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.

New England Geeps in Twilight

May 18, 2018

New England Geeps in Twilight

Is the lowly EMD GP9 worthy of praise? With all the charm of a battleship and the aesthetics to match, these unsung warhorses have all but disappeared from the American railroad landscape over the last 20 years.

Caltrain: The Peninsula Before the Wires

May 18, 2018

Caltrain: The Peninsula Before the Wires

Caltrain commute trains are the lifeline of San Francisco, carrying thousands in and out the city each day. With electrification of the busy corridor on the horizon, the landscape of Peninsula railroading is about to dramatically change.

Widening the BNSF Funnel, Again

April 20, 2018

Widening the BNSF Funnel, Again

BNSF Railway has just completed a double-tracking project on the busy “Funnel” freight route between Spokane and Sandpoint. Bruce Kelly explains the upgrades to this critical route.

Reign of the Santa Fe Super Fleet

April 17, 2018

Reign of the Santa Fe Super Fleet

When designer Leland Knickerbocker created the “warbonnet” paint scheme for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, it was a stroke of marketing genius. Even more, it became one of the most easily identifiable schemes in history.

Central Illinois Covered Wagons

March 26, 2018

Central Illinois Covered Wagons

Pioneer Rail’s late owner and president, Guy L. Brenkman, had a warm spot in his heart for covered wagons. Prior to his death, he was visibly proud of the two FP9A units painted and lettered for Pioneer’s Peoria & Western Railway.

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.