THE magazine of railroading

SEARCH TRAINSMAG.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

9

After a bumpy start, Amtrak-Iowa Pacific Hoosier State getting clear signals ahead

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
Last weekend’s (Oct. 16-18) annual fall conference of the National Association of Railroad Passengers’ (NARP) volunteer leadership was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (occupying much of the former Union Station, next to the current Amtrak/Greyhound station) in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. This location gave passenger advocates and frequent train travelers from across the country the opportunity both to tour Amtrak’s Beech Grove Shops, where heavy maintenance and overhauls of ...
24

The Long Shadow of Departed Trains

Posted one year ago by Hayley Enoch
There are, really, two Texases. There is Dallas and Houston and Austin and their satellites, cities large in size and reputation, and vibrant enough to have attracted what feels like half of the other forty-nine states. Then there is the other half: Small towns, removed from the major highways and  too far away from large cities to host a commuting population. Bonham, Texas, is part of the other Texas. It has not been revitalized by population migration during the recession, and too few pe...
6

Century Notes

Posted one year ago by Richard Luckin
I just returned from a ten-day video shoot that took us to New York City, Albany, NY and Washington, D.C. and had the pleasure of interviewing 15 individuals. Some of the interviews were with people who rode the train, operated it or worked on the train. Other interviews included sessions about the famous "Hudson" locomotives, childhood memories, and today's Lakeshore Limited.  Several interviews explored the reasons why the train was discontinued in 1967 and menti...
19

New Amtrak baggage policy: sensible, but should be less rigid

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
Amtrak’s new systemwide checked and carry-on baggage policy goes into effect today. It marks the first time in the company’s history that passengers will be charged for carry-on baggage — but only if it exceeds the maximum quantity and size allowed, which remain quite generous, especially compared to airlines.  The new policy adds financial penalty and steps up enforcement of pre-existing guidelines that limited passengers’ total carry-on baggage weight to 150 pound...
1

Chasing 4501 Macon-Tennille, Ga., Sept. 26 and 27, 2015

Posted one year ago by Nikos Kavoori
NS Local G02 heads east across the Ocumulgee River in Macon,GA, this view has been obscured by tree growth since this 2011 shot but a similar view is possible from the Macon Riverwalk for the afternoon westbound trip. As the heat of summer finally gives way to the cooler days of fall it’s time to prepare for the next round of 21st Century steam excursions in the south. This year’s fall trips will feature Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s Southern Railway 2-8-2 No. 4501 and w...
21

The House Beside the Railroad Tracks

Posted one year ago by Hayley Enoch
The blistering summer heat has been late coming to North Texas this year, but when it does finally arrive, it seems to feel a need to make up for lost time. The highest temperatures this August approach one hundred and ten degrees. This time of year, it’s too hot for train watching to be a pleasurable pursuit, especially if the object of the chase is the kind of locomotive that cultures fire in its belly. Several weeks of sequestration in my air-conditioned home has not cut me off from ...
7

Piedmont Chase

Posted one year ago by Nikos Kavoori
NS transfer job P26 grinds upgrade at CP Birmont in Atlanta, this will be a great spot to see and hear 4501 working up the grade to Howell. One of the staples of the original Southern and later NS steam program was the annual Autumn leaf specials on the Piedmont mainline between Atlanta and Toccoa. These trips were host to nearly every engine used by the Southern steam program from the 4501 in its first career to exotic and short lived participants such as the C&O 2716 and T&P 610 so it...
1

Railroading Just For Fun – TVRM Railfest

Posted one year ago by David Lester
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum Railfest on Saturday, September 12, 2015.  4501 returns to Grand Junction from Cleveland, TN while attendees admire Norfolk Southern SD60Es painted to honor first responders and military veterans. Photo by Steve Freer. With all of the serious news generated by the railroad industry, it’s easy to forget that railroading can be – well, downright fun! Nowhere was this more evident than this past weekend at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM...
3

How will you fare under the redesigned Amtrak Guest Rewards?

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
Revised 2:00 PM EDT 9/15/2015 Major changes to Amtrak Guest Rewards, the railroad’s 15-year-old point-earning loyalty program for frequent travelers, announced last month and set to take effect on Jan. 24, 2016, have been met with nearly universal disappointment and derision from those already most loyal to Amtrak who are devotees of train travel, particularly of the long-distance trains. It is being seen as yet another instance of the national carrier favoring Northeast Corridor passenge...
1

Shooting Photos in Fall

Posted one year ago by Robert W. Scott
Some places around the country summer will hang on well into the early to mid Fall. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we can have times where a few lingering warm days greet us in September and maybe into October. For us this means a lot cooler temperatures, the return of the rain, and gloomy days. There are however, those rare days that we can get some sun. The light is lower in the sky and the leaves are starting to turn on the trees which makes for some very impressive images to capture. As ...
10

Four ways American travel could live up to Swiss standards

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
I returned just over a week ago from my first extensive experience with intercity travel outside of North America. I was spoiled to have at my disposal for two weeks the Swiss Travel System, perhaps the world’s densest interconnected system of public conveyances. While it may be unrealistic to expect that America’s public transportation network will ever grow to truly rival — in size, scope and quality — that which the Swiss enjoy, I will share a few areas in which I feel...
6

What's happening at the Cass Scenic Railroad?

