Browsing Tag: Railroad

    How To:  Reversing Loops On A Digital Model Railroad
    Articles, Blog

    How To: Reversing Loops On A Digital Model Railroad

    August 19, 2019


    Normally, my model train videos
    are entertaining, not informative.
    But this one’s going to be a little bit different. I want to talk about an interesting concept
    in the world of model railroading…
    something called a reversing loop. I think the easiest way for me to
    illustrate the concept is to just make
    a little drawing of a simple model train layout. Imagine you have a train layout
    in the shape of a basic oval. The train goes round and round
    and because it’s basically a big circle
    the train is always traveling in the same direction. Now wouldn’t it be interesting if there was an
    easy way to get the train to turn itself around
    so that it could travel in the opposite direction? One way to do that is to add a reversing loop. Now let’s say we add a little switch
    that branches off to the right. Then we’ll run some track up in this direction
    and add a big curve to turn the train around. And finally, we’ll connect that big curve
    back to the main line by adding a switch right here. Now that sounds great in theory…
    but in reality there’s a big problem. Most model railroads run on a two-track system. If we take a close look at it,
    you can see there’s a left rail, a right rail,
    and then these railroad ties
    that hold them all together. Now the trains are powered by electricity
    flowing through these two metal rails… And the railroad ties are made of plastic so that
    the two rails are isolated from each other electrically. But if we took a piece of metal
    and placed it across those two rails… That would create a short circuit
    between the two rails…
    and that’s bad. Basically for most of the same reasons
    that you wouldn’t want to create a short circuit
    across the two connectors of
    an electrical outlet in your home. OWWW!!!!! So, short circuits across the two rails are bad…
    and when you make a reversing loop
    you do create a short circuit across the rails.
    Let me show you why… I’m going to draw a reversing loop
    using two different colored Sharpies
    to make it easy for you to see the electrical problem
    that a reversing loop creates. See, when we make that loop,
    the red rail that started on the right side at the beginning
    has now ended up on the left side
    by the end of the loop. So, where it connects back to the main line
    it would end up shorting out the two rails… Just like if I stuck the paperclip
    in the electrical outlet again.
    That’s bad! So, to avoid that, we have to electrically isolate
    the reversing loop from the main line. Basically, we block the electrical connection
    here and here to isolate the loop electrically
    from the main line. But when we do that,
    there’s no electrical power within the loop. So, we need to add a special little gizmo…
    Something called a Digital Reversing Loop Module. That’s the little thing off to the side of the track
    with the red and yellow wires. The red wires take the electrical power from the
    main line and feed it into the module. The module itself does some kind of magic
    to the electrical signal…
    I really don’t know what… And then the yellow wires
    take that modified electrical signal and feed it
    in to the isolated section of track
    that forms the reversing loop. Let me show you how it works in action! I’ve got an oval layout set up
    in the living room and dining room. Basically, I could run the train all day
    in one direction around that oval…
    but that’s only fun for about 15 minutes and then we need to mix it up a bit
    by reversing the direction that the locomotive travels. To do that, we throw this switch
    which sends the train down
    this section of track in the hallway… Then it enters this room with a reversing loop in it. As the train goes around the loop,
    it basically turns itself around
    and now faces the opposite direction… …as it exits the loop
    and goes back down the mainline
    in the reverse direction that it entered it. And once it works its way down the hallway
    and connects back to the big oval
    in my dining room and living room… It’s now traveling that oval
    in the reverse direction that it was before. And that’s how a reversing loop works
    on a model railroad! The key to making it work,
    if you’re running your trains with a digital control system (DCC) is to get one of these reversing loop modules from MRC,
    the Model Rectifier Corporation. The MRC part number is AD 520
    and they sell for roughly $30. Ideally, you really want to get two of them
    and build two reversing loops
    in to your system… So that once you’ve reversed
    the direction of travel of your train
    using reversing loop number one… You can reverse it again later,
    in the opposite direction,
    using a second reversing loop. I predict that if you keep an eye on
    my YouTube channel
    in the weeks and months ahead… You’ll see some interesting new layouts
    involving reversing loops… And not just one like today,
    but probably two, or maybe even more. Do subscribe to my YouTube channel
    so you don’t miss any of the
    interesting new videos that I’ll be posting!

