Hot Spots

Hot Spots

If you want a lifetime of great railroad experiences, Hot Spots is your go-to guide for train-watching throughout the U.S. and Canada. This special issue from Trains magazine tells you everything you need to know to be a great train-watcher — railfan basics, travel tips, and dozens of must-see locations from coast to coast.

United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
kr 88,23

i denne utgaven

1 min
where to find the action

TRAIN-WATCHING is a long, honored pastime in the U.S. and Canada. Blessed with amazing locomotives, colorful passenger trains, and long freights, we are a continent that screams out big and bold. As spectators, we go in search of the places that excite us for their hustle, their fame, their splendor, and exotic mixtures thereof. In this issue, we present our 75 favorite hot spots — those places that rise above the norm in the viewpoint of railroad enthusiasts. But that’s not all. We’ll also help you understand the basics of the hobby we call railfanning. We’ll cover the inside lingo of the railroad business and tell you how trains get their names so that when you hear them called out on a scanner radio, you’ll know which train they’re talking about…

11 min
train-watching 101

Railroads move millions of tons of freight and millions of passengers each year. America’s railroads got their start nearly 200 years ago and have been instrumental in the development and prosperity of North America. But railroading is more than just a major industry with a long history. For perhaps a quarter- million people, the study of railroading’s fascinating aspects is an important hobby that can be enjoyed in many ways. The modern freight train pictured above reveals several characteristics that draw people to railroads: power, color, geography, history, and photography. For the many “train-watchers,” “railroad enthusiasts,” or “railfans” across the country, these elements are cornerstones of the railroad hobby. This freight train is one of the thousands that operate daily throughout the continent, moving about 40 percent of the nation’s goods. This…

1 min
railroad parks

Several communities all over the United States have created safe, comfortable places to enjoy railroad action. Some of the more notable include: • Railroad Park, Rochelle, Ill.: At the crossing of Union Pacific and BNSF Railway main lines. To see a live webcam, visit and click “Photos & Videos.” • Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark: Near Altoona, Pa., overlooks Norfolk Southern’s triple-tracked main through the “Amphitheater of the Alleghenies.” More information is available at • Manchester, Ga., 65 miles southwest of Atlanta, features a covered observation deck that overlooks the CSX yard. • Crossroads Park, at the crossing of two CSX lines in Deshler, Ohio, features a picnic area and space to park a camper. Deshler is about 40 miles southwest of Toledo. Marion, Ohio, also has a restored railroad tower open…

2 min
rail photography

FOR MANY, photography is an important part of the railroad hobby. By taking photos, railfans can make a visual record of what they’ve seen, where they’ve been, and the changes that occur over time. Many take pictures simply for documentation; others enjoy mixing their interest in trains with the artistic possibilities of photography. Also, it’s fun to show your photos to others, and to see what you can learn from them about train-watching spots and photo techniques. Many websites have emerged in recent years that enable rail photographers from around the world to share their photos in one place. and are designed specifically for train photographers, while photographer-created groups on general photo-sharing websites like Flickr and Facebook are quickly becoming some of the most popular ways to share images…

5 min
selected railroad terms

AAR: Association of American Railroads. The advocacy group that is the voice of large American railroads. It also facilitates uniform safety and security standards for the industry. AIR TEST: application of a train’s air brakes at the start of a run to ensure they are functioning properly. BALLAST: layer of material (usually crushed rock, cinders, or gravel) on top of the roadbed that holds the ties in position and facilitates drainage. Also used to describe any extra material added to a locomotive to bring it up to a desired weight. BRIDGE TRAFFIC: freight received from one railroad to be moved by a second railroad for delivery to a third; also “overhead traffic.” CENTRALIZED TRAFFIC CONTROL (CTC): traffic control system whereby train movements are directed through remote control of switches and signals from a central…

14 min
reading the lights

The eastward interlocking signals are dark when you arrive at a remote desert siding along Union Pacific’s former Southern Pacific main line in central Utah. Traffic is erratic and sparse, and there can be long gaps between movements. You wonder, “Should I wait here for a train, or should I move?” As you ponder this conundrum, the dark signals light up: red-over-red. This immediately tells you that something is about to happen, and from past experience you know that a train must be relatively close at hand. The signals change again to “approach,” yellow-over-red. A train has been lined to the east end of the siding, but no further. A few minutes later you can hear a westward freight, and then it comes into view crawling into the siding. That’s the missing…