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Trains December 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.
it’s a small world after all

That’s why I gave Oren space in this issue (page 46-55) to tell the story behind the man and his images. But that is not what I want to write about here. Another dimension of John and Oren is that they are among the people I include in my early railroad family. They were there before I had a good camera, before I could travel without my parents, and before I really had decided what of railroading was important to me. Their enthusiasm and love for railroading inspired me to be a better follower, to try to make meaningful pictures, and to develop relationships that are great friendships around our shared passion for trains. From time to time over the years, Oren and I have run into each other. Walt Disney would…

3 Min.
railway post office

DOUBLE-STACK DERAILMENT INVESTIGATION The article, “Intermodal Mystery” [pages 26-33, October], by David Ibata summarizes the double-stack derailment investigation well. I was TTX Co.’s director of engineering and research at the time and was heavily involved in the process, as our cars represented roughly two-thirds of the double-stack fleet, as they do now. I never felt under any pressure to not talk about the investigation, but I didn’t go out of my way to publicize it, either. The leadership of the task force by Burlington Northern’s Ron Newman and Union Pacific’s Bob Cartwright, along with Gary Wolf’s effective execution of the testing, were key elements in the success of this venture. I was among those who were surprised that frictional forces between the wheel tread and the railhead by themselves could push the…

7 Min.
coal bump in 2017 is not long slump’s end

ERODING COAL VOLUMES over the years have been easy to spot, with unit coal train frequency declining on once-busy routes and the shuttering of more electric generating stations that received those trainloads. Taken with all coal data in the country, the U.S. Energy Information Administration publishes charts that show — roughly — how much coal is above ground during any given year. The graphs at left illustrate just how much less coal is moving since the end of the Great Recession, with coal sent to fire power plants down about one-third, matching volumes throughout the industry. That’s when its easier to see how much less important to the U.S. coal has become. Trains illustration: Rick Johnson U.S. coal flow In million short tons Coal volumes may decline slightly next year due to a…

2 Min.
india makes waves on locomotives

India’s Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal got tongues wagging and keyboards clicking in September after he said publicly that he wanted to modify an order to GE Transportation for 1,000 diesel-electric locomotives. Goyal said India’s government would like to fully electrify railroads and that India would not need any diesels. India’s government clarified Goyal’s statements after a meeting with GE officials, saying that the $2.5-billion order and construction projection will move forward as planned. The public kerfuffle happened around the same time that Alstom locomotive shells began arriving in India. In addition to 1,000 locomotives from GE, India recently agreed to purchase 800 heavyfreight all-electric locomotives from the French maker. India has nearly 19,000 route-miles of electrified lines, covering half of all passenger and about 60 percent of…

4 Min.
trump’s policies aid freight railroads

President Donald Trump is slowly having a profound effect on the freight rail industry, based on his policies and the industry’s reaction. So far, freight railroads seem to be coming out well, but it’s too early to say for sure. First, let’s look at the positive early effects of Trump’s policies. The most positive effect is on coal. Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy said that even under former President Barack Obama, it expected coal shipments to rise through 2020 before trailing off. Under Trump, however, the center says coal shipments could grow at least through 2030. The center notes this would still be below the peak year of 2008. There is no guarantee of such growth. An unknown, the price of natural gas, will have a profound effect, the…

3 Min.
‘heartland flyer’ hang-ups

The ‘Heartland Flyer’ still runs as it did 18 years ago, with a morning departure from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, Texas, and an evening return. The state-supported train is caught in a budget crunch, however, squeezed by shrinking tax revenues caused by falling oil prices and requirements of 2008’s Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which obligate Texas and Oklahoma to pick up more costs. The ongoing dilemma prompted a legislative hearing in Oklahoma City on Sept. 7, in which lawmakers and Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials heard about two growth options: Extend the train north to Newton, Kan., where overnight connections to and from Amtrak’s Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief in both directions could bolster passenger counts, or add a second round trip on the existing route with the same…