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11

Ticket to ride? Taking stock of 2016 excursions with N&W No. 611

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
OK, now we know what NS’s 2016 excursion schedule for Norfolk & Western Class J No. 611 looks like. Thank you to NS for seeing the value in getting steam out on the main line once more. While compact – the window of opportunity is a slim eight weeks from early April to early June – the steam schedule is filled with some great classic steam excursion trips behind the biggest steam locomotive in excursion service in North America. There are some exciting changes this year, ...
13

23 events to look forward to in 2016

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
As the new year begins, there’s lots on the horizon to anticipate. Here’s what catches my eye so far this year. Stick around and read all about it on our News Wire at www.TrainsMag.com and in the pages of our monthly magazine. And don’t forget, we’re doing a weekly video roundup of the week’s news and the news ahead every Friday on our website. January7-9National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association meeting in San Diego.Why it matters: Railroads anno...
14

New Year’s eve on the rails 2015

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
The headlight swings around the curve and catches the distant shape of the yard limit sign in the darkness. Snow swirls around us, and I glance across the cab at my fireman, who is looking ahead and being “ever vigilant” as he is supposed to be. Soot stains his overalls and face, and grease has found its way onto his long-cuff White Mule gloves. Steam pressure is still near the peg and that the water glass is half full. Behind us our train snakes through the darkness, the lights from...
7

Notable railroad books of 2015

Posted one year ago by Brian Schmidt
Despite proclamations from the tech industry, printed books are far from dead. While it may be easier to read the latest novel on an e-reader type device, the printed page is still the preferred media for railroad content. The closing year brought us a number of significant and railroad books, and here are some of my picks for you:First up is Railroaders Without Borders, by H. Roger Grant, chronicling the history of the Railroad Development Corp. (Indiana University) and its worldwide operatio...
12

Remembering my mentor, Dan Ranger

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
All of us have a mentor. This is about a man who influenced my life. He is a man who deserves a lot of credit for developing my love of railroading. Indirectly, he helped to put me on the path to becoming editor of Trains magazine. His name is Dan Ranger, and he passed away Friday at age 77. I met Dan in 1973. I was 12, and Dan, at age 35 was already a seasoned veteran of the Southern Pacific and a bunch of California tourist railroads. He loved steam and had just gone to work as the general ma...
6

Why Federal interest rates matter to railroads (but later next year)

Posted one year ago by Steve Sweeney
Phew. We're all still here, thank goodness. With the hype and speculation leading up to the Federal Reserve's interest rate rise today, I thought the world might come to end, or worse, the stock market might go down. For the record, the Fed raised interest rates from near ZERO to between 0.25 and 0.5 percent, representing the interest other banks pay the Federal bank, not what you pay on a new loan. It is the first rate raise since before the Great Recession. "So what does this mean for railro...
23

Hunter Harrison for President (of Amtrak)

Posted one year ago by Steve Sweeney
So who should replace Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman when he retires next year? The long-time passenger railroad boss told employees in a letter Wednesday that he would step down in September 2016. That begs the question of who should replace Boardman, who’s served longer in the job than anyone except the venerable W. Graham Claytor Jr. Trains editors hashed out names from Donald Trump to Elon Musk, and even Mickey Mouse. We refused to agree on one person, so here are three sort-of serious picks...
3

Say it ain't so, Norfolk (Part II)

Posted one year ago by Brian Schmidt
The followers of Trains Magazine's Facebook page are still speaking out on the proposed Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern merger. On Dec. 8, CP all but confirmed it would launch a hostile takeover bid for NS following two rejected offers to its board of directors. Immediately after, Trains' Facebook followers sounded off: Radford Bean: Don't be badmouthing Canadians. It isn't a Canadian at the controls of CP. It's another greedy American tycoon. And did anyone actually understand the first ...
17

How could a merger bring MORE variety for railfans?

Posted one year ago by Brian Schmidt
Although I’m still not convinced by the business case of a proposed Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern merger, the railfan side of me is intrigued by the inclusion of an “open access” carrot for shippers. A major merger – or mergers – could bring regular Pan Am Railways trains to Columbus to interchange with the Ohio Central. It could morph Florida East Coast into America East Coast with service to New Jersey and Virginia. It could even bring new, non-railroad...
99

CP+NS logo contest

Posted one year ago by Steve Sweeney
Steve Glischinski's Nov. 18 blog post on what possible names a Canadian Pacific-Norfolk Southern combination could take brought some startling possibilities. Of course, that got us thinking: "What would the logo for that look like?" Luckily for you dear Trains readers (and especially for us artistically challenged editors) the Trains Art Department developed a list of possibilities displayed below. They are the brain children of Tom Danneman, Rick Johnson, Scott Krall, and Drew Halverson. Seei...
10

Which Railway Interchange vehicle got the most attention at the show?

