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Railfan Hot Rail NewsEdited by the Railfan & Railroad staff
We solicit your contributions to this column. If you have original news items
or photographs to share, please contact us.

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Amtrak's "Great Dome" returns to the Adirondack through Oct. 29
September 12th, 2014

Amtrak announced this week that its popular "Great Dome" will be returning to the Adirondack route for five weeks through October 29, thanks in part to support from New York State Department of Transportation. The Great Dome was built in 1955, and remains Amtrak's only full-length dome in regular service. The dome car can be found on the Adirondack running northbound between Albany and Montreal on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Mondays (there are no dome car trips on Wednesdays). Seats are not reserved in the dome section, and are available on a first come, first served basis. The Great Dome was built by Budd for the Great Northern Railway and carried the name Ocean View. It was refurbished in 1985, and again in 1999, and has been used in various Amtrak services around the country.

—Railfan & Railroad via Amtrak

New owners invest $10 million to rebuild tracks of Central Maine & Quebec
September 10th, 2014

When Central Maine & Quebec Railway took over the old Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, they inherited a railroad full of slow orders and a dwindling customer base. President John Giles announced a program that will invest $10 million to rebuild tracks and bring speeds up from 10 to 25 m.p.h., according to the Portland Press Herald. The reconstruction work is expected to be completed by November, and will reduce the trip from Farnham, Quebec, to northern Vermont from two days to one. The sales and marketing staff will also be increased to help sell the railway's improved service to shippers. As per agreement, the railway is prohibited from shipping oil until at least 2016. Fortress Investments purchased the former MM&A at a bankruptcy auction earlier this year. The majority of the system is the former Bangor & Aroostook which went bankrupt in 1995.

—Railfan & Railroad

Iowa Pacific introduces "The Varsity" to connect Chicago and Madison
September 8th, 2014

Pullman Rail Journeys, a subsidiary of Iowa Pacific Holdings, will introduce special event weekend service between Chicago and Madison in October. According to the Chicago Business Journal, The Varsity will carry football fans to two big University of Wisconsin games in October. Passengers will have the choice of $99 round-trip in coach, or $199 round-trip in first class. This new special event service represents some of the first regularly scheduled first class passenger trains on the Chicago-Madison route since 1971.

Trips in October and November will also open up a new charter route between Chicago and New York City, expanding upon Pullman Rail Journeys' success with their Chicago-New Orleans route.

—Railfan & Railroad

Southern Railway 4501 to debut at Chattanooga Railfest
September 5th, 2014

Southern Railway 4501 is about to emerge from a multi-year restoration and rebuild and will debut at the Tennessee Valley Railfest in Chattanooga, Tenn., on September 6 and 7, according to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum and WGNS-AM. Built in 1911 for Southern Railway by Baldwin Locomotive Works, it was sold in 1948 to the Kentucky & Tennessee Railway. The 4501 was purchased by Paul Merriman in 1963 and was used for occasional excursions on the Southern Railway, and three years later became the official ambassador for the railroad's steam program. The locomotive was retired by Norfolk Southern in 1994, and briefly ran excursions at TVRM until it was pulled from service in 1998.

The venerable excursion locomotive was stripped down for a boiler inspection in 2008, and restoration and repair work began in 2010 thanks to the support of Norfolk Southern and their new "21st Century Steam" program. For the last three years, 4501 has been transformed inside the shop at TVRM, and now is ready to make its debut under steam. Norfolk Southern announced the 4501 will be added to the schedule of steam excursions for the 2015 season. 

Railfest is an annual celebration of railroading at the massive Chattanooga train museum, where actual engines and rail cars fill the massive complex. The September 6th and 7th gala includes train rides, special exhibits, model railroads, children's activities, live entertainment, and more.
Tickets for Railfest are on-line: $20 per day for adults and $15 children. Visit www.tvrail.com for details.

—Railfan & Railroad via WGNS-AM

Vermont Rail System, Amtrak, to bring special displays for Glory Days celebration
September 5th, 2014

The 22nd Annual Glory Days celebration will feature displays from Vermont Rail System as well as Amtrak's Exhibit Train during the special event held in White River Junction, Vermont, on Saturday, September 13. Attractions at the festival include a model train show, LEGO train show, vintage cars and tractors, carnival rides, children’s stage with performers and entertainment, and the main stage with musicians from around New England. Plenty of food will be available, including a traditional barbeque.

The Vermont Rail System excursion train will be at the festival, taking passengers on a 45-minute ride along the scenic Connecticut River. Excursions run on the hour beginning at 10:00 a.m. Train tickets are only $10 and will be available at the event through the Hartford Parks and Recreation Department.

Glory Days will also feature a display of train equipment from many of the railroads that currently serve the region. A highlight of this year’s railroad display will be the Amtrak Exhibit Train. Climb on board this special train to learn about Amtrak’s history and catch a glimpse into the company’s future. Displays include vintage advertising, past menus and dinnerware, period uniforms, photographs, and other items of memorabilia from Amtrak’s creation in 1971 to a model of today’s modern-sleeping accommodations and high-speed rail service displays. Interactive displays include railroad horns, trivia questions, workable signals and an engineer’s stand.

The event will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and admission is free. For more information visit the event website: www.vtglorydaysfestival.com.

