Railroading! 2019 Calendar
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 Indiana Rail Road and Reading and Northern. Classic steam is represented by the restored Valley Railroad 40, an American Locomotive Mikado-type 2-8-2, and more. Railroading! 2019 includes commentary describing featured railroads, rolling stock, and 24 full-color photographs. All aboard!
Engines and locations featured in the 2019 calendar include:
Florida’s Tri-Rail (above) is a commuter railroad success story. Now operating over 70 miles between Mangonia Park and Miami, Tri-Rail had humble beginnings in 1989 as a planned temporary service to be operated during a major highway reconstruction project. Instead, Tri-Rail remains a busy commuter railroad serving West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Hollywood. On a pleasant January 2013 morning, one of Tri-Rail’s first locomotives, Morrison-Knudsen F40PHL-2 No. 805, departs Sheridan Street station in Hollywood. Most of Tri-Rail’s trains now use newer diesels.
Tennessee Central Railway Museum EMD E8 No. 6902 (left) looks very much like a TC locomotive, but it began life as New York Central No. 4084 in 1953. Tennessee Central operated from Hopkinsville, Kentucky to Harriman, Tennessee until most of it was taken over by connecting Class 1 railroads in 1968. Today, freight operations over much of the old TC is handled by the Nashville & Eastern Railroad, and the museum runs frequent excursions over much of the route. Each October, TCRM’s annual “Super Fall Foliage Trip” makes a Nashville to Monterey round trip, a total ride of 216 miles. With “Tennessee Central” E8 6902 leading, the train has arrived at Monterey, and after the locomotives run around the train, the long train of stainless steel coaches will return west.
A vital link to the Pacific Northwest for BNSF Railway (above), Montana Rail Link is a railroad born from a spinoff of this former Northern Pacific main line in 1987 by Burlington Northern Railroad in a fit of system trimming to look more profitable. Even today, most of MRL’s tonnage is overhead traffic from BNSF, certainly living up to the “link” in its name. In a wintertime scene on MRL’s Fourth Subdivision, a westbound BNSF freight eases into a wide curve along the frozen Clark Fork at Trout Creek, Montana, on February 24, 2017.
Operating on a line that once penetrated into British Columbia, BNSF’s Chewelah Turn (left) approaches Clayton, Washington, on a sunny February 23, 2017. An unusual A-B-B-B-A set of BNSF EMDs powers the Spokane-bound train. GP38-2 No. 2010 and GP39-3 No. 2577 bracket former Santa Fe GP60B Nos. 346, 335 and 344. At Chewelah, BNSF interchanges with OmniTRAX’s Kettle Falls International Railway, a 133-mile shortline that now operates the route to Kettle Falls and beyond. KFR currently operates two lines out of Kettle Falls into Canada —one to Columbia Gardens and another to Grand Forks, B.C.
Kansas City Southern EMD SD70Ace No. 4125 (above) leads a train on the railroad’s line between Rosenberg and Victoria, Texas, in February 2015. Known as the "Macaroni Line," having been built by 1,200 Italian laborers in 1881, the original 85-mile route was operated by Southern Pacific for more than a century before it was abandoned. KCS acquired the right of way in 2000. After 18 months and $150 million of reconstruction, KCS began operating on the Macaroni Line in 2009, in order to bypass lengthy trackage rights over Union Pacific.
Kansas City Southern EMD GP40-3 No. 2851 -- rebuilt from a Baltimore & Ohio GP40 that was built in 1971, and now carrying KCS's attractive "Southern Belle" paint scheme -- delivers interchange cars to 168-mile shortline Meridian & Bigbee at Meridian, Mississippi, on April 4, 2016. Kansas City Southern is the smallest of America's seven Class I railroads, but it is unusual as much of its trackage is located in Mexico. KCS and subsidiaries Texas-Mexican and Kansas City Southern de Mexico serve 6,000 route miles between St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, and northeastern Mexico.
Norfolk Southern locomotive No. 9705 (above), a General Electric model C44-9W, leads an intermodal train through Norris, South Carolina, on April 17, 2016. The train is operating on Norfolk Southern’s former Southern Railway main line that links the northeastern United States with Atlanta and New Orleans. As many as 30 trains, including Amtrak’s Crescent, run on this busy line every day.
