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New Orleans - 904 Passing the Pickwick Club Jan. 23rd, 2008 @ 10:06 am

Perley A. Thomas streetcar 904 passing the Pickwick Club, at the corner of Canal St. and St. Charles Avenue.

The Pickwick Club is an all-male, all-white lunch/social club. The club was originally affiliated with the Mistick Krewe of Comus, the oldest Carnival organization in the city. Comus has been around since 1857, when their two-float parade was the first of its kind in New Orleans. While the official connection between the club and Comus was broken in the 1880s, the membership of both organizations is reputed to be closely linked. Nobody knows for sure, however, because neither the Krewe nor the club make their membership public.

That lack of openness was the subject of a 1991 ordinance passed by the New Orleans City Council. That body decreed that, to get a permit to use public facilities like streets, an organization had to show it did not employ discriminatory practices in determining its membership. Rather than make its membership list public, Comus, along with two other Carnival organizations (Momus and Proteus) withdrew from the parade lineup. Proteus returned several years later, but Comus and Momus have steadfastly refused to comply, even though Comus won a lawsuit against the city, validating their right to freedom of assembly.

The Pickwick Club building is often confused with the Boston Club, which is actually down the street. While the Pickwick Club is closely aligned with Comus, the Boston Club is aligned with the School of Design, the organization which names Rex, King of Carnival, and parades on Mardi Gras morning. The Boston Club (which gets its name from the card game, not the city) is actually down the street. Prior to the 1991 blow-up, the Pickwick Club erected reviewing stands in front of the club on Canal St. Rex would roll down St. Charles and turn left onto Canal St., in front of the club. The king's float would stop there, and Rex would toast his queen, who watched the festivities of the day from that vantage point. Since the passage of the 1991 ordinance, however, the School of Design switched venues for their court, and now the toasts take place at the Intercontinental Hotel, at St. Charles and Poydras.

New Orleans - Streetcars in 1958 Dec. 24th, 2007 @ 04:02 pm

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We're not all the way to this point yet, but it's the ultimate goal of rebuilding the St. Charles line--the terminal at S. Carrollton and S. Claiborne Avenues. This 1958 photo, from the collection of Mr. Irwin From, shows Perley A. Thomas streetcars 967 and 908 at the end of the line, ready to begin the inbound run, and 927 is approaching the terminal, concluding her outbound run.

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New Orleans: Streetcars in Mid-City Dec. 17th, 2007 @ 08:47 pm

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Perley A. Thomas streetcar 922, departing Beauregard Terminal.

New Orleans streetcars in operation today are "double-ended" cars. When they reach the end of the line and are ready to go back, the front becomes the back and vice-versa. At the end of the line, like Beauregard Circle near City Park in this photo, the operator will pull the streetcar into the terminal, stop it, and then change the trolley pole from which the streetcar gets power. The one in what was the rear of the car coming into the terminal is pulled down so it doesn't make contact with the electrical wire overhead. The pole at what was the front of the streetcar is released, so it makes contact with the wire. The poles are wired to the motors on the streetcar such that the motor will turn one way or the other depending on which pole is active. When the switch is made, the streetcar is powered back on, and the operator will leave at the scheduled departure time.

Beauregard Circle is where City Park Avenue, Wisner Blvd., and Esplanade Avenue come together. The circle also feeds into City Park, to the New Orleans Museum of Art. The streetcar terminal at this location was constructed in 2002-2003. In the early part of the 20th century, streetcars ran on the short stretch of City Park Avenue seen above, when the Canal and Esplanade lines ran as belt service.

Riding the streetcar to Beauregard Terminal is one of the best ways to get from downtown to City Park to see the lights of "Celebration in the Oaks," or in the spring, to get over to the Fair Grounds racetrack for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

New Orleans: single-truck streetcars, 1901 Dec. 10th, 2007 @ 12:42 pm

Two Ford, Bacon & Davis streetcars pass each other on S. Carrollton Avenue at Willow Street in 1901. This car is still configured as it was delivered: open vestibule, Lord Baltimore truck. Car #197 is one of the 70 FB&D cars built by the American Car Company.

The New Orleans & Carrollton Railroad Company (NO&CRR) built two new facilities upon electrification in 1893. One was a power station at Napoleon and Tchoupitoulas (later to be come the NOPSI Training Facility), and the barn and shops of Carrollton station, at Dublin and Willow Streets. Carrollton Station was one block into the neighborhood from the location of this photo.

At this time, a small stand had been constructed at Carrollton and Willow. Car 197 is blocking the view of the stand in this photo, but you can see it in a sequence of photos on the NOSRA website.

Velaro Rus Dec. 7th, 2007 @ 09:17 pm

Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways, and Hans Schabert, president of Transportation Systems, a subsidiary of Siemens, signed in Moscow a 30-year contract worth EUR 300 million to service high-speed Velaro RUS electric trains operated by Russian Railways. In May 2006, Yakunin and Schabert signed a contract worth EUR 276 million to supply 8 high-speed electric trains during the International Business Forum Strategic Partnership 1520 in Sochi. These trains will be manufactured in Germany since that is commercially more viable for both sides.

At the moment, the technical design of the rolling stock is well underway, with working plans already being drawn up. By 20 July 2007, serial production of high-speed trains for Russia will begin in Krefeld, Germany.

Yakunin said that a depot for the servicing high-speed trains will be set up at Oktober Railways.

The high-speed train Velaro RUS is capable of 250 kph and is planned to operate between Moscow and St. Petersburg, but the design of the train envisages increasing the maximum speed to 330 kph after certain modernisation. Each electric train will be 250 m long and consist of 10 coaches capable of carrying over 600 passengers. The trains will be able to run on Russia s broad gauge track of 1520 mm and will be 33 cm wider than the ICE 3 used in Germany.

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