4

Meet Nevada Bob

Posted 7 years ago by Andy Cummings
Dear reader, You're no doubt by now familiar with "Smilin' Bob," the television spokesman for the drug Enzyte. But you're probably not familiar with his cousin, "Nevada Bob." Rather than me making the introduction, I'll let Robert "Nevada Bob" Alan Kemp introduce himself in his own words: "A simple single mere mortal non-learned man."  Nevada Bob does business at the Surface Transportation Board as the Nevada Central Railroad. Accor...
3

TRAINS editor heads to class on signaling and train control

Posted 7 years ago by Kathi Kube
Editing stories requires more than just having a strong command of grammar and spelling; more than anything, it requires a person to become sort of a minute-expert in whatever subject the story is about. Sometimes learning enough to edit a story is fairly easy because it's close to a subject we're already interested in, or it builds on previous knowledge we've gained from other stories. Sometimes, though, editing a story properly requires a little more education. Well, yeste...
0

Shortline time down south now includes doublestacks

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
See if this hits you the same way it hit me: A southeastern shortline railroad whose reporting marks are HOG is going to start running doublestack containers in June between Cordele and the port at Savannah, Ga. The operation will take trains over three railroads on a route as straight as can be between the Atlantic Ocean and this business center in South Georgia. My reaction, after hearing about this development at this week’s American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association meeting ...
2

What's your sign, dude?

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Let me start off by saying that I was one of your riders on Easter Sunday morning on Cleveland’s RTA light rail line from Green to Tower City. I wanted to compliment you on your handling of our two-car articulated train. It was as smooth as silk. Well done. Too bad there were not more people on board, but, hey, it was a holiday and a Sunday morning, so I’m sure it’s sparse on a day like that. Car 826 was impressive, a sporty job built in Italy in 1981 to whisk your fellow Cle...
1

Did the Easter bunny find you? He brought me four blue eggs!

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Look at these three blue Easter eggs in Cleveland! A trio of ex-Conrail SD40-2s assembles a hopper train on April 24. Jim Wrinn photo I was in Ohio last weekend as the guest of the Akron Railroad Club, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. The group kindly asked me to be its banquet speaker at the University of Akron on Saturday night, and I really enjoyed their hospitality and camaraderie. Thus, I awoke Sunday morning in Cleveland. I jokingly mentioned in a text to a friend that...
5

Source Code: Was that a Metra train or a bad dream?

Posted 7 years ago by Angela Pusztai-Pasternak
By Angela Pusztai-Pasternak and Matt Van Hattem (Trains’ entertainment critics at large) Angela: Decisions, decisions … should I see “Sucker Punch” or “Source Code?” And must I really look at trains during my free time?I try to avoid watching movies and TV shows featuring trains, but alas the trains always seem to appear, whether I like it or not. So, I broke my rule, wanting to get the most for my money, and saw “Source Code” on opening ni...
4

A tale of two Consolidations

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Once upon a time, two Southern Railway Consolidations escaped the torch when diesels came to replace them. One of them found itself on display in a park near the zoo in Knoxville, Tenn. The other went to work for a shortline railroad, and then its old railroad wanted it back as a rolling ambassador for the company on excursion trains. The one in the park weathered the years, a spectacle to those who came to visit but otherwise ignored, while the other one gained fame as a link to the past for ...
2

What’s your “honorable mention” rail trail?

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
Here's a guest post from our Map of the Month illustrator, Bill Metzger. It's about the "Rails to trails across America: Your guide to 415 trails 10 miles or longer (11,830 miles in all)" map in the May 2011 issue of Trains. This map has generated a lot of reader letters, so we thought we'd share some of the "honorable mentions" that didn't make the map.   Staple Bend Tunnel, the first railroad tunnel in the United States, was built ...
5

Suddenly, Wisconsin wants trains?

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
Wisconsin's state capitol rises above weedy tracks that once carried Chicago & North Western streamliners from the Windy City into Madison, Wis. Matt Van Hattem photo You'd think the spring 2011 meeting of the Wisconsin Association of Railroad Passengers would be a depressing affair. After all, the state's newly elected governor just turned away nearly $1 billion in federal grants to restore passenger service between Milwaukee and Madison, Wis. But no. The 40 ...
1

Southbound editor soaks up the sun and the rails of his homeland

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
I am traveling back where I come from. I am in the south, where the temperatures are already in the 70s, the sun shines bright, the trees are greening up nicely, college girls hang their arms out of an open car window to catch the breeze, lost hunting dogs look into car windows for their masters, and railroads put on a wonderful show worthy of the region.  I am in a city that is foreign to me: Augusta, Ga. When I was growing up, it was just a bit too far to reach for a day trip o...
1

Asia’s most outrageous transportation

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
There must be hundreds of different ideas for moving people by public transportation. I found some unique twists on familiar themes during a visit to Asia last December. (You can read about Asia's high speed trains in the April 2011 issue of Trains Magazine.) With each new experience, I felt like Charles Darwin finding a slightly different mockingbird at each Galapagos island. Here are some of the transit highlights from my trip. Hong Kong, China - Double deck trams Hong Kong is...
10

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...

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