Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hamlet Depot and Museum-Truly A Treasure For Us All

Hamlet Depot and Museums in Hamlet, North Carolina is a beautifully restored depot of the former Seaboard Air Line Railroad located by today's CSX tracks.  Depot museums are a great community builder.
Many comment about how much care the railroads took when building their structures.  The depot was where many people gathered.  The arrival and departure of the train was an event.  Many depot museums, such as Hamlet, are still functioning Amtrak stations.
Today's depot museums reflect this attention.  Many enthusiasts enjoy visiting.  These depots stand as a safe place for railfans to watch passing trains.  Museums such as Hamlet often have historic railroad equipment on display, as well.  This helps visually link us to our railroading heritage.
The depot's helpful staff often know the best places to eat and stay in the community.  Depot museums such as Hamlet Depot and Museums in Hamlet, NC are truly a treasure for us all.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Passenger Train-Best Seat In The Land

Rolling hills catch my eye, the train rolls by.
Towns become cities.  Stop in and say, "Hi"
I see America.  Buildings small and grand
Another town, on down the tracks. Best seat in the land

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Railroad Logo Sketches-Little Sketches, Big Message

I enjoy sketching railroad logos when I go to railroad events.  It is great to see the excitement on a fan's face as the pencil lines develop into the symbol of their favorite railroad.
Many of my fans draw trains, and I love to show them how simple my tools are.  It is very encouraging to explain that how I practice is by drawing everyday.
One of the most fun things I do is trim the last color, give them the logo and say, "Here you go."
As they say, "Wow," I can only hope that railroading is held even more dear.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Chicago South Shore and South Bend-The Little Train That Could

Today's Chicago, South Shore and South Bend carries the nickname "Connecting Industry-Delivering Value"  The South Shore Line connects South Bend, Indiana and the steel mills at Gary with Chicago.
Chicago South Shore and South Bend is firmly rooted in Chicagoland history.  The railroad carried the nickname "The Little Train That Could."  Its strength stood in its commuter business, its online coal customers and steel traffic, and its key connections with America's railroads into Chicago.
Today, the South Shore Line commuter trains are operated by Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District and freight operations are maintained by South Shore Freight, an affiliate of Chicago based Anacostia and Pacific. In 1925, the railroad came under the control of storied Chicago based railroad and utility magnate Samuel Insull, who invested in electrified railroads and helped contribute to America's electrical infrastructure.
Electric locomotives were purchased early on by the South Shore.  The railroad's interurban lines carried the infrastructure.  The railroad's 800 series locomotives manufactured by General Electric were the last electric locomotives to operate in mainline freight service in the United States.

The Flanged Wheel-A Marvel of Engineering

A double-stack intermodal train makes its way through Davis on the Capitol Corridor.  I wave to the engineer as the priority freight continues on its way across America.
Railroads are a key link in the supply chain of the goods we need every day.  Today's train's cargo consists of containers, loaded at the Port of Oakland, bound for Union Pacific's Global 3 Intermodal Facility just outside of Chicago.
Railroading is truly a marvel of engineering that is a product of foresight.  Today's modern train retraces much of the same route built by the original Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860's.  
The flanged wheel carries a train the same way it did nearly 200 years ago.  That is truly an invention that has stood the test of time.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Railfanning Is Educational and Fun

Southern Pacific Heritage Locomotive at Dunsmuir, CA Railroad Days in 2010

Railfanning has emerged as a popular hobby around the world.  It is great to see fans young and old   sharing experiences as trains go by.  Many railfans attend railfests and join historical societies and model railroad clubs, as well.
Railroads often bring special equipment to their rail facilities to celebrate their communities and achievements.  At these events, we are all safely able to enjoy the essence of the railroad and the role it plays in the communities it helped build.  Many of these events give young and old the change to safely get up close to the rail equipment they love and even get behind the controls of a locomotive simulator.  Locomotive simulators teach hands on knowledge, teach rail safety, and spark the imagination of many future engineers.
Many railfans share the Operation Lifesaver and Play It Safe safety awareness programs with their friends.  These programs remind us not to trespass while watching trains and taking photographs.  Operation Lifesaver and Play It Safe maintain highly visible campaigns at the many events we all attend.
Many railroaders of today love to take their time off to enjoy railroading.  This sends a positive message for the industry.
Many railroaders of yesterday love to share their experiences of railroads past and present.  Their words and stories engage us all.
In the enthusiasm of our youth about trains, I see future engineers, IT developers, transit architects and CEOs to name a few.
Railfanning is educational and fun.  I am grateful that railroads bring so many of us together.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bicycles and Amtrak California-Sustainable Transportation That Works

Bicycles and Amtrak California are sustainable transportation that works.  My hometown of Davis, California is a bicycle friendly community, and Amtrak California caters to commuting bicyclists.
Students, super-commuters and tourists find the Davis train station to be an easy bicycle ride from all points across Davis.  Many Amtrak California riders even take their bicycle with them aboard the train.
The Davis train station provides ample space for parking your bicycle, as well.  It's always great to ride your bicycle when you take the train.