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
We're wrapping up our February issue, and inside it is a 10-page photo story on this year's big trade show in Minneapolis, Railway Interchange.  We saw three vehicles there that garnered the bulk of visitors' attention.  Which one do you think got the most attention? Look for the story about the show in the February issue of Trains magazine. ...
17

Say it ain't so, Norfolk

Posted one year ago by Brian Schmidt
CP and NS trains meet in Binghamton, N.Y., in July 2014. Photo by Amanda Oakes The followers of Trains Magazine's Facebook page are speaking out on the proposed Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern "business combination." On Tuesday, CP confirmed it had sent an offer letter to NS executives outlining the benefits of such a deal. Immediately after, Trains' Facebook followers sounded off:Robert Burns IV: That's all anyone thinks about is the "steam" and the "heritage units." Big whoop. I lik...
39

CP+NS merger: Where would the new headquarters be? Here’s our best guesses

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
When Canadian Pacific announced that it was interested in acquiring Norfolk Southern, I wondered where such a combined company would be located. It’s a good question to ask. The two outfits are on opposite sides of the continent, and they are in two different countries. But everybody has to be somewhere, so if this combination goes through, they’ll have to land here or there. By tradition, the victor usually keeps its headquarters and shuts down the offices of the vanquished. That g...
5

There was nothing dull about Fenner Stevenson

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
The tourist railroad and railroad museum world lost a great family member this week. Fenner Stevenson was the heart and soul of the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad deep in Iowa. As general manager, Fenner nurtured and developed this tourist line near the famous Kate Shelley Bridge, complete with steam, diesel, and electric railroading. He worked tirelessly to create a railroad museum at Boone that everyone could be proud of. He and his son, Travis, also on the railroad staff, were a great fat...
10

The tour of Germany: Some final thoughts

Posted one year ago by David Lassen
I’ve been back from the magazine’s anniversary tour of Germany for about a week now, still digesting and savoring the experience as I worked through the inevitable backlog that comes from being out of the office for 19 days. (In addition to our 11-day tour, I used some vacation time to visit Berlin and Prague.) Before the tour slips too far into the past, however, I wanted to offer a few more thoughts on the experience. From a railfan perspective, the Harz steam railroad was, for m...
8

Trains at 75: Happy birthday to us — the first issue

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
If I could go back in time, I would love to ask our magazine’s founder, Al Kalmbach, why he chose the image he picked for the first issue of Trains in November 1940. The irony is that for a magazine called “Trains” it depicts no locomotive, no speeding passenger express, and no plodding freight hog. The black and white cover subject was a close up of a steam locomotive water tower, the spout raised, counterweights down, its well-weathered wooden body showing evidence of the com...
10

Of living time machines … in Colorado

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
We’re rumbling along the 3-foot gauge rails near Osier, Colo., in a beautiful wilderness that, thankfully, is unspoiled, non-commercialized, and truly the home of the deer and the antelope. A group of us who love mountain railroads and steam locomotives have come to play. Ahead of us are two narrow gauge Mikados built for this part of the Denver & Rio Grande Western almost a century ago. They roll off the miles effortlessly as they have almost continuously since Baldwin outshopped the...
12

The tour of Germany: The Harz of the matter

Posted one year ago by David Lassen
Well, that was pretty amazing. We’re only at the midpoint of the Trains 75th Anniversary tour of Germany, but for spectacular railroading, it’s going to be hard to top the Harz Railway, the meter-gauge steam operation in the Harz Mountains where we spent Monday and Tuesday.Here’s a quick look at our visit to the Harz. (No doubt it deserves more, but with our tour still ongoing, time constraints dictate a relatively brief post.) Imagine the Durango and Silverton — excep...
7

Colorado calls

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
I’m off to one of my favorite places in the world this week, Colorado. The very mention of the state evokes visions of narrow gauge Mikados fighting for every inch of rail, Rio Grande F7s summiting the Rockies, and UP action on the Moffat Road west of Denver. It is every railfan’s dream come true with plenty of freight and passenger action and amazing stories. I’ve been a visitor since 1987, and for the last 10 years or so, I’ve made an annual pilgrimage to enjoy some asp...
8

The tour of Germany: Cologne, and the busy bridge.

