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Last week I enjoyed some rail-fanning in Northern Minnesota & Wisconsin with some 3-Rail buddies.   Our standout destination was the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, home of the North Shore Scenic RR, Duluth, MN. We enjoyed a ride on the Duluth Zephyr.

Two of us enjoyed the ambiance and deluxe service in the newly acquired and refurbished full-dome car. Two others enjoyed a cab ride in #193, the lead locomotive.   

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Scenic view of Lake Superior from the cab window:

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Their added bonus was the repositioning move at the end of the run to ready the train for the one o’clock departure!

While exploring the museum, we got to say hello to Ken Buehler, museum executive directer:

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Check out the museum's Youtube channel to view vignettes he produced during the covid lockdown. They are very informative and well done!

https://www.bing.com/videos/se...museum&FORM=VDRE

We also visited the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad which is located in Trego, Wisconsin. We enjoyed the dinner train and a browse through the yard.   

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Mark Twain Zephyr update: Most of the cars have finished interiors and are ready to receive trucks, which are still in restoration.  Injun Joe, the power car, has a ways to go to be ready.   It is now sitting on the front power truck but the inside need a ton of work.

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PS: The Mark Twain also served the postal system.  Note the letter drop box on the side panel of Injun Joe!:DD838103-96C4-4EF6-BB99-082533C45B5D   

Great trip, great weather and great food to share with great friends.   What a combination!!

Cheers, Dave

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Last edited by darlander

Awhile since I have posted as it has been a busy summer with kids and activities happening again.

These photos are from the London and Port Stanley Terminal railroad that runs short excursion trips on the old L&PS track (read it was jokingly referred to as Late and Poor Service).  The tourist railroad uses old switchers to run a few passenger cars made using converted cabooses (the plural should be cabeese right? ).  Enjoyed the trip with kiddos who had a good time.  Snapped a few shots of a GE 44 tonne switcher, snow plow and old tank car in the railroads yard.

It was a fun day out that included a trip to the Elgin County Railroad Museum in St. Thomas…the town with a rich railroading history including being the place where Jumbo  the elephant was killed in a train accident. Will upload photos of that trip in a later post.

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  • 402409EC-4998-413D-8E70-3D05D5CE779B: The little engine that could….
  • 5AC5E2F0-7A70-44E8-9175-B49819B0892D: The coaches
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A work trip (we get to travel again!!) had me in Laramie Wyoming for a conference in July… was able to spend a little bit of time by the depot in town which had this snow plow and UP 535 2-8-0 Consolidated (hope this is correct).  The locomotive was in a bit of rough shape.  Enjoyed several trains on the UP mainline but photo quality was not great.

Was able to have dinner in the depot as one of the conference events which was a nice add for the railfanning aspect of the trip!

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The L&PS has a handsome livery and what a great repurposing of old cabin cars.  63 looks extended but the other just seems to have more windows than a bay window caboose.  I'm sure they both took a lot of work to convert to passenger service.

This is a prime example of RR ingenuity.  Converting a no longer needed tender into a snowplow. I wonder if the tank was filled with some sort of ballast?

In this week's video, I chase the Wheeling & Lake Erie's daily Brewster, OH, to Rook Yard road freight, train 218, from Avella to the summit at Hickory. This main used to be part of the Pittsburgh & West Virginia main line, later Norfolk & Western. As is not unusual on this part of the Wheeling system, all of the active units on the train were still in their lease fleet schemes. Trailing the road power were a pair of dead-in-tow GP11s lettered for Carload Express's Southwestern Pennsylvania Railroad operation, returning to the Allegheny Valley Railroad for possible operation after being shopped at Brewster for the better part of a year.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2022 Phillipsburg NJ Railroad Festival

1st ever, held at P'burg RR Historians site adjacent to former CNJ mainline/now NS and with former DL&W/E-L branch to Washington, NJ.

Phillipsburg, NJ was a junction/interchange point for CNJ, PRR, LV, DL&W-EL and L&HR...now just NS remains operating on former CNJ mainline along with shortline Chesapeake & Delaware RR operating on former DL&W/EL Washington Branch.

Centerville & Southwestern RR was formerly at Roseland, NJ / Becker's Dairy Farm until 1972. Now restored and relocated at Phillipsburg, NJ.

Had a great time. Lots of restored equipment including a Mack Railcar, L&HR caboose, CNJ caboose and other RR items. Restored former CNJ "PU" Interlocking Tower and Union Passenger Station were open for tours.

Enjoy the photos.

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My final railfan stop on my visit to the Chicago area this summer fulfilled a longtime “bucket-list” goal to shoot trains at Roundout Junction, a famed photo location for the past 80 years or more, seen in many classic books covering the Milwaukee Road and North Shore. While not exactly what I expected it certainly did not disappoint.

While Metra’s commuter scoots are often an after-thought to local fans I was happy to catch this northbound crossing Rockland Road behind an 18 year old MP36PH after parking, not a great shot but note the rail trail embankment to the right. Once I hoofed it up to the trail, I was delighted with the unobstructed view.