The Romance Of The Train

Railroads stand as icons of America.  Amongst the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings pushing skyward in the Art Deco era raced the beautiful 20th Century Limited from Grand Central and Broadway Limited from Penn Station.
As each train rolled, its signature drumhead shone onward down the track.  The train's name became a part of America's culture.  Many live on in our modern trains, songs, stories, memories.
The train's arrival was a event.  The train delivered the day's mail.  Trains brought and still bring loved ones.  Trains carry us on adventures.
Perhaps the romance of the train comes from imagining ourselves upon it.  Someday living the dream of riding that train with the steel rails rolling along beneath us.

Friday, July 4, 2014

America's Bicentennial Locomotives-A Celebration of Patriotism

America prepared for its two-hundredth birthday in 1976.  Its railroads saw this as a great opportunity to celebrate the Bicentennial.
One by one, railroads across our country designed and painted red, white and blue masterpieces.  Each locomotive distinctly characteristic of its home road.  A friendly, patriotic competition had arisen, much like neighbors hanging grander flags from their porches.
Locomotives plied our our rails decked out in Stars and Stripes.  Flags proudly waved and liberty bells shone.  Many locomotives teamed up to pull special trains.  Many visited communities for patriotic events.
Our Bicentennial stood as a great example as America's railroads uniting for a cause.  Perhaps our greatest cause of all, America.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Evolution Series Tier 4 Locomotive-Pinnacle of Locomotive Development

A green light shines down the track.  The engineer throttles up as his Evolution Series Tier 4 Locomotive handles his Chicago bound train.  In his charge, nearly $15 million worth of finished automobiles destined for western markets.
Often we look around ourselves.  Houses built of lumber.  Bridges fabricated of steel.  Automobiles fashioned of steel, glass and composites.  Seldom do we wonder about how these structures and goods get to our communities.
The world relies on a vast network of railroads.  With precision, trains of steel, ocean-going and domestic containers, lumber, grain, coal, oil and automobiles keep our economy moving.
Our railroads carry an enviable record for fuel efficiency.  Freight railroads are perfectly suited for sustainability in moving cargo.  Many commodities rely upon the railroad to economically reach their market.
The Evolution Series Tier 4 Locomotive can handle any train anywhere.  Tier 4 Locomotives cross mountain ranges and vast plains.  They are ideal for handling trains into cities and our vast network of ports.
Locomotive design progresses in an industry that continues to evolve.  The Evolution Series Tier 4 Locomotive stands now as the pinnacle of locomotive development.

Altoona, PA- A Key Railroad Community

A double-stacked intermodal train rolls past on Norfolk Southern's steel highway that rolls through Altoona, Pennsylvania.  At least 70 trains a day pass through Altoona on a given day.  Trains of automobiles, coal, general merchandise, shipping containers, grain, farm tractors and steel all pass our vantage.
As the Pennsylvania Railroad pushed westward, it tackled the obstacle of the Allegheny mountains with its famous Horseshoe Curve just beyond Altoona.  Altoona was a key location for the Pennsylvania Railroad.
The railroad established its Juniata Locomotive Shops in Altoona and Holidaysburg Car Shops in nearby Hollidaysburg.  The Juniata Locomotive Shop built much of Pennsylvania Railroad's steam fleet and GG1 locomotives. Key to the Norfolk Southern system, today's Juniata Shop is responsible for the SD40E and SD60E rebuild programs, regular fleet overhaul and maintenance, and for the painting of locomotives.
Norfolk Southern employs over 1,000 people in Altoona.  Norfolk Southern and its predecessors, Conrail, Penn Central, and the Pennsylvania Railroad support the community they helped build.  Through support of institutions such as Penn State Altoona and The Altoona Public Library, Norfolk Southern continues to ensure a bright future for this key railroad community.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Winter Haven Intermodal Facility-Key to Our Infrastructure

We watch as another CSX Intermodal train rolls by with containers stacked two-high.  This train, bound for Chicago and a points west begins its journey from the new Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center in Winter Haven, Florida.
The Winter Haven Intermodal Facility, owned by CSX affiliate Evansville Western Railway and operated by CSX Intermodal is an investment in modern transportation infrastructure.  With the widening of the Panama Canal and rise of manufacturing, facilities such as Winter Haven prepare us all for the growth in trade we begin to face. 
This facility is an engine that drives our economy.  Facilities such as Winter Haven make retail products more accessible to us all.  As rail transport becomes even more viable, more manufacturers switch to rail. We begin to see a wider variety of products as rail is the economic alternative in shipping.
Facilities such as Winter Haven boost the local economy.  This facility creates jobs.  This fuels a growth in small business.  New distribution companies, restaurants and stores open in the community.
We begin to see less congestion on our highway system.  Facilities such as Winter Haven shift freight transport from truck to train.  Our highways become less congested.  We begin to see less wear and tear on our roads.  Intermodal facilities such as the Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center in Winter Haven, Florida are truly a win/win for us all.