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.

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.

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.