen, but ended up mistakenly being painted a “London Tan” & dark brown. In 1996 it received a more correct Canadian Pacific livery. This “temporary” trial livery has now given way to 14A’s designated livery of all-over black. Its physical configuration will match the late 1940s era with the extended bunker, guard irons, etc.

Locomotive 14A

Locomotive 14A would not be our steed this journey. You’ll see that beauty on Wednesday. I present Locomotive 14A because it was available for detailed viewing while we awaited our own transportation. Let’s take a look at the boiler of this beautiful steam-powered locomotive:

Red hot boiler

And while we’re at it, let’s take a gander at the vitally important temperature and steam gauges that warn against impending disaster should the pressure get too high:

Locomotive boiler gauges

Narrow-gauge is defined as, ” . . . track gauge narrower than standard 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) [source].” Puffing Billy’s track width is 2 feet 6 inches/762mm.

Narrow-gauge — 2’6″/762mm

I’ll be posting links below to provide you with more information, and I’ll be including these links throughout the series. Until Wednesday, here’s one last look at Locomotive 14A hitched up to the rest of her train:

Locomotive 14A ready to go

For more information:

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Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, Television, vacation

Repositioning South — Kennedy Space Center Part 2


Full Saturn V assembly and Apollo Mission logos

Today we’re just going to mosey around the Race to the Moon: Apollo/Saturn V Center at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. There are many Apollo artifacts here to see, such as the actual Apollo 14 command module:

Apollo 14 Command Module

The interior is glassed off from prying fingers, but you can still peer inside:

Inside Apollo 14

Here is a replica of the lunar suit worn by Gene Cernan during the Apollo 17 mission (the real suit is on display at the Smithsonian):

Apollo 17 lunar suit

This image is a statue depicting geologist Harrison “Jack” Schmitt’s excursion on the lunar landscape during Apollo 17:

Statue depicting lunar astronaut (and former senator) Harrison H. Schmitt

Did you know we actually sent a dune buggy to the moon? Three times? This is an LRV (Lunar Roving Vehicle), similar to one used during Apollo missions 15, 16, and 17:

Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV); the Lunar “Dune Buggy”

But the star of this show is overhead. That’s the various components of the enormous Saturn V rocket that sent a dozen men to the moon over the course of six missions:

The five Rocketdyne J-2 engines of the Saturn V S-II second stage

Saturn S-IVB third stage with single Rocketdyne J-2 engine

Apollo Command Module with Launch Escape System

Put it all together you get this view from the end opposite of the picture at the top of today’s article:

Saturn V assembly with Lunar Excursion Module in foreground

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Baltic Cruise — Tallinn, Estonia Part 1


Tallinn, Estonia

Vision of the Seas arrived at our next Baltic destination on Monday, August 14, 2017, a mere one day after our departure from beautiful Riga, Latvia. But, if anything, we found ourselves in an even more picturesque venue, for we had arrived to Tallinn, capital of Estonia.

Tallinn, Estonia

While Tallinn is a town of much bright and cheerful color, it’s also a city with a lot of texture. As such, over the next two weeks you’re going to see a lot of photos in black & white, as textured subjects often translate quite well to that format. There will even be an upcoming Fun Photo Friday of Tallinn favorites consisting solely of B&W images.

Tallinn, Estonia

I mentioned Tallinn was also quite colorful. Here is proof of that:

Tallinn, Estonia

So, we’ll be exploring Tallinn mostly in photographs rather than text in the articles ahead. And here is a sampling of what to expect over the next two weeks:

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Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, Television, vacation