Quality infrastructure maintenance


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No injuries were reported when a Union Pacific train derailed and caught fire on a bridge over Tempe Town Lake in Arizona, officials said Wednesday.

Plumes of smoke could be seen rising into the morning sky beneath a trail of flames on video and images from the site of the derailment, where part of the bridge collapsed.
The train was hauling unknown hazardous material, according to the Tempe Fire Department.

One section of the Salt River Union Pacific Bridge — which was built in 1912 — had completely collapsed just on the side of the lake, with some of the train cars detached and on the ground.

Quality infrastructure maintenance — How NOT to do it!

Trump’s jaunts in 10 weeks cost as much as Obama trips did in 2 years

❝ Donald Trump’s trips to his luxury Florida resort have already cost the US taxpayer at least $24 million – roughly as much as Barack Obama spent on travel in the first two years of his presidency…

President Trump almost matched this figure in his first month – spending $10 million on three golfing holidays…

❝ After he hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago this weekend, Mr Trump will have averaged $2.4 million tax dollars a week on his Florida trips. If he keeps going at this pace, he will have outspent Mr Obama’s $97 million figure in just ten months.

Critics have pointed out that if the President cut back on these visits, he could fund the social security and arts programmes that he is planning to slash.

❝ Before his inauguration, Mr Trump regularly criticised Mr Obama for playing golf while holding office.

“Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the US, President Obama spent the day playing golf. Worse than Carter,” he tweeted in October 2014.

I expected Trump to perform as a world-class hypocrite. It takes a truly ignorant chump to believe he meant even a fraction of the lies he told during the campaign. The worst offenders are the self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives – Republican or Democrat – willing to accept every pantywaist excuse for such a profligate lifestyle. Especially from the leading elected official of this land.

The one-percenters are reknowned for their plutocratic life. For someone who supposedly represents the whole population of the United States, this new Gilded Age is a crime against the economics of American voters, Trump supporters or not.

Some of Japan’s hotels advertising their RR view


Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Japanese hotels near stations are trying to attract train spotters with rooms marketed as having a “rail view”.

Most people would prefer a room away from the tracks, fearful the double glazing would not block the rattle of a passing early morning express. But some hotels near stations in Tokyo are turning a potential disadvantage into a business opportunity.

They are trying to broaden their appeal beyond tourists and business travellers by marketing rooms to train spotters…

The Hotel Mets Akabane in the Japanese capital has a scheme guaranteeing rooms with a view of the tracks on the fourth floor or above…

The rival Odakyu Hotel Century Southern Tower overlooks Shinjuku station, one of the busiest in the world. Its “Just like the N-gauge Model, Train View Stay Plan” is named after Japan’s standard size of model railway sets.

The offer includes a gift of a paperweight made of a piece of track, as well as a copy of the latest railway timetable.

Hobbyists run the gamut from antique and old to modern and visionary – regardless of subject.

I recall sitting with mates in the Highlands – properly lubricated by an old single malt – listening to recordings of steam trains leaving station and climbing some famous grade.

I’d probably enjoy the approach of a Japanese bullet train as much – though in different fashion.