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Rush Loving: What Kind of Owner Will Warren Buffett Be?

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
By Rush Loving--UPDATED-- A lot of people at Burlington Northern Santa Fe are probably wondering what Warren Buffett will do to their company once Berkshire Hathaway completes its purchase in the next few months..Everyone in the railroad industry knows all about predators who come seeking quick profits. They date back to the days of Jim Fisk and Jay Gould. Many people remember those leveraged buy-out artists from Wall Street who were knocking on corporate doors in the 1980s, and more lately some...
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Trains on film: The best of 2009

Posted 7 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
Railroads have a surprising way of sneaking into the popular culture — sometimes in places where we least expect them. What follows is a short list of my favorite railroad “cameo appearances” in movies and TV for 2009. This list is by no means comprehensive, so why not share your favorite “trains on film” moments from 2009 with us? Here are seven to get you started. President Obama’s inauguration train: Millions of Americans watched on Jan. 17, 2009, as a president-elect rode a 10...
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Happy Holidays from all of us at Trains magazine

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Dear readers, On behalf of the Trains editorial staff, I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Reflecting on 2009, we’ve enjoyed bringing you the world’s top railroad magazine and web site. This has been a memorable year for us with our two special jumbo issues, the April issue devoted to grain traffic and our October issue about narrow gauge; the addition of Fred Frailey as a monthly columnist; and features, news sections, and departments throughout the year that we hope ed...
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Jim Wrinn's list of “must see” places and “must do” experiences; what’s on yours?

Posted 7 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Everybody has a life’s “to do” list. Some people have heightened this sense of urgency by calling it their “bucket list” of must-do activities they consider essential before they pass from this earth or “kick the bucket.” I was reminded of this earlier this week when I saw pictures of the tiny two-truck Shay that’s on display at the Allen County (Ohio) Historical Society being lifted by crane from one display site and placed in another. For all of the many years that I’ve been riding behind or a...
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Of politics, education and main line steam

Posted 7 years ago by Steve Glischinski
The recent announcement that Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 No. 261 would return to the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wis., after 15 years of pulling excursions got me thinking about the politics behind mainline steam. Politics, you say? You bet. To successfully navigate the treacherous waters of organizing a main line steam excursion in the 21st century, you’d better be a darn good politician. Consider what you're up against: First, unless you have a good relationship with a Class I rai...
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What’s a steam fan to do? Answer: Reflect and look forward

Posted 8 years ago by Jim Wrinn
This is the time of year when I realize that most of the fireboxes on the nation’s operational steam locomotives have gone cold. For most of the museums and tourist railroads, the engines are back in the shop, the volunteers and professionals in charge of them are tearing engines apart for much needed work, and the prospect of another steam season is months away. It’s also a time when I count the “wins” and “losses” for the year – engines that have come back, and others that left us. It’s also a...
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Rush Loving on Why Buffett Bought BNSF

Posted 8 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
Guest post from Rush LovingTwo weeks ago, when Warren Buffett announced his purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, a number of journalists seemed surprised that anyone would want to buy a railroad. "A railroad might strike many people as a bit old-fashioned-more 19th century than 21st," said The New York Times. Some TV network reporters referred to railroads as if they still were in the 1800s.Nevertheless, they all were quick to explain that Buffett was gambling on the U.S. economy-...
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Chili’s restaurant and high speed rail … who knew?

Posted 8 years ago by Angela Pusztai-Pasternak
So there I am sitting down to dinner last Friday night at my daughter’s favorite dining establishment, Chili’s. Our hostess presented my girl with her menu, which doubles as an activity book. I’m not sure how often Chili’s changes the activity book theme, but this was the first time I saw this one on transportation. Chili’s recurring characters all took charge of a mode of transportation. Hal flies a jet that uses a rocket engine, Sunny drives a solar car, Pepper explores the ocean in a deep-sea...
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Introducing Photo of the Day

Posted 8 years ago by Jim Wrinn
Railroad photography just keeps getting better. It’s always been great with passionate photographers, great optical equipment, and the most thrilling subject on the planet (in motion, lighting conditions never the same twice, equally fascinating up close or in panorama). But today it just seems that the digital revolution has just made a great art form even better, and Trains is going to showcase more great railroad photography on our Web site. Starting today, our Photo of the Week feature becom...
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Enjoy a free tour of TrainsMag.com, including News Wire, this weekend!

