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Out of 115 pieces of rolling stock at InnoTrans, two favorites emerge: A Euopean dome car and a jacked up track maintenance rig

Posted 6 years ago by Jim Wrinn
We’re looking at the seating area of a former German railways dome car under restoration by RailAdventure, a Munich-based company. Jim Wrinn photo RailAdventure, a Munich, Germany-based company, is rebuilding this dome car into a private car for charter use. The panels on the side show what the interior will look like once it is done. Jim Wrinn photo The Robel-built Mobile Maintenance System looks like a giant yellow caterpillar but provides a portable workstation for track maintenance u...
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At InnoTrans, it’s fun to go to the press briefing … and stick around late!

Posted 6 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Here's a unique rail vehicle on display at InnoTrans, a portable work station, where the rolling stock moves into place, opens up like a camper, and the track crew can work in a sheltered environment with tools and gear within easy reach. Photo by Jim Wrinn The Italian-made Crab, basically the same concept as an American Trackmobile, is on display at InnoTrans 2012. Photo by Jim Wrinn Among the final chores prior to the opening of InnoTrans 2012 is to wash the windows on all of the trains. The...
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Original Glacier Express route keeps steaming in Switzerland

Posted 6 years ago by Jim Wrinn
]Workers repair a wood passenger car at the Furka Pass shop in Aarau, Switzerland. Jim Wrinn photo The boilers and frames for the Furka Pass 0-8-0s rest in the shop at Chur. Jim Wrinn photo The boilers and frames for the Furka Pass 0-8-0s rest in the shop at Chur. Jim Wrinn photo I’m always looking for railroads that American railfans can use in comparison with some of the stars in Europe’s vibrant preservation community. Over the last two days, I’ve been visiting with Switz...
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Railfanning at 30,000 feet

Posted 6 years ago by Jim Wrinn
I am on the way to the world’s largest railroad trade and technology show, InnoTrans, held every other year in Berlin. I am taking the long way to the show, via one of Europe’s most spectacular steam-powered tourist railroads and some incredible fast trains that put Amtrak’s Acela to shame, but more about that and the show later as they happen. On Wednesday, I started my journey with a 2-hour plane trip from Milwaukee to Philadelphia, where I boarded my trans-Atlantic flight. E...
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Two derailments, one tragedy

Posted 6 years ago by John Hankey
Once in a while, an incident gets your attention in unsettling ways. That happened the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 21, when a CSX coal train derailed in Ellicott City, Md. Two young women lost their lives. They were just days from returning to college, one of them to a school I attended. I’m pretty certain I crossed paths with CSX train U813 on its way east from Grafton, W.Va. I was returning from a weekend conference in Ohio, and decided Monday to follow the original B&O route from Whee...
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Desolation at Vaughan

Posted 7 years ago by Kevin P. Keefe
Rust marks the curve in Vaughan, Miss., where Casey plowed into a freight train on April 30, 1900. Photo by Kevin P. KeefeThe plan for the end of a recent vacation was simple. After a few days in the Florida Panhandle, my wife, Alison, and I would overnight in New Orleans, then drive back to Milwaukee over two days via our favorite college town, Oxford, Miss., our daughter's alma mater. These kinds of trips invariably are dedicated to food, Southern style, and you can't miss with eithe...
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Steam returns to Roanoke

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Photo by Jim Wrinn. ROANOKE, Va. – Let the record show that on June 24, 2012, at approximately 4:03 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings time, an operating mainline steam locomotive rolled into the city once known as the Alamo of Steam. Over a radio, I heard Southern Railway 2-8-0 No. 630 call the approach diverging signal for Norfolk Avenue and then roll into view. It was a most unlikely liberation by an everyday, turn-of-the-century Southern Railway K-class Consolidation in this, the headquart...
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Fifty shades of blue: How Conrail’s paint scheme changed from brown to blue

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
 Norfolk Southern’s first heritage unit, ES44AC No. 8098, proudly wears Conrail’s blue paint and trademark “wheels-on rails” logo. Photo by Norfolk Southern It’s June 1, 2012, and 13 years ago to this day, Conrail was dissolved, split among Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation. (The name still lives on, however, in a unique switching and terminal operation that you’ll learn about in the October 2012 issue of Trains magazine.) This year saw a pl...
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2011 Trains photo contest winners

Posted 7 years ago by Kathi Kube
For this year's photo contest, we were looking for creative use of light and shadow. Overall, the quality of photos submitted was very high, making the task of choosing the winners even harder than usual. Take a look at the winners below and please leave your comments. Thank you. Grand Prize: Travis Dewitz' wonderful image of a locomotive in the night snow. First Prize: John House's shot of a Union Pacific train in Colorado. Second Prize: Matt Batrynrodriguez's photo o...
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In Portland, the Daylight & Co. are packing their bags

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
The Southern Pacific Brooklyn Roundhouse in its last days in May 2012. Jim Wrinn photo PORTLAND, Ore. – Few historic locomotive shops in American railway preservation have earned icon status. The Brooklyn Roundhouse in Portland, Ore., is one of them, and it is getting ready to close soon. Its most famous residents, Southern Pacific Daylight 4-8-4 No. 4449 and Spokane, Seattle & Portland 4-8-4 No. 700, will be moving to a new home, and the walls at Brooklyn will come own. Some will she...
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How many places can put four locomotives in steam in 2012?