    End of Track
    Articles, Blog

    End of Track

    August 19, 2019


    (explosions) NARRATOR:April 12, 1861,
    the Civil War had begun…
    a conflict that arose in part
    from Abraham Lincoln’s dream
    of abolishing slavery.Now that the South
    had seceded,
    Lincoln seized the opportunity
    to pursue another dream…
    that of a railroad which
    would span the continent.
    The idea for a Transcontinental
    Railroad had been suggested
    as early as the 1830s,
    but real planning did not begin
    until the 1850s.Then, a little over a year after
    the start of the Civil War,
    Lincoln signed the
    Pacific Railroad Act.
    The act authorized private
    companies to build
    the Transcontinental Railroad —
    the Central Pacific in the West
    and the Union Pacific
    in the East.
    These two entities competed for
    government money and land grants
    in a race to complete
    the most track.
    It was a huge undertaking that
    employed thousands and built up
    the vast unpopulated
    interior of the country.
    When completed, it moved goods
    and people at unimagined speeds,
    created government where
    none previously existed,
    and propelled the United States
    to a position of prominence
    on the world stage.The Union Pacific built track
    from the Missouri River
    to the west, crossing through
    Nebraska in what is now Wyoming.
    In the process, it laid the
    framework for an entire state.
    Along the way, instant towns
    popped up where the Railroad
    stopped to establish a watering
    or refueling location.
    Some of these communities
    eventually became
    the Wyoming cities
    we know today.
    Others disappeared as
    quickly as they were built.
    By the fall of 1867,
    the Union Pacific had reached
    the present-day state line.This was the End of Track…This was the
    beginning of Wyoming.
    After much haggling over the
    route of the Union Pacific,
    chief engineer and surveyor,
    Grenville Dodge proclaimed
    the 42nd Parallel as the most
    direct and practical.
    It lay about 100 miles south of
    the path historically navigated
    by bison and Indians,
    mountain men, and fur traders,
    Oregon Trail pioneers
    and Mormon immigrants.
    Dodge laid out as straight
    a line as possible,
    keeping it to no more than
    a four percent grade,
    ensuring the steam locomotives
    could efficiently
    pull their cars.Dr. Thomas Durant, an organizer
    of the Union Pacific
    and a long-standing schemer
    and speculator,
    was often at odds with Dodge.He had no incentive to
    build a straight route.
    His company suggested lines that
    were often sweeping oxbow curves
    and other wasteful
    configurations,
    to milk as much money from the
    federal government as possible
    and increase his
    own personal wealth.
    I think he’s a pretty
    disreputable figure in the whole construction
    of the UP. Now that’s not to say that
    there weren’t a thousand other Thomas Durants involved in
    the gilded age during that time because there were just
    essentially no business ethics at all and there was no
    regulation of any of this stuff in those days either.The government paid the
    Union and Central Pacific
    in federal bonds at the rate of
    $16,000 per mile for flatland,
    $32,000 for foothills,and $48,000 for
    mountainous terrain.
    The two Railroads
    also received substantial
    government land grants.A 400 foot right of way and
    on either side of the tracks
    for 20 miles, the odd numbered
    sections of 640 acres of land,
    each section also included
    the mineral rights
    beneath the ground.The federal government retained
    the even numbered sections
    in an effort to keep an eye onthe Railroad’s
    business activities.
    The Railroad used this land
    for building side tracks,
    depots, and other
    infrastructure.
    They also sold lots to land
    speculators and new settlers,
    but building the most track
    as quickly as possible was
    of paramount importance in the
    race with the Central Pacific.
    PHIL: That first series of
    tracks across the country weren’t built to last. Speed was of the essence. They needed to get
    the thing built. They had to throw down the ties,
    put on the rails, hammer in the spikes,
    and they had to do it fast.This substandard construction,
    along with equipment failure
    and human error, sometimes lead
    to disastrous consequences.
    These were the biggest and
    fastest machines ever built.
    When something went wrong,
    it often escalated into
    a massive accident involving
    derailment and lost lives.
    ♪ ♪After a poor start
    from Omaha in 1865,
    in which only about 40 miles
    of track were laid,
    the firm of Jack and
    Dan Casement were hired
    in February 1866 to take charge
    of track laying.
    Short, stocky, and tough
    as nails, the two brothers
    were Civil War vets with
    track laying experience.
    As construction bosses,
    they quickly established
    a time table and
    a no nonsense work ethic
    that got the tracks
    moving westward.
    A year and a half later,
    they had spanned Nebraska
    and reached today’s
    Wyoming border.
    But building a railroad wasn’t
    just about track laying…
    A huge and varied labor force
    spread over the countryside,
    often hundreds of miles apart.PHIL: I think T.A. Larson
    put it best when he said that unlike a straight line
    of construction, these railroad crews were more
    like beads on a string, where there would be the
    surveyors out here in the front and then right behind them
    would be the graders, and then, a little bit further back
    would be the track layers.The surveyors labored in
    the western wilderness,
    laying out the exact line
    the Railroad would take
    from Dodge’s general route.PHIL: The surveyors were,
    in many cases, people who were former
    military officers. A lot of them had learned their
    surveying skills commercially in the east prior to
    signing on with the UP.They lived like mountain men,
    working under the endless sky
    and living off abundant wild
    game, reveling in the freedom,
    the excitement, the danger
    of the wilderness.
    But many must have known
    this western Eden would change
    forever once the Railroad
    actually pushed through.
    MAN: “The time is coming,
    and fast, too, when in the sense
    it is now understood there will be no West.” — Arthur N. Ferguson,
    Union Pacific Survey PartyIn time, towns would sprout
    up, wild game would vanish,
    mountains and river banks
    would be stripped of trees,
    and Native Americans would
    be driven from their land.
    The Railroad would usher in
    fundamental change to the West.
    But it would also bring
    prosperity, farms and ranches,
    businesses and homesteads would
    begin to fill in the large
    empty region between
    the two coasts,
    long mistaken as
    the Great American Desert.
    The graders followed
    the surveyor’s line,
    working with shovels and picks,
    teams of horses and scrapers
    to create a level foundation
    for the ties and rails.
    The work was tough,
    filling in natural depressions
    and often making cuts
    through solid rock.
    It was slow-going, but the Union
    Pacific had numbers on its side.
    In 1868, 3,000 graders
    worked on the line.
    Finally came the track layers,their construction camp was
    a small community in itself.
    Like grading, track laying
    was arduous, monotonous,
