Cross the continent and share the drama of “high iron” on Class I freight lines like BNSF and Norfolk Southern, but high-stepping regionals like Delaware-Lackawanna and Arcade & Attica are featured, too. Rails still move people, as Florida’s Brightline and Denver’s RTD demonstrate, while classic steam is here with Union Pacific’s refurbished Big Boy. Railroading! 2021 includes commentary describing featured railroads, rolling stock, and 24 full-color photographs. All aboard!
Railroading! 2021 monthly wall calendar features: Large blocks for notes | 24 Photographs | Beautiful reproduction | Quality heavy-weight paper | Deluxe 11- by 14-inch size
Railroads and locations featured in the 2021 calendar include:
• Silverwood (above) was not a location on railroad timetables until the mid-1980s, when the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific hoped to merge and built connections between the Santa Fe’s trackage and the SP’s Palmdale Cutoff. The merger never took place and SP was absorbed by the Union Pacific, but the crossovers built at Silverwood (and Keenbrook) now allow UP flexible access to its West Colton Yard. On a snowy December 27, 2019, BNSF intermodal train S-LHALPC1-26, heading from Los Angeles Harbor to Chicago IL, is only about one mile from the summit of Cajon Pass. This train is on Track 1, with parallel Track 2. On the left is Track 3, the original 1883 mainline, with a 3% grade; notice how this line drops downgrade more quickly than the other two. On the right is the Union Pacific’s Mojave Sub (the former SP Palmdale Cutoff) which now features a crossover from the BNSF’s Cajon Sub, and the reason Silverwood became a “place” on timetables here.
• Metrolink’s highest-numbered F59PHI, 887 (left), is handling train 686 (Los Angeles to Irvine) arriving 20 minutes late at Fullerton, CA on November 22, 2019. Ten hours earlier Metrolink train 681 struck a stalled recreational vehicle in Santa Fe Springs causing a fire that closed both mainlines for hours and one mainline all day. This evening’s 20-minute delay is a great improvement over the two-hour delays (and some cancellations) earlier in the day!
• Denver Union Station glows in the arch of the futuristic-looking new trainshed (above) at the Amtrak and Regional Transportation District (RTD). Built in 1881, the station underwent a multi-year renovation transforming it into a modern transportation hub in 2014. The building now hosts a 110-room hotel, retail shops and restaurants, as well as Amtrak operations. On Track 5, Amtrak’s Winter Park Express ski train has just arrived as passengers scramble to gather up their skis and belongings. Sitting next to No. 1006 is Amtrak No. 6, the eastbound California Zephyr, making its station stop. Just visible on the left is an RTD A-line commuter train that operates to Denver International Airport, arriving and departing every 15 minutes on Tracks No. 1 and 2.
• With the opening of the RTD’s line from Denver Union Station to Wheat Ridge, Colorado, on April 26, 2019, train traffic around DUS (left) can get downright busy. In this view looking up the throat of the station’s trackage—from left to right— is an outbound RTD A Line train headed to Denver International Airport, an inbound A Line train, a westbound G Line train bound for Wheat Ridge and an inbound G Line train. In the background on the far right on Track 8 is a B Line train waiting to depart for Westminster, and almost lost in the catenary supports and wires is a late-running westbound Amtrak California Zephyr.
• Kansas City Southern’s beautiful Southern Belle Office Car Special (above) pauses briefly at Kansas City Union Station on the afternoon of October 26, 2013, after hosting a private charter. Customized passenger cars like these used on the special are essentially luxurious offices and living quarters on wheels that the railroad can use to conduct business and entertain guests. Streamlined power for the train is provided by a pair of EMD FP9 A units spliced by an F9 B unit, all former Canadian National units. Kansas City Southern Railway Company is a Class I railroad founded in 1887 and operates about 3,400 route-miles in south central U.S., along with another 2,645 miles of railroad in Mexico under subsidiary Kansas City Southern de Mexico.
• Two Kansas City Southern trains (left) meet on Union Pacific’s Brownsville Subdivision on March 14, 2013. A wave from the engineer on General Electric ES44AC No. 4801 on the northbound holding the main, greets the crew on EMD SD70MAC No. 3921 leading a southbound train into the siding at Greta, Texas. KCS uses some Union Pacific trackage rights in this part of Texas to connect with its Kansas City Southern de Mexico subsidiary at Laredo.
• Since 2018, Brightline has operated passenger trains between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, FL, over the rails of freight carrier Florida East Coast (above). Trains equipped with Seimens-built Charger locomotives and coaches offer two classes of on-board services. Trainsets are identified by the colors on their coach sides. Here, the Bright Pink train is southbound at Fort Lauderdale. Brightline, which is now associated with Virgin Trains USA, plans to extend its operations north of West Palm Beach on FEC trackage and then inland on a new railroad line it is building to Orlando. The expanded service is expected to begin in 2022.