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
All four operating Mount Rainier Scenic steam locomotives running together make for a fine sight at the railroad’s shops in Mineral, Wash., on May 4. Jim Wrinn photoMINERAL, Wash. – I spent last Friday and all of Saturday at Washington state’s Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad, where 20 of us steam locomotive enthusiasts were fortunate enough to witness the spectacle of four vintage logging locomotives in operation at once. Against a backdrop of snow covered peaks, fir, and yellowi...
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Where the steel hits the rail

Posted 7 years ago by Kathi Kube
I'm spending this week in Chicago with some dear old friends, and a whole lot of wonderful new ones at the Wheel/Rail Interaction Seminar in Chicago. It's Trains' new publisher Diane Bacha's first industry event, and I'm really enjoying introducing her to this industry I love so much. It's funny, though: In many ways, being here and explaining some of the engineering concepts and terminology being tossed about is reminding me how far I've come in these many years...
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Sunset (and a New Dawn) at Andover

Posted 7 years ago by Ron Flanary
"If you want to see the last Interstate unit to leave Andover, you'd better get up here!" The voice on the other end of the phone was Sonny Burchfield, an operator for the Southern at the newly combined Interstate-Southern yard at Andover. As the evening sun set behind the southwestern Virginia hills on Oct. 5, 1965, I drove up to the engine facility to find a single Alco RS-3-Interstate Railroad No. 32 burbling away all by itself. Her nine sister units were already in Atlanta, ...
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Wheels, rails, and what really matters

Posted 7 years ago by Kathi Kube
I'm in Philadelphia this week for the Joint Rail Conference, in which professionals and engineering students present papers on their research into or application of new railroad technology. The primary reason I'm here is to find ideas for our Technology column for 2013. So far, I've got some pretty cool topics to throw at you. The first can save railroad workers' lives, and that's always important. A company has designed and already implemented devices to warn both locomoti...
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BNSF: It's time for heritage locomotives

Posted 7 years ago by tdanneman
Since Norfolk Southern made a big splash with the announcement of heritage paint schemes, I thought it might be time for BNSF to do the same. Norfolk Southern joined the ranks of railroads like Union Pacific, Amtrak, Iowa Interstate, and others who are honoring their past by painting locomotives in either accurate representations, or splashy renditions of predecessor paint schemes. Does a locomotive with a fancy paint scheme move freight more efficiently? The answer is no, but what a wonderful...
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Norfolk Southern’s heritage units sure are gorgeous, but they need nicknames; also the story behind 8099’s odd suffix

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Eastbound Norfolk Southern train 38Q passes through serene countryside at Atkins, Va., on March 23, 2012 with Southern Railway heritage unit No. 8099 on its maiden run in revenue service leading the train. Jonathan McCoy photo OK, first a confession. I admit that I am one of the legions of fans who are now officially in love with Norfolk Southern’s new heritage units that are appearing like spring wildflowers across the East. Norfolk Southern’s black-and-white Thoroughbred pai...
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A great way to get new people interested in trains

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
Riders enjoy their trip on Amtrak’s Piedmont as part of a daylong event in Greensboro, N.C., devoted to passenger rail, cosponsored by Trains magazine. Matt Van Hattem photo   Here’s a great idea to promote more interest and awareness of trains among the general public: Take the folks in your town on a free train ride, and show them what it’s all about. I saw firsthand how successful this idea can be during the first weekend in March in Greensboro, N.C. David...
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Taking the written word into the real world

Posted 7 years ago by Kathi Kube
  This has been a sad week in the Milwaukee area, especially in regard to trains. Last Friday a man died when he drove his pickup into the path of a Wisconsin & Southern train in Hartford, Wis. Clearly, the investigation is still in its early phases, so no formal report has been issued, but officials did find half of a flip-type cell phone on the locomotive’s porch. It’s not a huge stretch to wonder how big a part distraction played in this man’s death.  And th...
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It's a great time to be in railroading

Posted 7 years ago by Kathi Kube
The Transportation Research Board is holding its 91st Annual Meeting this week in Washington, D.C., and I’m here looking for ideas for technology columns, seeing old friends, and meeting new contacts who can help bring the latest in the rail industry to Trains’ pages. Just yesterday morning I met a man from the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center who’s been reading Trains for years. I asked him to keep in touch and let me know if he has any news I can share with you. ...
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Wanted: your compelling railroad photography

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
The staff met for Trains’ annual planning retreat earlier this week, and we talked about the use of great photography in our print edition as well as on our website. Great imagery certainly abounds out there today, thanks partly to the widespread use of digital technology that has enabled the creation of so many amazing images. It’s also due to the keen eye of so many folks like you and me who believe that railroading is one of the most fascinating things on Earth. This is an amazing...
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1027 lives on!