    and often dangerous.Up at dawn, done at dusk,
    six days a week.
    Sundays were the only day off
    for rest and relaxation,
    but it paid well —
    between $2.50 and $4.00 per day,
    depending on the job.Each morning supply trains
    arrived with spikes,
    ties, rails, and
    fish plate connectors.
    Once these were off-loaded,
    track laying began.
    What came next was described
    by an east coast
    newspaper reporter,
    W.A. Bell…
    MAN: “At the word of command,
    the rail is dropped in its place right side up with care,
    while the same process goes on at the other side of the car. Less than 30 seconds to a rail
    for each gang and so four rails go down to the minute, quick
    work you say, but the fellows on the Union Pacific are
    tremendously in earnest. Close behind the first gang come
    the gaugers, spikers, bolters, and a lively time they make of
    it, it is a grand anvil chorus that those sturdy sledges are
    playing across the plains. (metal clanking) It is in a triple time,
    three stokes to spike. There are ten spikes to a rail,
    400 rails to a mile, 1800 miles to San Francisco, 21 million times are those
    sledges to be swung. 21 million times
    are they to come down with their sharp punctuation
    before the great work of modern America is complete.” ♪On July 4, 1867, Grenville Dodge
    and his party rode west
    to a grassy plain in far
    western Dakota Territory.
    When Grenville Dodge came out
    to what is now Cheyenne, it was just a spot along
    Crow Creek and Grenville Dodge picked that particular spot
    because it happened to be 500 miles from Omaha. He took a look around and said,
    well, this will be a good a division point as any on this
    Transcontinental Railroad. A division point is going
    to mean a great deal because it’s going
    to mean permanence. It’s not going to be
    like a section house, where you have a water tank
    and maybe a telegraph key and a few people there
    to watch the track. There’s going to really
    be an establishment there.Dodge and his crew began
    laying out streets for a town
    dominated by a 328 acre
    railroad complex.
    He called it Cheyenne,
    honoring the predominate tribe
    of the area.Dodge predicted that
    a new city would soon arise
    to rival Denver,
    100 miles to the south.
    Little did he realize how
    quickly his prediction
    would come true.Word of a division point at
    Cheyenne quickly spread to
    the former end of track, or
    so-called “hell on wheels” towns
    east of it.When railroad construction moved
    on and business slowed down in
    some of these places, merchants
    often packed up their canvas
    and wood structures and shipped
    them west via the Railroad
    to the next end of track
    construction point.
    There they reassembled
    their buildings
    and got on with business.Honest merchants and settlers,
    as well as gamblers, outlaws,
    prostitutes, and other unsavory
    types flowed into Cheyenne
    in the late summer
    and fall of 1867.
    Lots that sold for
    $150 in August
    were going for $2500
    by early November.
    Returning from a surveying
    expedition to the west
    just three months later, Dodge
    rode into town and was stunned.
    His campsite on
    this dusty prairie
    had been utterly transformed.It had a population
    of 1500 people.
    One month later, that figure
    would jump to nearly 5,000.
    A town had erupted out of this
    vast emptiness as if by magic.
    And a nickname for
    the place was born —
    “The Magic City of the Plains.”But magic wouldn’t
    exactly describe
    Cheyenne’s growing pains.MAN: “The activity of
    the place is surprising and the wickedness is
    unimaginable and appalling. This is a great center for
    gamblers of all shades, and roughs and troops of
    lewd woman and bullwhackers. Almost every other house
    is a drinking saloon, gambling house,
    restaurant or bawdy.” — Reverend Joseph W. Cook, 1868When the Union Pacific Railroad
    first reached Cheyenne in late
    1867, what is now Wyoming was
    still part of Dakota Territory.
    Soon there was a
    push to change that.
    On April 15, 1869, a territorial
    government was in place
    with Cheyenne as its capital.One of the interesting things
    about this is that the Railroad came to what became Wyoming
    before there was a Wyoming, and it hasn’t happened
    very often where you had something like that
    and no political organization. So it really followed after
    the Railroad came to Wyoming that the territory was created.The spring of 1868 brought new
    challenges for Grenville Dodge
    and the builders of the
    Union Pacific Railroad.
    First and foremost was
    crossing the black hills,
    today’s Laramie Mountains.♪ ♪In 1865, Dodge was scouting an
    area in the Laramie Mountains
    and discovered a unique geologic
    formation — a pass leading
    downhill between the Crow Creek
    and Lodgepole Creek drainages.
    He named it Sherman Pass
    after his friend
    and Civil War General,
    William Tecumseh Sherman.
    It’s an area that today
    is known as the Gang Plank.
    We are standing on the Great
    Plains, as I stand right here. About 200 feet to my right
    is the Rocky Mountains. It’s a very low area
    of the Rocky Mountains and we’re on a very, very high
    area of the Great Plains. The Great Plains lead without a
    break onto the Rocky Mountains. They form a bridge, a bridge
    that is called the Gang Plank. Had Dodge not discovered this
    location, this very narrow neck where the Great Plains
    meets the Rocky Mountains, it’s highly likely that
    the Railroad would not have come through here at all. (train horn blaring)As construction crews
    moved up the Gang Plank,
    they eventually topped out
    at over 8,000 feet.
    The Union Pacific Railroad
    had made the grade.
    It had summited the Rockies.The town of Sherman
    quickly sprouted up
    around this high altitude
    mile post.
    It boasted a turn table
    and roundhouse,
    a depot with
    a Wells Fargo office,
    a newspaper, shops,
    and two hotels.
    I’m standing in the middle of a
    turn table at Sherman, Wyoming, 8,247 feet high. The turn table was actually
    tuned by human power. The locomotive would come on to
    the turn table, it was a bridge, very carefully balance it,
    and there was a center pivot right here, there were wheels
    on each end to help balance it, so you had three points
    of balance. But human beings, a man, maybe
    two, would be on each side, one side there, one side there. And by hand, would turn
    the entire locomotive. It took some power, but if the
    engine was carefully balanced, it could be done. ♪In 1882, near Sherman Summit,
    the Union Pacific Railroad
    began building a massive granite
    pyramid to honor two brothers
    instrumental in turning
    the Transcontinental Railroad
    from dream to reality.We’re at Sherman Summit
    in Wyoming. Behind me is the Ames Monument. The monument is 60 feet wide,
    60 feet high, and is dedicated to Oakes and Oliver Ames —
    two brothers who were extremely influential in the building
    of the Union Pacific Railroad.Oakes Ames was a U.S.
    congressman from Massachusetts
    who played a leading role
    in passing the legislation
    that created the Union Pacific
    Corporation.
    My great, great,
    great-grandfather was the Chief Financier
    of the Railroad. And his brother, Oliver,
    was the first president — was the president during
