3

An entertaining ‘Gotcha’ moment at InnoTrans

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
  Last week, Trains magazine Editor Jim Wrinn was in Germany covering InnoTrans 2010. Now I’m not one of those journalists who live for the “gotcha” moment that so many people crave. Yes, it’s a guilty pleasure when you find the president of Heinz foods using Hunts ketchup or catch the head of Boeing riding on an Airbus. I don’t know, there’s just not enough there intellectually in my thinking to really make me think that’s much in the way of true...
1

From InnoTrans: How green is my railroad?

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Trains magazine Editor Jim Wrinn is in Germany covering InnoTrans 2010. How green do you want it to be? I knew before I even left the U.S., that I was in for a surprise when it comes to how important the railways in Europe view their role in preserving the environment, and how critical the public is of the railroads’ environmentalism. Whether you believe in or are skeptical of global warming, these folks know that playing the green card is important to constituents here. In Milwaukee, da...
0

At InnoTrans, it’s fun doing business with you

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Trains magazine Editor Jim Wrinn is in Germany covering InnoTrans 2010. Wandering around the InnoTrans trade show Tuesday, the first day of this week-long showcase of the world’s railway manufacturers and suppliers, I saw big business taking place. I listened to the head of Alstom Transport talk about replacing 1,000 locomotives in Russia over the next 20 years and watched his eyes light up at the thought. I saw makers of axles, wheels, springs — heck, entire railway systems —...
4

Grocery shopping by rail on a Sunday night in Berlin

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
So let's say you’re in a foreign country, you just arrived in the nation's capital, you checked into your apartment for the week, and now it's time to find some essentials: breakfast foods and beverages. If you're like me, you eat dinner (never shop on an empty stomach, right?) and then ask the waiter before you leave ... partly for information and partly to confuse him. Well, in Berlin, where I'm at this week for the InnoTrans trade show, on a Sunday night in the neighborhood where I'm li...
6

Timing is everything

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
On a Saturday night, will I slip on the ICE? I’m in Germany this week to attend the biennual InnoTrans conference. This is at the fairgrounds in Berlin, and it’s a showcase of the world’s newest and fastest trains, and other technological wonders of this age (railroad tunnel boring is apparently wildly popular; who knew?!), and with America about to spend a few billion dollars on high speed rail, I figured it was prime time to be in the showroom to see what may – or may ...
2

Bob Downing had a thick skin

Posted 7 years ago by Kevin P. Keefe
Posted by Kevin P. Keefe, publisher The death last month of former Burlington Northern President Robert Downing was a noteworthy event not only in the railroad industry, but also among its historians and fans. Downing died August 4 at age 96. Friends report that, right up until the end, he was mentally sharp. And, I’m sure, characteristically upbeat. Bob Downing was a popular figure with everyone he met in railroading, including the members of the Lexington Group in Transportation History...
13

Trains’ first-ever children’s magazine

Posted 7 years ago by Angela Pusztai-Pasternak
“Daddy, when I get big, can I work on trains with you?” says Michael, 4, son of Casey Thomason, a Norfolk Southern engineer. Michael’s already hooked on trains because his dad works for the railroad, takes him train-watching, and often goes to Duluth, Ga.’s Southeastern Railway Museum. Michael is a Trains magazine reader in the making. What about the other kids that don’t have parents that work for the railroad, train tracks running through the middle of ...
15

Won’t somebody please think of the children?

