INTRO: For its R70m Blue Train refurbishment, Spoornet has drawn on the expertise of designers, architects and hoteliers. Rollo Dickson reports On June 27 Spoornet is due to relaunch its luxury Pretoria – Cape Town Blue Train service with the first of two trainsets to undergo extensive refurbishment. Confident that it still has no equal on rails, Spoornet Chief Executive Officer Braam Le Roux has ambitions for the Blue Train to be graded as one of the world’s leading hotels, offering passengers 24-hour valet service and bathrooms with taps plated in 24carat gold. The current fleet of 36 Blue Train coaches was mainly built in 1972 for R5m. At 2·9m, the vehicles are 50mm wider than standard Spoornet stock, and corten steel body saving 88mm have been exploited to make the most of interior space. Under a refurbishment programme that has cost over R70m, all compartments have been equipped with en-suite baths or showers, reducing the passenger complement of each set from 108 to 84 passengers.In addition to bathroom floors of rare Italian marble, the refurbished Blue Train offers passengers hi-fi, compact disc and video equipment in its more expensive compartments. Eleven professionally-trained valets are to hand around the clock, and passengers’ laundry is taken to an on-board facility fully equipped for washing, drying and ironing.Professional expertiseDetermined to maintain its reputation as the operator of the world’s most luxurious train, Spoornet called upon interior designers Wilson & Associates. Managing Director Shiree Darley was seconded as Project Manager, assisted by architect Michael Crosby whose expertise includes the design of laser-cut veneer inlays. To make the best use of all available space on board, the refurbishment team turned to computer-aided design facilities provided by Autin Mullane & Associates. With the brief of creating service worthy of the luxury hotels he has managed in the United States, Malaysia and South Africa, Jean Mestriner was retained as hospitality consultant for the refurbished Blue Train. Business Manager Kishore Seegoolam, not a career railwayman but trained at the St Géran resort hotel in Mauritius, has likened his own task to that of an artist ’given the opportunity to create a masterpiece’.More evidence of the intention to create a hotel ambience is to be found in the dining car, where the walls are decorated with original works by South African artists. Staff in traditional European white aprons serve the Blue Train’s famed cuisine on gold-rimmed bone china. Male staff have discarded conventional railway uniforms for short, double-breasted navy jackets and matching trousers, with hostesses (Spoornet’s first) wearing similar uniforms with skirts.Creature comfortsA club car has been added to complement the existing lounge car. It is equipped with a large screen displaying the view ahead as captured by a video camera mounted on the lead locomotive. Throughout the refurbished train, fluorescent lighting has been replaced with incandescent fittings to give a softer glow, and all private rooms have recessed lights and dimmers. A new air-conditioning system maintains a constant temperature of 20 to 21°C, but manual controls in each compartment allow for variation between 18 and 25°C. To protect passengers from the heat of the Cape sun, electrically-operated blinds are fitted between the panes of the double-glazed windows. Inside the train, a textured blind can be lowered over the glass. Air-cushioned bogies and high levels of sound insulation appeared with the current Blue Train coaches in 1972, and close-bolted Scharfenberg semi-permanent bar couplers are fitted to avoid slack action. Passengers pass between cars via full-width gangways, carpeted throughout.Hotel power at 650V is provided by two 550 kVA diesel generator sets installed in a dedicated van, maintained by two technicians present on every journey. The Blue Train carries 31000litres of water, replenished at stops en route, and pumped by compressed air to baths and showers. o read more
Those surviving who will cherish Donald’s memory include his wife of over 53 years, Joyce Sacksteder; children, Lynn (Rod) Dirkhising of Cedar Grove, Brent (Robin) Sacksteder of Trafalgar, and Todd (Heather) Sacksteder of Brookville; 9 grandchildren; 1 great grandson, and 2 brothers, Jim (Rena) Sacksteder of Brookville, and Mike Sacksteder of Cedar Grove. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by 2 brothers, Glenn and Gene Sacksteder. Memorial contributions may be directed to Hospice of Margaret Mary Health or to the Holy Guardian Angels Preservation Endowment at Franklin County Community Foundation. To sign the online guestbook or to leave a personal condolence, please visit www.cookrosenberger.com. The staff of Cook Rosenberger is honored to care for the family of Donald Sacksteder. Donald E. “Sack” Sacksteder was born on April 11, 1940 at home in Cedar Grove, the son of Edwin J. and Alice Meier Sacksteder. He married Joyce A. Dudley on August 10, 1963 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church and she survives. Donald owned and operated Kaiser Meat Market in Cedar Grove for 42 years, retiring in 2010. He was very community focused – serving on the Cedar Grove Fire Department for many years and as a member of Holy Guardian Angels Church. Donald loved sports and always attended activities of his children and grandchildren. He also enjoyed playing cards and touring in his Jeep. On Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at the age of 76, Donald passed away at Ridge Wood Health Campus in Lawrenceburg. Friends may visit with the family on Friday, February 3, 2017 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Cook Rosenberger Funeral Home, 929 Main Street, Brookville. Rosary will be recited at 3:15. A Mass of Christian burial, officiated by Father Sean Danda is Saturday at 10 a.m. at Holy Guardian Angels Church in Cedar Grove. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. read more
Photo: © lionsrugby.com “Desperate” and “predictable” is how New Zealand rugby union head coach Steve Hansen’s described recent comments from British and Irish Lions counterpart Warren Gatland.The Lions boss claims the All Blacks targeted Conor Murray’s standing leg when he was kicking during the world champions’ first Test win on Saturday.Hansen phoned into a radio station to dispute the allegation – which he says is “disappointing”. He says they’d never deliberately try to injure a player.