Posted one year ago by Chase Gunnoe
The Cass Scenic Railroad operating season is more than 80 percent complete under its first year of operation by the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad (DGVR). The operation of Cass has expanded DGVR’s Mountain Rail Adventure portfolio to now include the four tourist train destinations of Elkins, Cheat Bridge, Durbin, and Cass.  In addition to an expanded operating area, the DGVR is also working on other in-house projects that may interest members of the railfan community. One of...
5

TRAINS Chase guide: Nickel Plate Road 765, Scranton, Pa., to the Delaware Water Gap

Posted one year ago by Dave Crosby
Steam fans will long consider 2015 as one of the most exciting years in recent memory, considering the return to steam of Norfolk & Western 611 as well as Southern 4501 on the mainline for the first time in decades. As if these events weren’t enough, as a grand finale to the summer steam excursion season, Nickel Plate Road 765 will power on trips over routes that would have seemed unfeasible just a few short years ago. For the first time ever, No. 765 will operate on the former Delawa...
13

Interconnectivity enables trains, buses & planes to do what each does best

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
This Friday, I will be departing for my first visit to Switzerland, a two-week tour of the country — primarily by train — that is a gift from my aunt for my 30th birthday. One of the things that has most intrigued me about Switzerland, aside from its spectacular alpine scenery and the wonderful variety of passenger train services that span the country, is how well its entire public transportation system works seamlessly as a whole. Standard-gauge trains connect with narrow-gauge trai...
7

Streetcars are an Engine Behind Uptown Dallas’ Success

Posted one year ago by Hayley Enoch
Streetcar number 143, not currently in service, is on display at the streetcar barn around 2004 and advertises new Uptown construction. Some sixty years ago, a drama of public transportation played out in the streets Dallas, Texas. For much of its history, a variety of urban railroad and transit companies had operated streetcars along the city’s most populated thoroughfares. By the middle of the twentieth century, though, pressure from the automobile industry to free up road lanes and cur...
1

Next Generation: D. Collin Reinhart

Posted one year ago by Chase Gunnoe
This month, we look at the work of photographer and volunteer fireman Collin Reinhart, a 21-year old Penn State - Altoona student from Quakertown, Penn. Reinhart has had an interest in the rail industry and model railroading since he was a young kid, enjoying his first trackside experience on Conrail's Reading line near Allentown at at just a few months old.  "I started taking pictures as soon as I could hold a camera. My dad and I would railfan almost every weekend and when I was old enou...
3

Norfolk Southern Shines in Unit Dedicated to Emergency Responders

Posted one year ago by Robert W. Scott
Spencer, N.C. May 28, 2015. Norfolk Southern has done it again....they have added yet another special scheme to their growing number of uniquely painted locomotives. This time is in the form of SD60E #911 painted up in a special livery to honor the sacrifices and service and of America's first responders; fire, police and emergency medical services. Almost immediately after the freshly painted loco was out-shopped it was already being displayed with fire engines and police cruisers as a once in...
2

#NerdTrain: An annual rolling hangout for transit buffs

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
Five years ago, Matt Johnson and Ashley Robbins, friends who were then living in Washington, DC and Atlanta respectively and who were (and still are) both involved in urban planning and transit advocacy, had a Twitter conversation in which they issued one another a friendly challenge to see who could ride the most miles on Amtrak that year. That evolved into planning a train trip from Minneapolis to DC, in which another friend, Adam Froehlig (who grew up around the Twin Cities), invited himself ...
18

Following 611, but Chasing More than Trains

Posted one year ago by Hayley Enoch
Both the Cumbres & Toltec and Durango & Silverton exist and operate in enclaves. They create a one-foot-in-the-past, one-foot-in-the-present illusion along the tracks and within the limits of their yards. What draws people to these places is the invitation to pretend for that for a few hours, they are someone else, somewhere else, living sometime in the past. The draw is so strong that people come from the far ends of the country, sometimes from the other side of the world,to visit the...
10

CSX motive power roster at a crossroads?

Posted one year ago by Chase Gunnoe
A few nights ago, I watched as two General Electric C40-8W’s eased into Saint Albans with a Portsmouth, Va. bound intermodal container train. The two matched pair of 7800 series wide cabs glistened in the night as they passed a used car lot adjacent to the mainline. Momentarily, I thought back to the VHS train videos that absorbed my attention years before showing C&O piggyback trains barreling through Saint Albans. Chessie System painted GP40-2’s blurring by the same car lot &n...
3

To extend or not to extend the PTC deadline? The question dividing the industry.