Posted 7 years ago by Andy Cummings
I was set to pondering Dan Machalaba’s September feature, “What to do about NIMBYS?” when I stumbled across this column in the Manteca Bulletin (Calif.), "Be very afraid: UP toying with monster trains." The columnist tells us to “be very afraid” of “monster” trains. This all goes back to a famous (notorious?) experiment Union Pacific ran in January, running an 18,061-foot intermodal train from Dallas to the Los Angeles area. The columnist asks an entirely fair, non-alarmist questi...
22

My night with the train-haters

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
How come no one else wants a train station in my backyard?By Matt Van Hattem, senior editor                 I got to meet some of the people Dan Machalaba writes about in his story “What to do about NIMBYs” in the September 2010 issue of Trains Magazine. Boy, was it an eye-opener. This year, Wisconsin got $823 million in federal Recovery Act money to, among other things, extend Amtrak’s Chicago-Milwauk...
1

How to teach an old railroad new tricks

Posted 7 years ago by Roy Blanchard
By Roy BlanchardWinchester, Va., July 10, 2010. Norfolk Southern’s former Norfolk & Western Shenandoah Valley line has long been a favorite. Today I visited the line from Riverton Jct., Va., just north of Front Royal, to see how the Crescent Corridor improvements have changed the line since I first photographed it in the mid 1950s. Quite a bit, it turns out.At Riverton Jct., where the ex-Southern line from Manassas joins the ex-N&W line from Roanoke, Va., on a connecting track built in t...
6

76ers star Evan Turner takes the train

Posted 7 years ago by Kevin P. Keefe
Posted by Kevin P. Keefe, publisherBaseball players and writers like to tell nostalgic stories about the days when players rode trains to all their games, mostly from the halcyon days of the 1930s and ’40s before the airlines came into their own. These stories are fun, but they always leave the impression that big-time athletes never take the train anymore. Wrong.Photographer Greg McDonnell and I were reminded of this on a muggy Friday morning inside the monumental concourse of Amtrak’s 30th Str...
5

Over the Top on the Royal Canadian Pacific

Posted 7 years ago by Roy Blanchard
By Roy BlanchardIt's early June and I'm in Calgary, Alberta to attend the 2010 Canadian Pacific Investors Day program. Day One was the usual collection of presentations from the CP senior staff about matters marketing, financial and operations. Today is Day Two, the Royal Canadian Pacific (www.royalcanadianpacific.com) train ride to Field, BC from Calgary, over the continental divide. My wake-up call comes at 0530 so I can be downstairs, full of coffee and ready to go when the bus comes to carry...
5

Looking for the star of the show in a yellow and blue advertisement for the Boy Scouts

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
For me, the highlight of the Rochelle, Ill., Railroad Park’s Railroad Days last weekend wasn’t the bounty of trains that the Union Pacific and BNSF Railway sent parading by on that rainy and muggy Saturday. It wasn’t in the goofy watermelon seed spitting contest either that attracted more folks than I’d expected it would. It wasn’t at Union Pacific’s display of heritage units, but it was right next door to them in UP’s newly painted C45ACCTE No. 2010, the recently released six-axle GE that comme...
12

Fateful destination: the last stop for FDR’s funeral train

Posted 7 years ago by Kevin P. Keefe
Posted by Kevin P. Keefe, publisherOur books editor at Trains, Angela Pusztai-Pasternak, knows I love new railroad history titles, especially if they tell a story that transcends railroading. She wasn’t surprised, then, when I snatched up “FDR’s Funeral Train” by Robert Klara (Palgrave Macillan, $27). It’s a riveting tale of how several railroads brought Franklin D. Roosevelt’s body home to Hyde Park, N.Y., on April 15, 1945. Railroad books rarely are true page-turners, but this one is, compress...
10

Amtrak’s Adirondack from the Head End

Posted 7 years ago by Roy Blanchard
Amtrak Train No. 68, the southbound Adirondack, will never win any speed records. But it passes through some of the prettiest scenery this side of the New River Gorge courtesy of Canadian Pacific and the former Delaware & Hudson Railway. The piece de resistance is the way the railroad hugs New York’s western shore of Lake Champlain between Whitehall and Plattsburgh and I wanted to see it in person. The best way to do that is, of course from the locomotive. And therein hangs the tale. I’...
3

More railroad maps, more fun!