Norfolk Southern C44-9W No. 9912 (left) arrives at the Norfolk Southern Norris Yard in Irondale, Alabama, on April 28, 2016. Irondale, a suburb of Birmingham, also is located on the busy former Southern Railway main line. Norris Yard is one of just 10 hump yards on the NS system, and is an important freight classification point for the railroad. The City of Irondale has built viewing platforms on both sides of the tracks that allow train watchers to observe railroad activity safely. The Irondale Cafe, located on the north side of the tracks, offers good food while enjoying the frequent train movements.
CSX locomotive No. 980, a General Electric ES44AH, leads an empty coal train coming off the Waycross line in Birmingham, Alabama, on April 29, 2016. The train had delivered coal to an Alabama power plant. Just ahead, the train will head north for another load. These trains carry coal from the Appalachia region, or even as far away as the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. A new design in 2007, GE Evolution Series 4,400 h.p. locomotives like No. 980 have steerable trucks, software that controls wheel slip and tractive effort, and can deliver high-pressure air to clean the rails ahead of the wheels of the lead axle.
A CSX slug set -- a standard diesel-electric locomotive paired with a "slug" that relies on the leader for the electricity needed to power its traction motors -- heads a local freight at Union Point, Georgia (left) on April 26, 2016. Union Point is located on CSX’s Atlanta to Augusta, Georgia line. This route was the original main line of the George Railroad, which had been under the control of CSX predecessors but operated independently for many decades until it became part of CSX’s large eastern system in the 1980s. The train will deliver cars all the way to August and pick up other business when it returns to Atlanta. GP40-2 No. 6983 was built for Conrail in 1979, and joined CSX’s roster when CR was split between CSX and Norfolk Southern in 1999.
A major success story in American freight railroading, the Indiana Rail Road (INRD) serves central and southwestern Indiana and central Illinois (above). Beginning operations over 110 miles of underutilized track purchased from Illinois Central in 1986, the INRD has grown into a 500-mile regional system, taking advantage of trackage rights and haulage agreements to connect with Chicago and Louisville Class I gateways. Beginning in 2013, the Indiana Rail Road partnered with Canadian National to serve as an eastern link for Asia-Midwest container traffic received by CN at Vancouver and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. On a sunny June day, a pair of bright red and white INRD EMD SD9043MAC units leads Indianapolis-Hiawatha Yard (Jasonville, Indiana) train SAHW near Helmsburg, Indiana.
Another successful and growing regional railroad is Pennsylvania’s Reading & Northern (left), which has expanded from a 13-mile shortline in the 1980s to today’s sprawling 320-mile system. R&N is the nation’s largest carrier of anthracite coal, and also hauls carloads of propane, lumber, paper, and wine behind attractively painted green and yellow EMD diesels. The railroad also runs frequent passenger excursions over many of its lines. In June 2017, two GP30 locomotives (classed GP39RN by R&N) are seen leading a passenger extra near Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania.
Virginia Rail Express No. V60 (above) arrives at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on July 31, 2014, ready to lead an afternoon commuter train to the northern Virginia suburbs. The locomotive is a model MP36PH-3C built by MotivePower in Boise, Idaho. In 2003 the company delivered the first “3C” models to Caltrain, which serves the San Francisco Bay area. One hundred of the 3,600 h.p. locomotives were purchased by nine railroads, including VRE, before a new 4,000 h.p. design was introduced in 2006.
Sound Transit locomotive No. 910 (left), an EMD model F59PHI, is being serviced in anticipation of a move to King Street Station in Seattle, Washington, to help handle the afternoon commuter rush on September 18, 2015. The Electro-Motive Division of General Motors (EMD) delivered the first 3,000 h.p. model F59PH diesel units in 1988 to Toronto area’s GO Transit, and later, Los Angeles. EMD refreshed the design and introduced the streamlined F59PHI model in 1994.
