6

Four Seasons at Gaylord

Posted 11 months ago by George Hamlin
Blink and you’ll miss it.  Although Gaylord, isn’t acknowledged by the Virginia official state highway map, it can still be located on Google Maps.  To put it in perspective, this is a place where passenger train service (on the N&W’s Shenandoah Valley Line) outlasted the local Post Office; there’s a sign on a building that housed the latter stating that it served as Gaylord’s P.O. until 1956; N&W numbers 1 and 2 survived several years beyond that,...
6

The year ahead

Posted 11 months ago by Justin Franz
Late December is often a time to look at the year that has passed, but also turn an eye to the future. The last 12 months have been fascinating in the world of railroading, but 2018 could be even more interesting. Here are the stories that I’ll be keeping an eye on with interest in 2018. Life After Hunter: The fate of CSX Transportation was probably going to make anyone’s 2018 storylines list before CEO E. Hunter Harrison’s shocking death on Dec. 16. Now, there is even more ...
8

Better Transit For All

Posted 11 months ago by Hayley Enoch
The wreck of Amtrak 501 near Tacoma, Washington, has the usual condolences to the victims and calls to determine what set of circumstances could have sent a brand new locomotive, thirteen cars, and more than seventy human lives barreling down a highway embankment. This time, though, the response included an uncommon sentiment. This wreck, many in the railfan community reflected, felt far too personal. Since Monday’s departure of the 501 was making its first run over a recently refurbish by...
6

Completed Staff Work; Don't Leave Anything to Chance

Posted one year ago by George Hamlin
Let me preface this with the thought that it might be a good idea to look at all your photos in a full-size view; gems that can’t be seen in a thumbnail-sized image may be lurking in the “full-size” versions.  Of course digital photography, where the marginal cost of additional shots is effectively zero, means that many of us now have too many photographic frames from a particular day’s shooting to make this a practical alternative in all cases. One of the highlight...
14

Top 10 passenger stories of 2017

Posted one year ago by David Lassen
Trains passenger columnist Bob Johnston has come up with his Top 10 Passenger stories of 2017. Here's his list and comments on each; you can vote on your choices for the top stories on our Facebook page beginning Monday afternoon: 1. Brightline debuts  All Aboard Florida is set to start service at the end of the year between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with new cars, locomotives, and stations on a recently double-tracked, formerly freight-only Florida East Coast route. The...
3

Heritage Units and Childhood Memories

Posted one year ago by Justin Franz
"You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory." -Thomas Wolfe, 1940 The memories of our childhood are often our most vivid. Almost anyone who reads this blog or subscribes to Trains Magazine likely has some vivi...
12

'Tis the Season

Posted one year ago by George Hamlin
No, you haven’t wandered into the Model Railroader site by accident.  What you’re looking at is in fact a model railroad, but it was built and (as of December 1976, when this photo was taken) owned by a real railroad.  Not just any railroad, either: the “mother of railroads” in the U.S., the Baltimore and Ohio (or, to its more ardent supporters, the “Best and Only”), which, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, was the “first steam-oper...
15

Passenger rail progress: Consensus on what; not so much on how

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the trade group representing the nation’s transit agencies along with their contractors and suppliers, held its annual High-Speed Rail Policy Forum yesterday here in Washington, D.C. The event featured wide-ranging seminars and spirited discussions on all the issues that hamper the growth and improvement of passenger rail in the U.S., not just true high-speed rail. The most active debate centered around how to achieve greater reliabili...
4

Giving Tuesday

Posted one year ago by Justin Franz
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic has long been on my list of “must see” railroad attractions. This fall, I finally had the chance to visit the railroad and within a few minutes of arriving on the property, I came to understand why so many love it. Watching a Denver & Rio Grande Western K-36 storm up Cumbres Pass with a freight train, I had to wonder if it could get any better and if the C&TS was the pinnacle American railroad preservation. But it’s not just those epic...
14

We can’t afford not to fix transit systems first

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
This New York Times feature story that appeared yesterday echoes same old depressing story that is playing itself out not only in New York, but also in Washington, Chicago and many other cities with rail transit systems on which tens or hundreds of thousands of residents rely nearly every day. Riders are experiencing frequent incidents that halt or delay service, and overall on-time performance is declining. While new lines and stations are opened and some cosmetic improvements are made, the sys...
3

Victor and Vanquished

Posted one year ago by George Hamlin
Now that Amtrak has celebrated its 40th anniversary, with the 50th not that far away, it’s hard to put into perspective the positive vibe that the arrival of the SDP40F into the fleet produced in the railfan community in the early 1970s.  Put it this way: since then, two whole generations of diesel motive power (the F40PH followed by the Genesis series) have come onto the roster.  On the electric side, the E60 was supplanted by the AEM-7, which was replaced more recently by ...
26