—Railfan & Railroad via Vermont Rail System

SEPTA Market East Station becomes Jefferson Station
September 4th, 2014

In a landmark multi-million dollar deal with Jefferson Health System, SEPTA's Market East Station in downtown Philadelphia will be renamed "Jefferson Station," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. This is not the first station in the SEPTA system to be re-branded in a naming rights deal, since the naming rights for Pattison Station on the Broad Street Subway were sold to AT&T in 2010 for $5.4 million. The details of the deal with Jefferson Health System have not yet been revealed.

SEPTA is also in discussions to possibly sell the naming rights to nearby Suburban Station, the other major downtown commuter terminal in Philadelphia. 

The subterranean Market East Station opened in 1984 upon the completion of the Center City Commuter Connection which linked the former Pennsylvania Railroad and Reading Railroad systems and allowed the closure of historic Reading Terminal and its elevated approaches. The old terminal is now part of the downtown convention center.

—Railfan & Railroad

Amtrak asks for investigation into CN delays on Illinois route
September 3rd, 2014

Plagued by delays on its Chicago-Carbondale route, Amtrak has asked federal regulators to investigate whether or not actions by owner Canadian National are at fault. According to Crain's Chicago Business, while the fight over the delay extends back to 2012, Amtrak and CN have had "productive discussions" in an effort to resolve the matter. Amtrak's average on-time performance has been between 57.7 and 41.6 percent, though CN claims improvements since the worst of the delays incurred during winter. According to federal law, passenger trains are supposed to have priority except in case of emergency. Regarding Amtrak's September 2 filing with the Surface Transportation Board, CN had no comment.

—Railfan & Railroad

Railfan & Railroad magazine now part of White River Productions
August 31st, 2014

(Bucklin, Missouri) – White River Productions has acquired Railroad Model Craftsman and Railfan & Railroad magazines, effective September 1, 2014. The asset purchase agreement between Carstens Publications and White River Productions was completed Thursday, August 28, 2014. Carstens Publications’ final issues of the two titles are the June issues, and future issues will be produced by White River Productions. Staff assignments for the two publications have not yet been determined. Included in the agreement is the Books Division of Carstens Publications, which will continue under White River Productions. Not included is Flying Models magazine.

“We are excited to welcome these two Carstens titles to our family of White River Productions publications,” said Kevin EuDaly, president of White River Productions. “These magazines are an important part of railroad publications and White River Productions looks forward to continuing their legacies.” Subscribers will be pleased to know existing subscriptions are to be honored and fulfilled by the new ownership. Fulfillment will be based on the number of remaining issues in existing subscriptions. Due to the need to get the magazines’ cover dates current, a combined issue scenario will likely be employed, but the number of issues owed to each subscriber will be adjusted accordingly.

“If you have six issues left on your subscription, you will receive six issues,” EuDaly said. The magazines’ new mailing address for all subscriber, reader, and industry communication is the Bucklin address. 

Advertisers should contact Mike Lindsay of White River Productions at 800-282-3291 or via email at ads@railfan.com, ads@rrmodelcraftsman.com, or ads@modelrailroadnews.com. Mike will be managing advertising for the new titles.

About the Carstens’ Publications 
Railroad Model Craftsman magazine was founded in 1933 by Emanuele Stieri as The Model Craftsman, aimed at all areas of scale modeling. Ownership of the publishing company passed in 1934 to Charles Penn. In 1949 the name of the publication was changed to Railroad Model Craftsman, with a focus on the scale model train hobby exclusively. Hal Carstens joined the publishing firm in 1952 and purchased the company in 1962, renaming it Carstens Publications.

Railfan & Railroad in concept goes back to 1968 when future Railroad Model Craftsman editor Tony Koester along with Jim Boyd pitched the idea to Carstens for a “railfan’s” magazine. By 1971 Jim Boyd had joined Carstens to work on Flying Models, and in 1974 Railfan was born as a quarterly publication.

It went to six times a year in 1977, and monthly in 1987. In 1979 it was merged with the defunct Railroad magazine (which began in 1906 as Railroad Man’s Magazine), becoming Railfan & Railroad. The magazine was edited by Jim Boyd from its inception until his retirement in 1998, after which Steve Barry took over as Editor. 

About White River Productions 
Founded in 1992 by Kevin EuDaly, President, White River Productions is currently producing 22 historical society magazines plus calendars, books, and other peripheral items such as membership brochures, advertising rate cards, annual meet announcements, and ballots. The company also publishes Model Railroad News, Railroads Illustrated, Passenger Train Journal, The Railroad Press magazine, and now Railroad Model Craftsman and Railfan & Railroad magazines. The company began when owner Kevin EuDaly decided to write and publish the book Missouri Pacific Diesel Power. He produced The Eagle for the Missouri Pacific Historical Society from 1993 to 1996 and picked up the editor’s reins again for the MPHS in 2010. In between, he has edited and produced numerous historical society publications. His wife, Nadean, manages day-to-day operations at White River Productions.

White River Productions
PO Box 48
Bucklin MO 64631

(877) 787-2467
email: info@whiteriverproductions.com
Website: whiteriverproductions.com

Carstens Publications
August 22nd, 2014

It is with regret that Carstens Publicatons, Inc. will be closing permanently at close of business on Friday, August 22, 2014. Carstens Publications, Inc. has been a leading publisher of leading hobby magazines for over 50 years. Unfortunately the current economic climate has placed us in this position. Discussion is continuing with several parties who expressed desire to take on the continuance of the magazines. At this point there is still hope that all three titles will remain in existence. But I can offer no guarantees. We thank you for your patronage over the years, and wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

—Henry R. Carstens, President
Carstens Publications, Inc.

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.


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