Newsletter September 2000
Pictures may take a while to download but please have patience - I hope you'll think they are worth waiting for !!
Another quiet month for railway news but Majorca has been enduring some unusual weather - in the middle of a virtual drought they had the most enormous deluge of rain, briefly causing floods and chaos but doing nothing to refill the almost empty reservoirs. My supplier of all the backstreet news from Majorca, Nick (Old Poblero) Robey tells me that the new series of the TV documentary on Majorca "Pasport to the Sun" is currently being filmed and he says:-
"Fame at last or is it FRAMED at last? Do you remember that "*#@ in the sun" programme with Lisa Tarbuck last year, well they have latched on to our larger than life ( nutter ) tenant in S'ubac this year, had a TV crew camped outside for two days, she has been seen entertaining them on OUR patio! Don't miss it, you can see my state of the art DIY - should have left it to the professionals !
There have been some TV programs featuring Majorca recently - the one mentioned above has been running again on the Discovery Channel and interspersed with all sorts of things we don't want to see there are some little nuggets including one program which featured the Soller Railway at some length. It also features an extremely voluble midlands train driver and his wife and child but you can't have everything !! I have made an mpg file of this clip and if anybody wants a copy and sends me a CDR and return postage I'll do it for them - hopefully there won't be any copyright problems, I've been trying to contact Lion Films, the makers, without success, so .......
I think I should name this newsletter "Ancient and Modern" because I'm starting with some of the Caixa scans, culled from the booklet (kindly given to me by Edith and Rodney Knight) published by the Majorcan banking organisation "Sa Nostra", part of Caixa de Balears, with the title "El tren a Mallorca" and will finish with some brand-new photos of the new station at Sa Pobla from Gordon Hanson.
The first photo is of the docks area by the Cathedral at Palma. The loco is identified as a Nasmyth Wilson 0-6-0T in the front of a goods train about to enter the tunnel which ran from the docks, under the city to the old FCM station in the Plaza España. If you let your pointer hover over the individual pictures the original caption (in Catalan) and credit will appear.
This photo, according to my translation, recalls the instant when a goods train with Orenstein & Koppel locomotive no.7 (aquired from Palma Electric Tramways c.1917) in front, traverses Avenida de la Unio which goes from Plaza Mayor to Paseo del Borne and is one of Palma's main streets.
Now Gordon Hanson's photos which really don't need any captions, thanks Gordon
Finally, a photo which I took in 1998 and which, I believe, was taken from a point just beyond the buffer stop in Gordon's photos, with the lamp-post in his last picture just behind me and facing towards the position of the old station, showing the old 3ft gauge tracks half buried in the dust. If you look in the distance you'll just about make out a quite distinctive building which confirms my belief. I remember that after taking this photo I turned round and the tracks continued across the road and off into the fields which you can see in Gordon's fourth picture.
I have just (10th September) received a report, very kindly sent us by a Viennese fan, Gerhard Schumann, it consists of three parts. The first is a report on the Majorcan railways, culled from an Austria railways magazine called "Schienenverkehr aktuell", issue 4/2000. The second is his own report on the status of the Sa Pobla extension and finally, he says, he found in the German-language "Mallorca-Magazin" that a study has been ordered on the possibility of an airport tram as well as the Alcudia extension for about 80 million pesetas, the results of which will be presented in January 2001. Furthermore, the station building of Artá is going to get renovated in the near future.
Unfortunately, neither Mike Kaben nor I have the time or experience to translate Gerhard's report properly so I'm going to add a page to this newsletter which you can access here and which contains the report, in full, in the original German PLUS a translation which Mike has done with the help of a computer-based program but which provides unusual reading. The translated section also includes some of Mike's own comments but possibly, by reading the two in conjunction, you may be able to get the whole story
Lastly, a word of caution (modified 26th October 2000) to you serious photographers who have previously used Kodak's truly excellent PhotoCD service. You may have received the impression that this appears to have been replaced by a new format called Picture CD and, whereas previously your photos were stored in at least five different resolutions from wallet-size to bedsheet size, the new one uses JPG compression format, only one size of image (1536 x 1024) and 36 pictures take just under 16Mb of a 640Mb CD !! The rest of the (540 Mb) CD contains more than 200Mb of software which attempts to autoload and persuade you to use all manner of fancy tricks with your pictures which is fine if you're not a really serious photographer who wants the choice of format and resolution which Kodak's PCD gives. I know which I prefer, my photo above is from a Kodak PhotoCD and is just above the middle of the resolution range, the largest regular option being 2048 x 3072 - four times the size of this image - and the smallest 64 x 92, like the one below.
Since Kodak appear to be determined not to promote the continued existence of the excellent PhotoCD I suggest that those of you who need such a format go and find a serious photography shop or a branch of Jessops which does still offer this service (not all of them do !!) or their own version of a similar kind. Unfortunately almost all these other regular processes are JPG-based too, instead of being based on an uncompressed format such as TIF and the image quality suffers accordingly. The five sizes on offer range from 96 x 64 to 1536 x 1024 (the same as Kodak's Picture CD) but if you can get it still, go for Kodak PhotoCD !! End of rant.
I've got a lot more of Gordon's pictures to scan so I'll save a few for further newsletters so thats all for now - please keep the contributions of photos and news coming in. Keep your eyes on the Railway magazines as, hopefully, there will soon be an article published by one of them on the Majorcan railways.
I want to produce Galleries of Pictures of the Soller Railway, the Soller Tramway and the disused parts of the FCM, which will appear as soon as the pages can be coded and I can obtain more webspace. Meanwhile an archive of my Soller Railway photos can be found here.
Watch this site for further developments which will take place whenever new information or pictures come to hand. Any submissions of information, photos old or new, postcards, etc., will be very gratefully and enthusiastically received and if used on the site will be suitably acknowledged (as above). The photos, pictures and diagrams used on this site are presented for your information and viewing pleasure only. If any of them should be in copyright violation and the copyright holder would care to notify me I will either remove them or acknowledge the copyright accordingly.
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© Barry Emmott 1st September, 2000