Blogs

  • Blog Post: 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...
  • 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: 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...
  • Blog Post: A day of surprises on a California short line

    One thing is for sure about a day on a short line: You never know what you’ll encounter. Case in point: my Thursday at the Sierra Northern’s Santa Cruz Division, which it acquired from Union Pacific on Dec. 31, 2009. The line runs 31 miles from Watsonville to Santa Cruz, Calif., then 10 miles north to...
  • Blog Post: Union Pacific operating income jumps 47 percent in a year

    Posted by Roy Blanchard Union Pacific stepped up to the quarterly earnings plate Thursday and, like CSX, knocked the first pitch out of the park. It’s a case of doing many things right. Operating income was up 47 percent to $988 million on a 16 percent revenue increase to $4 billion. Operating expense...
  • Blog Post: Looking for the star of the show in a yellow and blue advertisement for the Boy Scouts

    For me, the highlight of the Rochelle, Ill., Railroad Park’s Railroad Days last weekend wasn’t the bounty of trains that the Union Pacific and BNSF Railway sent parading by on that rainy and muggy Saturday. It wasn’t in the goofy watermelon seed spitting contest either that attracted more folks than...
  • Blog Post: Won’t somebody please think of the children?

    I was set to pondering Dan Machalaba’s September feature, “What to do about NIMBYS?” when I stumbled across this column in the Manteca Bulletin (Calif.), " Be very afraid: UP toying with monster trains ." The columnist tells us to “be very afraid” of “monster” trains. This all goes back to...
  • Blog Post: Drew's Fantastic Train Photo Adventure: Starring Union Pacific, CITX, with special guest Miller Park

    July 8 Union Pacific No. 7261 leads Weston coal loads through Merton, Wis. Canon EOS 30D, 7/8/2011, 1/1000 sec, f/8, ISO 250, 161mm. Drew Halverson photos I'm soaking wet right now, after this month's first big storm. And I fell climbing the stairs at work this morning (just...
  • Blog Post: Drew's Fantastic Train Photo Adventure: Practice makes improvement

    Union Pacific's MSSPR rolls by Habanero's Mexican Kitchen in Wauwatosa, Wis., on a clear summer night. Canon EOS 30D, 7/11/2011, 0.8 sec, f/11, ISO 250, 18mm. Drew Halverson photo Here's the first photo of the series I'd like to have back. I contemplated not even using it, but then...
  • Blog Post: Drew's Fantastic Train Photo Adventure: If at first you don't succeed

    Leading a locomotive trio featuring the YN2 paint scheme, CSX C40-8W No. 7834 rolls west on the Adams line in Merton, Wis. Canon EOS 30D, July 13, 2011, 1/800 sec, f/6.3, ISO 320, 84mm. Drew Halverson photo Let’s add CSX to the list of railroads featured in this monthly photo challenge! For...
  • Blog Post: Drew's Fantastic Train Photo Adventure: Featuring Canadian National, Union Pacific, Indiana Rail Road, and bird poop

    What a scorcher of a weekend, with a lot of action on the local railroads! Here are a quick three, featuring Canadian National, Union Pacific and Indiana Rail Road. Please leave your comments here or on our Trains Facebook page or Twitter . I'll be sure to check in throughout the day! July 16...
  • Blog Post: Drew's Fantastic Train Photo Adventure: Catching up!

    July 22 A Union Pacific distributed power unit pushes the rear of a westbound coal train on the Adams line in Merton, Wis. Canon EOS 30D, 7/8/2011, 1/1250 sec, f/8, ISO 250, 141mm. Drew Halverson photo What I like: The black-and-white treatment. This motif isolates the gleaming rails...
  • Blog Post: Matt finds the trains in TRAINS’ backyard: Ode to the pole line

    Throughout the month of August, I want to try a photography project that focuses on the trains in TRAINS Magazine's backyard. How many different pictures can be taken in a circle extending 10.27 miles from downtown Waukesha, Wis.? Thank you to all of you who have "liked" or commented on...
  • Blog Post: Matt finds the trains in TRAINS’ backyard: Two trains at once — a photo I’ve waited 10 years for

    Throughout the month of August, I want to try a photography project that focuses on the trains in TRAINS Magazine's backyard. How many different pictures can be taken in a circle extending 10.27 miles from downtown Waukesha, Wis.? One of the fun things about this project is that I'm revisiting...
  • Blog Post: Matt finds the trains in TRAINS’ backyard: The most elusive train of all

    Throughout the month of August, I want to try a photography project that focuses on the trains in TRAINS Magazine's backyard. How many different pictures can be taken in a circle extending 10.27 miles from downtown Waukesha, Wis.? You're watching Union Pacific local LPA70 switching cars on a...
  • Blog Post: It's a great time to be in railroading

    The Transportation Research Board is holding its 91st Annual Meeting this week in Washington, D.C., and I’m here looking for ideas for technology columns, seeing old friends, and meeting new contacts who can help bring the latest in the rail industry to Trains’ pages. Just yesterday morning...
  • Blog Post: 2011 Trains photo contest winners

    For this year's photo contest, we were looking for creative use of light and shadow. Overall, the quality of photos submitted was very high, making the task of choosing the winners even harder than usual. Take a look at the winners below and please leave your comments. Thank you. Grand Prize...
  • Blog Post: Train-watching at Missouri Valley

    The town of Missouri Valley, Iowa, is 40 miles north of Omaha, Neb., on I-29. It's the site of some of the most concentrated and intense mainline freight action you'll ever see. And I make it a point to get out there whenever business takes me to Omaha. Such was the case the week of Halloween for the...
  • 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: 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: Bouncing through The Great State

    When last you heard from me, Mark the Amtrak red cap in Chicago had met my four-hours-late Lake Shore Limited and hustled me onto the Texas Eagle , which was being held for our tardy train. Also held were all the other westbound streamliners trains that afternoon. Good hustle! I was impressed. But what...
  • Blog Post: Why your next trip will induce heartburn

    I’ve said before that any train I’m on can be as late as you like. I believe my exact words were “more train-riding pleasure for the same low price.” Well, forget that. I’ve changed my mind. Even idiots like me have their limit, and mine has been breached. Any train more...
  • Blog Post: Our railroads are a MESS

    I don’t recall ever seeing so much of the railroad industry in such disarray. Examples are everywhere you look. Tens of thousands of new vehicles sit on lots in Detroit and Toledo, waiting for rail cars to take them to dealers. Canadian National and Canadian Pacific strain under their government’s...
  • Blog Post: Last-minute decisions (and the Dining Car From Hell)

    How would you solve this problem? You've used a jillion Guest Rewards points to book bedrooms on the Coast Starlight from San Jose, Cal., to Los Angeles, the Sunset Limited to New Orleans and the Crescent to Washington, D.C. The Starlight arrives in LA at 9 p.m., the Sunset leaves at 10 p.m., and therein...