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Classic Trains

Classic Trains September 2019

CELEBRATE THE GOLDEN AGE OF AMERICAN RAILROADING – WHEN GIANT STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, COLORFUL DIESELS AND STEAMLINERS SHARED THE RAILS. CLASSIC TRAINS COVERS THE 1930’S THROUGH THE 1970’S WITH REMARKABLE PHOTOGRAPHY, DETAILED REPORTING AND FIRST-HAND ACCOUNTS FROM PEOPLE WHO WORKED THE GREAT PASSENGER AND FREIGHT TRAINS.

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Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
Frequency:
Quarterly
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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
steam’s last great year

Three-quarters of a century ago, a world war was placing unprecedented demands on the railroads of the United States and Canada. A tidal wave of traffic was taxing employees, facilities, and equipment. The carriers urgently needed more locomotives. By 1944, Electro-Motive’s E and FT units had convinced many railroads of the superiority of diesel power. But wartime restrictions on industrial production curtailed the availability of diesels, forcing some roads that might have preferred them to settle for steam. Other railroads, still committed to the fire-plus-water equation, added to their fleets with the expectation that steam would reign for decades to come. So pressing was the need for basic, proven power, that government regulators discouraged the time-intensive development of new steam designs, as well as the construction of purely passenger power. It…

3 min.
head end

Big Boy’s big comeback The impossible dream of generations of railfans came true in early May when a 4-8-8-4 Big Boy steamed for the first time since 1959. Union Pacific’s Cheyenne, Wyo.-based steam crew completed the job just in time for No. 4014 to depart on May 4, with 4-8-4 844, on a five-day trek to Ogden, Utah, where the two engines starred in a “Spike 150” ceremony. The pair returned to Cheyenne May 19, then 4014 began a Midwest tour July 15. The engines made a breathtaking sight at Granger, Wyo., just after sunrise May 6. The “final answer” in diesel design? In May 1960 Trains, Editor David P. Morgan, reflecting on the evolution of diesel locomotive design as road-switchers with low noses were coming into vogue, wondered if the “final answer…

2 min.
reviews

American Steam Locomotives: Design and Development, 1880–1960 By William L. Withuhn. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Ind. 452 pages, $40. Deep in the diesel era, 2019 is high time for a book that steps back from the glassy-eyed volumes on steam locomotives and truly puts engines into context for their times. The late Smithsonian transportation curator, Bill Withuhn, left us with a magnificent book that illuminates the American steam story in a readable fashion that will please those whose steam IQ ranges from novice to expert and in between. Withuhn, for example, compares and contrasts the Union Pacific Big Boy and the Chesapeake & Ohio Allegheny in an engaging way. With some of steam’s greatest stars active or about to be, here’s a book that puts each in its place and time. —…

7 min.
archive treasures treasured

I am delighted to see the excellent feature on photos by my favorite anthracite roads photographer, Donald W. Furler [“Archive Treasures: Quiet Monsters Coming to Life,” page 16]. I hope you enjoy a Lehigh Valley picture I took in 1973 at almost the same spot as Furler’s Central of New Jersey shot on page 4. The most obvious change is that the imposing Lehigh & New England bridge is gone, removed in 1967. The LV train is running on ex-CNJ trackage eastbound behind three GP18s as the CNJ pulled out of Pennsylvania in 1972. No doubt the eastbound has work in the yard at Allentown, otherwise it would be using the original LV main on the opposite side of the river. The highway shown in the 1946 photo through the Lehigh…

1 min.
fts for the fast mail

From the new book Classic Railroad Scenes, available from KalmbachHobbyStore.com The Santa Fe was an early and ardent buyer of Electro-Motive’s E units, receiving E1s, E3s, and E6s. The road was also the first to go for EMD’s FT, ordering 320 A and B units in the early 1940s to haul freights over its dry, heavily graded main line through Arizona and California. In mid-1945 the road began trying FTs on varnish — and never bought another E unit. In this December 3, 1946, view, four-unit FT set No. 168 leads train 7, the Chicago–Los Angeles Fast Mail, at Newton, Kans. Delivered in May 1945, the 168 was converted for passenger work in mid-1946, then reverted to freight duty at the end of 1951 as F3 and F7s took over ontheSuper…

4 min.
no longer under the radar

I was pleased a few weeks ago when Editor Rob McGonigal gave me a copy of the lineup for this issue. There, marked for pages 64–71, was a photo story about the Pacific Northwest, featuring a photographer who’s probably unfamiliar to most readers: John F. Bjorklund. I was delighted not only because Bjorklund (who died too soon in 2005 at age 65) was a terrific photographer, but also because he was a terrific guy, the kind you want to have along when friends are heading out for a weekend of shooting trains. I had no trouble confirming that with several photographers who were happy to have John as a fellow traveler. Bjorklund was never a household name. He wasn’t widely published in the rail enthusiast press. He was well known in certain…