Encouraging words, uncertain prognoses at passenger group’s 50th anniversary summit

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
Revised November 21, 2017. Two weeks ago, over 250 members of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (which will soon be known as the Rail Passengers Association), of which I have been an active supporter for over a decade, gathered in Chicago (the city where the Association was founded in 1967) to celebrate the nonprofit advocacy group’s 50th anniversary. At the summit, dubbed RailNation Chicago, there were many discussions about the role passenger advocates should play, and the...
8

A train chaser’s guide to the 2017 CSX Santa Train

Posted one year ago by Ron Flanary
The 2017 CSX Transportation Santa Train departs the railroad’s yard at Shelby, Ky., (Shelbiana is the community name) at 5:45 a.m. This is located about 6 miles south of Pikeville, where there are plenty of lodging and food service options to be found. Between Shelby and Elkhorn City, photo ops are mostly limited to a few public grade crossings. Even if it’s a clear day, this will be mostly in the dark. There is a stop scheduled at a grade crossing at Marrowbone, Ky., at 6:20 a.m., ...
8

For a taste of the rails this holiday season just add butter

Posted one year ago by Justin Franz
November is a time for cooking. The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler and there is less and less to do outside. November also features that classic American celebration of culinary excess, Thanksgiving. In preparation for Thanksgiving, my fiancée and I like to throw what we call “Friendsgiving,” a dinner party a week or two before the big event. It’s a great opportunity to see friends before they head home for the holiday and it’s a good time ...
12

Don't Leave Too Soon...Just Because the Trains and Daylight Have Gone

Posted one year ago by George Hamlin
When I went out on what was then Norfolk Southern’s Washington District (the northern end of the former Southern Railway’s Washington, DC-Atlanta, Georgia main line) on Sunday October 25, 2009, I didn’t have great expectations for railroad photography.  I headed for the area between Calverton and Bealeton along Virginia Route 28, hoping to find something moving on the railroad; Sunday afternoons here can be quiet from a train movement perspective, but there would almost de...
3

Conference sponsors, speakers bullish on transformational technology

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
Technologies introduced within recent decades and those in development — the Internet, smartphones, cellular data networks, GPS, RFID, autonomous vehicles, etc. — have already begun to change how people and goods move: both the inner workings of transportation systems and the user’s experience of personal mobility and shipping. The trend towards greater seamlessness and interconnectivity, and greater use of networked systems to manage railroads, transit systems and other transp...
8

Standing in the rain at milepost 1195

Posted one year ago by Justin Franz
This weekend, a friend of mine tipped me off that a BNSF Railway grain train was coming across Marias Pass with a former BC Rail C40-8 in the consist. Being a fan of all things Canadian railroading, and having nothing better to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I decided to head out to see if I could find this visitor from the north. Even before I grabbed my camera bag and headed out the door, I knew exactly where I wanted to shoot it: The curve near milepost 1195 just east of West Glacier, Montan...
17

A Belle of a Good Time

Posted one year ago by George Hamlin
I know that I’m not the only one with this shot, or something very similar, since I was standing with a number of other railfans, in the ‘feared flatlands’ of north central Ohio, specifically at Marion Union Station, where the CSX’s former NYC/Erie east-west line crosses both the former C&O (now also CSX) Detroit-Columbus line, as well as Norfolk Southern’s former PRR north-south artery between Bellevue Yard, Columbus and points east on the former N&W &l...
2

Not even two months old, SMART offers vital service to fire-ravaged area

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
I wrote a profile for the July issue of Trains of Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART), the culmination of a ten-year effort to bring passenger trains back to the North Bay area of Northern California after a half-century absence using some innovative approaches in the North American commuter rail space. Yesterday, while visiting the Bay Area for a reunion of the Millennial Trains Project (about whose 2014 crowd-funded transcontinental journey I blogged ...
5

Sampling competing tourist services on busiest narrow-gauge passenger railroad in the Americas

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
Part 2 of 2 - Read Part 1 The least expensive and most basic service on Peru’s only narrow-gauge line is available on four daily PeruRail trains that only Peruvians are allowed to ride (a Peruvian national ID card is required to purchase a ticket). The fare for any length of journey on these “local trains” is 10 soles (about $3.50 US). One train goes all the way from San Pedro station in central Cusco (from whence the tourist trains once departed) to Aguas Calientes, while thr...
5