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
By Matt Van Hattem, Senior Editor I’m excited to tell you that we’ve uploaded 24 more maps on TrainsMag.com for your viewing entertainment. Among them was the very first Map of the Month we published, “Chicago tonnage by railroad,” in the October 2001 issue of Trains Magazine. Look for more maps to appear on the site as our 70th anniversary year continues to unfold. The maps are available as downloadable PDFs to Trains magazine subscribers. Not a subscriber? Check out our free preview ...
0

“Without rails it fails…"

Posted 7 years ago by Roy Blanchard
By Roy Blanchard”
That’s what Mark Murawski, transportation planner for the Lycoming County (Pennsylvania) Planning Commission said at the 2010 Pennsylvania Freight Seminar, an annual affair of the Pennsylvania Rail Freight Advisory Committee. Murawski was speaking as a panelist on "Railroads and the Race for Marcellus Shale Gas." Here's why the railroads are essential to the successful tapping of the Marcellus Shale natural-gas reserves.  

The drilling equipment itself, the miles of pipe ...
4

Taking the Talgo to Vancouver for the first time

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Is this a glimpse of what’s ahead for Wisconsin and other states?Precisely at 7:40 a.m., on Monday, Amtrak Cascades train No. 510 gently eased out of Seattle’s King Street Station, heading north to Vancouver, B.C. This was my first experience with these articulated, lightweight trains that run between Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and Eugene, Ore.  These Spanish-built trains have been in service in the Pacific Northwest for 10 years now, and they’re nothing short of amazing. That they’re in ...
1

Canadian Pacific at the Pacific

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
How the Vancouver Service Area packs a lot of railroading into a small area I spent much of Monday visiting the Canadian Pacific in Vancouver, B.C., my first trip to this Pacific Northwest metropolis made famous by the 2010 Winter Olympic games. What CP does in and around Vancouver is worthy of a gold metal itself. I saw incredible amounts of freight moving in a highly congested area, and I heard from railroaders who’d developed some ingenious ways to move tonnage. Jennifer Hunt in the...
0

Much-anticipated ride on a Willamette geared locomotive

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
I fulfilled a long dream of mine Saturday, which was to see and ride a Willamette geared locomotive. The Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad restored Rayonier Inc. No. 2, a three-truck “Willie” last year, and Pacific Northwest railroad historian Martin Hansen (pictured at right) organized a photo outing with the superheated locomotive for 18 of us. Having grown up riding and appreciating the Shay locomotives of North Carolina’s Graham County Railroad, I always wanted to know what the Pacific Nort...
3

A ride on the Northeast Corridor: Always something new

Posted 7 years ago by Roy Blanchard
Posted by Roy BlanchardNew Jersey Transit Train 3930 runs express from Trenton, N.J., to New York Penn Station, covering the 50 miles in 70 minutes. It departs Trenton at 8:09 a.m., arriving at Penn at 9:19 a.m. with three station stops: Hamilton, Princeton Junction, and Newark. For those of us in Philadelphia, it's an easy connection with the 7:04 SEPTA local out of the former Pennsylvania Railroad Suburban Station, making the total transit time exactly 2 hours and 15 minutes. Amtrak servic...
1

Union Pacific operating income jumps 47 percent in a year

Posted 7 years ago by Roy Blanchard
Posted by Roy BlanchardUnion Pacific stepped up to the quarterly earnings plate Thursday and, like CSX, knocked the first pitch out of the park. It’s a case of doing many things right. Operating income was up 47 percent to $988 million on a 16 percent revenue increase to $4 billion. Operating expense was held to a 9 percent gain, just 1.5 percent if you exclude fuel. The operating ratio dropped five points to a first-quarter record of 75.1.  Average revenue per unit was up 3 percent with no...
1