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Trains’ favorite number is out once again on a new locomotive Norfolk Southen's new SD70ACe No. 1027 gleams in the sun at Chattanooga, Tenn., in December 2011 when brand new. Scott Coffey photo The same until, earlier this week, on Jan. 10, in Johnstown, Pa., carries on the tradition of Trains' street address being a favorite number! Tony Kimmel photo If you’ve been around Trains magazine for long, you know that we have a fascination for the number 1027. It was the stree...
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Getting acquainted with the railways of Scandinavia

Posted 7 years ago by Tom Murray
An X2000 train operated by SJ (Statens Järnvägar [Swedish State Railways]) crosses the Northern railway bridge as it departs Stockholm Central Station. During the summer of 2011, my wife Marcia and I spent ten weeks in Europe. In three earlier posts, I described the trains we rode in Wales, England and Scotland. After leaving the United Kingdom, our next destination was Scandinavia.  We went there as part of a program organized by Elderhostel, an educational travel organization...
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Beware of Styrofoam and plywood locomotives bearing history

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
‘Hell on Wheels’ failed on the most important prop in the story of the first transcontinental railroad: the train Neither black nor dingy like the engine seen in AMC's new television show, "Hell on Wheels," 4-4-0 Leviathan is a colorful steam locomotive right out of 1868. The engine was running at Trainfestival 2011 in Rock Island, Ill., in July 2011.   By now, you may have seen the show or heard someone talking about AMC’s new television series “...
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Mid-Continent's 1385 begins the long journey back to steam

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
1385 Project Manager Mike Wahl and volunteer Mike Deetz remove the locomotive's sand dome on Dec. 23, 2011. Jim Wrinn photo. A forktruck moves in to pick off parts from the top of the boiler on C&NW 1385 at Mid-Continent Railway Museum. Jim Wrinn photo. Volunteer Chris Zahrt uses a cutting torch to remove the petticoat pipe in the smokebox of C&NW 1385. Jim Wrinn photo. What is it about Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s Chicago & North Western Ten-Wheeler, No. 1385 that mak...
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Saving railway history, one vacation at a time

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Docent Bob Ross describes the route of the Rio Grande San Juan Extension. Ross is one of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec who gives his time to the railroad. Jim Wrinn photo   Sublette, New Mexico's buildings and sign shine because of the work of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec. Jim Wrinn photo   Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal carried a feature story about volunteer travel opportunities for 2012. The story highlighted 10 worthwhile trips you can t...
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Tom’s Montana Protest, Week 12: The first shot of the Harrison Branch

Posted 7 years ago by tdanneman
Montana Rail Link's Harrison Local rolls across a trestle between Sappington and Harrison, Montana. I'll be sharing at least one photo of my trip every week until I head out to Montana once again. I guess I look at it like my way of holding a protest, or going on strike, until I get my way and I depart for Big Sky Country. Along the way I will try to give everyone some information and other tidbits about each photograph. So come along, and join me in my protest! After we photogra...
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Tom’s Montana Protest, Week 11: Let the chase begin

Posted 7 years ago by tdanneman
Montana Rail Link's local to Harrison departs Logan, Montana. I'll be sharing at least one photo of my trip every week until I head out to Montana once again. I guess I look at it like my way of holding a protest, or going on strike, until I get my way and I depart for Big Sky Country. Along the way, I will try to give everyone some information and other tidbits about each photograph. So come along and join me in my protest! As we approached the grade crossing east of Logan to ph...
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Tom’s Montana Protest, Week 10: The wait is on

Posted 7 years ago by tdanneman
A BNSF eastbound manifest rolls into Logan, Montana. I'll be sharing at least one photo of my trip every week until I head out to Montana once again. I guess I look at it like my way of holding a protest, or going on strike, until I get my way and I depart for Big Sky Country. Along the way, I will try to give everyone some information and other tidbits about each photograph. So come along and join me in my protest! After shooting time exposures of the eastbound, it was time to get s...
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Change is coming to Chama: 20,000 new riders, controlled access, and maybe a roundhouse for the Cumbres & Toltec?

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Cumbres & Toltec 2-8-2 No. 489 lifts a train out of Antonito, Colo., in August 2011. Jim Wrinn photo CHAMA, N.M. — Anyone who has set foot on this hallowed ground knows just how special the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic is thanks to its heritage and rugged authenticity. The crunch of the cinders below your feet and the well-worn look of the grounds and the equipment tell the tale of the Denver & Rio Grande Western’s difficult narrow gauge mountain railroad that dates to 1881....
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Tom’s Montana Protest, Week 9: Lombard at night, train 3

Posted 7 years ago by tdanneman
An eastbound BNSF train on the Montana Rail Link rolls through a moonlit Lombard, Montana. I'll be sharing at least one photo of my trip every week until I head out to Montana once again. I guess I look at it like my way of holding a protest, or going on strike, until I get my way and I depart for Big Sky Country. Along the way, I will try to give everyone some information and other tidbits about each photograph. So come along and join me in my protest! In my previous blog, I showed ...