Blogs

  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Matt finds the trains in TRAINS’ backyard: The real-life train in TRAINS’ front yard!

    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...
  • Blog Post: 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,...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Remembering 'Nubes'

    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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...