June 1-7, 2004
Which of these numbers is the 'biggest'?
Scroll down to see.
a) 808: The number of US combat deaths in Iraq as of today.
b) 1,700: The number of Haitians who drowned in the flood last weekend.
c) 2,998: The number of people killed in 9/11.
d) 15,000: The number of people killed in the earthquake in southern Iran a few months ago.
Last night Watcharee spent the evening in Ayutthaya (this was her last chance to see her Mom, Grandmother and close family before we leave for America this Sunday) ... today I drove the 90 minutes to our river-country place to pick her up.
On the return, Watcharee wheeled us back to Bangkok while I snapped a few pictures of the familiar passages out of Ayutthaya and several more of the bigger ones leading into our Bangkok neighborhood. I did not take any photos of the 95 intervening expressway kilometers.
"Alf, I can't believe how self-centered you have become!"
Shut up, that's what blogs are all about!
Coming into BKK on the expressway:
Closer to home:
Tonight's photos are of twilight poking its way into our River Garden (**).
(*) THOCBDC would like help on this particular NEWNES 'event'. As Mr. A. Page of Britain's Inland Revenue is privy to much British minutia (including all things to do with British Rail) he would be the first person whom we would like to ask. When I moved to London in 1969 there were only two classes on trains: First and Not. How did the old 3rd differ from Not? And, how much of a 'step down' was it from First?
(**) Nikon's night optics make twilight seem less twilight than do the optics of the naked eye.
Reader A. Page of the UK answered yesterday's question about third class seating on British trains with this article from The Guardian. Apparently the original third class seating arrangement did not provide a roof.
The article mentions that at one time there was a fourth class option (perhaps roofless and seatless?).
Rail company ready to abolish first class seating
Chiltern's plan gets a mixed reception from customers
Wednesday February 20, 2002
Passengers who have been paying more for the privilege of a guaranteed seat in Chiltern Railway's first class sections may soon find themselves standing in the aisles with their fellow commuters.
Having already replaced approximately 40% of its rolling stock with new, standard class only trains, the company is now considering the abolition of first class when the 10-year-old trains that make up the remainder of its stock are refurbished.
Just over 10,000 seats are available on trains running on Chiltern's route between Birmingham and London at peak times, and the railway currently carries 8,000 passengers during those hours. The vast majority travel in standard class, and some are forced to stand.
Only about 30% of seats in first class are sold, so the change would create more seats for second class passengers. Chiltern has already heard from some of its 250 first class season ticket holders, and expects "there will be strong feelings" if a decision to do away with first class is taken.
However, a company spokesman explained: "Gone are the days when first class meant you travelled in comfort and second, third and fourth class was abysmal. Standard class seats are now very comfortable."
Under a 20-year extension to its franchise, Chiltern has also committed itself to raising passenger numbers by 50% in the next five years.
First class passengers on Chiltern yesterday complained that the company was already turning its back on them.
One first class passenger on the 12.57 to Aylesbury said he had found possession of a first class ticket no longer meant there would be a first class section on the train that turned up.
"I think they've made the decision already. They have done it by stealth, as all the new trains are second class only," he said. "Most people don't travel Concorde or go to the opera, but that doesn't mean you should scrap them."
Another first class ticket holder, Keith Brown, said he bought first class tickets for all his employees travelling on business and would be sorry to see it abolished.
"That's 110 minutes of working time that could be lost. If they ran a service where you could always get a seat, then it's less important," he said.
But at Marylebone station in London yesterday, standard class passengers were positive about Chiltern's proposed move.
Steve Barnett, who travels on Chiltern about once a week, said: "I'm in favour of it - a single class for everybody." Fellow passenger Dipika Ghose agreed: "The whole separatist thing with first class is outdated in this day and age."
A history of class struggle
And these are the very latest high speed trains now in service on the west coast main line.
[And, the day on which Eton College holds Celebrations on the birthday of George III]
Packing starts ......
PS: From The Times (London):
PPS: First correct guess (*) will get one.
(*) The green thing ... not what's in the bag.
Final Thai dinner at 5a before we leave for Florida:
We will be in-transit for the next 30+ hours ... 23 of which will be in the air.