Here’s how short lines are doing

Posted 7 years ago by Roy Blanchard
By Roy BlanchardIn an earlier post Fred Frailey comments on the traffic gains the Class I railroads are seeing as we begin to come out of the economic downturn that started more than two years ago. Shortline and regional railroads are seeing better days too -- not surprising since roughly 20 percent of all Class I carloads touch a short line someplace between origin and destination. Week 13 shortline carloads as reported in the RMI RailConnect Index were up nine percent compared with a year ago ...
2

CSX earnings show an uptick from last year

Posted 7 years ago by Roy Blanchard
By Roy BlanchardCSX leads off the railroads’ earnings season with record first-quarter revenue, operating income and operating ratio. Total freight revenue increased 11 percent to $2.5 billion as merchandise carloads (all but coal and intermodal increased to 55 percent of the total and coal dipped to 30 percent with intermodal treading water at 13 percent from 12 percent year-over-year. Merchandise carload revenue shot up 17 percent thanks in part to jumps of 41 percent and 32 percent in fertili...
1

The ghosts of B&O past live on in this Baltimore hotel

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
A bit of East Coast railroad history that was reborn last year in Baltimore has gone largely unnoticed, but it merits attention of the railroad community. On Sunday night, thanks to my good friend and historian John P. Hankey, I spent the night in downtown Baltimore at the Hotel Monaco. If that doesn’t sound railroad-like, it isn’t, but the 13-story building at the intersection of South Charles and East Baltimore streets cannot escape its past as the former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad headquar...
0

A day of surprises on a California short line

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
One thing is for sure about a day on a short line: You never know what you’ll encounter. Case in point: my Thursday at the Sierra Northern’s Santa Cruz Division, which it acquired from Union Pacific on Dec. 31, 2009. The line runs 31 miles from Watsonville to Santa Cruz, Calif., then 10 miles north to Davenport. Our day began around 9 a.m. when engineer Cliff Walters and brakeman Wes Swift arrived to prepare ex-Santa Fe GP20 for the day’s work at a lumberyard in Santa Cruz. The two coupled the l...
0

Finding shades of the past on the rails of the West

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
On Tuesday morning, the shop door at the Nevada State Railroad Museum lifted and a century-old ghost rolled out. Virginia & Truckee McKeen car No. 22, under restoration for years, puttered out under its own power.  This is a rare car, possibly the only one that’s complete today. McKeen’s nautical interests are apparent everywhere – from the bow-like knife front to the porthole windows in the passenger compartment and the boat tail. The car is set for its public debut on May 9, 100 years...
1

Virginia & Truckee is back from the dead, and it’s awesome

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
The odds of reconstructing a long-abandoned but legendary railroad from scratch are long, even in a gambling state like Nevada. But odds makers could have never foreseen the myriad funding that came together to rebuild a good chunk of the Virginia & Truckee branch between the state capital of Carson City and the mining town of Virginia City, where Mark Twain once ran the Territorial Enterprise newspaper. On Monday, I was among 20 photographers who boarded a Trains & Travel charter with V...
0

Why CSX’s shortline meeting sets the standard

Posted 7 years ago by Andy Cummings
A special guest post from Roy Blanchard, Trains magazine short line correspondentCSX wrapped up its 21st Annual Shortline Meeting in Jacksonville on Tuesday. I’ve been to most of them, and every year they get better. It is, after all, the longest running show if its kind, and features a number of industry firsts. To begin, CSX was the first Class I road to establish a short line caucus group, a rotating panel of shortline leaders to gather up membership concerns and take them up with CSX manager...
5

Don Phillips reflects on Trains-Amtrak town hall meeting

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Special guest post from Don Phillips, Trains columnistI am tempted to say that there was good news and bad news out of the Trains Magazine-Amtrak meeting in Chicago Saturday. There was indeed one item of terrible news and a few items that could be bad if we learn the details. More about that shortly, but first I want to concentrate on some of the good things that came out of this meeting.The best "good thing" was that Amtrak management was there at all and actually provided some straig...

Join our Community!

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

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy

Search the Community