Edited by Walt Lankenau
We solicit your contributions to this column. If you have original news items
or photographs to share, please contact us.
Railfan RSS Feed - RAILNEWS
Official announcement regarding the future of Carstens Publications
August 21st, 2014
Carstens Publications, Inc., has announced that negotiations are taking place with several companies regarding the future publishing of Railfan & Railroad, Railroad Model Craftsman, and Flying Models magazines. All involved ask for your patience at this time.
—Carstens Publications, Inc.
Toronto DMU's Arrive
August 20th, 2014
The first delivery of the Union-Pearson Express (UP Express or simply UPX) DMU cars from Sumitomo have arrived in Canada and are shown here being delivered to Metrolinx in Toronto in a CN freight.
The Union-Pearson express is a Metrolinx project that will connect Toronto Pearson International Airport with Union Station, running DMU trainsets every 15 minutes on new trackage built alongside existing corridors on a 14.5 mile long right of way. Service is slated to begin in 2015 and the project is expected to cost about C$456 millio. The Sumitomo DMU vehicles are diesel powered, EPA Tier 4 compliant vehicles and convertible to electric overhead.
—Railfan & Railroad via Steve Host; photo by Steve Host
Second F Unit Is in Service on Ontario Southand
August 19th, 2014
On August 15, 2014 Ontario Southland FP9A No. 1401 was in freight service with OSRX ex-Canadian National FP9A No. 6508. The units are shown at Ingersoll, Ontario, as they switch Tillsonburg cars onto their train of mostly auto racks from CAMI Automotive (General Motors), and will soon head to Woodstock to set off their train in the yard and lift empties for the return trip. This was the first time two OSR F units were in service at the same time. The railroad plans to activate a third FP9A.
—Railfan & Railroad via Steve Host; photo by Steve Host
Transportation Safety Board of Canada Issues Final Report on Lac Megantic Wreck
August 19th, 2014
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigation into the July 2013 Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Québec (investigation report R13D0054), concluded that a multitude of factors led to the accident which left 47 people dead. The TSB is calling for additional physical defenses to prevent runaway trains and for more thorough audits of safety management systems to ensure that railways are effectively managing safety.
On the evening of July 5, 2013, MMA crude oil train MMA-002, with five engines, a radio control caboose, 72 loads of North Dakota crude oil, and a buffer car, was parked on a descending grade on the main track in Nantes, Québec. Before he left to take his rest, the engineer applied hand brakes on all five locomotives, the r/c caboose, and the buffer car, and shut down all but the lead locomotive. Railway rules require hand brakes alone to be capable of holding a train, and this must be verified by a test. That night, the locomotive (independent) air brakes were left on during the test, meaning the train was being held by a combination of hand brakes and air brakes, which gave the false impression that the hand brakes alone were sufficient to hold the train.
After the engineer left the train, a fire began in lead unit, C30-7 No. 5017, and emergency responders shut it down, which eventually allowed the air holding the independent brakes to leak off, reducing their effectiveness. Without enough braking force from the hand brakes, the train began rolling downhill toward Lac-Mégantic, just over seven miles away. As it moved down the grade, the train picked up speed, reaching a top speed of 65 mph, and 63 of the 72 tank cars derailed near the center of town. Almost every derailed car was breached, releasing almost six million liters (about 1,600,000 gallons) of crude oil, which ignited into a large fire.
“Accidents never come down to a single individual, a single action or a single factor. You have to look at the whole context,” said Wendy Tadros, Chair of the TSB. “In our investigation, we found 18 factors played a role in this accident.”
The TSB found that MMA had a weak safety culture and did not have a functioning safety management system to manage risks. The TSB also learned that Transport Canada did not audit MMA often and thoroughly enough to ensure it was effectively managing the risks in its operations. Furthermore, the Board found problems with training, employee monitoring, and maintenance practices at MMA; with industry rules for the securement of unattended trains; and with the tank cars used to carry volatile petroleum crude oil.
—Railfan & Railroad via Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Chiggen Runs at Snoqualmie
August 16th, 2014
This weekend, the Northwest Railway Museum is operating steam on its line between Snoqualmie and North Bend, Wash., for the first time in more than two decades.
Santa Cruz Portland Cement No. 2, an 0-4-0T built in 1909 by H.K. Porter of Pittsburgh, will be pulling trains during Snoqualmie's annual Railroad Days community festival on August 15-17. This year's celebration marks the 125th anniversary of the first passenger train excursion to Snoqualmie Falls.
