Just what does it mean to be a railfan? In Departures, we attempt to answer this question. Geeky but cool, obsessive yet interesting, artistic yet accessible, it’s a broad hobby with something for everyone. But what does it mean to you? We’ll discuss the leading trends in photography and how they shape our approach to the craft. For the historian and the collector, we’ll explore our rich past and look ahead to the future. Join us as we embark upon exciting railway journeys and discover what draws us trackside. Learn about the fascinating people who have enlivened our hobby and make us eager to join them. There’s never been a more exciting time to be a railfan, and we’ll show you why each month!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexander B. Craghead, is the author of Departures. He is a writer, photographer, illustrator, and self-described “transportation geek” from Portland, Oregon. His interest in trains was partially inspired by childhood stories about his great-great uncle, who worked for the Portland Traction Company, and his great-great grandfather, who worked for the Southern Pacific.
His writing and photography have appeared in Railfan & Railroad Magazine, Trains Magazine, and the National Railroad Historical Society Bulletin, and in Railroad Heritage published by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art.
July 10, 2020
Railroads have been shaping the landscape for nearly 200 years. In that time, they have also shaped our American language with slang.
June 15, 2020
Except for possibly the steam locomotive, is there any more iconic piece of railroad equipment than the caboose?
May 5, 2020
Whether they are operated by the professional crews of a small freight-hauling railroad or weekend volunteers from a local museum, there are plenty of examples of passenger trains whose only real purpose is the pleasure of sightseeing with no real destination.
April 16, 2020
From its 1973 introduction to the end of its run in 1989, EMD turned out almost 4,000 SD40-2s, one of the largest production runs in North American railway history.
March 16, 2020
While many small-town preservationists were able to save these heavily symbolic structures, when a depot is removed from the context of the railroad, what precisely has been saved?
February 15, 2020
American railways were briefly united under a single national company as the United States Railroad Administration from December 1917 through March 1920.
January 15, 2020
It’s a little-known fact that a bit of knowledge about railways can be dangerous. There’s always the strong possibility that you’ll go from hobbyist to railroad owner in fewer than 10 steps.
November 18, 2019
There has always been a strong link between trains and the holiday season. A train ticket just seems to go along with hot cocoa, holly leaves, and falling snow. But why?
November 5, 2019
For a brief moment in time, the Seattle & North Coast tried to keep the former Milwaukee Road Port Angeles Subdivision afloat… In more ways than one.
October 20, 2019
The switch engine was ubiquitous, and one of the most popular and important models was the diesel-electric S-series produced by the American Locomotive Company from 1940 to 1960.