Fred Frailey Blog
|
    Posted 4 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 10 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 14 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 14 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 27 days 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 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 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 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 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 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...
    Posted 1 month ago by Fred Frailey
    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...
    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    I left you with these questions: Would the Lake Shore Limited reach Chicago before the connecting Texas Eagle leaves, and if not, would the Eagle wait? We do get, more or less, a perfect shot from South Bend, "more or less" meaning we cross over at 45...
    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    When last you heard from me, the Lake Shore Limited had left Toledo more than two hours late, and the pregnant question was whether I would have gourmet pork belly for lunch at Blackbird or settle for a tuna sandwich from a Chicago Union Station newsstand...
    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    I had That Dream again last night. In That Dream, it is late in the school semester and I have not bothered attending the biology/geometry/chemistry class I had enrolled in. Now the final examination is coming up and I will not be able to answer a single...
    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    I am a man in full. I am photographed with presidents. Corporate boards desire my input. Younger women steal glances at me as we pass. I know the secret formula for Classic Coke and possess Michael Ward’s cell phone number. Yet when it comes to...
    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    Does anyone feel, as I do, that railroads have lost the message on crude oil by rail to the know-nothings and their best friends, the politicians? So far as I know, in the 150-year-plus history of railroads and crude oil, there has been but one truly...
    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 The last stop in my travels across the prairies with Tom Hoback was Alamosa, Colo., at the passenger car shop of Iowa Pacific Holdings. IPH operates...
    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    Let this be a lesson to all: When you visit a short line railroad, in particular a really short line railroad, go to the front door and knock to be let in. Tom Hoback and I learned this the hard way today in Woodward, Okla. I wager that few of you...
    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    Never a dull moment at Ellinor, Kan. Ellinor is the place, population zero, west of Emporia where BNSF Railway's Transcon to California separates from the route to Colorado and then down to Albuquerque, N.M. Several decades ago I stood in a farmer's field...
    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    One of the benefits of not punching a clock but instead being a gentlemanly freelance writer is the ability to just get away for a day. I’ve wanted to do a circle trip from Washington to Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and back to Washington. You go...
    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    How do you become a good writer? That’s easy. The same way you become a good locomotive engineer or train dispatcher: Do it so many times, always careful to learn from your experiences and mistakes, that you begin to unconsciously develop your own...
    Posted 2 months ago by Fred Frailey
    In case you missed the news, things are happening over at Iowa Pacific Holdings in Chicago. IPH, founded in 2001 by Ed Ellis and a group of his friends and railroad colleagues, operates the Chicago-New Orleans Pullman Rail Journeys and owns 10 short line...

Fred Frailey