21st Century Steam
Class I railroads
General interest magazines
Nickel Plate Road
Are there really just seven mainline steam locomotives left?
Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765's recent outings at the Hoosier Valley Railroad in Indiana and its planned appearance at Train Festival 2009 in Michigan in July got me onto a subject that was disturbing to one who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s halcyon days of mainline steam excursion: How many mainline...
Thu, Jun 4 2009
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
Witness to a great train movie production
When our new 100 Greatest Train Movies special came out last week, I had to smile when I got to page 39 and reflected on the movie that ranks No. 47 out of 100. That’s Disney’s “Great Locomotive Chase,” and I have first-hand knowledge of it because I grew up listening to my mother tell stories about...
Fri, Jan 8 2010
Union Pacific 2-8-0 No. 618 makes a rare appearance
Posted by Jim Wrinn, Editor Heber Valley Railroad Executive Director Craig Lacey was astounded at the phone call he got Tuesday. It was from a resident of the region just east of Salt Lake City wondering what that sound was. “She wondered if it was a cow in distress, or maybe giving birth,” Lacey said...
Thu, Feb 18 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
Virginia & Truckee is back from the dead, and it’s awesome
The odds of reconstructing a long-abandoned but legendary railroad from scratch are long, even in a gambling state like Nevada. But odds makers could have never foreseen the myriad funding that came together to rebuild a good chunk of the Virginia & Truckee branch between the state capital of Carson...
Tue, Mar 16 2010
If you love steam, narrow gauge, or the audacious, get yourself to Germany!
Trains magazine Editor Jim Wrinn is in Germany to cover last week's InnoTrans 2010. My trip to Germany is coming to a close, but I wanted to tell you about the last few days spent riding and photographing the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways in what was once East Germany. After attending and reporting on...
Wed, Sep 29 2010
Book Review: Requiem for Steam, by David Plowden
Reviewed by Roy Blanchard, with some help from the German Requiem by Brahms I. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4) David Plowden’s most recent book, the aptly titled Requiem for Steam , is clearly written by a man who mourns the passing of steam locomotion...
Wed, Nov 3 2010
Matt finds the trains in TRAINS’ backyard: The real-life train in TRAINS’ front yard!
Matt Van Hattem
On Tuesday, August 16, something happened I never thought I would see. A train actually visited the offices of Trains magazine. It was the first time ever. Flagg Coal Co. No. 75, an 0-4-0 tank engine built by the Vulcan Iron Works in 1930, arrived on a flatbed truck at around noon and stayed in the parking...
Tue, Aug 16 2011
Hitting the road this weekend. Destination? Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
I'm going to Tennessee this weekend to help an old friend celebrate a landmark birthday. This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the earliest and most successful preservation groups in the Southeast, and to celebrate, Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is putting on a show Saturday, Sunday,...
Thu, Sep 1 2011
Welcome back old friend; I have missed you
Ears pinned back, Southern No. 630 rolls at 40 mph on Sunday on the NS main line at Chattanooga, Tenn., on one of the first trips of NS's new 21st Century Steam program. Photo by Jim Wrinn I saw something I thought I'd never see last week: A steam train rolling down the Norfolk Southern...
Tue, Sep 6 2011
Saving railway history, one vacation at a time
Docent Bob Ross describes the route of the Rio Grande San Juan Extension. Ross is one of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec who gives his time to the railroad. Jim Wrinn photo Sublette, New Mexico's buildings and sign shine because of the work of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec...
Thu, Dec 22 2011
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
Kevin P. Keefe
Jim Neubauer (1933-2013) inside the cab of Dardanelle & Russellville 2-6-0 No. 9 at North Freedom, Wis. Photo by Mike Schafer Nobody loved riding a steam locomotive and writing about it like Jim Neubauer. A lifelong steam devotee, he made a point of climbing aboard and sometimes even firing just...
Fri, Oct 4 2013
So where can a Big Boy go?
Distinguished observers like to point out that Big Boys only ever operated in revenue service on the Union Pacific in select mountain areas, mostly Utah and Wyoming. It was what they were designed to do – all they ever did. A kind of logic dictates the original routings are the only ones Union...
Wed, Nov 13 2013
New Zealand: Land of Variety
Above: Map and statistics from KiwiRail Annual Report 2013 Before my wife and I traveled to New Zealand for the first time in 2012, I had studied the online timetables of KiwiRail Scenic Journeys, the passenger arm of the country's national railway, and I had identified other rail operations that...
Thu, Dec 26 2013
Inside the Barriger Library: Check out our Flickr site of historic rail photos
In the 1930s, a lone switchman walks along the Illinois Central’s tracks near Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The First Regiment Armory appears in the background. John W. Barriger III Photo. John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, St. Louis Mercantile Library, UMSL. Seen any good railroad...
Wed, Feb 26 2014
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