Posts by James Butler

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  • Speaker: It's called "planning" for a reason, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Oh exactly. The other great irony is that the last big capital rail investment in NZ, the NIMT electrification in the mid-80's, coincided exactly with the deregulation of the transport industry which left the railways without the monopoly-enforced customers with which the electrification was meant to cope; so the central section of the line has run for the last 20+ years at a fraction of its (freight) capacity.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 811 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: It's called "planning" for a reason, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    It's a bit more nuanced than that. Railways overseas built to a similar gauge to New Zealand's routinely carry very large loads (South Africa, parts of Australia) and/or achieve high speeds (Japan, although not the Shinkansen which is standard gauge).

    However, the use of narrow gauge in New Zealand has enabled lines to be built with tight curves and small clearances to fit into our interesting geography with the least earthworks, which is what limits the speed of our trains in the end - the North Island Main Trunk being a case in point. The same goes for using overseas rolling stock - the overall size is more limiting than the track gauge. So trying to change the track gauge of our entire network would be pretty futile - but the expensive bit, realigning routes, building new tunnels and bridges etc., would be of benefit on heavily-trafficked lines regardless of gauge.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 811 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: It's called "planning" for a reason,

    The thing that stands out for me is the almost unanimous framing of the Auckland public transport issue (from people all over the political spectrum) in terms of “pick one type and stick with it”. Thus investment in rail apparently must be at the cost of investment in roads and vice versa. Rail is seen as an alternative to buses, not a complimentary service.

    I don't think I've seen that from advocates of the CBD rail loop... where has anyone advocated ripping up Auckland's existing bus lanes and putting down rails?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 811 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: It's called "planning" for a reason,

    We already have heaps of bus infrastructure; these are called ‘roads’.

    While it might be "heaps", it's not enough. Consider the CBD Rail Loop business case (pp. 30-31):

    Without the CBD Rail Link, Auckland CBD would require twin or triple bus lanes (both sides of road)
    on most corridors and, in the absence of these, constraints on inner city network capacity would
    occur as follows:
    Fanshawe Street between Beaumont and Hobson Street, would be at capacity in 2019;
    Symonds Street between Karangahape Road and Wellesley Street, would be at capacity by
    2014;
    Symonds Street between Khyber Pass Road and Karangahape Road, would be at capacity
    by 2019;
    Albert Street southbound, between Customs and Wellesley Streets, would be at capacity by
    2016; and
    Albert Street northbound, between Customs and Wellesley Streets, would be at capacity by
    2020.

    Note that "twin or triple bus lanes (both sides of road)" in the CBD means precious little sharing with any other transport mode.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 811 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Wikileaks: The Cable Guys, in reply to Matthew Littlewood,

    And in response, David Frum conflates Wikileaks with Anonymous. Perhaps this little misunderstanding explains some of the US establishment's fear and rage. If all this information had in fact been leaked to 4chan, I would be much more worried.

    [twitter pros - noob question - how do I get a link to an individual tweet?]

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 811 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Wikileaks: The Cable Guys, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    my, well, er, usual source

    Please continue - I am far from tired of having my attention drawn to this wonderful writer.

    "Blogs that from a long way off look like flies" indeed!

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 811 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Popular Paranoiac Politics,

    Ooh, are we telling crazy Scientology anecdotes here?

    I once spent a couple of days in LA as a member of the New Zealand Youth Choir. On our one precious free afternoon, someone in the organisation had arranged for us to visit a local landmark and perform to a group of young musicians. What this turned out to be was a visit to the LA Celebrity Center, where a lively song-and-dance number informed us of the importance of keeping kids off drugs. We escaped as a group as fast as we could, chased by smiling PR androids bearing CDs and magazines (Jenna Elfman was on the cover, which dates it a bit).

    To this day I don't know if our choir admins were a) misled, b) infiltrated or c) possessed of an evil sense of humour.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 811 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Popular Paranoiac Politics,

    the return-to-feudalism of the Greens

    But hey, we’d have the world’s first Feudal Republic.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 811 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Public Address Word of…, in reply to JackElder,

    I'm seeing a nice Dr. Seussian dichotomy between the hat-twat twatcockers and hot-twat twatcockers. I imagine we'll discover in the end that our twatcocks are all the same underneath.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 811 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Public Address Word of…, in reply to Tom Beard,

    I have always heard "twatcock" to rhyme with "hot rock", but "twatock" clearly rhymes with "mattock" (a sadly underused word itself).

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 811 posts Report Reply

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