    the time it was being built.Oliver Ames became president
    of the Union Pacific in 1866,
    winning out over his powerful
    adversary, Thomas Doc Durant,
    who nonetheless, managed
    to become vice president
    of the line.In early 1865,
    with the Union Pacific
    floundering under Durant’s
    direction, President Lincoln
    asked Oakes Ames to
    step in and take charge.
    ANNA: It was a paper
    railroad in 1862, and by the time Lincoln called
    Oakes in, it was because he wanted to see the nation
    connected with this Railroad. He didn’t want to lose
    California in the Civil War, and for the growth
    of the country, too.In the process, Oakes Ames,
    along with other congressmen,
    became involved in one of the
    biggest political scandals
    of the 19th century —
    the Credit Mobilier fiasco.
    In 1864, Thomas Durant and
    businessman George Francis Train
    organized the Credit Mobilier
    Corporation of America,
    as a supposedly independent
    contracting and management
    company, to build the
    Union Pacific Railroad.
    In reality, Credit Mobilier
    allowed Union Pacific officials
    to reap great profits by
    charging the federal government
    outrageous construction
    fees and expenses
    without raising suspicions
    of corruption.
    Credit Mobilier stock
    was also distributed to
    select U.S. congressmen
    as bribes.
    After the Railroad
    was completed,
    the Credit Mobilier scandal
    was exposed.
    It rocked Washington D.C.Oakes Ames, because of his
    high profile, became a symbol
    for the scandal and was
    found guilty of bribery.
    ANNA: He was tried and he
    gave a beautiful defense. He went home and two months
    later, he died of a stroke. Do I think it came from that?
    Yes. I mean, the pressure
    was enormous, though you never know for sure.The congressmen who accepted
    the bribes were cleared
    of all charges and
    the scheme’s organizers,
    including Dr. Thomas Durant,
    walked away scot-free.
    After cresting Sherman Summit,
    the grade was now downhill,
    but a new obstacle loomed just
    a few miles further west —
    Dale Creek.It wasn’t the creek itself
    that was the problem,
    it was the gorge it had created
    through geologic time —
    130 feet deep and
    some 700 feet across.
    But to even get to the chasm,
    the graders had to make a cut
    through tough granite.We’re in the railroad cut,
    it’s about 200 feet long. It’s cut through solid granite, star drilled holes
    on either side. Maybe 15 feet deep. Right here, we have a gash
    put in by a star drill. A star drill is a long tube
    made of iron or steel with a star shape on the end,
    and men would hold this rod and other men would pound it
    with sledgehammers, dig it down a few inches and
    then twist it and pound again, and twist and pound again,
    and twist, and eventually, work their way down through
    solid Sherman granite. At the bottom of that,
    they would tamp black powder, set a fuse,
    everyone would run away. Boom! And you’d have a big opening
    that could then be excavated by hand.Once the cut was finished,
    the crew began building a bridge
    over Dale Creek Gorge.This is the site of the Dale
    Creek Trestle that was built here in 1867 and 1868,
    that winter. Originally it was 708 feet long
    from right here to beyond the wall that you see over there
    on the other side — 708 feet. 125 feet from the creek bed
    to the rail, to the base of the rails.When the Dale Creek Bridge
    was finished on April 23, 1868,
    it was declared an engineering
    marvel, but those crossing it
    by train were less impressed
    with the accomplishment
    and more concerned
    for their own safety.
    WOMAN: “This trestle bridge
    looks like a light, frail thing to bear so great weight, but
    fears are not expressed because of the frail appearance
    of the bridge, but in regard to
    the tempest of wind, so fierce that we fear the cars
    may be blown from the track. In the providence of God,
    the wind decreased. Its terrible wail is subdued
    to pitiful sobs and sighs and we passed safely
    over the dreaded bridge.” — Ellen G. WhiteLike so much of the hastily
    built Union Pacific Railroad,
    Dale Creek Trestle was replaced
    several times over the ensuing
    years and when the Railroad
    relocated the line in 1901,
    the last Dale Creek Bridge
    was removed.
    In the early spring of 1868,
    as Union Pacific track layers
    worked their way down the slope
    from Sherman Hill and
    Dale Creek, they encountered
    a newly staked out town.
    Chief Engineer Grenville Dodge
    dubbed it Laramie.
    That April, hundreds of
    speculators, entrepreneurs,
    and settlers awaited the Union
    Pacific’s auction of town lots.
    400 parcels sold
    within a few days.
    On May 9th, the first train
    chugged into town,
    its coaches filled with people.The freight cars were
    piled high with tents
    and disassembled
    wooden structures.
    “Hell on wheels” had arrived.MAN: “The first train had
    arrived in Laramie, in addition to a goodly number of
    respectable, law-abiding people who came there on, there
    arrived also a large number of the toughest characters that
    ever drew the breath of life. Barroom bums, thugs, garrotters,
    hold-up thieves and murderers from railway towns
    to the eastward were passengers on that train.” — W.O. OwenWhen steam locomotives whistled
    into early railroad towns,
    prevailing winds blew
    the smoke, soot,
    and burning embers
    across the landscape.
    That area became the less
    desirable part of town
    to live in…It became the “wrong side
    of the tracks.”
    PHIL: So, even though
    the prevailing winds were out of the west and out of the
    north, the business community of Laramie was more or less
    built on the wrong side of the tracks, it was built on
    the east side of the tracks, and for many, many years,
    Laramie had the problem of embers and soot coming
    from those smokestacks of those locomotives, coming down
    and falling into the streets.Merchants and honest townspeople
    formed a provisional government
    in Laramie, but the lawless
    element also formed
    their own union.PHIL: Laramie,
    in the summer of 1868, was a pretty terrible place. There were these bar owners and
    these gambling joint operators that were essentially serving
    as town officials and as judges, and finally the more law-abiding
    members of the community decided that they had had enough
    of that and had to do something to take back the government, take back the law and order
    in Laramie. MAN: “Accordingly, a vigilance
    committee was organized. On the 18th of October, 1868,
    a raid was made at night and three of the ringleaders
    of the toughs — Asa Moore, Conn Wagoner, and Ned Wilson,
    alias “Big Ned,” were captured and hung. They were strung up and left
    hanging there for several hours after daybreak so the rest
    of the cutthroats might get the benefit of the execution
    and take warning.” — W.O. OwenCrime in Laramie eventually
    subsided, businesses began
    to flourish, the Railroad
    built infrastructure
    and small industry grew.East of the
    Union Pacific tracks,
    a brickfront business
    district arose,
    and in 1887, the University
    of Wyoming was founded.
    Several thousand track layers
    followed the easy grade
    north and west across
    the Laramie Plains
    later that spring of 1868.The route formed a long loop
    to the north of Elk Mountain
