Mountain Railroads

Mountain Railroads

Mountain Railroads

Mountain Railroads, the latest special issue from Classic Trains, explores railroading’s battle with gravity and geography — getting heavy trains up steep grades and safely descending them. The 124-page special edition features new and rare photos, detailed maps, and classic articles from Trains magazine, including Horseshoe Curve, Cajon Pass, 2-10-4 to Revelstoke, Snowbound Streamliner, Saluda Grade, and more!

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United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
11,72 €(Inkl. MwSt.)

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1 Min
making the grade

Few experiences in railroading are as stirring as witnessing a train climb a steep grade. Locomotives send smoke skyward as they struggle to lift hundreds or thousands of tons uphill. Sand dust fills the air. The roar of the engines’ exhaust and squeal of flanges against sharply curved rails can be deafening. Extra power in the form of head-end or rear-end helpers often adds to the drama. In some ways even more compelling, in view of the stakes involved, is a train descending a heavy grade. One misstep by the engineer, or the failure of a key piece of hardware, can send a train hurtling out of control, a mortal threat to those aboard it or in its path. Such drama often unfolds amid the sharp topography of a mountain region, adding…

11 Min
horseshoe curve

The brakeman calls out, “Horseshoe Curve on your right in a few minutes.” The deadheads don’t even look up, but nearly everyone else in the coach crowds to the righthand side to get a good look, for this scenic wonder of the Pennsylvania Railroad main line is well known to every traveler and would-be traveler. That the Curve is also a remarkable engineering attraction is usually lost sight of, but this wide sweeping arc allows the Pennsy’s Pittsburgh Division main line, four tracks wide, to breast the east slope of the Alleghenies with a grade of only 92 feet per mile. What better spot than here for the man who likes to watch or photograph trains! Westerners can well be proud of their famous Cajon Pass in the San Bernardino Mountains,…

13 Min
cajon pass

Rails cannot reach Southern California from random directions, as they do at Chicago or Kansas City; they must seek openings through the towering mountains circling protectively around the region. Each route has its pass, each pass has its story, and no one can say which story has the greatest romance. Santa Susanna, Soledad, Carriso, Tehachapi, San Timoteo, Cajon — they all spell lonely mountains and stiff grades, exhausts tearing holes in the sky to echo and re-echo through cut and canyon, wrecks and washouts, Ten-Wheelers and 4-6-6-4s, operators copying orders on desks that have known no darkness for 70 years. Millions of passengers and billions of tons of freight have been guided and hauled, cussed and delivered, by men still in service, by men pensioned off, by men long departed…

9 Min
tennessee narrow gauge

Winding through the deep gorges of the Doe River in the eastern part of Tennessee, where it extends between North Carolina and Virginia, is an unusual railroad with a rather long name, the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina. This is a remote section in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where ordinarily a railroad only 35 miles long would be thought of as little more than a lumber line on its last legs, but such is not the case here. This railroad last year (1941) earned more than $1,500 net income for each of its 35 miles, a figure hard to beat on a road of any size. The ET&WNC, a narrow-gauge road opened in 1882, doesn’t even run regular passenger service, but in the summer, on every other Sunday, an excursion…

16 Min
2-10-4 to revelstoke

Last winter a locomotive numbered 7001 rode the 262 miles of Canadian Pacific mountain main line between Calgary, Alberta, and Revelstoke, British Columbia, and the railroad has not been the same since. It never will be. No. 7001 was an Electro-Motive diesel demonstrator, technically an FP7 cab and two F7 boosters. Promptly dubbed “Blue Boy” because of its color, No. 7001 was the first diesel locomotive to echo its air horn through Kicking Horse Pass and Albert Canyon and to open up its triplet V-16 engines on the ascending eastbound 1.6- and 2-percent grades through the celebrated Spiral Tunnels. Moreover, Blue Boy strutted his stuff on the transcontinental Dominion through the bitterest of snows and 50-degree-below-zero temperatures. He nonchalantly refused helper service at the foot of grades where the biggest and…

4 Min
the battle of sherman hill

NEW LINE BY THE NUMBERS TOTAL LENGTH 42½ MILES MAXIMUM GRADE 0.82 PERCENT HIGHEST FILL 157 FEET DEEPEST CUT 110 FEET RUNNING TIME SAVED 15 MINUTES Since the first surveyors ventured into the uplands west of Cheyenne in 1865, the Union Pacific has been waging intermittent war against the geography of southeastern Wyoming. Several times it has skirmished among the hills and along the creeks, trying to win a grade through the Laramie Mountains that best combined the virtues of economical construction and efficient operation. Each sortie with the construction tools of the day has brought improvements, but until this year of 1953 Sherman Hill has stood formidably in the way. The 8,014-foot summit at Sherman has been the highest point on the main line and the toughest to reach with a heavy train. But now today’s…