Posted 8 years ago by Matt Quandt
From noon Friday, November 13, through 8 a.m. CST Monday, November 16, all the great features that are available only to registered users or Trains magazine subscribers will be available to everyone, including you. For free! Find out what you've been missing! Check out these exclusive benefits: Trains News Wire — Get caught up on the day's railroading headlines written by Trains staff members, featuring about 30 stories a week! TrainsTube Videos — Watch Trains editors interview indus...
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TRAINS cover breaks new ground

Posted 8 years ago by Matt Van Hattem
by Matt Van Hattem, Senior EditorIf you’ve ever stopped to glance at the cover of a fashion magazine (admit it — we all have), you may also know that the “photo” is often a composite of different pictures of the same model, knit together seamlessly with the magic of photo editing software.At Trains magazine, we usually strive for realism on our covers. That doesn’t mean we won’t, say, remove a patch of dirt from the lead engine’s nose. But to do much more would mar the integrity of the photo and...
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Goin' to the end of the line

Posted 8 years ago by Andy Cummings
The towns along Minnesota Northern Railroad’s Warroad Subdivision could form the backdrop for Garrison Keillor’s stories, or provide set locations for the Coen Brothers’ movie Fargo. Tall gray grain elevators provide the only vertical relief; each fall, they fill with the bounty of the fields that stretch north into Manitoba, and south until they transition to marshes on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. In summer, Warroad sees its share of visitors in the form of boat-towing Twin Citians who mak...
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A Rare Class-1 Rail CEO Gathering ...

Posted 8 years ago by Bill Withuhn
A rare trio spoke in August before an important annual professional gathering that represents all transport modes:  Three leading Class-1 CEOs – BNSF’s Matt Rose, Kansas City Southern’s Mike Haverty, and Norfolk Southern’s Wick Moorman – spoke at a forum called “Balanced Regulation & Freight Railroads" at the 12th Annual Transportation & Infrastructure Summit in Irving, Texas. These annual summits are multi-modal, drawing an audience of transportation decision-makers from ...
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Bad railroad language

Posted 8 years ago by Bill Withuhn
Trains is pleased to welcome Smithsonian Transportation Curator Bill Withuhn to our blogs. Withuhn is well known to Trains readers for his many articles in the magazine and his work in preservation. You can read much more about him and his fascinating career in our November 2009 issue. — Jim Wrinn, Editor  ---------- President-elect Barack Obama rode in a "blue caboose" from Philadelphia to Washington before his swearing-in. Well, that was how the Washington Post described it.
&nb...
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Tales of a baby brakie

Posted 8 years ago by Kathi Kube
A couple of months ago, I took — and passed, thank you very much — my rules exam at the Illinois Railway Museum. That's right, I'm now a baby brakeman learning as much as I can about railroading operations with the goal of marking up to conductor and, eventually, engineer. The path here has been logical, at least for me.As an introduction, let me address two questions I'm asked more often than some people wash their cars: Do I really like trains, and how did I get involved in this hobby? Yes, I ...
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Class I steam is alive and well – on rails other than the main line

Posted 8 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...
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Is the DM&E project dead?

Posted 8 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...
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"Julie & Julia:" A chick flick for railfans?

Posted 8 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...
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The perfect morning

Posted 8 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...
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An effective rail museum on a smaller scale

Posted 8 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 8 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...
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Can Conrail really be gone 10 years?

Posted 8 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...
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Notes on Chicago transit

Posted 8 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...
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The reel world: Pelham rocks, but suspend your disbelief

Posted 8 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...
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Lessons from NARS 2009

Posted 8 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...
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Ode to the SD40-2

Posted 8 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 ...
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Are there really just seven mainline steam locomotives left?

Posted 8 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 ...
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Update: Elevated rail system in Honolulu

Posted 8 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 ...
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*Free* train simulator

Posted 8 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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