Matt finds the trains in TRAINS’ backyard: Your burning question about TRAINS answered. Yes, we use rail service — indirectly

Posted by Matt Van Hattem
on Friday, September 2, 2011

Canadian National local L505 arriving at the Sussex printing plant with 12 loaded boxcars and a tank car.


This month, I want to try a photography project that focuses on the trains in TRAINS Magazine's backyard. How many different pictures can be taken in a circle extending 10.27 miles from downtown Waukesha, Wis.?

One of the questions we get most often from readers of this magazine is: Does TRAINS use trains?

The answer, I'm happy to report, is a qualified yes. I say "qualified" because Kalmbach itself does not ship by rail. But our printing company, Quad/Graphics, does receive paper in railroad boxcars.

I asked TRAINS production manager, Sue Hollinger-Yustus, to do some investigating for this blog. She tells me that the 40-pound No. 5 magazine paper used in TRAINS' most recent issues came by rail from Catalyst Paper in Vancouver, B.C. The paper ships from the Vancouver suburb of Surrey, where Catalyst has a giant warehouse that contains two indoor tracks holding 13 boxcars.

From there, our magazine paper came east on Canadian National trains, arriving either directly at a Quad/Graphics printing plant in Sussex, Wis., or at a warehouse in Fond du Lac, Wis., for truck delivery to the Sussex plant.

The history of Kalmbach and Quad/Graphics are similar. Both began as the vision of one man with experience in the printing industry who had an idea for a better, more customer-focused way of doing business.

Quad/Graphic's Sussex plant, where TRAINS is printed, is just 9 miles from Kalmbach's office building, and happily within the 10.27-mile sphere.

With that in mind, I took this photo of Canadian National local L505 arriving at the Sussex printing plant with 12 loaded boxcars and a tank car. The friendly crew gunned the motor of GP38-2 No. 9562 to ease the train closer to the spur track it will soon back down to spot the cars.

You're not imagining that string of streamlined passenger cars, by the way. Quad/Graphics owns four private cars. The dome-platform Silver Chalet, closest of the group, was built with that name in 1948 by the Budd Co., for Western Pacific to equip the California Zephyr. The car was later rebuilt to Quad's specifications, which included adding the unique rear platform.

CN local L505 is based out of Waukesha, and works at night on weekdays but goes on duty in the afternoon on Sunday. Still, by the time it arrived at Sussex at 7:12 p.m. on August 14, I had less than a half-hour of sunlight left. Glad I got there when I did.

What I like: I love the smoke coming out of the engine.

What I don't like: Nothing really. Had I followed this train in June or July, I might have been able to try some angles of the train on the unloading spur right next to the building. I'll have to keep that in mind for next summer.

Flickr: Matt finds the trains in TRAINS' backyard album
Facebook: Trains Magazine Facebook Page

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