Amtrak’s Cascades trains (above) are a service of the states of Washington and Oregon. They cover a 467-mile corridor from Vancouver, British Columbia, through Seattle, Washington, and on to Portland and Eugene Oregon. The two states own much of the equipment assigned to the trains, and it carries the attractive “evergreen and cappuccino” paint scheme. On a bright June 2017 morning, a southbound train from Vancouver rolls along Puget Sound at Edmonds, Washington. Amtrak No. 467, an EMD F59PHI, leads the 13-car Talgo articulated train that has just passed a pair of freight locomotives belonging to the line’s owner, BNSF Railway. This location also sees the passage of many BNSF freight trains, as well as Amtrak’s Chicago-Seattle Empire Builder.
On the other side of the continent (left), Amtrak’s high-speed Acela Express (left) serves the 457-mile electrified Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C. On another sunny summer day, Acela locomotive No. 2019 leads a westbound train near Branford, Connecticut. These trains travel at maximum speeds of 150 mph over portions of the route in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Union Pacific’s former Denver & Rio Grande Western line west of Denver (above) begins its ascent from the plains toward the front range of the Rocky Mountains as it climbs upgrade through Arvada and Leyden, Colorado. By the time it departs Leyden, downtown Denver can be seen far below, 12 miles away “as the crow flies.” In a view looking east on the evening of June 14, 2017, with warm, pastel colors of sunset settling over Denver, three new Union Pacific EMD SD70ACe-T4s lead a westbound manifest freight train out of Leyden.
The Tehachapi Mountains in California (left) have always been a formidable barrier for Southern Pacific, and now today’s Union Pacific. The long and circuitous southbound grade tests the prowess of the railroad’s motive power, so newly-delivered locomotives often migrate to the California mountain crossing. Three new UP General Electric ET44AC locomotives pull a southbound intermodal train through the horseshoe curve at Allard between the switches of Bealville siding on the line over Tehachapi Pass on the morning of February 24, 2016.
Autumn color abounds along the Kootenay River (above) as an eastbound Canadian Pacific coal empty leaves Fort Steele, British Columbia, on October 11, 2017. Much of CP’s coal traffic originates from mines located on the Fording Subdivision out of Sparwood, B.C. where it joins CP’s southern mainline over Crowsnest Pass. This coal makes a trip up the Windermere line to Golden and heads west on CP’s main line for export at the West Coast port of Vancouver.
The Thompson River Canyon (left) and Fraser River Canyon provide Canadian Pacific and parallel Canadian National a “water level” route to the metropolis of Vancouver, British Columbia. The grades may not be tortuous, but these two rugged canyons provide plenty of impediments for the railroads as seen in this view of an eastbound Canadian Pacific coal train rumbling along the banks of the Thompson River west of Drynoch, B.C., on the morning of July 16, 2014. To facilitate better operations in these canyons, CP and CN use directional running between Mission and Basque, with eastbound trains of both railroads using CP tracks, and CN hosting all westbound trains.
In the western part of Connecticut, the Railroad Museum of New England operates the 19-mile Naugatuck Railroad over a former New Haven branch between Waterbury and Torrington (above). Former New Haven locomotives and cars make up much of the RMNE rolling stock. One of the museum’s most impressive possessions is dual-mode, diesel and electric FL9 locomotive No. 2019, built by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors in 1960. It leads Naugatuck passenger trains throughout the year.
Connecticut’s Valley Railroad has operated its steam trains (left) from the Connecticut River Valley town of Essex since 1971. Coupled with a riverboat ride, the operation has long been a major tourist attraction. One of three steam locomotives on the company’s roster, 2-8-2 number 40 was built by the American Locomotive Company for the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad in North Carolina in 1920. The trim Alco is seen in an October downpour departing Essex.
Canadian National is Canada’s largest railroad, but it also operates an extensive network of tracks in the United States. In home territory (above), CN General Electric C44-9W No. 2687 and an older BC Rail GE move an eastbound freight at Ile-Perrot, Quebec on a frigid January day. CN acquired BC Rail from the Province of British Columbia in 2004, and the smaller railroad’s locomotives can be seen throughout CN’s 20,000-mile system.
One of Canadian National’s oldest American component railroads is the Grand Trunk Western, with lines in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. On a pleasant October afternoon, CN EMD SD70ACe No. 8102 (left) hustles a GTW freight westward at Potterville, Michigan. The big 4,300-h.p. unit is one of four EMD demonstrator locomotives acquired by CN as the large railroad deals with growing business volume.