The locomotive arrived by truck on Thursday,July 17, after spending a weekend in Santa Cruz, Calif, near its original home in Davenport, Calif. Following more than six hours of effort, a special move led by Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton RS4-TC No. 4024 departed North Bend for the careful 3.5-mile jaunt to Snoqualmie Depot. Along the way, the train paused at the museum's Railway History Center to set out an idler boxcar and run around the steamer so it could be spotted on the depot grounds.
The locomotive is owned by Stathi Pappas and is called the "Chiggen" because it was used as a fried chicken restaurant's billboard for more than 30 years. Pappas was recently appointed the curator of collections at the museum and comes to Snoqualmie after years of work at the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad in Mineral, Wash. In addition to being responsible for upkeep of the museum's operating equipment and continuing restoration work, Pappas is charged with building on his previous success at Mt. Rainier to develop a steam program in Snoqualmie.
The Northwest Railway Museum expects to announce more details about its steam plans later this summer.
—Railfan & Railroad via Dan Simmering; photo by Dan Simmering
Amtrak Adjusts Viewliner II Order
August 13th, 2014
Amtrak has reduced its order for 25 Viewliner II baggage-dormitory cars from 25 to 10, and added 15 cars to the straight baggage car order of 55 for a total of 70. The original order for 25 diners and 25 sleepers still stands. The cars are being built by CAF USA at Elmira Heights, N.Y. and so far, one prototype of each type of car has been released for testing.
—Railfan & Railroad
Dailey Foundation Announces Rail Preservation Grants
August 13th, 2014
The Board of Directors of the Tom E. Dailey Foundation Inc., has announced the following 14 grants, totaling $44,765.00, at its August 9, 2014 quarterly board meeting:
Milwaukee Road Heritage Center, Montevideo, Minn.; $3000 This group was formed in 1992 to preserve the history of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, commonly known as the Milwaukee Road. Grant funding will be used to repair and restore a 90-foot long turntable built in 1913.
Beaver Area Heritage Foundation, Beaver, Penn.; $1000 The project is to restore the Beaver railroad station, built in 1897 by the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie, back to its original appearance. It will house a local genealogy collection and two classrooms. Grant will be used toward renovation of the exterior of the station.
Steam Into History, New Freedom, Penn.; $2000 The group was formed in 2010 as an educational effort to provide Civil War railroad history to the general public. Visitors board a replica train which travels a 30 mile route taken by Lincoln to deliver his Gettysburg Address. The grant is for the purchase and installation of a handicap lift.
New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railway Historical Society, Albuquerque, N.M.; $7500 The group is restoring Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 4-8-4 steam locomotive No. 2926 — an Albuquerque landmark of historical value — to running condition. The project began in 2000 and is expected to be completed by 2016. The locomotive will be used to provide excursions in New Mexico in celebration of railroad heritage. The grant is for a portion of the cost of fabricating a modernized version of a brake stand subsystem to meet FRA certification.
Sarpy County Historical Society, Bellevue, Neb.; $2500 The project is the restoration of a Union Pacific class CA-9 caboose built in May 1967. The grant request is for a portion of the $12,000 estimated cost to relocate and restore the car's interior and exterior. The expense is for materials only; all time is to be provided by retired railroad workers and Eagle Scouts.
Northwestern Pennsylvania Railroad and Tooling Heritage Center, Meadville, Penn.; $4465 The grant will be used to insulate the exterior walls of a former trolley station as part of a capital improvement project for the completion of a transportation museum. The main goal of the project is to create and operate the trolley station museum as an educational and interpretive center emphasizing the industrial history of trolley, railroad and canal transportation in northwestern Pennsylvania. Eight high school vocational education students will work on the restoration project.
Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, Inc., Washington, Penn.; $3000 The group’s collection includes a 1926 vintage suburban streetcar, Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. (Red Arrow) center door car No. 66. After serving visitors since 1974, it needs major refurbishment. Work will include repainting the exterior, reupholstering the interior, rebuilding one truck with overhauled traction motors, replacing windows, and rebuilding the center door steps and underframe.
Austin Steam Train Association, Inc., Cedar Park, Texas; $2000 Among the group’s collection is the Rippling Stream, a stainless steel, sleeper-buffet-lounge car which was originally delivered to the New York Central Railroad in 1949. The group was founded in 1989 and runs historic rail excursions through the Texas Hill Country, serving 27,000 passengers last year.
Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, Inc., North Judson, Ind.; $3300 This group has operated a working railroad museum and display site since 1988. It preserves and maintains 33 miles of former Chesapeake & Ohio Railway track. The grant request is to replace 250 crossties.
New England Steam Corp., Winterport, Maine; $2000 New England Steam Corp. was formed in 2012 to purchase, relocate, rebuild, and care for Maine Central Pacific-type steam locomotive No. 470. Funds will be used to transport the locomotive to its restoration site via a flat bed truck.
The Toy Train Depot, Alamogordo, N.M.; $4000 This group is restoring a Chicago & Eastern Illinois caboose. Funds will be used to upgrade the electrical service and to replace the platform to the caboose.
Railroad Museum of New England, Inc.; Thomaston, Conn.; $2500 This organization, which has been in existence for 46 years, owns and maintains the historic 1881 Thomaston, Conn., railroad station. The station is located in the town's central business district and is listed on the State Register of Historic Places. The group operates the Naugatuck Railroad, which offers a 19.5 mile tourist train ride, and conducts special events at the station. Funds will be used for masonry wall repairs.
Railways To Yesterday, Inc.; Rockhill Furnace, Penn.; $2500 This has been in existence for 52 years and is restoring Johnstown (Penn.) Traction Co. car No. 311, a Birney Safety Car built in 1922 by the Wason Manufacturing Co. of Springfield, Mass. Safety trolleys are designed to operate with just a motorman, saving the cost of the conductor. The car, which ran on the museum’s line, was taken out of service for repairs in 2004 and is now undergoing restoration to working condition.
—Railfan & Railroad via Tom E. Dailey Foundation
Amtrak Expands Bus Connections in the South
August 13th, 2014
An expanded partnership between Amtrak and two bus carriers will take passengers to and from the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and Amtrak trains in Jackson, Miss., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and New Orleans.
Connections to the City of New Orleans, Crescent and Sunset Limited are now available on Amtrak.com and other sales channels in a partnership with Greyhound Lines and Capitol Trailways. Bus stop and station information is also on the Amtrak website, with locations listed along with sample fares.
Several of these Gulf Coast communities, including Biloxi and Mobile, were served by Amtrak until 2005, when the service was suspended east of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
Amtrak is analyzing its national network to identify more opportunities to form partnerships with other bus carriers to expand connectivity, increase ridership and provide additional intercity travel options for more communities.
—Railfan & Railroad via Amtrak
Watco's Blue Ridge Southern Gets Down To Business
August 10th, 2014
On July 26, Watco's Blue Ridge Southern Railroad (BLU) began operating about 90 miles of former Norfolk Southern track in North Carolina. The lines include 47 miles between Murphy Junction and Dillsboro, 25 miles between Asheville and East Flat Rock, and 20 miles between Hendersonville and Pisgah Forest. Motive power includes seven SD40-2s (several of which are former SD45s with "flare" carbodies) and three GP39-2s.
The first Blue Ridge Southern westbound, the return leg of the Canton-Asheville turn (above), crossed the French Broad River behind a quartet of six-axles as it left Asheville on July 26, 2014. BLU has trackage rights on NS from Murphy Junction through Asheville to Biltmore, where the Hendersonville branch diverges.
—Railfan & Railroad via Watco Companies and Surface Transportation Board; photo and additional information from Grady McKinley
Arcade & Attica Runs Steam Special
August 8th, 2014
A steam photo charter sponsored by Dynamo Productions ran over New York's Arcade & Attica on August 4, 2014. The two-coach train was pulled by 1920-built Alco 2-8-0 No. 18, with a brief appearance of General Electric 65-tonner No. 112 to assist with a pair of covered hopper cars that were used on a “mixed train” from Arcade Junction to Arcade, N.Y. The trip made a rare run on the normally freight-only segment from Arcade Depot to Arcade Junction early in the morning. At Arcade Junction, the A&A interchanges with the Buffalo & Pittsburgh, the ex-PRR line owned by NS. North of Arcade the hoppers were left behind and the train continued with just two coaches to Curriers, N.Y. and return. Many photo runbys were executed on a nice, sunny day.
—Railfan & Railroad via Pete Swanson; photo at Arcade, N.Y., by Pete Swanson