Just what does it mean to be a railfan? In Departures, we attempt to answer this question. Geeky but cool, obsessive yet interesting, artistic yet accessible, it’s a broad hobby with something for everyone. But what does it mean to you? We’ll discuss the leading trends in photography and how they shape our approach to the craft. For the historian and the collector, we’ll explore our rich past and look ahead to the future. Join us as we embark upon exciting railway journeys and discover what draws us trackside. Learn about the fascinating people who have enlivened our hobby and make us eager to join them. There’s never been a more exciting time to be a railfan, and we’ll show you why each month!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexander B. Craghead, is the author of Departures. He is a writer, photographer, illustrator, and self-described “transportation geek” from Portland, Oregon. His interest in trains was partially inspired by childhood stories about his great-great uncle, who worked for the Portland Traction Company, and his great-great grandfather, who worked for the Southern Pacific.
His writing and photography have appeared in Railfan & Railroad Magazine, Trains Magazine, and the National Railroad Historical Society Bulletin, and in Railroad Heritage published by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art.
January 17, 2021
Built by visionaries, railways once revolutionized ground transportation. Stripped of the cash-cow of coal, they are now forced to choose between two futures. One is to continue on the path of contraction, constantly fighting to maintain profits by miserly attention to reducing expenses. The alternative? To return to their roots, and re-embrace innovation.
November 17, 2020
Though rooted in the past, Seattle’s indelible attitude of innovation keeps it at the forefront of the economy and, in turn, the future of railway development.
October 17, 2020
The railroad transformed our country. How can a technology that fundamentally upended generations of human customs be tradition-bound?
September 15, 2020
In early August, Amtrak unveiled its new Phase VI paint scheme, its first new, non-commemorative design in almost 20 years. While most fans seemed to respond positively to the livery, there were a few doubters who questioned different decisions, or who thought they could do better.
August 15, 2020
One of the most interesting aspects of our hobby is our attention to equipment rosters. These seem, at first glance, to be relatively straightforward things. A roster is, after all, merely a list.
July 10, 2020
Railroads have been shaping the landscape for nearly 200 years. In that time, they have also shaped our American language with slang.
June 15, 2020
Except for possibly the steam locomotive, is there any more iconic piece of railroad equipment than the caboose?
May 5, 2020
Whether they are operated by the professional crews of a small freight-hauling railroad or weekend volunteers from a local museum, there are plenty of examples of passenger trains whose only real purpose is the pleasure of sightseeing with no real destination.
April 16, 2020
From its 1973 introduction to the end of its run in 1989, EMD turned out almost 4,000 SD40-2s, one of the largest production runs in North American railway history.
March 16, 2020
While many small-town preservationists were able to save these heavily symbolic structures, when a depot is removed from the context of the railroad, what precisely has been saved?