For those not familiar with the junction’s layout it has two distinct features, the first is the diamond crossing and interchange between the former Milw mainline from Chicago to Milwaukee and the Waukegan line of the former “J” now CN. The rail trail bridge on the former North Shore’s Mundelein line ROW with its grade separated crossing of the CP mainline north of the diamond provides an excellent photo vantage point in both directions as it straddles the CP main.  I met a number of railfans enjoying their July 4th holiday there with ice chests and folding chairs under an unusually cool overcast. The infrequency of CN trains (twice a week according to the local fans) on the ex-EJ&E route means their turns tip toe across these diamonds on 15 mph flange bearing frogs. One wonders how long this CN crossing lasts as the Goggle earth view shows just two active customers remaining between here and Waukegan. The tower here was closed in 2015.

Looking north from the rail trail we see Rondout's second and busier feature which is the busy junction with Metra’s Milwaukee North division diverging northwest from the CP main, running single track to Fox Lake near the Wisconsin Border.

Soon another Fox Lake commuter run hit the diamond behind an F59PH built in 1988 by GMDD. #98 is enjoying a third career with Metra after decades of commuter service in Toronto and Montreal. The yellow 79 mph limit posted at the south end of the tower platform is for passenger trains, 40 mph for freights.

According to the local fans the additional track under construction will facilitate additional turns between Lake Forest and downtown to layover between runs.  Before Amtrak the Milwaukee Road’s Varsity also used this route to Madison Wisconsin.

Shortly after the Scoot, a north-bound “Hiawatha Service” rolled through, per my previous post likely the same trainset lensed two days ago down in Lake Forest.

Next the sb Empire Builder, the camera lens both compressing and exaggerating the curvature in the distance, oddly when looking at the satellite view the curve seems minor and barely significant.

The rail-fans were all equipped with scanners so we had plenty of set-up time for both north and southbound trains, note the speed limit on the left for freights and Metra trains on the diverging line to Fox River.

Still a great looking train. Amtrak’s site indicated an indefinitely delayed north bound “Empire Builder” stuck downtown at Union Station so we all just settled for this southbound and then departed as it had started to rain.

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  • MP36PH at Rondout
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Last edited by atlpete

Went to Durand Station, Durand Michigan. Today is farmer market day at this historic station. The station is an important part of railway history in the state. Built in1903 by the  Grand Trunk Western and Ann Arbor railroads. In 1904 the station burned to the ground and was rebuilt a year later.

The station is owned by the City of Durand. The city is having some financial issues and there is talk about tearing it down. Hope this does not happen.

The last photo is a Sepia Tone of the station at sunset.

1 on the way

2 Farmer's Market

3 Station - North Side

4 PTC

5 Diamond

6 Call Box

7 Sunset

8 Sepia Sunset

Rail-fanning photography should never be “Plumb Bob & Square”

August 31, 2022 • Part 1 of 2 • Hope to see you out rail-fanning: Gary 🚂

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  • 1 on the way
  • 2 Farmer's Market
  • 3 Station - North Side
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  • 6 Call Box
  • 7 Sunset
  • 8  Sepia Sunset

For today's video, here's a look at the controversial Big Boy departing Houston, TX, last summer.  I'm not thrilled with how the video came out (left my tripod on Amtrak), but given how infrequent mainline steam appearances have become since the 21st Century Steam Program ended when I was three years too young to get more than one video, I'll take some half-decent shots over hoping that a 4014 run coincides with a break in work.

I was surprised at how many folks, some full railfans, but most just casual train fans, came down to the tracks where I was in the middle of a light industrial part of Houston to see the train go by. One person pulled their kids from daycare and was willing to be late for work so they could see the train pass by.

@coach joe posted:

The L&PS has a handsome livery and what a great repurposing of old cabin cars.  63 looks extended but the other just seems to have more windows than a bay window caboose.  I'm sure they both took a lot of work to convert to passenger service.

This is a prime example of RR ingenuity.  Converting a no longer needed tender into a snowplow. I wonder if the tank was filled with some sort of ballast?

Often it was sand, The Milwaukee Road did a few with old tenders

Got to combine my two favorite past times yesterday- trains and golf. I was playing a club that borders the LIRR Oyster Bay Branch. We were on the 6th hole when I caught the 2:05 out of Oyster Bay passing by. The Oyster Bay branch is not electrified so the RR runs their EMD DE30AC diesels with Kawasaki double-decker cars. Head end units are equipped with cab-control for reverse direction runs.

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2022-09-17 14.20.02
@RSJB18 posted:

Got to combine my two favorite past times yesterday- trains and golf. I was playing a club that borders the LIRR Oyster Bay Branch. We were on the 6th hole when I caught the 2:05 out of Oyster Bay passing by. The Oyster Bay branch is not electrified so the RR runs their EMD DE30AC diesels with Kawasaki double-decker cars. Head end units are equipped with cab-control for reverse direction runs.

