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.

Black Mesa Finale

December 19, 2019

Black Mesa Finale

The low price of natural gas forced the closure of the coalfired Navajo Generating Station in the northern Arizona desert, spelling the end of the line for the isolated Black Mesa & Lake Powell Railroad.

M-497: Built for Speed

November 27, 2019

M-497: Built for Speed

Despite trains like the Metroliner and later Acela reaching regular speeds of 150 m.p.h., no one has broken the American record set on a straightaway in Ohio 50 years ago by New York Central M-497.

Budd Cars for Portland

November 18, 2019

Budd Cars for Portland

The venerable Budd Rail Diesel Car soliders on in regular commuter service in Portland, Oregon. What led TriMet to choose this robust, classic design over more modern offerings?

Operation North Pole

November 18, 2019

Operation North Pole

Just as the true meaning of Christmas is more than exchanging gifts, the true meaning of Operation North Pole is more than just a festively decorated train.

Changing Seasons on the Halton Subdivision

November 8, 2019

Changing Seasons on the Halton Subdivision

It is not very often that old branch lines, especially lightly used ones like Canadian National’s Halton Subdivision, get a new lease on life and are upgraded with centralized traffic control.

Santa Fe on the Bay

October 18, 2019

Santa Fe on the Bay

As freight traffic moved away from the city in the 1970s and gentrification took over downtown in the 1980s, Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe’s base at China Basin remained the sole holdout of a once busy freight handling operation.

Anthracite Country Alcos

September 18, 2019

Anthracite Country Alcos

Reading Company had a wide variety of locomotives from Alco, rostering 118 units of nine different models. These locomotives were purchased between 1926 and 1967, and ranged in size from 300 to 3,000 hp.

Covered Wagons to the Future: FL9s in Connecticut

August 21, 2019

Covered Wagons to the Future: FL9s in Connecticut

We knew it was coming to an end; we just didn’t know how quickly. A sense of urgency accompanied each trip to New Haven territory. Every frame fired off felt like a small victory. The anachronism was surreal, these ancient covered wagons following a path to the future.

How The West Was Done: Part 2

July 19, 2019

How The West Was Done: Part 2

Mike Schafer concludes the tale of his epic July 1969 exploration across the American West with future Railfan & Railroad founding editor Jim Boyd.

Rumford Branch Revival

July 19, 2019

Rumford Branch Revival

Now operated by Pan Am Railways, the fortunes of the old Maine Central Railroad have always been tied to the paper production industry.