This Space for Rent

Sep 27, 2021

Revising history


Somehow it had escaped my memory that Guilford (Springfield Terminal aka Pan Am Railways) bought the Delaware & Hudson for pocket change (US$500,000) in 1984. This explained why they so quickly kicked the railroad to the curb when the unions struck over changes in the work rules, and it also means that in a world that contains the PV&T some other suitor (with considerably better work rules, because life is too short for 2 person train crews & deferred maintenance) would step up and offer a bit more for a railroad that was a better fit (and was 50% – primarily 251'ed – Alco, which would make fleet maintenance easier for the MTRR shops.)

So, it turns out that when the D&H was collapsing dead on the floor in the early 80s and New York State (et al) were shopping around for someone to keep the railroad running, the PV&T could step up and offer a better price with better union protections, and thus on Jan 4th 1984 the D&H was pulled into the clutches of the Parsons Vale borg.

This brings the PV&T system up to about 2300 miles (plus another 700 or so in Conrail trackages rights that I need to add to the map), which pushes it right up to the edge of having class 1 revenues (eventually! The 1980s were not a good time for railroads in the NE, and bridge traffic can only bring in so much money.)

The map key is:

Color Owner
Red PV&T
Green LT&L
Pink Montreal Terminal
Light blue D&H
Dark blue short lines of interest/subsidiaries/trackage rights
Black abandoned

Sep 24, 2021

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

block mite

Dust Mite plays with my grandfather’s blocks

Sep 17, 2021

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Conrail Mite

Dust Mite, despite being fabricated after Conrail was split between CSX & Norfolk Southern, admires the can opener logo & BRIGHT SCREAMING BLUE paint scheme on E-33 #4805.

Sep 16, 2021

Cat box

Cat box

Thor found a box

Sep 10, 2021

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Still life with fruits & mite

Still life with fruits & mite

Sep 09, 2021



I went up to Tomcat Bikes this afternoon to pick up a frame for repairs, so I decided I would take the traditional randonneuse because I can always sling a frame over my shoulder and it would be a shame not to ride a new(ly painted) machine. Well, when the owner noticed this paint scheme they got very insistent that I should put an appropriate basket onto the thing, and gave me this ridiculous little basket.


I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, am I? Maybe I’ll leave this thing on the bike when I start riding 200ks; it’s certainly fashionable enough!

Sep 04, 2021

New (and extremely trivial) code!

I salvaged an ancient Acer Aspire One (powered by an AMD C50 @ 1ghz; the thing had Windows 7 on it, but when I powered the thing on to check it out it spent about a hour slowly applying updates, then finding something had gone wrong and bailing on the whole shebang at the end. Sigh. I suspect something faster would have failed in less time!) and put Slackware 14 + kde onto the thing.

Kde is, at least in the context of Linux windowing environments, not totally awful, but it does have the extremely annoying feature of a terminal emulator (konsole) that doesn’t have a way to start shells as login shells (which has the plus of not doing utmp entries, but that’s counteracted by – at least in the case of ksh – having the shell not read /etc/profile at startup.) Well, that won’t do.

So, the world’s most trivial New Code! – /sbin/loginsh, which takes $SHELL, picks out the basename, prefixes that with a -, then execs $SHELL with argv[0] being the newly prefixed basename. No privilege escalation, no user interaction, just adding that damned - so $SHELL does the right thing, and by the right thing I mean acts like a login shell.

I’ve released it into the public domain, so you can do with it what you will. So try it out; it probably won’t eat your computer!

Shopping while hungry

Shopping while hungry

And the subsequent cargo overload

Sep 03, 2021

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

The bagmaker's form

Dust Mite helps me slowly build a bagmaker’s form for a few rando bags I need to make up (including the one I need for this machine so I can take it for long rides in the country.)


Obéir c'est trahir, Désobéir c'est servir