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  • Blog Post: 10 myths about visiting the Colorado narrow gauge

    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 invent a time machine. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic...
  • Blog Post: Nine steamy things you can do this fall

    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 Railway 4501’s first excursions down south...
  • Blog Post: Notes from the 4014 chase: Sherman Hill and Cheyenne

    School children and residents watch No. 4014's train pass under the pedestrian walkway over the yard in Laramie, Wyo. No. 4014's train eases out of the twin Hermosa Tunnels for photographs for Trains. Cheyenne, Wyo. – I wonder what No. 4014 was thinking as her diesel great grandchildren escorted...
  • Blog Post: Notes from the 4014 chase: Wyoming

    UP 4014 departs Rock Springs, Wyo. for Thursday's trip to Laramie, Wyo. LARAMIE, Wyo. – We arrived here last night after a day that included blowing snow, lightning, rain, and not far away, tornadoes. Fortunately, everyone and everything got here to the western slope of Sherman Hill for today’s...
  • Blog Post: Notes from the 4014 chase: Northern Utah and Western Wyoming

    A Utah Front Runner commuter train soars across a flyover in Ogden as No. 4014's train walks out to the main line. ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. – Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 returned to home turf on Tuesday on its journey between southern California and the shop in Cheyenne, Wyo., that will prepare...
  • Blog Post: Notes from the 4014 chase: Utah

    Visitors crowd No. 4014 while on display Saturday in Salt Lake City, Utah. OGDEN, Utah – We’re back in traditional Big Boy territory with Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 No. 4014 continuing to dazzle onlookers as it makes its way in tow to the restoration shop in Cheyenne, Wyo. The locomotive is...
  • Blog Post: Tales from the 4014 chase: Nevada

    No. 4014's train near Caliente, Nev. CALIENTE, Nev. – It’s late, and I’ve just gotten into my motel in Milford, Utah, and I should be sleeping, but before I do, I’m going to jot down a few things about Thursday’s hospital train move for Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014...
  • Blog Post: Enjoying Norfolk Southern's 21st Century Steam Program

    Having witnessed the steam excursions originating this spring in Bristol, Va., and Grundy, Va., only one word comes to mind when describing them: awesome! Norfolk Southern and the Tennessee Valley Rail Museum went above and beyond to put on a fabulous show for railfans and individuals riding the train...
  • Blog Post: 23 reasons to be excited about this weekend’s Norfolk Southern steam trips

    After departing Bulls Gap, Tenn., train 976 swings through an S curve on the east side of town with Southern 2-8-0 No. 630 leading a public passenger excursion part of Norfolk Southern's 21st Century Steam program on April 6, 2014. Photo by Samuel Phillips. We’re now at the start of the fourth...
  • Blog Post: Southern Railway No. 630's trip across the Buchanan Branch

    I've had many people inquire about locations and chasing information regarding the 21st Century Steam excursions powered by Southern 2-8-0 No. 630 in Grundy, Va., this weekend, and figured a blog post containing information might be helpful to many of you. First off, the line this train is traveling...
  • Blog Post: An engine named Soo Line 1003 is on the way back

    We're looking at the backhead of the locomotive with the engineer's seat on the right, the fireman's seat on the left, and the open firedoor in the middle. HARTFORD, Wis. – The back of antique automobile museum is about as ironic of a place as any to repair and maintain a steam locomotive. But...
  • Blog Post: What I learned about Union Pacific’s Big Boy would fill a 25,000 gallon tender

    Union Pacific steam crew pulls Big Boy No. 4014 out of its museum berth and into the parking lot at the Los Angles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, Calif. On Nov. 14, 2013. The next step for the locomotive: A trip in April from southern California to the UP steam shop in Cheyenne, Wyo. Jim Wrinn photo ...
  • Blog Post: Busting snow and rocks on the Rio Grande in 2014

    “And so the narrow gauge gets in the blood and will not out,” wrote Trains Editor David P. Morgan in the October 1969 edition that served as a heartfelt tribute to the Colorado narrow gauge. His statement applies to so many of us to this very day and was so appropriate earlier this month...
  • Blog Post: Inside the Barriger Library: Check out our Flickr site of historic rail photos

    In the 1930s, a lone switchman walks along the Illinois Central’s tracks near Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The First Regiment Armory appears in the background. John W. Barriger III Photo. John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, St. Louis Mercantile Library, UMSL. Seen any good railroad...
  • Blog Post: Is a Big Boy locomotive a he or a she?