• Florida East Coast Railway serves its namesake region on a 350-mile route between Jacksonville and Miami (left). It is known for its frequent freight trains carrying consumer goods and a variety of other commodities through Florida’s oceanside towns. FED fuels many of its locomotives with liquid natural gas. The tank car pictured here between two General Electric ES44C4 units at Fort Lauderdale, FL supplies LNG.
• Arcade & Attica, an independent short line, serves customers on its 15-mile line in western New York (above). Built as a narrow-gauge route in the 1880s, the railroad was upgraded to standard-gauge in 1895. It once ran for 32 miles between its namesake towns. The northernmost 17 miles between North Java and Attica were abandoned after a flood, but the company continues to operate freight trains as well as passenger excursions on the remaining track. Freight operations rely on General Electric centercab locomotives. Engine 112 is a 65-ton switcher built in 1945 and 113 is an 80-ton switcher built in 1959. The units are not equipped for multiple-unit operation, so on this June morning, two GEs are double-headed, with an engineer manning each locomotive, as they work through Curriers, NY.
• Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad regularly operates this Alco-GE RS3, restored and repainted for original owner Central Railroad of New Jersey (left). D-L, a component of regional rail company Genesee Valley Transportation, powers all of its freight trains with Alco locomotives, a rarity on today’s railroads. CNJ 1554, is a 1,600 h.p. B-B diesel-electric road switcher built in 1953, and seen here on a bright fall day leading a train at Scranton, PA.
• With newly rebuilt engine 7208, a GE CM44AC, above) in the lead, this CSX freight is bound for the Belt Railway of Chicago, IL. Train 0648 is running on the Fitzgerald Sub of the CSX Jacksonville Division in Cordele, GA in December 2019. CSX was created in 1980 through the merger of Chessie System and Seaboard Coast Line. Today CSX Transportation rails stretch 21,000 route miles throughout the east coast of the U.S. and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
• Georgia Central Railroad 1713, an EMD GP9, works a westbound freight from Cordele toward Americus, GA on Heart of Georgia rails in January 2019. GC interchanges with Heart of Georgia Railroad to move intermodal freight from the Cordele Inland Port. HOG operates the line between Cordele and Vidalia, while GC operates between Vidalia and the Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah. These shortline railroads each operate on some 200 miles of track and carrying commodities ranging from feed and chemicals to pulpwood and scrap metal. Both railroads are subsidiaries of Genesee & Wyoming.
• Canadian National operates through some spectacular mountain scenery (above) in western Alberta and British Columbia. In this view along the tranquil waters of Brule Lake just east of Jasper National Park, CN train No. 310 arcs through “Robertson’s Curve” at Swan Landing, Alberta, on the splendid afternoon in July 2014. The double-stack intermodal train is powered by a quartet of locomotives—CN EMD SD75I No. 5756 leads GE C44-9Ws Nos. 2577 and 2599 followed by EMD SD70M-2 No. 8883—rolling eastbound at this scenic location on CN’s Edson Subdivision.
• Canadian National train No. 417 (left) aims into the afternoon sun approaching Geikie at milepost 8, west of the crew change town of Jasper, Alberta, on July 8, 2014. Geikie (pronounced like “geeky”) is named after the 3,298-meter tall (10,820-foot) Mount Geikie located in Mount Robson Provincial Park in British Columbia. This scenic portion of CN’s system is the 132-mile Albreda Subdivision operating from Jasper to Blue River, B.C. over Yellowhead Pass. Leading the freight is CN No. 2829, one of 35 General Electric ES44AC locomotives built for the railroad between September 2012 and March 2013.
• Norfolk Southern 1208 (EMD SD70ACe) is at the head of train 776-16 (above) crossing the original Reading Railroad bridge spanning the Susquehanna River between Harrisburg and Lemoyne, PA on August 17, 2019. This 100-car consist is carrying coal bound for Duke Energy’s Roxboro Steam Electric Plant in Hyco Lake, NC. Each car is moving 100 tons of coal. The plant burns the equivalent of 150 to 250 cars of coal every day. The train will traverse the Lurgan Branch (Harrisburg, PA to Hagerstown, MD), the H Line (Hagerstown, MD to Roanoke, VA), and the ex-Lynchburg & Durham Railroad line (Lynchburg, VA to Roxboro, NC) to reach Roxboro, the largest plant in the Duke Energy system.
