A blog from the editor of Classic Trains

Merger surprises

Posted 8 years ago by Rob McGonigal
The recent news that Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern are talking about merging is the latest in a decades-long string of surprise merger announcements. Even more surprising, instead of the two parties stepping toward the negotiating table as equals, it is CP that is offering to buy NS. Of course, given the stakes involved in such deals, prospective merger partners rarely telegraph their intentions ahead of time. Surprise is part of the game plan. True, there’s a years-long inevitabi...

Weekend with 611

Posted 8 years ago by Rob McGonigal
Everyone loves a good Independence Day fireworks show. I actually didn’t have that pleasure this year. But, over the July 3-4-5 weekend, I witnessed one of the most powerful displays of fire and thunder I’ve ever seen. Norfolk Southern’s 21st Century Steam road show came to Roanoke, Va., in a big way that first weekend in July. Each of the three days featured two excursion trips on the former Norfolk & Western main line, one east to Lynchburg via Blue Ridge Grade and one w...

The curve that wrecked Amtrak 188

Posted 9 years ago by Rob McGonigal
In the aftermath of the tragic May 12 derailment due to excessive speed of Amtrak train 188 in Philadelphia, many casual observers wondered what a 50-mph curve is doing in the middle of the fastest, busiest rail corridor in the nation. It’s a reasonable question, especially given the generally tangent track and flat topography in the area.  The existence of that curve traces back to the earliest years of railroads in Philadelphia. As in many cities, Philadelphia's rail network develo...


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