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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 ...
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Tom’s Montana Protest, Week 8: Lombard at night, train 2

Posted 7 years ago by tdanneman
The DPU of a westbound BNSF coal train streaks through the Montana night at 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! After doing time exposures wi...
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A(nother) Knoxville Fable

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Southern 2-8-0 No. 630 and executive Fs rest together at the end of Sunday's trip. A special departs Knoxville's 1904 station. View from NS theater car Buena Vista while rolling toward Knoxville along the French Broad River. Knoxville, Tenn. – This is a story about the men and women who gathered in early November 2011 in this East Tennessee renaissance city to share their enthusiasm and passion for all things steel wheel on steel rail. To those of us who experienced this y...
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Those colourful Brits, Part 2

Posted 7 years ago by Tom Murray
At Carlisle, England, a Northern Rail Class 142 Pacer DMU awaits its next trip on the right, while across the platform a Virgin Trains Class 221 Super Voyager tilting DMU arrives on an Edinburgh-Birmingham train. In Part 1 of this report I described the trains my wife Marcia and I rode in the United Kingdom in May 2011 as we traveled from Wales to London and then on to York. Our next destination was Scotland. While Marcia opted to go from York to Edinburgh the way most people would, on an E...
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Tom’s Montana Protest, Week 7: Camping near Lombard

Posted 7 years ago by tdanneman
This is a sequence of a coal train heading east through Lombard, Montana in the late evening. (click to view larger) 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! ...
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Steam miracle at East Chattanooga

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
After emergency repairs that lasted until 2 a.m., Southern No. 630 clears her cylinder cocks as she backs out of Soule Shops and onto her train bound for Knoxville, Tenn. Jim Wrinn photo CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — On Tuesday, I watched Southern Railway 2-8-0 No. 630 eat up mile after mile on the line from Chattanooga to Knoxville. The 1904 Consolidation’s run (with three coaches, diner Kentucky, and office car West Virginia) for the Lexington Group was effortless on this secondary main ...
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Tom’s Montana Protest, Week 6: This train blew us away

Posted 7 years ago by tdanneman
A BNSF westbound windmill extra rolls west along the Missouri River near Lombard, Montana. (click to view larger) I'll be sharing 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 catching t...
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Those colourful Brits, Part 1

Posted 7 years ago by Tom Murray
A Freightliner Heavy Haul train waits at a signal at Shrewsbury, England, on May 3, 2011. The EMD JT42CWR (known as Class 66 in the U.K.) was introduced by English Welsh and Scottish Railway in the late 1990s. This model has proven very popular in both the U.K. (where more than 400 are in service today) and in mainland Europe, where more than a dozen operators use them. This image combines several of my favorite things about the British rail scene: modern equipment; a distinctive livery; semap...
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Tom’s Montana Protest, Week 5: Another one at Milepost 189

Posted 7 years ago by tdanneman
A BNSF eastbound manifest rolls east along the Missouri River near Lombard, Montana. (click to view larger) I'll be sharing 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 photographing Montan...
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Tom’s Montana Protest, week 4: Lombard and the Helena Local

Posted 7 years ago by tdanneman
Montana Rail Link's Helena Local heads back to its namesake city. (click to view larger) I'll be sharing 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 photographing the ballast train...
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In Amtrak's 40th anniversary display train’s dust, observations on the exhibits, glassy-eyed fans, Amtrak’s young bucks, and a question about the future

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Uniforms, posters, models, china, and more fill out Amtrak's 40th anniversary display train. Jim Wrinn photo   MILWAUKEE – Amtrak’s 40th anniversary display train spent last weekend at the downtown Milwaukee depot at the corner of St. Paul and Fifth. The railroad opened the train to the public, and TRAINS and other organizations set up a table inside the Milwaukee Intermodal Station (it also houses buses) as part of the event.  Several of us from work attended a rec...