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.

Orbisonia Obsession

January 1, 2015

Orbisonia Obsession

The East Broad Top seemed immobile in time while the rest of the railroad world around it was changing. Geeps and Alcos were still far away from Orbisonia, and the coal trains down from Robertsdale still carried a combine and looked like the mixeds of a few years before. The yard and shop facility at Orbisonia looked like it hadn’t changed a bit in fifty years.

Restoration and Conservation

July 15, 2014

Restoration and Conservation

What happens when an artifact has deteriorated to the point where it is no longer appropriate for public display or regular use? Sometimes the answers are not readily apparent, and all railroad restoration and conservation efforts are not the same.

Cotton Belt No. 819

June 9, 2014

Cotton Belt No. 819

Cotton Belt 4-8-4 No. 819 is the classic example of a steam locomotive all dressed up with no place to go. Thanks to a combined effort of historical society volunteers and railroad employees, the 819 was slowly brought back to life and returned to excursion service in 1986.

Death of an FL9

May 15, 2014

Death of an FL9

The 1950s were the era of the streamlined diesel, with the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors producing perhaps the most famous face of the era — the bulldog nose found on its E- and F-series units. Though many have been saved, it’s a bit noteworthy when one of these survivors succumbs to the scrapper’s torch.

A Dozen Miles in a Decade

April 10, 2014

A Dozen Miles in a Decade

My overall aim for this exhibit is to show the beauty of the twelve miles of track the Valley Railroad operates in Connecticut. I’d also like to show my appreciation for one of the railroads that brings me back to my youth – depicting not only the trains that ply the rails between Saybrook and Haddam, but also some of the people who make these rides possible.

Interpreting Jack Delano

March 15, 2014

Interpreting Jack Delano

In 1942, photographer Jack Delano was tasked by the federal government to capture images of the rail community to rally support for the war effort. The result was three thousand images, many of which highlight Chicago’s primacy to the North American rail network.

The Same Genesee & Wyoming

February 15, 2014

The Same Genesee & Wyoming

The original salt-hauling railroad continues to perform the job it was first built for way back in 1891. Despite the worldwide growth of Genesee & Wyoming over the last 30 years, it is sometimes hard to believe that it all began in a hole in the ground in Livingston County more than 100 years ago.

Changing Times on the Maryland Midland

January 10, 2014

Changing Times on the Maryland Midland

I headed down to the Maryland Midland with my brother Bruce Barry, and we met up with Bill Kalkman there. Rumors of new paint were in the air, and we wanted to get one last hurrah of the old blue and orange.

Christmastime in the City

December 1, 2013

Christmastime in the City

Grand Central Terminal celebrated its 100th birthday in 2013 with a special Centennial Holiday Light Show at Christmastime.

Consider the Commuter

May 14, 2013

Consider the Commuter

Consider the commuter on your next railfan journey. America’s secondary commuter trains are a great alternative to the sameness and uniformity of Amtrak.