• Engine 8520 is a Norfolk Southern experiment in alternating current. The former GE Dash-9-44CW built 1996 was rebuilt in 2018 at the railroad’s Roanoke Shop and redesignated AC44C6CF. The engine was refitted with CAF Power & Automation traction motors that power all six axles on the original Dash-9 truck frames. Awaiting more tests in August 2019, the engine is on a Western New York & Pennsylvania line located near the CAF facility in Hornell, NY.
• The Albany and Eastern Railroad Company (above) is a short-line serving the mid-Willamette Valley in Oregon. It operates about 49 miles of track and interchanges freight traffic with both BNSF and Union Pacific. On September 26, 2016, an AERC train heads for Weyerhaeuser’s Santiam Lumber mill south of Lebanon on the AERC’s Sweet Home branch. The train is powered by two GE B40-8s—No. 1841 is a former Cotton Belt unit, and trailing is a recently painted No. 1807, an ex-Southern Pacific locomotive. This particular branch is a former Oregon Electric line, later operated by Burlington Northern and sold to AERC by BNSF.
• Southern Pacific SD9 No. 5399 (left) sits in the morning sun at Lebanon, OR, on September 26, 2016. The 1955 EMD product was originally numbered No. 5399, but was later rebuilt by SP into SD9E No. 4364. It was bought by locomotive dealer George Lavacot in 1992. He eventually restored and repainted it into SP’s “black widow” paint scheme, with additional silver trucks, and returned its original road number to the classy locomotive. The snazzy SD9 is currently leased to the Albany & Eastern Railroad, and is used on occasional passenger trains operated by the railroad, as well as in regular freight service.
• Green Mountain Railroad (GMRC) #405 is moving a fall Foliage Flyer at passenger-train speed on October 11, 2019 on the line’s Bellows Falls Subdivision in Rockingham, VT. Designed in 1940 by American Locomotive Co., the RS-1 pioneered the road switcher diesel locomotive. 405 is an ex-Rutland Railroad engine built by ALCO in 1951. GMRC was established in 1964 on 52 miles of track obtained from the State of Vermont. Vermont Railway acquired GMRC in 1967 to form the Vermont Rail System.
• New England Central Railroad 3474 leads a trio of SD40s with train 611-18, the Brattleboro to Palmer turn, across the Miller’s River at Miller’s Falls, MA on October 18, 2019. NECR operates 366 miles of track between New London, CT and the Canadian border at Alburgh, VT on tracks formerly owned by Central Vermont Railroad. NECR is now owned by Genessee & Wyoming.
• During 2019 the Union Pacific railroad celebrated the 150th anniversary of America’s first transcontinental railroad completed on May 10, 1869. UP sent its steam fleet, No. 4014 and No. ? on a tour through the UP system in the upper Midwest, the South and the Southwest. On November 12, 2019, Big boy 4014 passes the town of Jefferson, TX (above) heading north toward the stop in Atlanta, GA with engineer Ed Dickens at the controls. Dickens has led UP Heritage Operations since 2010. His steam experience began at Colorado’s Georgetown Loop Railroad and continued at the Durango Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad. He joined Southern Pacific in 1993 and became a locomotive engineer in 1994.
• Putting on a show in the brisk morning air, 4014 (left) prepares to make the turn at Marshall, TX in November 2019. UP ordered 25 4-8-8-4 locomotives from the American Locomotive Co. to run freight through the Wasatch Mountains between Ogden UT and Cheyenne, WY. At 132-feet long and weighing in at 1.2 million pounds, they were the largest locomotives in the world and won the nickname Big Boy. 4014 was delivered in 1941 and retired in 1961 after running 1,031,205 miles. UP reacquired 4014 and moved it to Cheyenne for restoration in 2013. After five years and millions of dollars, 4014 steamed to Ogden, UT in May 2019 to mark the driving of the Golden Spike. Eight of the original 25 Big Boys can still be seen around the U.S., though only 4014 is still steaming.
• BNSF 940027, a former Great Northern snow dozer, blasts west at 40 m.p.h. through heavy snow on the Lakes Subdivision near Ball Club, MN on December 31, 2019. The power behind the plow areFerromex locomotives 4608, 4,400 h.p. GE GE ES44AC, and 4026, 4,300 h.p. EMD SD70ACe. The Lakes Sub reaches 157 miles from the Grand Forks Sub at Cass Lake, MN to Superior, WI, near Duluth, MN and Lake Superior.
• Great Northern 400, "Hustle Muscle," plows the North Shore Scenic Railroad line prior to the arrival of DEEX coal cars for temporary winter storage. 400 is owned by the Great Northern Railway Historical Society and is on loan to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. Named by the Great Northern after its delivery in 1966, 400 is the first production EMD SD45, a 3,600 h.p. turbo-charged, 20-cylinder diesel electric. Retired in 1986, 400 was donated to GNRHS.
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