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
Revised July 29, 2015 at 2:50 AM EDT. As it becomes clear that the majority of the nation’s railroads that host passenger trains will not have Positive Train Control technology installed and operational by the deadline, written into the 2008 Passenger Rail Investment & Improvement and Rail Safety Act,  of the end of this year, the questions of whether and how to extend the deadline and of how to handle railroads that fail to meet it if it remains are dividing the community of rai...
10

In northeast Ohio, a railroad-park symbiosis

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
Students of American passenger train history are familiar with the role railroads played in supporting the preservation and enjoyment of the big Western National Parks. But a passenger train service has played an equally key role in the life of a newer and lesser-known National Park in a Midwestern urban area known historically for heavy industry. The Valley Railway, which became a Baltimore and Ohio branch line, was built in 1880 along the Cuyahoga River to connect Cleveland to the railroad's e...
17

Where the trains call, and the mountains answer

Posted one year ago by Hayley Enoch
Silverton, Colo., is a small town, nestled high in the San Juan Mountains and hemmed in on all sides by steep grades. It is compact enough that a train of about ten narrow gauge cars spans a good third of the settlement’s length. The entire valley is visible from the switchbacks of U.S. Highway 550, the only major road leading into the town. I count three trains lined up in the yards, all headed up by a Mikado under in steam, and many dozen people boarding No. 480’s train for the r...
6

Senate bill takes major steps forward for more, better passenger trains

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
The passenger rail reauthorization legislation approved by the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is groundbreaking in two ways. It is the first bill ever to receive a committee’s approval (in either chamber) that actually contemplates, and even encourages, the expansion of our skeletal national passenger train network, rather than merely ensuring that the existing system stays in place while leaving modest expansion efforts to the states. Second, the Committee vot...
14

Passenger train study: Great potential – costs + politics = no service

Posted one year ago by Steve Glischinski
If you want to know why rail passenger service in this country never seems to gain traction, a recent study done by Amtrak for a second train on the Chicago-Twin Cities route should give you the answer. The study explored four route possibilities but settled on the 411-mile route from St. Paul Union Depot to Chicago was considered the most practical. Trains would leave St. Paul and Chicago daily. Each would consist of a locomotive, two bi-level Superliner type coaches, a bi-level snack coac...
10

Discovering the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

Posted one year ago by Hayley Enoch
For the past few years, a visit to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad has been high on my to-do. It comes highly recommended from others who have already made the journey. They ask me if I have “discovered” the shops at Chama and Antonito yet, and then usually go on to praise them with a very specific endorsements. They tell me that the 3-foot gauge Cumbres & Toltec is a place that has been forgotten by time. This July, I finally had the chance to travel out to the Cumbr...
21

What’s the best way to keep passenger trains running on-time?

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
In its March 9 ruling in US Dept. of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads, the Supreme Court decided unanimously that, for the purpose of exercising regulatory authority, Amtrak is to be considered a government entity rather than a private company. But it remanded the bigger issues in the case back to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which had ruled that Amtrak is a private actor, to decide based on this interpretation of Amtrak’s status. The cas...
0

Next Generation: David Carballido-Jeans

Posted one year ago by Chase Gunnoe
In our fourth installment in a blog series that reviews the talented photography of young and aspiring artists, we visit Valentine, Ariz. and the home of California native David Carballido-Jeans. David and family recently moved from San Pedro, Calif. area of Los Angeles to Valentine, a popular location along Santa Fe's historic transcontinental route. David, a 19-year old sophomore student at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz. has developed quite a bond with BNSF Railway's busy Sant...
3

Notes on the APTA conference in Salt Lake City

Posted one year ago by Dave Lustig
The UTA TRAX light rail station at 450 S. Main Street in Salt Lake City on June 24, 2015. Photo by Dave Lustig. I just came back from the American Passenger Transit Association conference in Salt Lake City. I met a lot of industry professionals, and had a chance to play with all sorts of new gadgets. Just as importantly, I was able to sit in on a number of seminars discussing some of the most important issues facing transit today. The subject matter in general and the sheer number of people wh...
10

Revamped Amtrak website step in right direction, needs just a little work

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
After having gotten so used to the previous design of Amtrak’s homepage that I paid almost no attention to it aesthetically, I find the revamp that was unveiled on Sunday quite refreshing. While it is near impossible to fully convey the experience of train travel in the architecture of a website, the new look does a better job of conveying its pleasures, and of drawing viewers’ attention directly to the best fares available on trains serving their current location. But perhaps as sig...

Join our Community!

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

Trains free email newsletter
NEWS » PHOTOS » VIDEOS » HOT TOPICS & MORE
GET OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTER DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
Connect with us
ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

Search the Community