THE magazine of railroading

SEARCH TRAINSMAG.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

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...
5

Northern Ontario adventure: Finding my way out of Franz

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
When I last left you, I was planning to attempt to transfer from one thrice-weekly passenger train to another at a junction point deep in the northern Ontario wilderness. The trains are VIA Rail Canada’s Sudbury-White River Budd RDC train (operating over Canadian Pacific’s east-west main line), and the Algoma Central Railway’s (ACR) regular passenger train between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst (operating over track owned by Canadian National), and the junction point is a place (n...
15

Budds through the bush: a sojourn on VIA Rail in northern Ontario

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
VIA Rail Canada’s Sudbury-White River train (formerly known as the Lake Superior), consisting of two (sometimes three) Budd-built Rail Diesel Cars (RDCs) that operate three days a week in each direction along a 301-mile section of Canadian Pacific’s transcontinental main line, is the only passenger train of its kind in North America for several reasons. It is currently the only regularly scheduled intercity passenger service using Budd RDCs (the only others being used as backups on t...
2

Clocks, watches, and trains: The National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors meets in Chattanooga

Posted one year ago by David Lester
The train, powered by Southern Railway 2-8-2 No. 4501, performed a photo run-by for guests. The relationship between timekeeping and railroads is a strong and historic one. Until national timekeeping standards were adopted in second half of the nineteenth century, railroad schedules, even over short distances, were not well coordinated and difficult to follow. The lack of standardization caused accidents and unpredictable arrival and departure times. The situation only improved when, in the la...
8

Railfan Atlas: The latest tool in the railfan arsenal

Posted one year ago by Steve Glischinski
Railfans are an ingenious lot. Over they years they developed an assortment of tools to make railfanning fun and more productive. They adopted radios to listen in on railroader’s conversations. With the advent of digital cameras and related technology, they can shoot night flash photos the way O. Winston Link did in the 1950s, but minus any wiring. Tech savvy fans developed ATCS Monitor, which allows you to monitor rail traffic on a computer screen and see if any trains are coming.  ...
6

Chasing Norfolk & Western 611 between Lynchburg and Petersburg

Posted one year ago by ROBERT B HOOVER
Job well done to Trains and contributors for providing thrilling video and shot-by-shot photography following Norfolk & Western No. 611. While I am more of a folding chair-and-book train watcher than swift-footed train chaser, I can offer visitors to central Virginia a few tips on where best to view 611 as she proudly steams between Lynchburg and Petersburg on June 13 and 14 excursions. First, the bad news. There are no tunnel portals or nice mountain landscapes for framing your shots in t...
7

Unnecessary standoff over PTC reflects outmoded attitude towards railroads

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
A standoff continues between the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), on the one hand, and two terminal railroad companies on the other, that threatens to result in the suspension of passenger train service to the Show Me State’s two biggest cities if not resolved. It centers around the mandate in the federal law passed in 2008 that all railroads carrying passenger trains install Positive Train Control (PTC) by December 31 of this year, b...
1

Next Generation: Stephen Schmidt

Posted one year ago by Chase Gunnoe
June 2015: Stephen Schmidt The month of June acknowledges Stephen Schmidt in our latest installment of profiling young talent in railroad photography. Born in Chicago's western suburbs, Schmidt's interest in rail photography has recently blossomed into a career with BNSF Railway at the young age of only 18 years old. Schmidt still calls the Chicago area home, but will soon be moving to La Crosse, Wis. to advance his career with BNSF Railway.  Schmidt's introduction to railroad photography...
16

Realistic thinking, more citizen involvement needed to revamp American passenger trains

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
One of the conclusions I arrived at in my column reflecting on the political aftermath of the fatal derailment of Amtrak train 188 in Philadelphia last month is that both the lack of adequate and reliable funding for American intercity passenger trains and Amtrak's institutional problems seem to be two sides of the same illness, and that both problems continue to reinforce each other. Several articles, columns and blog posts written since have caused me to ruminate further on this idea...
3

N&W 611, a missed opportunity?

Posted one year ago by G. Mark Ray
The morning in the Piedmont began with the sun rising to clear skies.  Inside NS Coach 29, the windows are covered in condensation from the frigid air conditioning that has the temperature somewhere in the upper 60s.  Passengers for today’s Inaugural Run of Norfolk & Western 611 are slowly working their way to their seats.  Up front, the star of today’s show simmers as her patient crew of volunteers readies her for the big show.  The man who will run her from ...
8

Going car-free for a rural traction ride

Posted one year ago by Malcolm Kenton
As one who enjoys rail history and witnessing and riding aboard historic equipment, but also does not own a car and advocates a less automobile-dependent future in America, I find it somewhat ironic that so many railroad museums — even those that preserve urban transit equipment — are difficult to access without a car. A friend and I had to improvise in order to visit one of these, the Western Railway Museum near Suisun City, CA, during my visit to the Golden State this weekend. The...
4

A job well done! Welcome home, 611!

Posted one year ago by Chase Gunnoe
Yesterday’s maiden voyage home for N&W 4-8-4 J-Class No. 611 could be described countless ways. For many, it was simply the feeling of being reunited with an old friend. For others such as myself, it was my first encounter with No. 611 in all her glory. And for all of us trackside, it was truly magical. By now, we have all enjoyed seeing the many photos of No. 611 and it’s 18 car passenger consist parading along Norfolk Southern’s ex- Southern Railway and Norfolk & West...
4

Chasing Norfolk & Western 611 between Manassas and Front Royal, Virginia

Posted 2 years ago by Alex Mayes
In just two weeks, Norfolk & Western 4-6-4 Class J No. 611 will once again ply the rails on Norfolk Southern’s B Line between Manassas and Front Royal, Virginia.  Three trips are scheduled on this line-a morning run on June 6th and morning and afternoon runs on June 7th.  All trips will depart Manassas and run west to Riverton Junction in Front Royal and return to Manassas.  The excursion trains won’t be running as fast as they will be running on other Norfolk Sout...