Thursday, November 18, 2010
The sound of distant thunder looms in the air. A mine run rolls down the track towards Orbisonia, PA on the East Broad Top. The hazy afternoon warmth that clung to town a few hours ago now carries with it the switching wind of a coming storm in Southern Pennsylvania.
Across the prairies of the Upper Midwest rolls the grain train. Its hopper cars heavily laden with this years harvest, it heads to the Pacific Northwest at the Port of Tacoma. The tractors are quiet as the harvest is in, and the lead SD40-2 blows its whistle at a lonely crossbuck on its way across this great land.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The valleys of California grow a virtual cornucopia. Served by the Southern Pacific, Santa Fe, Union Pacific and Western Pacific railroads, amongst many shortlines, produce from these valleys rolls eastward to markets across the United States. Salads are crisp upon the tables of Chicago and peaches nectar tastes sweet to the palate in Manhattan. Thanks to these railroads and those the interchange with across America, this produce moves across America.
The coal drag. Rolling out of the mountains. The cars just appear heavy. The sound heavy as they beg for mercy around the "S" bends. This is the mine run.
The locomotives and crew give it all they've got. The draw-bards and roller bearings give it all they've got. This is the mine run.
The late afternoon heat pierced with the sound of the cicadas making their once in a lifetime mating call as the train rolls towards the mighty Ohio. This is the drag in West Virginia.
The signals are a go, and the fast freight rolls. The whistle blows in lonely towns dreams as the fast freight stirs onward through the night. Goods gotta be there by morning. The fast freight rolls onward. Its crew will get this cargo there by morning.
There is a heart and soul to railroading. When one stands at the ford of a wide river and hears a freight rumble, coal in the hoppers rolling out of the hills and down to the sea, one can feel the power of the railroad. The wave at the engineer as the train rolls past, acknowledging that all is okay and that the tonnage is on its way. On its way to the shoals. There goes America on that train.
The air is crisp and clear on this late autumn day. In the distance, the sound of a GP7 locomotive echoes through the New England afternoon. Shadows grow long, still longer. Cars bound out of New England and onto interchange with the bustling cities of the North Central and Midwestern United States roll behind this Bangor & Aroostook GP7 locomotive.
High noon on the local from Springfield. The head SD39 is howling as a pair of boxcars has just been cut in to the head end.
The train heads towards St. Louis and is ready for its carloads to be dropped off to the Norfolk & Western. This is railroading on the Illinois Terminal. A simpler time on "The Road of Personalized Service."
This Chessie System coal train sits in the hole at Cumberland, MD. It prepares to head to the shoals.
It waits for the go ahead. A fast freight rolls by bound for Chicago behind a pair of SD40-2's. Rail action in Cumberland is a sight to see in the Chessie Era.
It is a day in Radford, VA on the Heartland Corridor. A Norfolk Southern train rolls by behind its SD70M-2 with double-stack containers bound for the Eastern Seaboard. The modern railroad has goods to carry. Railroads have carried their task out across North America and the world for over a century, and, as goods still need to get to market, railroading will keep progressing to fit the needs of suppliers and markets. This is a day on the Heartland Corridor on Norfolk Southern.
Another freight heads out of Bellevue, OH. Today's freight is behind a GP30 recently purchased by the Nickel Plate Road. Second generation diesels are taking over on some of the fast freights, however, earlier Alcos and geeps still run across the Nickel Plate Road system.
The Northbound Orange Blossom Special Prepares to depart Miami, Florida. Many of its passengers return home to places such as the Carolinas, Washington DC, and onwards to New York City. A Vacation in Florida is truly an escape to these travelers in the winter months.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
This Milwaukee Road SD40-2 handles a westbound freight through La Crosse, WI. America's Resourceful Railroad perhaps struggles but finds a way to send freights such as this westward across South Dakota and onward to Washington State.