Class I steam is alive and well – on rails other than the main line
by Jim Wrinn Santa Fe, Union Pacific, Southern, Southern Pacific, Boston & Maine: The illustrious list of Class I railroad steam locomotives that are back in operation or on the way to steaming is impressive; the notion that the only steam in captivity today is about short lines and industrial railroads...
Thu, Sep 17 2009
Tales of a baby brakie
A couple of months ago, I took — and passed, thank you very much — my rules exam at the Illinois Railway Museum. That's right, I'm now a baby brakeman learning as much as I can about railroading operations with the goal of marking up to conductor and, eventually, engineer. The path here has been logical...
Thu, Sep 17 2009
What’s a steam fan to do? Answer: Reflect and look forward
This is the time of year when I realize that most of the fireboxes on the nation’s operational steam locomotives have gone cold. For most of the museums and tourist railroads, the engines are back in the shop, the volunteers and professionals in charge of them are tearing engines apart for much needed...
Mon, Dec 14 2009
Of politics, education and main line steam
The recent announcement that Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 No. 261 would return to the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wis., after 15 years of pulling excursions got me thinking about the politics behind mainline steam. Politics, you say? You bet. To successfully navigate the treacherous waters of organizing...
Wed, Dec 16 2009
Jim Wrinn's list of “must see” places and “must do” experiences; what’s on yours?
Everybody has a life’s “to do” list. Some people have heightened this sense of urgency by calling it their “bucket list” of must-do activities they consider essential before they pass from this earth or “kick the bucket.” I was reminded of this earlier this week when I saw pictures of the tiny two-truck...
Thu, Dec 17 2009
Strasburg caught hauling freight! Oh my!
In choosing pictures for Trains magazine’s April 2010 preservation section, I couldn’t help to select one of Pennsylvania’s Strasburg Rail Road doing something so un-Strasburg like as to shock readers who land on page 87: hauling freight. The Strasburg, of course, is the east’s ever-popular tourist railroad...
Tue, Jan 26 2010
That cloudy day in Utah feeling
Posted by Jim Wrinn, Editor OK, so let’s just say that you are traveling in one of the greatest railroad states in the nation (Utah), and on the February morning you had free, you could choose anything you wanted to do — as long as you didn’t mind the cloud cover that was hovering overhead. That happened...
Thu, Feb 18 2010
Finding shades of the past on the rails of the West
On Tuesday morning, the shop door at the Nevada State Railroad Museum lifted and a century-old ghost rolled out. Virginia & Truckee McKeen car No. 22, under restoration for years, puttered out under its own power. This is a rare car, possibly the only one that’s complete today. McKeen’s nautical...
Wed, Mar 17 2010
Much-anticipated ride on a Willamette geared locomotive
I fulfilled a long dream of mine Saturday, which was to see and ride a Willamette geared locomotive. The Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad restored Rayonier Inc. No. 2, a three-truck “Willie” last year, and Pacific Northwest railroad historian Martin Hansen (pictured at right) organized a photo outing with...
Mon, May 3 2010
South of the border, the railroading isn’t much different
[caption image="/cfs-file.ashx/__key/communityserver-blogs-components-weblogfiles/00-00-00-07-48/2541.DSC_5F00_3218.jpg" position="right"]This lineup greets visitors to the Mexican National Railroad Museum (Museo Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Mexicanos, or MNFM), with Puebla’s classic terminal...
Wed, Oct 10 2012
In search of steam (and vintage diesels) on a western road trip
My father, to whom I owe my interest in railroads, was a long-time subscriber to both Trains and Model Railroader . He and I made many trips during my childhood to watch trains at various places in central Massachusetts, where I grew up. But he didn't take many photos of trains, so the two below, which...
Mon, Jan 28 2013
It's spring, sir!
I was running some errands on Sunday and came to a startling discovery and my local shopping mall: The massive piles of parking lot snow were gone. That, folks, is a sure sign that spring has arrived in the Midwest. This fact should not have been a surprise to me. Saturday morning, for the first time...
Mon, Mar 14 2016
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