9

Why Norfolk Southern is moving its headquarters move to Atlanta

Posted yesterday by Jim Wrinn
Back in 2013, I penned a two-page feature for Trains called “How cool is your railroad?” We prepared a chart that analyzed various aspects of the corporate makeup, posture, and outward presentation of the seven big U.S. freight carriers. Among the topics we reviewed was headquarters city. For Norfolk Southern, of its world headquarters I wrote this: “Possibly the deadest downtown of any railroad HQ. If Norfolk wasn’t in the company name and Lambert’s Point wasn&rsqu...
1

20 questions for John Garner at Western Maryland Scenic Railroad about the restoration of 2-6-6-2 No. 1309

Posted yesterday by Jim Wrinn
Western Maryland Scenic Railroad’s restoration of 2-6-6-2 No. 1309, the last steam locomotive Baldwin produced for domestic service in 1949, has been an on-going struggle for four years since its acquisition from the B&O Railroad Museum. The railroad and the project have faced significant challenges, including landslides, funding, employee theft of unique parts, and others. In the last six months, the project surged ahead with a new burst of funding that produced a steam test of the ...
11

Memories from George H.W. Bush's 1992 presidential campaign train

Posted 9 days ago by Jim Wrinn
The death of President George H.W. Bush and the planned funeral train for him on Thursday brought back memories of a day some 26 years ago, when Bush and railroading were together, and I was a witness to it. Oct. 21, 1992 was not an ordinary day at work for me. I was a newspaper reporter for the Charlotte Observer’s bureau in Concord, N.C. But instead of calling on residents of Cabarrus County, N.C., for their news, I was standing in a bored and restless crowd along a double track main ...
5

Golden spike, photos from the transcontinental railroad, create a powerhouse exhibit

Posted 18 days ago by Jim Wrinn
OMAHA, Neb. – It’s common knowledge that on May 10, 1869, Central Pacific and Union Pacific locomotives and their entourages met at Promontory Summit, Utah, where a ceremonial golden spike was gently tapped into a laurel tie to commemorate the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. The spike would become an iconic emblem marking the completion of this monumental task. It’s also widely known that a photographer assembled those present for an image of the two locomot...
5

Thoughts on railway preservation: the Heritage Rail Alliance meeting in Santa Fe

Posted one month ago by Jim Wrinn
I just returned from Santa Fe, N.M., where the Heritage Rail Alliance meeting concluded. I have attended these meetings regularly since 1997 and as a volunteer at the N.C. Transportation Museum served as one of the hosts of the 2001 meeting of the old Association of Railway Museums and the Tourist Railroad Association Inc., which merged a few years ago to become the Heritage Rail Alliance. We also hosted the 2008 meeting of the tourist group here at Trains magazine in Milwaukee. The tone of the...
2

Why we're at the Heritage Rail Alliance meeting learning about tourist railroads and museums

Posted one month ago by Jim Wrinn
SANTA FE, N.M. – We’re here in this capital of desert Southwest arts and culture for the annual Heritage Rail Alliance. It’s a meeting that brings together dozens of professionals and volunteers from the tourist railroad and railway museum industries to talk about their common challenges and successes. I expect to see dozens of people, from car hosts to the CEOs of major tourist railroad holding companies. Everyone who cares about the future and well-being of the past is here....
13

An overdue visit to a special railroad tunnel that never saw the first train

Posted one month ago by Jim Wrinn
Have you ever put off doing something so long that you just didn’t think you’d ever get around to doing it? I had an experience like that late last month when I went home to the Carolinas to see family and friends. This tale involves a partially completed railroad tunnel. All of my life I’d heard the legendary Blue Ridge Railroad, a route between the Atlantic seaboard at Charleston, S.C., through the mountains of South Carolina and Georgia, and onto Knoxville, Tenn., and e...
6

