3 Hours in Classic Trains Time

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Posted by ACY Tom on Thursday, March 09, 2017 8:54 PM

C&O 2-8-4 2707 was displayed in a Cleveland Park for many years and allowed to fall into disrepair. She is now in the collection of the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL. 


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Posted by JOHN C TARANTO on Friday, March 10, 2017 2:46 PM

Being a fan of the New York Central, but born too late to witness her Steam Glory days, I would choose the Harmon yards and locomotive servicing facility.  Here,  Hudsons, Mohawks and Niagaras would turn their most precious cargo over to electrics for the final leg into Grand Central Terminal.  After spending about an hour watching this exchange, I would walk over to the roundhouse and backshops and coaling dock to observe the steamers being readied for their next assignments. 

If I could have a second choice, the location would be along the 4-track mainline at Breakneck Mountain.

Oh, and the date?  How about Sunday, December 7th 1941.  I know it's too early for the Niagaras, but I would be able to see the newly streamlined and equipped Empire State Express on her maiden run.

"Shovel all the coal in, gotta keep 'em rolling...."  John

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Posted by Fr.Al on Friday, March 10, 2017 5:41 PM

Me, I'll join David P. Morgan and Philip Hastings in their quest for steam. Early November 1953. Travelling across frozen Quebec riding Quebec Central No.1. Enjoying that filet mignon and good coffee with them in the buffet coach.( See CT "In Search of Steam, vol. 1)

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, March 10, 2017 6:18 PM

Just 3 hours!

Riding the B&O's Capitol Limited with my parents, dinner in the diner (my grandfather was Superintendent of the Dinning Car Dept.) crossing from Maryland to West Virginia and back (WV was dry and B&O had to adhere to WV law when in the state - waiters would warn customers so they order and receive their drinks before entering WV - staying on the legal side of the law).  The B&O's 'Great Big Salad Bowl', handwriting the order on one's check, and the finger bowls to clean one's hands after dinner.  Arriving in Cumberland for operating crew change and attachment of a steam helper to take on Sand Patch grade.  Sitting in the dome car, it's lights illuminating the passing countryside,  with my father explaining the whys and wherefores of what I could see taking place, explaining the operation of the B&O's CPL signals, watching the signals go from Clear to Stop as the engines passed the signals (the relays taking about 3 car lengths to register the change).  Seeing steam and diesels working all they were worth to maintain speed, following the head light bending right and left as the train encounted the the curves that were raising it almost 2 feet every hundred feet of travel.   

To a six year old it was all wonderous - wonderous enough that I ended up making the railroad a career for over 51 years.  Sadly, my parents and grandparents have all passed on as has the glory that was the Capitol Limited of the early 1950's.  Amtrak maintains the name, but it isn't the same.


Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by Penny Trains on Friday, March 10, 2017 6:42 PM


C&O 2-8-4 2707 was displayed in a Cleveland Park for many years and allowed to fall into disrepair. She is now in the collection of the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL. 




A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, March 10, 2017 8:21 PM

These are all really great trips. Everyone's descriptive narrative puts you right there. Very nice cross section. 

Dave is the only one who has ventured out West! How about some California Dreaming! 

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Posted by AgentKid on Friday, March 10, 2017 10:33 PM

I really enjoyed Balt's post, but I am going to have to ask for three trips back in the time machine, along the CPR transcontinental line.

  • Stephen, BC at the the top of the continental divide to watch my Dad work as an Operator any time around '51-'52. Because every train as well as every light pusher engine movement reqired train orders, it was the busiest train order office in Canada.
  • That being said, my Dad said the busiest single shifts he ever worked as an Agent or Operator were when we lived at Hatton, SK, from '53-'56, during the fall grain harvest rush. Water is scarce between Maple Creek, SK and Medicine Hat, AB. They would do things he had never heard of before or since, like putting crack passenger trains in the siding to move wayfreights ahead so no engines would run out of water. The laws of physics have no respect for class or superior direction. Thursdays were a nightmare, because that was the day the Golden Prairie Mixed ran up the Hatton Sub. on its' way from Medicine Hat and back. Hatton had a siding and two back tracks, and there were times he had trains standing on all of those, as well as the mixed standing on the Hatton Sub., waiting to get back on the mainline. He said he just never stopped copying train orders
  • The 1939 Royal Train Tour of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, riding in the cab, between Brooks, AB and Calgary. Every bridge and culvert on the trip across Canada and back was guarded by Canadian and British millitary veterans of WWI. My Grandfather, British veteran, and another man, a Canadian and Vimy Ridge survivor, were assigned to guard a bridge between Lathom and Bassano over the Springhill Irrigation Canal. This was really open country then, as the present alignment of the Trans-Canada Highway wouldn't be built for another 20 years. They went out the night before, camped out under the stars, and the next morning stood at attention as the Royal Train went past. I would have loved to have seen that, with his rifle slung over his shoulder and saluting. All trains have a scheduled stop at Bassano for water, so there was an event there. My Mom was one of the schoolchildren bused in the see the King and Queen. She never did stop talking about the beautiful pink coat with white fur collar and cuffs the Queen wore. Due to various setbacks, the train was going to be 45 minutes late out of Bassano, and the Superintendant left no doubts in the Engineers mind that that train was going to arrive in Calgary, the third largest city in western Canada, on time. But, he only had 78.2 miles to to do it in, and the last 4.1 miles past the Ogden Shops and through the Alyth yard were restricted to 25 MPH. The train arrived on time, and one publication I read suggested that King George VI may have set a Land Speed Record for the British Monarchy that day.



So shovel the coal, let this rattler roll.

"A Train is a Place Going Somewhere"  CP Rail Public Timetable

"O. S. Irricana"

. . . __ . ______

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, March 26, 2017 12:23 PM

I went back for another look at pajrr's link to the Lincoln Depot Museum, and I don't know how I missed this first time around, probably because the picture's so small, but the lead photo in the "Gallery," the one showing a Civil War soldier standing guard on what looks like Mr. Lincoln's coffin, that's no soldier, that's a MARINE!  

Well OOOH-RAH brother!  Semper Fi!  There's no telling just where we'll turn up! 


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