    Photo by Paul Guercio. The staff and I are hard at work on our special magazine, “Big Boy on the road to restoration,” due out in early April. Writing and editing this 100-page tribute to Union Pacific’s largest steam locomotives and the effort to restore Big Boy No. 4014 makes me...
  • Blog Post: ‘80s steam star 1385 starts time in rehab

    We're looking at the front truck of a a Ten-Wheeler, the "4" in 4-6-0, but it is sitting under the rear of the frame where the cab goes in this shop view. All photos, Jim Wrinn. [caption image="/cfs-file.ashx/__key/communityserver-blogs-components-weblogfiles/00-00-00-07-48/5751.DSC_5F00_3134.JPG...
  • Blog Post: New Zealand: Land of Variety

    Above: Map and statistics from KiwiRail Annual Report 2013 Before my wife and I traveled to New Zealand for the first time in 2012, I had studied the online timetables of KiwiRail Scenic Journeys, the passenger arm of the country's national railway, and I had identified other rail operations that...
  • Blog Post: Steam into History digs deep into the American story

    On the early afternoon of Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2013, Leviathan ’s whistle blows for the Kirchner Road crossing on the north side of New Freedom, Pa., as the York follows closely behind. Photo by Brian Plant. NEW FREEDOM, Pa. — The once-familiar sound of steam whistles again echo...
  • Blog Post: Big Boy, thy strength is already mighty

    The crowd watches as the Big Boy is prepared for more movement on panel tracks. Jim Wrinn photo POMONA, Calif.- The emotions that Union Pacific’s newly repatriated Big Boy steam locomotive No. 4014 stirs, even without it being restored and in steam, is powerful indeed. On Thursday, as the...
  • Blog Post: Frequently Asked Questions on Trains' Big Boy coverage

    Throughout the day on Wednesday and Thursday, we've noticed certain questions appearing regularly. We hope that posting answers will help some of our viewers enjoy the live streaming video even more. Frequently Asked Questions: Q: When will Big Boy No. 4014 be restored to operating condition? A...
  • Blog Post: Great beginnings: Big Boy No. 4014 comes from out of nowhere to dazzle us

    Big Boy No. 4014 spent her last night inside the Rail Giants Museum at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds Wednesday. Today, she begins her trip toward restoration. Jim Wrinn photo POMONA, Calif. – Steam locomotives, whether running all out at full gait or at rest, command attention. One that...
  • Blog Post: So where can a Big Boy go?

    Distinguished observers like to point out that Big Boys only ever operated in revenue service on the Union Pacific in select mountain areas, mostly Utah and Wyoming. It was what they were designed to do – all they ever did. A kind of logic dictates the original routings are the only ones Union...
  • Blog Post: Waking up Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014

    POMONA, Calif. – Good morning. If you’re reading this on Wednesday morning, I am probably in a hotel room putting on my well-worn steel-toed boots, orange safety vest, and lime green hard hat, or more likely, I am already dressed and out witnessing a true miracle, something those of us who...
  • Blog Post: Did the railroad club or the railroad get a good deal in Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014?

    Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 is being worked on by Union Pacific crews to ready it for a ride to Cheyenne, Wyo., in the near future. Photo by Steve Sweeney. The Southern California Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society was the owner and custodian of Union Pacific Big Boy No...
  • Blog Post: Why 2014 may be the best for steam in the last 20 years

    Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 rounds a curve near Largo, Ind., on Oct. 27, 2013. Jim Wrinn photo FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Riding behind Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 last Saturday from Fort Wayne to Lafayette, Ind., and then chasing the westbound train Sunday made me smile and often. This was...