Share Related Articles Soft2Bet continues new market drive with Irokobet launch August 26, 2020 Share Global Gaming adds sportsbook extension to Ninja property August 25, 2020 Facing tough regulatory headwinds in its home market of Sweden, an embattled Global Gaming AB has reported that Q2 2019 has ‘been the most turbulent and difficult in the history of Global Gaming’, with revenues and profits bearing the brunt of the licensing decision. Releasing its interim Q2 trading update (period April – June 2019), Global Gaming reported that revenues have faced a 42% hit in comparison to the same period last year, falling from SEK227.8m to SEK132.2m. Global Gaming came under fire from Spelinspektionen on 17 June following the decision to revoke SafeEnt’s operator licences. The decision followed the regulator’s conclusion that the Global Gaming subsidiary was in ‘serious breach’ of Swedish gambling’s AML Code and failed to meet customer care-of-duty requirements.Global Gaming CEO Tobias Fagerlund stated: “It is no understatement to say that the last three months have been the most turbulent and difficult in the history of Global Gaming. “We published our previous report with the belief that the changes we had made with regard to the CEO post, the general changes in the organization, and the comprehensive and swiftly implemented set of other corrective measures would pave the way for our return to positive figures and growth. “When we got to the month of June, we positively thought we could realistically expect to be back into black figures already in the second quarter, thus achieving the intended turnaround. Everything changed on the morning of June 17th, when the Swedish Gambling Authority announced that they had withdrawn – with immediate effect – the gaming license that lay at the foundation of the Group’s Swedish operations. “The Swedish Gambling Authority justified its decision citing serious deficiencies in the business in matters of responsible gaming and Anti Money Laundering measures. Those who have followed the extensive media coverage of the decision know that we do not share the Swedish Gambling Authority’s opinion and have there-fore appealed it.”Profit after tax took one of the largest hits in Q2, with the operator group reporting a 136% drop compared to Q2 2018. For the period ended 31 June 2019, profits were negative SEK11.8m – a fall from the SEK28.9m from last year. Profits after tax for the first half of the year dropped by 195% since last year, while cash flow from operations took a similar hit through a 154% drop.While Global Gaming is still appealing the Swedish regulator’s decision, decreases across the board have largely been attributed to ‘draconian measures’ and ‘substantial organisational changes’.Fagerlund continued: “The events of this Spring and Summer affect our business in every way, and we are now facing a challenge we have never faced before. Global Gaming has grown at an incredible pace over the past year, yet from where we stand today, we can only acknowledge that we too have made mistakes during the time we grew from a total newcomer to one of Sweden’s most recognisable brands. “In the short term, it has been about damage control, cost control, and finding solutions to continue moving forward and creating the conditions for a return to profitability.“Considering the uncertainty of our situation, I think that we have acted both quickly and resolutely. With these substantial organisational changes implemented here and now, and with the swift choice of a new technology approach, we have managed to quickly create the conditions that will enable us not only to face but to also operate in our new reality.“Despite the draconian measures and drastic organisational changes we are facing, we cannot fail to notice that, internally, our fighting spirit and will to prevail are very much alive, which in itself creates conditions we should not underestimate. “The future will undoubtedly place great demands on us as an organisation, as well as on me as its CEO. We must live with the consequences of past mistakes but we can also learn and grow stronger because of them. What I can promise is that we will do our utmost to get back to profitability and growth – and I believe we’ll be successful.” StumbleUpon Submit Winning Post: Swedish regulator pushes back on ‘Storebror’ approach to deposit limits August 24, 2020 read more
Police probing rape allegations against Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar announced Tuesday that they have closed their investigation due to a lack of evidence.Investigators at the Sao Paulo police station where a Brazilian woman made the accusation in May confirmed on Tuesday the case has been passed to public prosecutors, who have 15 days to make an evaluation and final decision. “I concluded the investigation yesterday. I did not see enough elements to indict,” Sao Paulo police investigator Juliana Lopes Bussacos said in a press conference.Neymar has vehemently denied claims he raped the alleged victim May 15 in a Paris hotel room.The woman claims she exchanged messages with the 27-year-old on social media before meeting him at the Sofitel Paris Arc Du Triomphe.She said she returned to Brazil two days later but was too emotionally shaken to report the incident until May 31. Neymar subsequently posted an Instagram video in which he claimed the allegations were part of an extortion attempt.The case came to light shortly before the Copa America, which the Brazil international missed because of an ankle injury.His club career is shrouded in uncertainty, with the forward eager to leave PSG amid reported interest from former club Barcelona. read more
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