Posted one year ago by David Lassen
Our Trains Magazine tour of Germany is off to a spectacular start. After assembling in Frankfurt, our group of 43 received its first taste of the German railways, the Deuche Bahn, with a trip along the Rhine River to Cologne, where we stayed almost in the shadow of the famous Cologne Cathedral — once the world’s tallest building — and just a few hundred yards from the main train station. This also meant we were adjacent to the Hohenzollern Bridge — reputed, believably, t...
27

Why we love the Clinchfield

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
Erwin, Tenn., was in the not too distant past one of the most difficult places to reach by car. Even today, with modern four-lane Interstate highways in the East Tennessee region, the few additional mountain roads in and out of the headquarters city of the Clinchfield Railroad are steep, twisty, and slow. It was in this challenging environment that railroaders of great talent on the throttle and the air brakes ran this railroad, a veritable Rio Grande of the Appalachians, a north-south through r...
5

Railway Interchange's outdoor display is filled with goodness

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Trains gang, Steve Sweeney, correspondent Steve Glischinski, and I spent Sunday at the outdoor exhibits for North America's largest railroad trade show. It was a better than expected showing of locomotives, freight cars, and on track equipment. In the span of a few hours we toured Electro-Motive Diesel's new Tier 4 SD70, Greenbrier's new DOT 117 tank car, and a surprising track inspection vehicle. We were at BNSF Railway's Northtown Yard. It was filled with dozens of displays...
2

10 things we’re looking forward at Railway Interchange

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
 The Trains staff is off to the Railway Interchange show Sunday-Tuesday in Minneapolis. It’s the big biennial North American trade show. About 10,000 people will show up. Think of it as a state fair for railroaders. Think of it as the toy store for the industry. You can join us for a live look Sunday from 1-4 p.m. and Monday from 1-4:30 p.m. with our Trains livestreaming camera at http://trn.trains.com/interchange/. Meanwhile, here are 10 things we look forward to at the event. &nbs...
16

Thank you, Wick!

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
Today is Wick Moorman’s last day as executive chairman at Norfolk Southern. It is no secret that he has done a lot for all of us who love history, tradition, and pride in being a railroad, both fans and NS employees. We all know that under Wick’s tenure, the business train got tuxedo-painted F-units for power, 20+ modern units got historic predecessor paint schemes, and steam excursions returned with not one, but four locomotives. Those were dramatic steps for a company that long had...
8

Standing tall at Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – My wife is from Nebraska, the daughter of a railroad family, the Union Pacific in particular. When we began dating, she was aghast that I’d never been on the U.S. 30 pilgrimage to the world’s largest yard at North Platte. Bailey Yard, she assured me, is a must see. And, of course, she was right. We made a whirlwind trip to western Nebraska earlier this month, and our base of operation for a couple of days was North Platte. We took in a Husker football game...
14

Wondering about 'Blunders'

Posted one year ago by David Lassen
Our article, "Railroading's Biggest Blunders," in the September 2015 produced a significant response from readers — more than all other articles combined that I've worked on since joining the magazine in July 2014. Many nominated additional blunders worthy of consideration, which have been filed away in case we decide to do a sequel. (And based on the strength of many of those suggestions, I think there's definitely a place for "Son of Blunders." And many clearly felt at least some of our...
9

Two park engines that won’t make you cringe

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
UP 2-8-0 No. 480 in Memorial Park in North Platte, Neb., has a sign out front, left, to tell its story to visitors. Jim Wrinn photo. I usually steel myself before visiting any park engine display. Over the years I have come to expect the worst from steam locomotives that were retired from active service, put in city parks more than a half century ago, then left to rot and ruin over the course of the years. That, happily, is not the case in North Platte, Neb. This city has not one but two displ...
6

The magic of the night

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
Burlington E5 No. 9911 idles in darkness at the Illinois Railway Museum. Jim Wrinn photo. On Saturday, the final night of the Association of Tourist Railroads and Railway Museums conference, I spent a few minutes at a special event of the host Illinois Railway Museum. It was the organization’s big, grand finale for the year, an evening of night operations on the property at Union, Ill. Three signature trains were in operation, and there also was a nice covey of diesels parked outside the ...
4

Britain's RSA moves to address membership issues

Posted one year ago by David Lassen
All rail organizations, it seems, struggle with issues of aging and declining memberships. It’s a problem our correspondent Chase Gunnoe wrote about in this recent Trains News Wire article, one that led the National Railway Historical Society board of directors to consider, and ultimately reject, a significant organizational restructuring. It’s also one Britain’s Railway Study Association is attacking in fairly aggressive fashion. The 105-year-old RSA is, to be sure, a diffe...
4

A steam locomotive hidden among carousels and pipe organs

Posted one year ago by Jim Wrinn
On the first evening of the Association of Tourist Railroad and Railway Museums conference in northern Illinois, I joined other participants at the magnificent and awe inspiring Sanfilippo Estate. This collection, housed in multiple buildings in a park-like setting in the northwest suburbs of Chicago contains an incredible collection of, in its own words, “beautifully restored antique music machines, phonographs, arcade and gambling machines, chandeliers, art glass, the world's largest re...

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