Extra Board

Welcome to Railfan & Railroad Extra Board, a monthly exploration of the passion for trains from many perspectives. Extra Board welcomes your submissions. We’re looking for about 1500 words accompanied by two or three photos. Each photo should be no smaller than 14 inches (or 1024 pixels) across at 72 dpi (no verticals, please). Brief caption information must accompany each photo. Please send your inquiries to the Webmaster for consideration.

Trains in Tijuana: The Baja California Railroad

February 16, 2018

Trains in Tijuana: The Baja California Railroad

Just 30 minutes south of San Diego lies the sprawling city of Tijuana in the Mexican state of Baja California. While not necessarily known as a railroading mecca, Tijuana is actually home to one of North America’s most colorful and friendly railroads. The Baja California Railroad has been bringing modern rail service to the industries in the most northwestern corner of Mexico.

Penn Central: Fifty Years Later

January 31, 2018

Penn Central: Fifty Years Later

The New York Central merged with the Pennsylvania Railroad on February 1, 1968 to create the mighty Penn Central. The new company hoped to integrate the two railroads immediately and quickly realize some of the merger’s expected cost-savings. Instead, Penn Central was in operational chaos almost from the start.

25 Years Gone: The North Shore Line

January 22, 2018

25 Years Gone: The North Shore Line

Since that cold January night in 1963 I have made it a point to avoid the corpse of the North Shore Line. I never went back to see the track torn up, and I have never ridden the CTA’s “Skokie Swift” service on the stub from Howard Street up to Skokie. In my memory, the North Shore remains unchanged after 25 years.

Success on the Ontario Southland

January 22, 2018

Success on the Ontario Southland

While most railroads would show little interest in a company requiring only a single tank carload a couple of times a week, the Ontario Southland puts its customers first, no matter the number of carloads, and every load is equally important whether it is a single tank car or 50 loaded autoracks.

The Clinchfield Rides Again

January 16, 2018

The Clinchfield Rides Again

For 75 years the Santa Train has been bringing cheer to the mountains of southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, and northeast Tennessee. Started by the Clinchfield Railroad in 1943, the 75th annual run featured authentically restored Clinchfield Railroad diesels on the point.

Vintage GE in West Tennessee

December 26, 2017

Vintage GE in West Tennessee

It’s been a rough few years for fans of vintage General Electric locomotives. The southeastern U.S. was once home to several operators of GE Dash 7s and U-series diesels, but one by one they have fallen.

Northwestern Pacific: Remnants of the Redwood Empire

November 20, 2017

Northwestern Pacific: Remnants of the Redwood Empire

The second incarnation of the “new” NWP technically began in 2006, with the NCRA awarding an operating contract to the new railroad led by John Williams. However, it would be five long years before a wheel was turned and regular freight service resumed.

Meandering Along the Kansas City Southern

November 8, 2017

Meandering Along the Kansas City Southern

Few proverbial forks in the road of life work out the same either way. Where we are now has been profoundly affected by an undefinable quantity of forks, each decision at which has steered each of us on our own path in life. My path followed the Kansas City Southern.

Plaster City Alcos

October 15, 2017

Plaster City Alcos

You may not know it, but there are wide-nosed, narrow-gauge, Alco-designed, Bombardier-built, 35-year-old DL-535Es running right now in the California desert

Cartier Alcos: The Gang of Eight

October 10, 2016

Cartier Alcos: The Gang of Eight

Most Alco Centuries had long been consigned to the scrapyard in the late 1970s and early 1980s, especially six-axle units. In 2002, the surival of these diesels was nothing short of a miracle. Like a phoenix, this “Gang of Eight” rose again.