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The real reason we’re railfans

Posted 7 years ago by Kathi Kube
This past week has been a time of enormous reflection for me. Ryan Schoenfeldt died on Tuesday. You might have seen his obituary in our News Wire, or posted to one or more of the many Yahoo! Groups he frequented. Or you might have even seen one of the heartwarming tributes posted on websites run by the Center for Railroad Photography and Art or Wisconsin & Southern Railroad. Throughout the week, many friends and acquaintances have added their own comments, several saying that they ...
1

The people who figure it all out

Posted 7 years ago by Kathi Kube
AAR Research Review attendees examine two of several bridges on TTC's High Tonnage Loop. Both bridges are made of steel and were donated to TTC after removal from revenue service for use in testing. The section on the right is riveted steel, and both sections have significant cracks that researchers are monitoring. Kathi Kube photo I spent the week of March 14 in sunny Pueblo, Colo., attending the Association of American Railroads' 16th Annual Research Review at the Transportation Technolog...
10

Who is that lady in white traveling the ‘Road of Anthracite?’

Posted 7 years ago by Angela Pusztai-Pasternak
I think Phoebe Snow is trying to reach me from her grave. Last weekend, I spoke with a yardmaster who retired off the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern. "Ever heard the story about Phoebe Snow?" he asked. Well, of course, I had. But, I certainly didn't know everything there is to know about Delaware, Lackawanna & Western's famous early 20th century advertising campaign and fictitious poster girl. The Lackawanna launched a campaign using rhymes and a woman dressed in white named "Phoebe Snow" to ...
3

A weekend in Baltimore: Has this city lost its railroad charm?

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
  I spent this past weekend in Baltimore with members of the city's National Railway Historical Society chapter, which marks its 75th anniversary this year. It's among the oldest organized railfan groups in the country still in existence - Lancaster, Pa., is No. 1, and Philadelphia is No. 3 in longevity among NRHS groups. Being back in "Charm City," its nickname since the mid-1970s, gave me the chance to visit old haunts as well as the opportunity to see new places. I think you'll find w...
6

Riding the cab of Amtrak's Acela

Posted 7 years ago by E Abbe
Guest post from Trains magazine Publisher Elfrieda Abbe I peered out the windshield of Acela train No. 2212, as Doug Hartig (pictured at right), Amtrak road foreman of engines for the Mid-Atlantic Division, prepared for the noon run from Washington, D.C., to New York City, arriving at 2:55 p.m. Not only was I about to have my first cab ride, but it was in America's fastest train, capable on this route of reaching speeds up to 135 mph. Hartig, who had engineer duties for the trip, was a geni...
9

Lighting the fire inside young railfans

Posted 7 years ago by Angela Pusztai-Pasternak
Today’s kids are not short on stimuli from TV to Nintendo DS to iPods. My 5-year-old daughter is convinced that if the late Jack LaLanne says his Power Juicer is the best, then she needs one. She also thinks I need PajamaJeans, and her brushing would improve tenfold if I got her the Touch-N-Brush toothpaste dispenser. Of course, she learned about all of these products during TV commercials. TV is a great way to reach kids, but where can a children’s magazine about trains reach kids? ...
8

Covered wagons Redux

Posted 7 years ago by Roy Blanchard
Posted by Roy Blanchard It’s quite a treat to climb into the cab of a 50-year-old F-unit and go tooling along at sixty-plus over a piece of railroad one first rode as a teenager behind E7s. The sensations are all there — no sound insulation from the horn or bell noises, the smells are right, and the view is correct. The only alteration to the control stand is the 21st century radio unit — the box above the engineer’s left hand. Finishing out the sense of a time-warp is t...
7

A Canadian Pacific Christmas Carol

Posted 7 years ago by Andy Cummings
Children dance and play in the snow during the Gurnee, Ill., show. Andy Cummings photo Canadian Pacific invited me to spend yesterday evening on its Holiday Train from Bensenville, Ill., to Hartland, Wis. I’d never been to see the train before, so this was my first glimpse of what it’s all about. The first thing you notice is the crowds. I can’t recall exactly what I pictured in my mind’s eye before the trip. Maybe it was 50 or 100 of the least winter-averse locals an...
2

Out here, everyone is a railroad photographer

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
By Matt Van Hattem, Senior Editor How many tourist attractions can you name that owe their existence to the art of railroad photography? I can think of only one: Morant’s Curve, three miles east of Lake Louise, on Canadian Pacific’s main line through the Canadian Rockies. Every tourist map and guidebook to these breathtaking mountains makes note of Morant’s Curve and urges travelers to see it themselves. Sure, you can list any number of great railroad locations that are well...
7

Book Review: Requiem for Steam, by David Plowden

Posted 7 years ago by Roy Blanchard
Reviewed by Roy Blanchard, with some help from the German Requiem by Brahms I. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4) David Plowden’s most recent book, the aptly titled Requiem for Steam, is clearly written by a man who mourns the passing of steam locomotion on the railroads, yet he and we are comforted by the passion and craftsmanship he brings to this labor of love. From the acknowledgments on the first three pages to the last photograph, we’...
17

If you love steam, narrow gauge, or the audacious, get yourself to Germany!

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Trains magazine Editor Jim Wrinn is in Germany to cover last week's InnoTrans 2010. My trip to Germany is coming to a close, but I wanted to tell you about the last few days spent riding and photographing the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways in what was once East Germany. After attending and reporting on InnoTrans, the big railroad trade show in Berlin, last week, a dispatcher who is a pal of mine asked if I wasn’t overdue for steam preservation, and he’s right. I did need to catch a whif...
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...