    and the Snowy Range.It followed a path where weather
    was milder and the terrain
    more favorable to building
    railroad tracks.
    Nevertheless, the Union Pacific
    train still encountered
    inclement weather; in Wyoming,
    snow was a constant threat
    three seasons out of the year.WOMAN: “This is indeed
    a fearful ordeal — fastened here in a snowbank
    midway of the continent at the top of
    the Rocky Mountains. They’re melting snow for the
    boilers and for drinking water. A train loaded with coal is
    behind us so there is no danger of our suffering from cold.” — Susan B. AnthonySnow trains outfitted with
    wedge-shaped snowplows
    were used to clear the way,
    but even then,
    hand shoveling
    was often required.
    The cuts were so narrow, they
    could only plow the snow once and then if they had to go back
    through, there wasn’t any place to plow the snow so they had
    to hire men with shovels to dig these cuts out and it took 50,
    60, 70 hundred men to do that. And some of them froze
    while they were doing that because of the wind
    and the cold.The Union Pacific eventually
    remedied the snow problem
    somewhat by emulating what
    the Central Pacific had done
    in the Sierra Nevada…
    they built snow sheds.
    Snow sheds helped keep
    the most vulnerable portions
    of the track free of snow.But even with this protection,
    trains still became stranded
    in the worst storms.WOMAN: “The train had moved up
    to Dale Creek Bridge and drawn into a long snow shed. Here we remained all night,
    and with the rarified air and the smoke from the engine,
    we almost suffocated, while the wind blew
    so furiously, we could not venture
    to open the doors.” — Susan B. Anthony (wind whistling) (Native American music) MAN: “We looked at it
    from a high ridge — far off, it was very small,
    but it kept coming and growing larger all the time,
    puffing out smoke and steam. And as it came on, we said to
    each other that it looked like a white man’s pipe
    when he was smoking.” — Porcupine, Warrior of
    the Northern Cheyenne (Native American music)The federal government
    encouraged Native people
    to allow the railroad across
    their traditional lands
    by signing the Fort Laramie
    Treaty in 1868.
    Nevertheless, a few marauding
    bands still caused problems.
    MAN: “A few days ago, four men
    were shot by the Indians and were brought into this post. One of them died from
    the effects of his wounds. Last night and during today,
    soldiers been digging his grave. Another of the wounded men
    I hear is not expected to live.” — Arthur N. Ferguson,
    Union Pacific Survey Party.As treaty after treaty
    were broken,
    the tribes began defending
    what they still had left.
    Europeans and the Plains tribes,
    the Sioux and Cheyenne,
    the Arapahoe and Shoshone,
    were on a collision course.
    It was a cataclysmic clash
    of two different mindsets, worldviews…the whole
    notion of economy, they were at, diametrically, they were at diametrical odds
    with one another. Tribal people did not recognize
    that these newcomers would address them in
    a multi-faceted approach, meaning treaties first,
    recognizing that everything will be done in a good way. The second, a military
    intervention. Third, a violation of treaties
    by all the newcomers. Fourth — and here is where
    the condition of modernity plays a role — the steel horse,
    as they used to call it, came across their lands. MAN: “We will build iron roads
    and you cannot stop the locomotive any more than you
    can stop the sun or the moon. And you must submit and
    do the best you can.” — General William
    Tecumseh Sherman MAN: “The railroad men have
    an infallible remedy for the Indian troubles… That remedy is extermination.” — The Chicago Tribune MAN: “We’ve got to clean the
    damn Indians out or give up. The government may
    take its choice.” — Grenville DodgeThis agenda was accomplished
    by striking at the center
    of the Plains Indian culture.SERGIO: The buffalo,
    first and foremost, was not only a means of
    survival and food, but it had a sacred relationship
    with tribal people. It provided not only food,
    but implements, and every part of the animal was used, so when
    tribal people visually saw men on the iron horse using
    50 caliber Sharps rifles, knocking these buffalo down
    by the thousands per day, how could people do this? It was such a spiritual affront
    which lead to a further demoralization
    among tribal people.It has been estimated that
    the west held as many as
    15 to 60 million buffalo at
    the arrival of the Europeans.
    This number was severely
    depleted partially as a result
    of the Transcontinental
    Railroad.
    SERGIO: What had happened with
    the arrival of the steel horse was it divided the herds,
    the American Bison, and along with the division of
    the herds became the decimation of the herds by hunters
    who were providing food originally for the workers, but then it became
    just a big sport.This wholesale slaughter
    crushed the Indian insurgency
    as it broke their hearts
    and their culture.
    SERGIO: Once the bison were
    removed, decimated if I may, the marginalizing of Native
    America on reservations, all the while the iron horse,
    the Union Pacific, continued to move
    across the west. (train horn blaring)The construction crews were now
    west of the North Platte River,
    a waterless realm dominated by
    sagebrush and dry creek beds,
    alkali pools, and dust.It was an unforgiving land,
    yet fairly level
    with no major obstacles.Compared to crossing the
    Laramie Mountains, the work was
    relatively straightforward,
    but the summer temperatures were
    hellish…workers coughed and
    wheezed in the choking dust,
    others collapsed
    from heat stroke,
    horses and mules toppled over
    in the heat.
    MAN:
    “This is an awful place. Alkali dust knee deep and
    certainly the meanest place I have ever been in.” — Jack Casement,
    Track Laying SupervisorAmid this cruel geography,
    the hell on wheels town
    of Benton popped up
    in July of 1868,
    about ten miles east of
    present-day Rawlins.
    In its heyday, Benton would have
    a population of 3,000 people. Historians and authors
    have pointed it out as a hell on earth. It was a most
    miserable location. They couldn’t have picked
    a worse possible site. Benton was just a temporary
    stop along the way and the Railroad decided not
    to do anything at Benton. They didn’t put in a station. They didn’t bother to
    even put in a water stop.One visitor referred to Benton
    as “nearer a reputation of
    Sodom and Gomorrah than
    any other place in America.”
    MAN: “The streets were eight
    inches deep in white dust. As I entered the city of
    canvas tents and pole houses, the suburbs appeared as banks
    of dirty white lime and the new arrival with black clothes
    looked like nothing so much as a cockroach struggling
    through a flour barrel.” — John Beetle,
    Author and JournalistAs the Union Pacific crews
    moved away from the town
    on their continuing
    construction journey west,
    businesses dismantled
    their portable buildings,
    folded up the canvas,
    and moved after them.
    Benton had become the Wyoming
    territory’s first ghost town.
    Personally, I like to think of
    it as dying in November the 23rd when they finally took away
    its one major source of drinking material and the military closed
