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Class I steam is alive and well – on rails other than the main line

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
by Jim Wrinn Santa Fe, Union Pacific, Southern, Southern Pacific, Boston & Maine: The illustrious list of Class I railroad steam locomotives that are back in operation or on the way to steaming is impressive; the notion that the only steam in captivity today is about short lines and industrial railroads is far from the truth. But what’s even more remarkable about this list is that this new round of engine restorations isn’t taking place on Class I railroads. Museums and tourist lines are doi...
2

Is the DM&E project dead?

Posted 7 years ago by Andy Cummings
It's a fair question, to be sure. Canadian Pacific's Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern withdrew 19 lawsuits attempting to seize land from Wyoming residents; the land was to be used for a new right-of-way into the Powder River Basin coalfields. I spoke with DM&E spokesman Mike LoVecchio last week about the decision, and he tells me it represents a change of tactic, not an abandonment or even suspension of the project as a whole. Still, CP makes no secret that regulatory and economic factors are...
6

"Julie & Julia:" A chick flick for railfans?

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
by Matt Van Hattem Senior editor   So guess where I was on a crystal clear Saturday afternoon while the rest of you were out taking train pictures?  At the movies seeing “Julie & Julia.” I’ll admit I was a little reluctant to go, but my moviegoing companion had watched them filming a scene from the window of her New York City apartment, and I used to edit cookbooks so I figured it would be fun.   (Everyone laughs at my past career in cookbooks, seeing as I barely know...
3

The perfect morning

Posted 7 years ago by Andy Cummings
My cell phone alarm rang at 3 a.m. mountain daylight time, and I forced myself out of the cheap motel bed I'd spent the night in. By 3:30, myself and a railfan friend of mine were passing through Badlands National Park. There was no chance of finding coffee at this hour of the morning, so the best I could do to wake myself was to open the car windows and feel the chilly breeze brush past my face. The first light of day was just a smudge on the horizon to the northeast. Interstate 90 was empty, s...
1

An effective rail museum on a smaller scale

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
By Matt Van Hattem Senior Editor  I’ve just returned from representing Trains magazine at the Galesburg Railroad Days festival. The festival is always held the last weekend in June, and attracts a crowd from all over the central United States.  Many Trains readers stopped by our tent (right next to the Amtrak station platform) to say hello.   On the first day of the event, I got a chance to walk through the Galesburg Railroad Museum, and came away marveling at how a relativ...
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Railroad Photography

Posted 7 years ago by Angela Pusztai-Pasternak
Last month, Trains magazine's e-newsletter included a link to an online exclusive about creative railroad photography. [If you don't receive the Trains e-newsletter, click here to sign up.] The article was written by Scott Lothes, project director for The Center for Railroad Photography and Art, based in Madison, Wis. He wrote about what makes a railroad photo creative and how it has changed over the years. This Monday, we have another exclusive article on railroad photography. This time...
4

Can Conrail really be gone 10 years?

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
By Matt Van Hattem Senior Editor     For three weeks now I’ve been trying to ignore the voice in my head telling me that this month marks the 10-year anniversary of Conrail’s split-up.   I’m not in denial so much because of what’s happened to the property since then. By all accounts, Norfolk Southern and CSX have done a tremendous job integrating Conrail’s physical plant and operations into their networks.   If anything, the denial represents my unwillingness to...
4

Notes on Chicago transit

Posted 7 years ago by Andy Cummings
I made the trek to Wrigley Field (1060 West Addison in Chicago, as every Blues Brothers fan knows) Sunday to see the Cubs take on my Minnesota Twins at one of the last remaining old-style ballparks in the country. I'll leave the baseball commentary to the pros (we lost 3-2), but a few observations on Chicago transit from one who grew up far from any commuter territory:1. Metra is a phenomenal way to travel. The seats are comfortable, the trains run on time, and it's a thrill to fly over the Kenn...
2

The reel world: Pelham rocks, but suspend your disbelief

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
By Matt Van Hattem Senior Editor   Like lots of other subway fans, I went to the movies this weekend and saw “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.” I’m a big fan of the original 1974 movie, so I had more than a bit of skepticism walking into the theater.  I came out satisfied enough, I suppose. The new movie stands on its own, although I’ll take the smarmy dialogue of the original over the remake’s psychological probings into the characters.  Yes, there is a lot of implausibility, t...
1

Lessons from NARS 2009

Posted 7 years ago by Andy Cummings
In any political debate, you tend to hear the loudest voices above all the rest. This is an obvious point, but I have a reason for making it. Two weeks ago I attended the North American Rail Shippers conference in Chicago, a gathering that brought in major rail shippers and senior railroad management from all seven Class Is alike. Among the speakers were the following: • Craig Boroughf, director of transportation of U.S. Gypsum, which ships some 10,000 carloads of Sheetrock annual...
9

Ode to the SD40-2

Posted 7 years ago by Andy Cummings
In a documentary photography class I took in college, the professor talked at length about a photo's "form" and its "function." To the uninitiated, "form" refers to an image's artistic and aesthetic qualities, while "function" deals with its utility; its ability to tell a story or capture a feeling. Truly great documentary photographers seek to combine both into their work. As we railfans often do, I was recently pondering my favorite diesels, and it occurred to me that the SD40-2 is the ...
9

Are there really just seven mainline steam locomotives left?

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765's recent outings at the Hoosier Valley Railroad in Indiana and its planned appearance at Train Festival 2009 in Michigan in July got me onto a subject that was disturbing to one who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s halcyon days of mainline steam excursion: How many mainline steam locomotives are really out there in the United States today? The best answer I could come up with is, sad to say, seven. First off, some criteria. When I say "mainline" I mean a locomotive ...
0

Update: Elevated rail system in Honolulu

Posted 7 years ago by Angela Pusztai-Pasternak
Honolulu City and County Mayor Mufi Hannemann will get his wish at the end of the year: The city will break ground and begin building the first 6.5 miles of its 20-mile system stretching from East Kapoli to Ala Moana Center, Honolulu's largest shopping mall ["City Rail," Trains October 2008]. Service for the first segment is slated to begin in 2012, and final completion in 2018. They chose an elevated system, since they want to avoid any road traffic congestion which exists ...
2

*Free* train simulator

Posted 7 years ago by Angela Pusztai-Pasternak
It's not often you hear the word free, and there are no strings attached. Here is a link to a free train simulator game you can download: openbve.trainsimcentral.co.uk/ This Web site has user information, a forum to pose questions, and a blog by the developer. No, I haven't tried it. Come on, people, I have work to do! We do receive rail simulator games for review on occasion for the Products section of Trains magazine. I'm not a gamer myself, but others have told me the...

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