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.

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.

Wiseguys and Wayfreights: Conrail in North Jersey

April 10, 2016

Wiseguys and Wayfreights: Conrail in North Jersey

Passing the same North Jersey landmarks that the fictional Tony Soprano made famous in the opening credits of the cable series “The Sopranos,” Conrail’s never-ending procession of trains would work their way through the crown jewel of their near-monopoly of rail service in the New York metropolitan region.

The Ironton Run

March 4, 2016

The Ironton Run

What Ironton lacks as an industrial complex it makes up for by being a picturesque residential river town, and what the DT&I lacks as a heavy duty main line it makes up for by being a very photogenic hill country branch.