Hey Bob, that’s a beautiful trains/golf video clip. Well done. 👍

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9-17-2022

After visiting the Reading RR Historical Society Museum at Hamburg, PA...drove North to anthracite coal country. By the way Muesem had alot of nice indoor displays and quite a few Reading RR diesels, cabooses and freight cars outside...well worth a visit.

Then saw the READING & NORTHERN's NRFF (NORTH READING FAST FREIGHT) on Saturday 9-17-2022 and...too fast to accurately count but could have been about 50 or so. This train operates between North Reading to Pittston, PA and return during daylight hours at least 6 days a week and it is a timetable scheduled train.

Blasted through Tamaqua, PA. Those 4 EMDs seemed to be in run 8 and it showed.

Was getting ready to order an early supper but it seems the desert was served before the main entree arrived!

By the way, the Tamaqua Station Restaurant at the actual station offered a great meal and the restored station waiting rooms are worth the visit.

Walter

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  • 9-17-2022

Here we are at the Tennessee Valley RR Museum in Chattanooga Tn. Any Civil War buffs out there. More than your ordinary Historical park!  Anyway, this guy was operating. Thought it should have a stoker, but captured a few shovels of coal going into the firebox. These Southern cars caught my eye. 807134A3-6E55-4D84-B094-1EBAAF485D7A52B3115F-B881-4143-A4EE-0DF73EECBFA8

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@wb47, just saying, great picture of the pivoting bridge located on Riverside Drive in Clarksville Tennessee. This is where I live and just for our fellow forum readers, the RJ Corman Railroad keeps this beautiful bridge in great shape, and it’s fun to watch trains going through the bridge. It has been painted recently and looks cool at night with beautiful lighting. Thank you for posting. Question, are you living in Clarksville at this time, or just passing through. Happy Railroading Everyone

In this week's video: Four Amtrak heritage units, a pair of private cars and a locomotive engineer who fully bought into the Christmas spirit. I shot this in 2021, during the month or so before classes ramped up and Amtrak sent all but one of the then-active heritage P42DCs (203 was not yet repainted) through Williamsburg. In December, I went out for another shot of Amtrak 145, not realizing that it was on the point of the annual Tiny Tim's Toy and Train Store excursion from Ashland to Williamsburg.

(0:00) Intro

(0:10) Amtrak Regional 65, P42DC 145, Williamsburg

(1:47) Amtrak 145, Capitol Landing

(2:32) Amtrak Regional 66, P42DC 161

(4:58) Amtrak Regional 125, P42DC 160

(7:44) Amtrak Regional 65, P42DC 204

(8:18) Amtrak Regional 194, P42DC 108

(9:02) Photos

A few more pictures from my vacation.

Water tank at South Fork Colorado

DRGW Water Tank South Fork CO 9-17-22

Del Norte Colorado, now used as municipal building.

Del Norte CO DRGW 9-17-22

Caught Colorado Pacific 1964 in better light.

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Saw some Kansas Oklahoma RR GP40-2LW units at Towner Colorado and Scotts City Kansas.

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Last shot was a BNSF SD70MAC near Courtland Kansas.

BNSF 8800 SD70MAC Hwy 36 near Courtland KS 9-25-22 [4)

Had a great trip

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  • DRGW Water Tank South Fork CO 9-17-22
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After chasing the pair of SWP Geeps to the Wheeling & Lake Erie's Rook Yard and getting some lunch (see the video from 9/10), my copilot and I decided to follow daily train 643 while we waited for a 610 yard job to take the SWP Geeps to the AVR interchange. The 643 runs on the old P&WV/N&W west as far as Southview, PA, where the train backs onto the old Montour Railroad right-of-way for the journey to the MarkWest natural gas facility. Likely because of the several-miles long run on 40-mph track on the return to Rook, the Wheeling elects to place a locomotive on the other end of the train to serve as a shoving platform instead of one of their cabooses and signal the several crossings on the old Montour. Our good luck on this day continued, as the friendly crew moved SD40-2 6984 from the middle of the morning's 218 power to serve as the shoving platform, where the fantastic P5 horn was put to great use.

Went to Durand Station, Durand Michigan. We are now hanging out waiting for the Amtrak to come in from Chicago. The “Blue Water Line” Train 364 - 9:45 PM. After leaving Durand the last stop is Port Huron, Michigan. Three fright trains passed before the Amtrak arrived. Notice the quarter moon in two of the images.

1 Frieght South

2 Fright South

3 Frieght CN

4 Station West

5 End of train

6 Conductor & Passenger

7 Conductor Station Master

8 Charger9 Leaving

Below is the Amtrak Map & Google Earth image of the station.

DURAND STATION MAP

11 Durand Google Earth

August 31, 2022 • Part 2 of 2 • Hope to see you out rail-fanning: Gary 🚂

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Images (11)
  • 1 Frieght South
  • 2 Fright South
  • 3 Frieght CN
  • 4 Station West
  • 5 End of train
  • 6 Conductor & Passenger
  • 7 Conductor Station Master
  • 8 Charger
  • 9 Leaving
  • DURAND STATION MAP
  • 11 Durand Google Earth

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