    all the liquor establishments. For us in Wyoming, that was it. The water was bad, but when you
    couldn’t get a drink of whiskey, that did it, that was done.On his surveying expeditions
    before the railroad was built,
    Grenville Dodge was asked by
    General Ulysses S. Grant
    to bring along his friend,Brigadier General
    John A. Rawlins.
    RANS: Rawlins is
    dying of consumption, and the theory at the time was
    tuberculosis, or consumption, could profit by
    high mountain air. Grant is deeply concerned
    about his good friend and he talks him into
    taking this trip. Dodge’s party makes it
    to the Platte River. It will take him
    awhile to cross it. They’ll have a great deal
    of trouble getting horses and equipment across. They cross the river. There’s a 16 mile ride
    through alkali flats. When they get here,
    everybody is thirsty. Particularly, so is Rawlins
    with the tuberculosis.The party finally located
    a spring of water
    and refreshed themselves.It was here that Rawlins
    voiced a statement
    that would name a town…“If anything, I’d like to have
    this spring named after me,” and so it became
    Rawlins Springs. That’s the way the city was
    until about, oh, I’d say 1870, when it just went to Rawlins.The Union Pacific decided
    Rawlins would become
    a division point and the town
    began to slowly grow.
    DAN: When the people
    came to Rawlins, they settled on the south side
    of the tracks. They weren’t going to
    buy any lots because of what happened at Benton, they
    could see what happened there. And so until the UP started
    building the roundhouses, the machine shops, the hotels,
    and station houses, they wouldn’t buy.Rawlins may not have been a
    temporary hell on wheels town
    like Benton, but it had
    its own measure of notoriety
    more than a decade later
    in the case of Big Nose George.
    George Parrott, also known
    as “Big Nose George,”
    was a member of the Powder River
    Country Outlaw Gang.
    In August of 1878, they rode
    south and attempted to derail
    and rob a Union Pacific train
    east of Medicine Bow, Wyoming.
    When the rail they had loosened
    was discovered, the robbery was
    aborted and the gang slunk off
    to a temporary hideout
    at nearby Elk Mountain.Within days, two Carbon County
    lawmen had tracked them
    to the camp, but the outlaws
    bushwhacked and killed them.
    With blood in their hands, the
    gang fled and soon disbanded.
    By 1880, Parrott was in Montana.After boasting of killing the
    Wyoming lawmen, he was arrested
    and taken to Rawlins where
    he was charged with murder.
    And what the good folks here,
    good folks in quotes, are concerned about
    is this criminal element is going to break George out.The citizens took the law
    into their own hands,
    overpowering the jailer
    and broke George out.
    RANS: George is taken to Front
    Street and he will be lynched. It’ll take them two tries. The crowd themselves are
    as inept at lynching as he was at train robbery. But they stand there and watch
    that poor devil struggle as gravity overcomes him and
    weakness and he chokes to death. That noose was so loose that
    it worked back and forth and took his ears off. And that shows
    in the death mask, he’s without ears
    in the death mask.The body of Big Nose George
    was collected by
    two local physicians.Dr. T.G. McGee was eager
    to study a criminal brain.
    Dr. John Osbourne had less
    scientific uses for the remains.
    While Dr. McGee is doing what is
    considered a scientific study, Dr. Osbourne gets a little bored
    and he retains the flesh, principally from the chest,
    and other parts of the body, and sends it off to Colorado
    and has it tanned. And when it returns to him,
    he has different things made from it. He decorates a leather
    doctor’s bag and he makes this wonderful
    pair of shoes. He was very proud of them, made
    no bones about what they were. The shoes are an oxford, part
    leather and part human flesh. He would go on, 11 years later,
    to become Governor of the state of Wyoming. While at his official
    inauguration ball, he did wear those shoes
    despite the dress requirements. He had brown and white shoes
    on with his formal dress.In the fall of 1868,
    the Railroad pushed west of
    Rawlins to an area of Wyoming
    with abundant coal seams.
    People knew about coal in
    Wyoming for a long time before the Railroad was even thought
    of as going through this area. The Indians used coal,
    the forts that were built along the way used coal,
    and trappers used coal, and overland tourists used
    coal, so it was there.One town eventually became
    the center of this
    coal mining region.In Rock Springs, if you look
    at the core of the town, it was not laid out by the
    company and lots weren’t sold the same way they were
    in some other parts. There were ten mines in the
    downtown area of Rock Springs so if you have driven
    around at all, you realize the roads are
    very, very hard to follow. They paved the miner’s paths. The joke is that the city
    planner at the time was drunk and was riding a blind mule
    when he laid the streets out.Wyoming coal was a financial
    boon for the Union Pacific.
    It not only fueled its
    locomotives, it also heated
    its buildings and was marketed
    and shipped across the country.
    Working the mines was
    difficult and dangerous work.
    Shifts lasted ten hours a day.To keep costs down and
    prevent unionization,
    the Union Pacific employed
    immigrants from Ireland,
    England, Scotland, Wales, and
    Germany to work its mines.
    In the 1870s, Chinese
    workers were brought in.
    Eventually there were more
    Chinese than Europeans
    in Rock Springs and a bustling
    Chinatown emerged.
    Initially, they were simply
    accepted as another worker and there wasn’t a great deal
    of negative feeling about them. But over time as the Railroad
    took advantage of their cheaper labor and
    pushed other groups out, negative feelings
    began to develop.In 1885, the Union Pacific
    cut the piecework rate
    paid to miners by one-fifth,
    but made no corresponding
    reduction in prices charged
    by the company stores.
    Tensions rose.On September 2nd in 1885,
    a big kerfluffle developed in the mines. The experienced miners knew
    which part of a mine was safe and there weren’t a lot of
    places in a mine in those days that would be safe. It was prized to get a hold
    of one of those sections and then it would be
    yours to work. Well, what happened was that
    a couple of white miners had established one of
    these rooms as theirs and there was a mix-up
    or simply a reassignment — we don’t know what
    exactly transpired — but some Chinese, while
    the white miners were gone, were placed in those rooms. And when the white
    miners returned, the Chinese said
    we’re not leaving. This is our room. That argument became violent
    with the picks and shovels being used as weapons
    down in the mine. So the mine shut down,
    they said, send everybody home, we don’t want this
    blowing out of proportion. But the white miners apparently
    went down to the bars and talked about this
    a little bit more, and in an organized way,
    went out and attacked Chinatown. Burned it to the ground. Many Chinese were
    burned with it. Some of the Chinese were just
    returning home from work at the other mines and didn’t
    really know what was going on. However, they saw these people
