Blogs

    Posted 12 hours ago by Fred Frailey
    My friend Keel Middleton is a veteran BNSF Railway engineer, working out of Wellington, Kan., on the 311-mile, mostly double-track district west to Amarillo, Tex., on the Chicago-Los Angeles Transcon. Keel has seen business levels at highs and at lows...
    Posted 13 hours ago by Fred Frailey
    The Darwin Award, as you know, is bestowed by us on people whose behavior around trains is simply suicidal. Charles Darwin hypothesized that species become stronger by ridding themselves of their weaker (or dumber) elements. This leads us to today’s...
    Posted 1 day ago by Fred Frailey
    Some of my correspondents — smart people, all — have gotten a case of the jitters regarding crude oil by rail. They point to the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, the keeper of statistics for Bakken shale production, which says rail’s...
    Posted 4 days ago by Jim Wrinn
    Durango & Silverton 2-8-2 No. 482 climbs the hill at Hermosa, Colo. Jim Wrinn photo Is the Colorado narrow gauge on your bucket list? If not, it should be. It’s still the easiest way to experience 1920s steam railroading without having to...
    Posted 7 days ago by Brian Schmidt
    Yes, I know, it took a while. Some even said we'd never get it done. But this month Trains Magazine's new and improved Rochelle Railroad Park webcam in Illinois is up and running. Yes, I said it: New and improved! The new Rochelle webcam provides a...
    Posted 8 days ago by Fred Frailey
    Be careful what you wish for, I would advise the railroad industry. If you think railroads have service issues now, watch them multiply if members of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Union (SMART) ratify the BNSF Railway agreement, which...
    Posted 8 days ago by Jim Wrinn
    Looking for lots of steam? Head to the southwestern corner of Colorado and northern New Mexico. This is the Durango & Silverton roundhouse in Durango, Colo., at night. Jim Wrinn photo OK, so you had your heart set on riding or photographing Southern...
    Posted 14 days ago by Fred Frailey
    I’ve been reporting a story for Trains Magazine about the railroad mess we call Chicago, and one of the worst sinners is CSX Transportation. What bothered me was this: The railroad during April-June was still 4.7 percent shy of its traffic volume...
    Posted 18 days ago by Fred Frailey
    Readers of this blog got to know columnist Sara Foss of the Schenectady Daily Gazette on June 19 in Why You May Yet Read by Candlelight . I was hard on Sara because she asked the wrong question (can crude by rail ever be totally safe?) of the wrong person...
    Posted 18 days ago by Fred Frailey
    About a decade ago the Editor of Trains Magazine asked if I would like to write a monthly column. Before answering no, not yet, I tried to think of provocative ideas. Two came immediately to mind. One I called “Why Doesn’t Dick Davidson Know...
    Posted 28 days ago by Brian Schmidt
    Trains Magazine could not be the magazine that it is without the wonderful photo submissions we receive from readers. We have recently updated our online photo submission guidelines to better reflect the magazine's needs and workflow. There had been a...
    Posted 1 month ago by Fred Frailey
    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...
    Posted 1 month ago by Chase Gunnoe
    After providing two night photo sessions at Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association’s annual Cass Railfan Weekend in early May, our volunteer photography work force reconvened in Spencer for the duration of the North Carolina...
    Posted 1 month ago by Fred Frailey
    Readers of this blog were introduced almost three years ago to Florida East Coast Railway engineer David Shelley. In that episode, his southbound intermodal train rounded a curve near Boca Raton at 57 mph to find a car parked on a crossing, its driver...
    Posted 1 month ago by Tom Murray
    For the past three years, my wife Marcia and I have spent a month each winter volunteering at Yellowstone National Park's Heritage and Research Center in Gardiner, Montana. Why do this in the winter, you ask? The short answer is: because that's when we...
    Posted 1 month ago by Fred Frailey
    The debate over the safety of handling crude oil by rail has become frustrating and almost pointless. Yes, tank cars that carry oil could be made more crashworthy, that is, if the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration would get off...
    Posted 1 month ago by Chase Gunnoe
    For the past several days, I have enjoyed visiting and photographing Southern California’s exciting railroad operations, ranging from the famous Tehachapi Loops, iconic Cajon Pass, and the sunny Amtrak Pacific Surfline. This is my third visit to...
    Posted 1 month ago by Fred Frailey
    Novelist Kevin Baker’s report on the present state of the American passenger train, in the July issue of Harper’s Magazine that goes on sale next week, begins thusly: “We start in darkness. After fighting our way through the dingy, low...
    Posted 1 month ago by Fred Frailey
    The alienation of Auto Train passengers continues unabated. It’s now the only long-distance train (other than the Cardinal , which has neither kitchen nor dining car) on which you cannot be served a grilled flat iron steak, accompanied by a baked...
    Posted 1 month ago by David Lester
    NS 6169 led the Peach State Whistle Stop Safety Train , and we see it here after arrival in Dalton, Georgia. Look between the ditch lights, and you'll see the lens hood of the camera mounted on the front. All photos by David Lester. Growing up in Southern...
    Posted 1 month ago by Fred Frailey
    Railroads came to Washington this week to make the case at the White House against what could be tough new rules being drawn up by the U.S. Department of Transportation for handling crude oil. The proposals, which have not yet been made public, may involve...
    Posted 1 month ago by Fred Frailey
    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...
    Posted 1 month ago by Samuel Phillips
    Sometimes we luck into amazing images that aren't planned because half of success is just being trackside at the right time. On other occasions, an awesome shot may have required a great deal of waiting,patience, and persistence. This blog will be...
    Posted 1 month ago by Fred Frailey
    Google invaded my turf of Washington, D.C., this week with its self-driving car. DC traffic is the ultimate test of automated driving. If Google’s sensor-topped creation can navigate the tortuous traffic of this town, it can succeed anywhere. Google’s...
    Posted 1 month ago by Fred Frailey
    It’s just incredible, the power of a Midwest thunderstorm these days. Why, just this week storm winds were reportedly the cause of one BNSF Railway freight train being blown off the tracks at the east end of the Waynoka, Okla., yard and derailing...