The power of first-person storytelling

Posted one month ago by Angela Pusztai-Pasternak
I just can’t help but get emotional. I am closing a book. Not The Book. But it’s the end of an era for me. I’ve edited the last chapter of your stories. Your personal stories. With the December 2018 issue of Trains, I have edited my last “In My Own Words” story. [I lovingly refer to it as IMOW (read: eye-mow) in the office, so expect that reporting mark for the duration.] By my best count, you’ve allowed me to help you tell your stories 173 times. I am honor...
8

Sending thoughts to heaven while following a Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum excursion

Posted one month ago by Jim Wrinn
Mr. Bob Soule Mr. Paul Merriman The Great Roundhouse in the Sky   Gentlemen: I’ve long wanted to speak with both of you again since you departed this Earth. But I’ve not felt the urge to contact you so strongly as I have this week. You were both giants in the preservation of steam locomotives, and your creation, Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, has compelled me to write. Last Sunday, I had the good fortune to follow and photograph a TVRM excursion train from Chattanoo...
14

I am a gearhead: Silver Creek & Stephenson's Heisler No. 2 confirms it

Posted one month ago by Jim Wrinn
I am a gearhead. All locomotives fascinate me. Diesels excite me. Streamlined cab units are especially a favorite. Electric is good. Steam power is truly a passion. Big steam definitely thrills me. But if you asked me what my most personal favorite is, it would be a geared steam locomotive. Give me a Shay, a Heisler, a Climax. Those strange but powerful backwoods locomotives of the late 19th and early 20th century that slaved away in obscurity. They are my best locomotive buddies. Yes, I am a ge...
2

“Grandpa” John Gruber had a twinkle in his eye

Posted 2 months ago by Angela Pusztai-Pasternak
John Gruber signs a copy of "Railroaders:Jack Delano's Homefront Photography" at the Chicago History Museum, April 5, 2014. Photo by Angela Pusztai-Pasternak There are folks worthier than me of writing about John Gruber who passed away Oct. 9, 2018. Certainly, the list includes his family, his close friends, railroaders, photographers, business associates, and railfans who admire the books he wrote, the photos he took, all the beautiful work he’d done personally and professionally, es...
2

Railroad photography: A death in the family

Posted 2 months ago by Brian Schmidt
I still remember vividly the image of the scrunched cap reflected in the window glass. It seemed an odd inclusion to this young railfan by a magazine called “Trains” that billed itself as “The Leading Magazine of Railroading.” That photo was taken by none other than legendary photography John Gruber, who died this week at age 82. It accompanied his May 1994 feature story “A death in the family” recounting the end of the Green Bay & Western. It wasn&rsquo...
4

Thank you, John Gruber, my friend

Posted 2 months ago by Jim Wrinn
I am going to miss John Gruber. The affable photographer, writer, editor, and found of the Center for Railroad Photograph & Art who passed away Tuesday at age 82 gave me many things.   As a kid, he showed me Southern Railway No. 4501 in the pages of Trains and in David P. Morgan’s book about that beloved locomotive. And then he showed me the Rio Grande narrow gauge in its final days. And so much more.   As an adult, he gave me a good friend in his son, Rich. We both liked...
4

Tour of Colorado, Day 7: That's all, folks

Posted 2 months ago by David Lassen
DENVER, Colo. — That’s a wrap. The fourth year of Trains tours of Colorado wrapped up Monday with our final train ride, from Alamosa to La Veta on the Rio Grande Scenic, followed by a bus ride to Denver and our farewell dinner at our hotel. Tomorrow, everyone flies home. The ride on the Rio Grande Scenic was a bit sobering because it took us through the path of the Spring Creek Fire, which closed the railroad, burned down its concert venue at Fir, and destroyed 140 homes as it spre...
5

Tour of Colorado, Day 6: The favorite child

Posted 2 months ago by David Lassen
ALAMOSA, Colo. — If you ask a parent if he or she has a favorite child, the answer is usually going to be “I love them all equally.” It’s almost like that with the tourist railroads on the Trains Tour of Colorado. Almost. Every one of these railroads has something to recommend it, and I enjoy every one of them. But I must admit I have a favorite child: the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, a 64-mile railroading time capsule that is as close to a narrow-gauge operatio...
3