    fleeing so they fled over the hills, got on the trains,
    and went to Evanston. The mob mentality is
    such an ugly thing. One woman was chasing
    one of the Chinese who she had taught English to. She was carrying her baby
    and had to put her baby down to shoot at him. She was a poor shot
    so fortunately he escaped, but it just is amazing
    what people will do. Federal troops were called
    in to quiet the situation and ultimately, troops
    were actually stationed here at Camp Pilot Butte,
    between the south part of town and Chinatown. We were the only occupied town
    in the United States from about 1885 for 14 years.As the Railroad continued west,
    the landscape changed
    from a relatively waterless,
    featureless sagebrush prairie
    to a landscape dominated by
    towering rock formations
    and a large fast-flowing river.WOMAN: They were building
    down the Bitter Creek Valley from Rock Springs and
    I’m sure that when they hit the Green River, they were so
    happy to have clean water again because the Green River, of
    course, is a very fast-flowing, very good water source.On its banks, a tent and
    adobe village of 2,000 people
    awaited the track layers.Green River City…It had been established
    by a Mr. Samuel Field
    and other entrepreneurs
    who filed homestead claims
    before the Railroad arrived.They realized the company
    would need the water from
    the Green River and they assumed
    it would be a division point.
    The powerful Union Pacific
    wasn’t pleased.
    Suddenly, this lucrative little
    town that they planned on selling lots to business
    people, didn’t belong to them. And so as a result of that,
    the Union Pacific decided rather than making Green River
    the division point that they had planned, they moved it
    out to a place called Bryan.Bryan was an especially nasty
    hell on wheels town.
    During one five-day period,
    there was “a man for breakfast,”
    as the newspaper termed it,meaning a corpse in the street
    every morning.
    Now Bryan was an acceptable
    substitute in most ways because it was on a river,
    and of course, the water was
    extremely important. However, the Blacks Fork River,
    which Bryan is on, is a much smaller river. In fact, it’s a tributary
    to the Green. And so, they happily existed
    in Bryan for about four years before they had a dry summer,
    the Blacks Fork River dried up and they were forced to come to
    an accommodation with Field and company to bring the division
    point back to Green River.The entrepreneurs had turned
    the tables on the mighty
    Union Pacific with a little
    help from Mother Nature
    and Green River City
    became a railroad town.
    West of Green River,
    the Union Pacific pushed on
    towards the Utah border and
    its eventual rendezvous
    with the Central Pacific
    at Promontory Summit.
    The little town of Piedmont
    was one stop along the way.
    Piedmont started
    out as a tent town.
    After the Union Pacific
    chose it as a watering
    and wood refueling stop,
    it began to grow.
    A small village arose
    with stores and businesses,
    a schoolhouse, hotel,
    and four saloons.
    But its most
    distinguishing landmark
    were the charcoal kilns.Built by Moses Byrne in 1869
    to supply charcoal for
    the iron smelting industry in
    Utah, these conical limestone
    kilns measured 30 feet across
    and 30 feet high.
    Only three of the
    original 40 kilns remain.
    At the height of productivity,
    the kilns produced
    100,000 bushels of charcoal
    a year.
    Most of it shipped via
    the Union Pacific Railroad.
    The last Transcontinental
    Railroad town in Wyoming
    lay just a few miles
    east of the Utah border.
    Evanston was named after Union
    Pacific Division Engineer,
    James A. Evans.The Railroad designated
    Evanston as a division point.
    Unlike many other tent cities
    along the line,
    its future was assured.A roundhouse, depot, and
    extensive railyards were built.
    In December of 1868, they hit
    what is now called Evanston and I can’t imagine living here, the
    weather conditions in December. They built a roundhouse in
    Evanston and it was a wonderful stone building with arched
    doorways and it stood, from where we’re talking today
    in this roundhouse in Evanston, it stood about 500 yards
    from where we are today. It had a manual turn table
    and that really gave Evanston some permanence; once that
    roundhouse was established, then you soon saw, on the west
    side of the tracks in Evanston, you saw the commercial buildings
    begin to be erected and Evanston grew rapidly
    after that point.In 1887, two water ponds
    near Evanston were built.
    These were called the Bear
    ponds, for they received water
    by diverting the Bear River.When winter arrived and the ice
    attained the proper thickness,
    it was cut into 22 inch cakes.JIM: And they had these
    massive two or three-story wooden structures
    to store the ice. They would take a team
    of horses out there, cut the ice into
    great-big blocks, store them in these
    icehouses with sawdust and as the trains went east
    to west with perishable goods during the summer months,
    they would put the ice in there for refrigeration.And so it was done.On May 10, 1869, as the
    ceremonial golden spike
    was driven into place at
    Promontory Summit, Utah,
    a great cheer arose from
    those in attendance.
    News of the event was
    telegraphed across the nation.
    So when that golden spike was
    pounded in on the 10th of May of 1869, it’s little wonder
    that people around the country celebrated and rang bells in
    churches and everyone stopped and marveled the achievement, because it had been a pretty
    short period of time. It had only been seven years
    since the passage of the first Pacific Railroad Act that
    had authorized the project, and here, just in the short
    span of seven years, they’d gone from essentially
    stage coach travel, to, for all intents and
    purposes, a modern railroad.For many, the building of
    the Transcontinental Railroad
    was a sign of the Nation’s
    emerging greatness.
    Ideas of manifest destiny,
    national unity,
    mastery of nature, and technical
    superiority were all embodied
    in the mammoth undertaking that
    had finally reached completion.
    In the end, the Union Pacific
    had laid 1,087 miles of track;
    the Central Pacific,
    690 miles of track.
    The Union Pacific
    had won the race.
    Taken as a whole,
    the Transcontinental Railroad
    was the greatest engineering
    feat of the 19th century.
    It was transformational.A journey that
    used to take months
    could now be traveled
    in mere days.
    A new world was dawning.Time and distance had shrunk,and America was moving
    into a bold new future.
    In Wyoming territory, as the
    railroad crews and the assorted
    hangers-on moved westward,
    the population declined.
    In 1868, at the peak of
    railroad construction,
    the territory had a population
    of about 40,000.
    By mid-1869,
    a mere 8,000 remained.
    Eventually, the population
    would begin to grow again.
    Over 62,000 settlers and
    ranchers, merchants and cowboys
    would call Wyoming home by
    the time it achieved statehood
    on July 10, 1890.The track now stretched endless
    across the width of the state.
    From Cheyenne to Evanston,
    towns strung out like gems
    on a vast steel necklace.The future was set.It was time for Wyoming
    to truly begin.

