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Trains

Trains August 2017

TRAINS IS THE #1 MAGAZINE AMONG RAILROAD ENTHUSIASTS! EACH ISSUE IS PACKED WITH PROBING FEATURES, RAILROAD NEWS, EXPERT COMMENTARY, CUTTING-EDGE INDUSTRY REPORTS, DETAILED MAPS AND SPECTACULAR PHOTOGRAPHY COVERING RAILROADING’S INFLUENTIAL HISTORY AND EXCITING FUTURE.

Land:
United States
Sprache:
English
Verlag:
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
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2 Min.
arrivals & departures of note

I hope you were fortunate to witness the Ringing circus train. None of us would have ever expected this American institution to close, but the changing ways Americans spend their time and dollars on entertainment brought it to an end in May. I was fortunate to be on assignment nearby on the same gorgeous spring day when the train rolled northbound through Virginia. It was a reluctant farewell. I wasn’t completely ready to say goodbye to this silverand- red thread of surprise and fun as it wound its way along Norfolk Southern’s line between Roanoke, Va., and Hagerstown, Md. A bridge at Overall, Va., just north of the crew change point at Shenandoah, Va., provided a good spot to witness the train in good light one last time. As much as I…

3 Min.
csx hump yards are targets

E. Hunter Harrison says hump yards can justify their existence only when they classify at least 1,400 cars per day. One glance at the volume levels at CSX’s top 10 terminals shows why the railroad is converting its hump yards to flat-switching facilities: The only hump that clears Harrison’s hurdle is Waycross, Ga. Out of the other 11 hump yards CSX operated last year, only three — Selkirk, N.Y.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Willard, Ohio — processed more than 1,400 cars per day, according to CSX’s annual report. But they are likely to handle less traffic under Harrison’s operating plan. “It’s not just changing it for the sake of changing switching operations,” Cindy Sanborn, CSX’s chief operating officer, told an investor conference. “It is part of the larger plan of making transit…

3 Min.
frac (sand) is back

Railroads are enjoying a resurgence in shipments of frac sand, which may hit record tonnage levels this year and next as oil and gas drillers put more rigs to work and use much more sand per well American demand for hydraulic fracturing sand — which props open layers of shale so that oil and gas can escape — peaked at 53 million tons in 2014, before the energy boom went bust. The consensus forecast from Wall Street analysts is that drillers will use 60 million tons this year and 85 million tons in 2018, according to a U.S. Silica investor presentation. This has already shown up on Texas Pacifico, the 391-mile railroad that serves drillers in the Permian Basin of Texas. “We’re killing it,” Elizabeth Miller Grindstaff, the railroad’s vice president of sales…

2 Min.
trials set in fatal wrecks

Four railroaders in Quebec and Pennsylvania will be spending a lot of time inside courtrooms as a pair of criminal cases involving high-profile derailments works through the criminal justice systems of two countries this year. Four years after an oil train derailed and exploded in a small Quebec town, killing 47 people and leveling more than 30 buildings, three former Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway employees are slated to stand trial this fall for their roles in the incident. Locomotive engineer Thomas Harding, dispatcher Richard Labrie, and manager Jean Demaitre have all pleaded not guilty in provincial court to 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death. Prosecutors allege that all three men failed to prevent the derailment of a loaded oil train that had been improperly secured on a hill 7 miles…

1 Min.
redondo junction tower burns

Famed Redondo Junction tower in Los Angeles burned May 28, 2017. The tower was built in 1906 at the Southern Pacific-Santa Fe crossing just south of downtown. Last operations were in 2001. Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad ran a special excursion train May 24 and 25, led by Baldwin RS-12 No. 300 and EMD GP38 No. 400. The train ran from Escanaba, Mich., over Canadian National’s Manistique Sub to Pembine, Wis., where it continued north of Iron Mountain, Mich., and to Mass City, Mich. Passengers overnighted, and a second crew brought the train back to Escanaba on May 25. Southern Pacific 4-8-4 No. 4449 ran a private excursion May 9 from Milwaukie to Tigard, Ore., on Portland & Western. The four-car train marked the first time No. 4449 operated on P&W in…

4 Min.
who said passenger trains can make money?

Freight railroading is humming right along in North America, still the most profitable form of transportation anywhere on Earth. Any way one cares to count, no other form of transportation can come close to matching the profitability of freight railroading in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Non-ocean passenger travel is not profitable anywhere, and yes, I mean European high-speed rail lines as well as bus lines everywhere. Ocean shipping often makes money on cargo and passenger traffic. But almost every non-ocean passenger conveyance is subsidized in one form or another. No other form of freight haulage makes a true profit, the one exception being barge lines. Most, but not all, railroads outside North America lose money on freight traffic. My regular readers have heard all this before. I bring it up…