Klausrl’s Weblog

The World according to Richard Klaus..Trains, Planes, Cars, Wales,Scotland.

Wales without a rental car.

Just a quick taste of Wales.  This particular photo from Arriva Trains Wales web site.

I’m working up a sample trip from Manchester to Llandudno Junction, then to Blaenau Ffestiniog. There transfer to the Ffestiniog Narrow gauge to Porthmadog.  In Porthmadog a person could ride the Welsh Highland round trip to Caernarfon, taking a few hours to see the huge castle at that end of the line. Remember that also in Porthmadog there is the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway a short ride with a stop at the shops working to restore some of the old engines. Very nice “Tea Room” as well.

Back on the standard gauge line south to the Talyllyn Railway. This little railway is a great ride, well worth the time.

The Talyllyn also hosts a very nice museum.

On to  Aberystwyth and the Vale of Rheidol. A first rate operation although lacking in some of the personality of the Ffestiniog or Talyllyn, the Vale of Rheidol runs deep into dense forest, clinging to hillsides, up to Devils Bridge.

Back at Aberystwyth, it’s an easy connection back to Manchester.

This trip could be made without the use of a rental car or bus transfers. The airport at Manchester has a train station in the terminal, that has frequent service to Manchester Piccadilly (that’s the main train station).


April 6, 2010 Posted by | trains, Uncategorized, Wales | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

747 called A-380s ugly Cousin?

Some time ago, I ran across a blog where the newest version of the Boeing  747 was referred to as the Airbus A-380s “ugly cousin”.

I submit photos of both, you decide.

OK the A-380 is bigger, but wow.

The 747-8 photo I found is of the freighter prototype that will be tested then delivered to Cargolux.  I my humble opinion the freighter with the classic 747 upper deck is by far better looking the it’s passenger carrying stablemate the 747-8 Intercontinental.

How anybody could prefer the looks of the Airbus, I can’t understand. I mean this is real Corvette verses Mack Truck stuff.

And really, 25 years from now. Which plane do you think will still be flying?

Hint:  There are still first generation 747s, most now converted to freighters in the air at any given moment.

I’ll be expanding this post in a day or two. Just got to get some head to head figures for the two planes. Yes the Airbus is bigger, but you might be surprised by the “Seat mile costs” of both.

As always comment away.

Just a quick additional note:  If it’s possible I’m going to be in Everett, Washington for the “First Flight” next month. Will know for sure once the date is set.  If so I’ll have a ton of photos of the event.

December 31, 2009 Posted by | Aircraft, Airline Stories | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland this summer?

I’ll let the links speak for themselves.



And, if you decide on a trip to the Ffestiniog/Welsh Highland check out the Oakeley Arms Hotel. Large rooms for the U.K., and great food. In the Pub, on cool nights they have a coal fire going in the fireplace. The coal warms you to the bones.

New this year to Porthmadog  a Travelodge. Provides the equivalent of US turnpike, motel service.  For those on a budget, this could make the difference.

Remember also Port Merion is just nest door, for you Patrick McGoohan fans, Port Merion is the Hotel/Town that served as the setting for “The Prisoner” BBC TV Show.

For those of you that are “Bucks UP” The Village is operated as a Hotel, although the tariffs are breath taking.

The grounds are however open to us commoners for a small fee. It’s worth an afternoon walkaround.

December 28, 2009 Posted by | trains, Uncategorized, Wales | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Post of the body work needed on the Wagon

Just a quick post to show the body work I need to get done on the Valiant.
Doesn’t show well in the photos, but the left end of the front valance, under the bumper is missing.

On the post below of the Wagon, I’ve got a picture of the right side. The small dent on the right fender doesn’t worry me near as much as the left side.
Oh, by the way. I found out that while the Wagon is a Valiant, technically it’s not a Plymouth. Made during a short time when Valiant was a separate product line from Chrysler. So for part of one year it was “Valiant by Chrysler”.

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Cars | , , , , , | Leave a comment

60 Valiant Wagon. Or, I really need another project!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Yes I did add a fixer upper to the fleet. This should be a long term keeper.
A 1960 Valiant Suburban wagon. This little wagon does run and drive. Needs some body work, but should be an easy fix. Slant six, automatic, and overall in quite good shape.
Not going to get quite the number of upgrades that the 66 is getting, but we will see. Going to be made into a daily driver, and we certainly wont lose it in a parking lot.