Tour of Colorado, Day 4: Returning to normal in Durango

Posted 2 months ago by David Lassen
DURANGO, Colo. — There’s no bad time to visit the Durango & Silverton, but this was a particularly good time for three reasons: — The railroad is finally running its full route on its regular schedule, after a summer disrupted by fire and mudslides. — The fall colors are spectacular. — The area can use the support. The last point may be the most important. As we noted on Trains News Wire in late August, Durango & Silverton ridership was down 27 percent, ...
6

Tour of Colorado, Day 3: Gorge-ous

Posted 2 months ago by David Lassen
CANON CITY, Colorado — In the days before our group arrived in Canyon City for its ride on the Royal Gorge route, I was exchanging text messages with Jody Moore, the railroad’s assistant general manager, to set up a video interview for an upcoming Trains project At one point, he dropped in a short aside: “Your timing is good. We just put the F7s back on the train this weekend.” Now, that was a truly welcome bit of news. When last I was on the Trains Tour of Colorado, in...
3

Tour of Colorado, Day 2: Friends old and new

Posted 2 months ago by David Lassen
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Day Two of the Trains Tour of Colorado featured a visit to an old friend of our tour groups, and a new stop with a notable place in the state’s railroading history. Up first today was a visit to the Leadville, Colorado & Southern, a regular feature of our tours and one that I think has been a new experience to a majority of our travelers. I’m delighted we can introduce them to it; the highest standard gauge railroad in North America (the tracks re...
5

Tour of Colorado, Day 1: Shay? Nay.

Posted 2 months ago by David Lassen
GEORGETOWN, Colo. — Steam locomotives are complex machines. As such, they can be a bit temperamental. We were all reminded of that during today’s Trains Tour of Colorado. This is the first full day of this year’s Colorado tour, which has been a regular part of the Trains tour schedule since 2015. This year’s itinerary is much the same as it has been since we began offering the trips with our partners at Special Interest Tours. The first day features a visit to the Color...
7

765, 1309, 611 add up to thoughts and observations on big steam

Posted 2 months ago by Jim Wrinn
I took a much-needed big steam sabbatical in Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina last week. The occasion was Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765’s now annual fall visit to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, continuing restoration work on Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 at Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, and Norfolk & Western No. 611’s only mainline appearance this year, an unpublicized ferry run between Spencer, N.C., and the Class J’s hometown in Roanoke, V...
30

MetroLink, Gateway Arch, a loaded coal train, and candied bacon

Posted 2 months ago by Angela Pusztai-Pasternak
An eastbound MetroLink light rail train arrives at Delmar Loop on Sept. 22, 2018. Angela Pusztai-Pasternak And, let me tell you, that's a wicked way to spend a Saturday! I had the pleasure of visiting St. Louis this past weekend and riding MetroLink. What a great service! It was easy to use, clean, and had a smooth ride. My husband and I took the Red Line from Delmar Loop to Laclede’s Landing to see the Gateway Arch. However, you can disembark at Eighth and Pine to be closer to the...
7

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 in motion: The chiseled good looks of a Greek god

Posted 2 months ago by Jim Wrinn
There was a time, friends, when I was a mere lad. As a mere lad I had model trains before I had a good camera and a driver’s license with which to chase real trains. They were Lionel and HO, and they were good. So, I did things that model railroaders do and I exchanged printed passes to my imaginary basement short line with other modelers who did the same. And when I did, I soon learned that the profile of a Nickel Plate Road Berkshire is an icon that is not only held in great revere not o...
6

Swiss Tour Day 10: 48% grade uphill outside Lucerne

Posted 2 months ago by Steve Sweeney
LUCERNE, Switzerland — Unable to hop out of the Pilatus Bahn cog railway cars to get a better picture, I opted to show you an approximation of what it was like to ride the Pilatus near Lucerne today. Please accept my apologies. The picture above does the railroad some justice. But man, oh man, there’s not a stick of what you might call tangent track on the entire line. It’s simply “up” and “down”: On curves, through tunnels, over stone arches, and nex...
3