A Mudhen in Makeup

Posted one year ago by Justin Franz
As a cold drizzle comes down in the mountains of Colorado, a shriek whistle in the distance shatters the calm October afternoon. A few minutes later, smoke starts to emerge from the trees and the wet rails that wrap around a rock outcrop are illuminated by an approaching headlight. Soon after, a small 2-8-2 lumbers around the corner with a short train in tow. While this scene unfolds multiple times a day along the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic, there’s something different about this 2-8-2...
3

Busy narrow-gauge line offers spectacular journey to iconic destination

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
Part 1 of 2 - Read Part 2 I was privileged to have joined a handful of fellow explorers on Trains’ Ultimate Peruvian Railway Experience tour, about which Editor Jim Wrinn has blogged in Train of Thought, which ended on Thursday. I decided to stay an extra two days in Cusco, and used one of those days (Friday) to retrace the same route the group had ridden to and from Machu Picchu on Tuesday, Oct. 3 (see Jim’s reports here and here), but on different schedules and in different classe...
11

I've Passed this Way Before

Posted one year ago by George Hamlin
When the Southern Railway re-equipped its premier passenger trains in the post-World War II era, two of them, the Crescent and the New Royal Palm, included five double-bedroom observation lounge cars.  The Crescent, of course, was the flagship of the New York-New Orleans route, and the Palm connected points in the Midwest with Florida, running on Southern’s tracks between Cincinnati, Ohio and Jacksonville, Florida. Pullman-Standard delivered eight observations for these services,...
11

Portland's Streetcar Revival

Posted one year ago by Robert W. Scott
Portland, Oregon is a transit lovers dream. the city split along the Willamette River boasts a 60 mile long Tri-Met Max light rail and the 7.2 mile Portland Streetcar system. Starting in 2001, the Portland Streetcar now touts nearly 20,000 daily riders and now serves both sides of the city along the Willamette River. The river is crossed on the south end on the new Max and Streetcar shared Tillicum crossing bridge. On the north end, the river is crossed on the 1913 built Broadway bridge. The nor...
20

Amazon’s HQ2 will show rail transit to be key to competitiveness

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
Many experts on metropolitan geography and economics are eyeing closely Amazon’s choice of a North American metro area to host its “HQ2,” a second headquarters that the online retail giant says will equal its current downtown Seattle base camp in size and scope. The company promises to bring at least 50,000 direct jobs paying six-figure salaries, along with thousands of indirect jobs in the various industries that will support Amazon and its workers. The firm’s press rel...
1

History Lost. History Saved.

Posted one year ago by Justin Franz
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the loss of the Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park. Built in 1913 by the Great Northern Railway, Sperry was not just a reminder of railroads’ efforts to entice passengers aboard their trains to see the scenic wonders of the west, but also a reminder that railroad history is made up of more than just locomotives and cars. But not all is lost in Glacier National Park for fans of railroad history. Fifteen miles away, the National Park Service has recen...
3

Now out of legal limbo, Fillmore & Western is well worth a trip

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
I reported in Trains News Wire today on a major victory for the Fillmore & Western Railway, a southern California tourist railroad that’s been locked in a seven-year dispute with the county authority that owns the track it uses, but relies on the railroad’s workforce to maintain the 35 miles of track and perform day-to-day tasks. Excursion train crews are all volunteers with the railway's partner nonprofit, the Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society. One of those vo...
13

Trailers

Posted one year ago by George Hamlin
No, I’m not talking about the “Previews of Coming Attractions” often seen prior to the feature film in a movie theater.  What’s going on here is an entire bridge full of them, in their highway (and rail intermodal) incarnation.  Yes, “Big Rigs” and “Eighteen Wheelers”; in this case, however, minus their tractors, and drivers.  Replacing the tractors are a pair of Norfolk Southern General Electric “Catfish” locomotives...
10

A rural Canadian railbus where there's no use booking in advance

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
There are certain things that a prospective passenger should expect a passenger train operator to be able to do, even if they offer a bare-bones service on a very limited schedule and only accept cash payment. If the operator allows reservations to be made by phone, one expects the reservation to be honored and to guarantee a seat, or at least a place to stand, on the train. Well, two travel companions and I have encountered one passenger train in North America that doesn’t even meet that ...
21

Railroad history is more than just freight cars and locomotives

Posted one year ago by Justin Franz
One of the most significant pieces of Great Northern Railway history in Montana burned to the ground last week. The Sperry Chalet was built in 1913, one of a half-dozen wilderness lodges in Glacier National Park that were the brainchild of GN President Louis W. Hill. In the years that followed Glacier National Park’s creation in 1910, the GN constructed a number of chalets and lodges in and around the park to entice eastern visitors to ride the railroad’s passenger trains to Montana...

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy