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Railroading! 2018 Calendar

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Cross the continent and share the drama of “high iron” on Class I freight lines ranging from Union Pacific and BNSF to CSX and Norfolk Southern. Regional railroads include Montana Rail Link and Reading and Northern. Classic steam is represented by the restored Nickel Plate 765, a Berkshire-type 2-8-4, and more. Railroading! includes commentary describing featured railroads and rolling stock. All aboard!

Published by Tide-mark, Railroading! 2018 wall calendar opens to 13.75 x 20.5 inches.

Railroads and trains featured in the 2018 calendar include:

January

            Since 2014, Central Florida Rail Corridor has operated “SunRail” commuter trains on 31 miles of track in the greater Orlando area. Motive Power MP32PH-Q diesel locomotives and Bombardier push-pull coach consists provide service. A morning train is crossing the St. Johns River at Lake Monroe, Florida. CFRC owns 61 miles of former Atlantic Coast Line main line and plans to expand SunRail service. Amtrak's Silver Star, Silver Meteor, and Auto Train also run on these rails.

            The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Commuter Rail division, operated by Keolis Commuter Services, serves 14 lines operating out of North and South Stations in Boston. Two afternoon rush-hour trains, each powered by a Canadian-made AMF GP40MC diesel locomotive, are crossing the Charles River as they depart North Station.

February

            A special Union Pacific locomotive pulls a westbound manifest train through Penwell, Texas, enroute from Odessa and to El Paso on April 8, 2014. General Electric ES44AC 7400 wears a pink ribbon and breast cancer awareness banner. These tracks, now UP’s Fort Worth to El Paso main line, were formerly a Texas & Pacific line that became a Missouri Pacific/Texas & Pacific route. Since acquiring MP in 1982, UP has upgraded the line and train traffic has almost doubled with the increase in capacity.

            A four-car Union Pacific train is about to cross the BNSF Railway Chicago-to-Texas main line at Sealy, Texas, on February 17, 2016. UP took over this line with its purchase of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (known as “the Katy”) in 1988. At one time it was MKT’s main track into Houston, but today it handles local traffic and aggregate business coming from central Texas, which is moved to staging yards near the City of Katy. 

March

            Locomotive 1522, built for the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1926, leads a special BNSF employee appreciation train on May 27, 2001, near Ponder, Texas. SLSF (known as “the Frisco) used this Mountain-type 4-8-2 steam locomotive on heavy passenger and freight trains until diesel locomotives replaced it in 1951. Preserved for display at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, Missouri, 1522 was returned to service by restoration groups in 1988, and ran on excursions through much of the central U.S. It was retired again in 2002, and today is on static display in St. Louis.

            Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway steam locomotive 3751 is leading a special train to Grand Canyon National Park on May 14, 2012. The “Santa Fe” took delivery of 3751, its first 4-8-4 Northern-type locomotive, in 1927. Retired in 1953, it was donated to the City of San Bernardino, California for display. In 1986 the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society undertook the restoration of 3751, which was completed in 1991 at an estimated cost of $1.5 million. The locomotive remains active, running on occasional excursions, mostly in the Southern California area.

 April

            Providence & Worcester, an independent Northeastern regional railroad since 1973, was purchased by global shortline holding company Genesee & Wyoming in 2016. Although the 516-mile P&W will retain its name and territory, the orange and brown on its locomotive fleet will give way to its new parent's orange and yellow colors. In June 2016, a P&W GE "Super 7" unit leads an aggregate train at Wallingford, Connecticut.

             Keokuk Junction Railway, connecting Peoria, Illinois with Keokuk, Iowa, is known for running freight trains behind its set of Canadian-built streamlined cab units. The former Canadian National FP9/F9B/FP9 lashup meets equally rare EMD GP20s at Blandinsville, Illinois. KJRY is part of Pioneer RailCorp's 17-railroad system.

May

            Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific locomotives lead a 74-car NS westbound manifest freight into Meridian, Mississippi, on April 4, 2016.  The train originated in Atlanta, a major Norfolk Southern hub.  In a few minutes, the train will stop to change crews and fuel its locomotives before continuing its trip on the “Meridian Speedway” -- a nickname given to the recently upgraded track segment between Meridian and Shreveport, Louisiana.  At Shreveport the train will move onto Union Pacific rails.   Norfolk Southern is one of the two major railroads operating in the eastern half of the United States.  Headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, NS operates more than 19,500 route miles in 22 eastern states, as well as in Canada.

            A mix of Electro-Motive and General Electric locomotives leads a manifest freight east through Thomasville, North Carolina on a bright April 9, 2016. Thomasville is located on Norfolk Southern's busy line between Spencer, North Carolina and Roanoke, Virginia.  It hosts more than 20 trains a day.  Noted for its furniture industry, Thomasville is home to oldest railroad depot in the state.

 June

            Arkansas & Missouri is a shortline based in Springdale, Arkansas.  In 1986, it assumed operation of 150 miles of Burlington Northern trackage between Monett, Missouri and Fort Smith, Arkansas, today interchanging with BN successor BNSF Railway and Union Pacific. A&M's primary commodities include grain, corn, paper, sand, and plastics.   The railroad has long been known for its large roster of well-maintained Alco diesel locomotives. In 2013, it purchased three EMD SD70ACe diesels for its road trains.  The trio is leading a southbound freight past a farm machinery dealer at Avoca, Arkansas.

            Connecticut Southern Railroad is just one of 122 railroads owned by worldwide shortline holding company Genesee & Wyoming Inc.   CSOR serves freight customers on Amtrak's Springfield, Massachusetts-New Haven, Connecticut line, and also handles branch lines radiating out of Hartford.   A northbound freight train rolls off Amtrak's Connecticut River Bridge at Enfield, Connecticut, led by an EMD GP38 repainted in the G&W corporate colors.

July

            For many, double-headed steam is about as good as it gets.  Making it even better is double-headed narrow-gauge steam!  On July 27, tourist line Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad’s narrow-gauge Baldwin 2-8-2s 487 and 497 lead the Chama, New Mexico to Antonito, Colorado train at North Lobato, New Mexico in the Rocky Mountains.  The train is climbing toward Cumbres Pass, where it will pause to check air brakes and retainers before beginning the long descent toward Antonito. As a working railroad, this line was a segment of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad's narrow-gauge network, which stretched from Alamosa to Durango.  Although beginning and ending in Colorado, the line passed through New Mexico, crossing the borders of the two states eleven times. 

            Winter is beginning in the Rockies as Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad’s Antonito to Chama train steams through the valley at Los Pinos, Colorado, on a gloomy, overcast, raw October 4, 2009.  The train is in the midst of its climb to Cumbres Pass as it approaches the famous horseshoe curve at Los Pinos. The 2-8-2 narrow-gauge number 484 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1925.

August

            Auburn, Georgia is located on CSXT's busy main line from Atlanta to the northeastern United States.  An average of 14 trains pass through Auburn every day. The town is located about 42 miles northeast of Atlanta. On a cloudy June 2, 2013 a 74-car eastbound train out of Atlanta rolls through Auburn.  General Electric ES44DC model locomotives 5353 and 5409 lead the train. The big GE's, 4,400 horsepower each, were built in 2006 and 2007.

            CSX B40-8 5950, seen leading freight past the Amtrak depot in Birmingham, Alabama, on October 31, 2012, has an interesting history.  Built in 1988 as Conrail 5060, the unit later had a large "Working Together For Safety, Service, Success" decal applied to the nose to promote Conrail's Labor/Management Project.  All 30 of CR’s B40-8s eventually became part of CSX’s roster when Conrail was split between CSX and Norfolk Southern.   Most are now retired. This vantage point offers the rail photographer views of most CSX and Norfolk Southern freights passing through Birmingham, plus Amtrak's daily Crescent passenger train.

September

            Union Pacific “Challenger” 3985 was one of 105 4-6-6-4 steam locomotives purchased by Union Pacific between 1936 and 1943. Built by the American Locomotive Company in 1943, the 3985 last operated in UP revenue train service in 1957.  It was retired and stored in the roundhouse in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and later was displayed near the Cheyenne train depot. Union Pacific employees volunteered their services to restore the locomotive to running condition and it was ready to be placed back in excursion service in 1981.   After nearly two decades of service on Union Pacific special trains, 3985 was removed from service, and stored with other members of the railroad’s steam fleet at Cheyenne.   It may receive another overhaul after UP’s steam team completes the rebuilding of 4-8-8-4 “Big Boy” locomotive 4014. In August 1992, 3985 pulled a special Union Pacific train to the Republican Convention in Houston, Texas. It is seen at Gause, Texas, enroute to San Antonio after the convention.

October

            In another scene following the convention, the Challenger and its train are seen at Valley Junction, Texas on August 22, 1992. The 3985 is an articulated locomotive, meaning that it is hinged which allows it to go through switches and curves.  The engine was designed for freight service, but occasionally pulled passenger trains. Originally a coal burner, it was converted to burn No. 5 oil.  Top speed for 3985 is about 70 mph.

October

            The BNSF Railway, with 42,000 employees and operations in 28 states and three Canadian provinces, resulted from the merger of the Burlington Northern and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. Santa Fe, as the AT&SF was called, started in Kansas, but eventually covered much of the Midwest and Southwestern United States from Chicago to Los Angeles/San Francisco and to Houston/Galveston, Texas.   A 96-car eastbound freight, carrying commodities such as chemicals, plastics, as well as empty export grain hoppers, is on the former Santa Fe Galveston line at Manvel, Texas, on a bright sunny February 18, 2016.  The train is headed for Temple, where its cars will be switched and placed in trains bound for the Midwest and the West Coast.   

            BNSF sometimes uses the “GN” reporting marks of its predecessor railroad Great Northern on older locomotives.   Great Northern was one of the four railroads that merged to form Burlington Northern in 1970, but it appears that that this “Fallen Flag” railroad is still alive and well at Portland, Oregon, on September 19, 2015.   BNSF SW1000 3613 carries the railroad’s standard switcher colors of orange and green, which look very much like GN’s pre-merger paint scheme.   The 3613 actually was built for Burlington Northern two years after the merger, but it certainly looks like a genuine Great Northern locomotive more than four decades later.

November

            World-famous Norfolk & Western J Class 4-8-4 number 611 leads an excursion train under the highway viaduct in Smothers, Virginia, on April 9, 2016. The 611 was built by N&W’s Roanoke, Virginia shops in 1950 as a streamlined passenger steam engine.  This class of Norfolk & Western engines was among the most powerful 4-8-4s ever built and Js were capable of handling passenger trains at speeds of more than 100 mph. The 611 pulled Norfolk & Western's fleet of passenger trains - including the Powhatan Arrow, the Pocahontas and the Cavalier.   All of Norfolk & Western’s Class J locomotives except for the 611 were scrapped, as diesels replace steam in the late 1950s.  The engine was preserved partly due to its being in superb condition, but also because of the efforts railroad photographer O. Winston Link, who offered to purchase the locomotive rather than see it scrapped.

            Norfolk & Western 611 and another preserved N&W locomotive, GP9 diesel 620, pose for a night photograph on April 11, 2016.  The Electro-Motive Division unit is based at Southern Railway's former Spencer, North Carolina shops, now a part of the North Carolina Transportation Museum.  611 is based at Roanoke’s Virginia Transportation Museum, but makes frequent trips to Spencer. In its second reincarnation, now as an excursion locomotive, 611 operates mostly on lines of N&W successor Norfolk Southern.

 December

             An Amtrak Northeast Corridor train rolls through a curve at West Haven, Connecticut, en route from Boston to Washington on a sunny day in March 2015. Leading the train is electric locomotive No. 605, one of 70 ACS-64s built for Amtrak by Siemens Mobility in California. These "Sprinter" locomotives, based on European designs, replaced all of Amtrak's older electrics between 2014 and 2016.  

            Outside of the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak trains are powered by Diesel-electric locomotives. Two General Electric P42 Diesels are in charge of the eastbound Empire Builder, seen leaving Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on the last lap of its 2,257-mile run from Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington to Chicago. Amtrak provides passenger service to 500 stations over 21,300 miles of track in 46 states, three Canadian provinces, and the District of Columbia. More than 30 million passengers ride Amtrak trains each year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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