Swiss Tour Day 9: Narrow-gauge mountain cog steam railway with open air cars WOW

Posted 2 months ago by Steve Sweeney
cs_setInnerHtml('video_e0377a5d-d460-426b-9fa1-d490f93d0354',''); LUCERNE, Switzerland — Wow. That was one heck of a day.  Trains’ Swiss Tour 2018 visited Brienz, Switzerland, today for a ride to near the top of the Brienz Rothorn Mountain. At the base is the small lake-side town with an 800-mm narrow-gauge rack railroad that uses mostly steam locomotives with diesel back-ups and diesel work trains. It was our ninth day of true summer-like temperatures — 75 to 85 degr...
4

Swiss Tour Day 8: 10 train changes in one day

Posted 2 months ago by Steve Sweeney
INTERLAKEN, Switzerland — Quantity and quality are often traded off one another as mutually exclusive choices. But if you think those are your only choices, you obviously haven’t been on a Trains tour of Switzerland. Because today, after about 10 hours and thousands of feet difference in elevation, our group changed trains 10 times. Yes. TEN TIMES.  (And you smarty pantses out there, we didn’t lose anyone.) We began the day at Montreux and headed just a couple of mile...
2

Swiss Tour Days 6 & 7: Swiss Family ‘Trains’

Posted 2 months ago by Steve Sweeney
MONTREUX, Switzerland — That’s my tour group.  Get that?! MY group. In the picture above, we’re waiting on a train to take us from the Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva back to Montreux, where we’re staying two nights. Sunday and Monday were designed to be two easy days because we needed it. We’ve been walking constantly. Eating meals late, getting up early, and keeping each other awake.  We were polite with one another from the first night, but after all...
4

Swiss Tour Day 5: Where fantasy meets reality visiting the Matterhorn

Posted 2 months ago by Steve Sweeney
ZERMATT, Switzerland — Alright. I admit it. I wanted to show off with the picture above.  And after I bragged to fellow photogs on the Trains’ 2018 Switzerland tour, they all went for their own version: on Canons, Nikons, in 4K, and on film. This particular shot is not iconic, but it is less common, if only because the Matterhorn (that spiky mountain in the background) is often shrouded in clouds or fog, even on otherwise nice days.  Of course, since we were on a rail t...
2

Swiss Tour Day 4: Volunteers make memories on the Furka Pass excursion

Posted 2 months ago by Steve Sweeney
cs_setInnerHtml('video_8a1a5868-d3a5-4e89-b5d1-4b60dfc054bf',''); ZERMATT, Switzerland — The headline is plain so you know where I want to go with this blog post. But I really wanted to write: “The importance of being Kurt and Tony.” These two men, you see, are volunteers with the Dampfbahn Furka Bergstrecke (DFB) or Furka Cog Railway. I’ll just call it the Furka train from here on out.  We met Tony first. He is a tour guide and interpreter for the Furka train w...
4

Super Kind and Danny Trejo say, "Wait your turn to get on the train."

Posted 3 months ago by Angela Pusztai-Pasternak
LA Metro’s relatively new video and print campaign to promote good conduct on its trains and buses looks more like something my 6-year-old son would watch than those that purport to be adults using transit. Have you seen these? My two favorites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyjHFYtz5hY#action=share https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uUFf8IomLg#action=share But see them all here: www.metro.net/manners Japanese anime superhero Super Kind shows riders how to have manners in various s...
4

Swiss Tour Day 3: One picture perfect day

Posted 3 months ago by Steve Sweeney
CHUR, Switzerland — Take a good look at that picture above. I took it just as we were departing Bergun, Switzerland, on Thursday afternoon. The guests on Trains’ Swiss tour were all smiles after about 10 miles of twists, turns, curves, tunnels, and scenic bridges. No, I mean it. Our day began in Lugano with a bus ride to Tirano, Italy, and varied pizza/spaghetti/panini lunches. That was all preparation so our group of 36 people could board meter-gauge coaches of the Rhaetian Rail...

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