November 16, 2009 Posted by | Cars | , , , , | 1 Comment

Tal-y-Llyn Railway troubles

DSCN0572 Small Web view

Just getting the word out. Not sure how to help, but the Tal-y-Llyn railway on the coast of Wales would seem to be suffering from the slack economy. Word is that the operation lost about 100,000 pounds, roughly $180,000 last year.
The Tal-y-Llin is one of the oldest restored railways in the U.K., but suffers from being some distance off the be beatin track. About halfway between Porthmadog, and Aberystwth Wales, this wonderful little railway is passed by on the way to other destinations.
Check them out at http://www.talyllin.co.uk.. it’s worth the look, and if you happen to get to the U.K. a trip through Wales is worth the time. You don’t really need a rental car as the train service is good. The only notable gap in transportation, being that the west and north coast railways have no direct connection. If you have the time, one can take the Ffestiniog from Porthmadog to Ffestiniog, and catch the Conwy Valley standard gauge line to the coast.
The Cambrian Coast route stops right at the west end of the Tal-y-Llin railway, a 1/2 block walk to the narrow gauge station and museum.
Anyway here’s the question for you. Any ideas on how to get the word out about the trains of Wales. I know there are sites out there (Great Little Trains of Wales) and other, but their visibility seems low. I’m not in the travel industry, but it seems like that might be the key to helping out these small railways. It would be a shame to lose some of them.

June 26, 2009 Posted by | trains, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Welsh Highland Golden Spike

Saturday, February 2009 the Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog Railways will be linked in a golden spike ceremony, in Porthmadog, Wales. Actually a golden clip, they do things a little different over there.

Now the work begins for those of us in the U.S.  Time to spread the word, with the world economy going in the tank, it would be a shame for the Welsh railways to fail after all they have done to restore the lines.

I know that not everybody can afford to take off every other year or so, but, for a relatively inexpensive trip Wales works.

Give it a thought. Castles, little trains, mountains,sea,and great people.

I’ve been to London several times (big city) and York (old city) great trains museum there.  But if you would like to visit an area that lets you turn your mental clock back 50 years, it’s got to be Wales, OK Scotland was pretty cool to.

I’m going to work on a trip plan next time I get home, but I’m thinking there’s a loop from Manchester west along the north coast, then south to Aberystwyth (ask Avrila) then back to Manchester.  Train travel is very reasonable, and fast.  If you rent a car, try Avis, avoid National.  Someday I’ll have to tell about the Vaxhaul, $1600 for two weeks (OUCH).

Might be a good year to go if you can afford it. Lots of people are going to stay home and there might be some good deals to be had.

February 28, 2009 Posted by | trains, Wales | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

U.S. Customs

So, I get up to a book warehouse in Ontario, Canada today.  No problem getting into Canada, got the books on board and headed back to the border. Yep I got all my forms filled out and filed. What could go wrong?

Well somebody at the brokers office could reverse two letters on the trucks license plate.  Three hours later I left the border office with the full knowledge that during the time those inspectors spent “solving” that problem a couple hundred “farm workers” slipped across the southern border.  But the country is safe from trucks with PR instead of RP on the plate.

Oh, and in all the fuss over the plate, they forgot to run the truck through the scanner.  That didn’t dawn on me until I got down to Eire PA. and I not going back.

We may all be blown up someday, but at least we are safe from typo’s.

February 27, 2009 Posted by | Truck Stuff | Leave a comment

70 Challenger

myphoto5 Tempted to add to the title “Dumbest sale I ever made.”

To those who where wondering if this car ever did exist, yes it did.  Maybe it still does, if so, if I ever hit a powerball lottery win, it’s first on my list to find.

This photo, the only one I could find as yet,and was probably taken back in about 1974. Yes I know it’s cracked and faded. Maybe I’ll find some better as I go through my old junk.

For the car folk, it’s a 1970 Challenger 340 with a factory 4 spd.  Many people think it’s a R/T, but while it had the R/T hood and dashboard (150 mph speedo, and tach) R/Ts had big block engines.

Interestingly this Challenger, while it could top 145 mph, came frome the factory with non power drum brakes on all four wheels.

Over the years, it got a rear sway bar, an option I highly recommend, and as you can see, hood pins. It doesn’t show up in this photo, but the hood has two small creases near the center. That was from a run down highway 26 that forced enough air under the hood to bend it slightly. A trip to the Dodge dealer and a set of factory hood pins, set things pretty much back right.

Sold the Challenger about nine years ago to raise the funds for my first Freightliner. Probably a good move, but to this day I wish there had been some other way to do that.

February 8, 2009 Posted by | Cars | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Well ya gota love it.

So last week I get a load of tea to take to Calgary. Leave Portland, Saturday morning with plenty of time for a Monday delivery. Get to the border about midnight Saturday. It turns out someone somewhere didn’t do the customs paper work right, oh and it can’t be fixed until Monday.

OK. 25 degrees out, I’m on the Idaho, British Columbia border, and it going to be a day and a half before anybody can look at the problem.  Sounds like some desk jockey should be buying some fuel.

As you might imagine I’m not real happy.

January 26, 2009 Posted by | Truck Stuff | Leave a comment