    5 Hauntings on the Railroad
    Articles, Blog

    5 Hauntings on the Railroad

    August 19, 2019


    Railroads made this country. The history of the railroads is deep and,
    not surprisingly, sometimes haunted. Thanks to mysteriousheartland.com and ghostcitytours.com
    for helping us come up with this list of hauntings on the railroad. The Albino Tracks
    In St. Clair County, Illinois, a long abandoned set of tracks came to be known as the Albino
    Tracks. The legend goes that in the 1800s a mysterious
    epidemic ripped through the area. The locals, being a superstitious bunch, blamed
    a pair of albino children that lived nearby. Some of the townsfolk took matters into their
    own hands and kidnapped the children. To end the curse upon the land, the abductors
    tied the children to the railroad tracks and watched as a train ran them over. From that time, visitors to the tracks reported
    ghostly activity. Some whose cars got stuck on the tracks said
    that their vehicles were pushed by unseen hands to safety before a train came. The locals believe it was the albino children
    saving others from their fate. Today the tracks are gone, but it seems like
    the ghosts remain. The River Styx Bridge
    With a name like River Styx, it’s no wonder supernatural stories swirl around this bridge. The legend that surrounds the bridge near
    Rittman, Ohio tells the heroic tale of railroad engineer Alexander Logan. A Scot by birth, Logan came to America and
    devoted his career to the railroad, eventually rising to the rank of engineer. One spring day, something went wrong with
    his speeding train and the locomotive jumped the tracks and overturned, crushing Alexander
    to death. Newspaper reports from the time noted that
    he had time to escape the doomed train, but stayed at his post in an effort to save his
    passengers. To this day, if you find yourself near the
    River Styx Bridge at night, you may see a ghostly vision of the fiery crash that took
    Alexander’s life play out before it vanishes and you’re left alone once more. Tara Bridge
    Near Tara, Iowa there is a old railroad bridge that some people have taken to calling Terror
    Bridge. If it is to be believed, the history of this
    bridge is downright horrific. It’s said that a mother took her children
    to the tracks and, in a fit of insanity, threw her children under a speeding train as it
    passed. Today, if you stop your car near the bridge,
    the mother’s ghost appears and drags you out of your car, throwing you on the tracks
    just as she did her children. Another legend talks of a farmer who lived
    nearby. One day, frustrated, he cursed the land and
    suddenly dropped dead. From that time on, people have reported being
    chased by a frightening apparition that some claim to be the ghost of the farmer. Satan’s Bridge
    I mean, the place is called Satan’s Bridge! As the story goes, this now abandoned railroad
    bridge was the home to three mysterious deaths. The first was a man who was struck by a train
    while walking along the bridge, falling to his death. A second story tells of a man who was lynched
    nearby. The third is the story of a homeless man who
    lived below the bridge. One day, he was found dead, a look of terror
    twisting his face. Between these three legends, it’s no wonder
    that Satan’s Bridge is reported to be haunted. The Ghost Children of San Antonio
    The strange tale of the ghost children of San Antonio, Texas has become a well known
    one over the years. The tragic story begins with a nun driving
    a school bus full of children home one moonless night. The bus became disabled upon the railroad
    tracks near Villamain and Shane. The nun tried to get the bus started again,
    but it was in vain. Because of the darkness of the night and the
    burned out light on the locomotive, she didn’t see the train barreling down upon the bus
    until it was too late. The bus was struck and all of the children
    were killed. The nun was thrown from the bus and injured,
    but survived. She recovered physically, but her guilt overwhelmed
    her. One night, she drove her car to the site of
    the accident and parked on the same spot on the tracks where the bus had been. There she sat, waiting for a train to come
    and end her grief. In due time, a train appeared and raced toward
    her car. Then, in the darkness, the nun heard the sounds
    of small children around her. She looked, but the night was empty except
    for her and the oncoming train. To her shock, her car began to roll forward
    on its own and just cleared the tracks before the train roared past. When she got out of the car, she looked on
    her rear bumper and noticed the tiny handprints of children. Overcome by the miracle, the nun devoted her
    life to helping orphans and the less fortunate until the day she died. Today, it is said, and I don’t recommend
    doing this, that you can park your car on or near the tracks at night where the accident
    occurred. After a time, you can get out and take a look
    at your bumper and you may find the handprints of ghost children who are determined to ensure
    another tragedy on the tracks is avoided.

    The Mount Washington Cog Railroad “What is a BrakeMan?”
    Articles, Blog

    The Mount Washington Cog Railroad “What is a BrakeMan?”

    August 19, 2019


    hi my name is Dan and I’m an engineer
    here at Mount Washington Cog Railway brakeman is basically the tour guide on
    the way up and on the way down on the diesel engine they still remain a tour
    guide but on the steam engine they actually live up to their name they’re
    actually a brakeman and on the way down they will manipulate the brake wheels to
    take the weight of the coach off of the engine at certain point like over the
    steep is part of the grade Jacob’s Ladder at a 37.1% great they’ll actually
    use both sets of brakes to pull the coach physically off of the engine and
    then as a track flattens out they slowly drop their brake to come back in and
    keep a steady pressure on the steamer on the way down

    Live Steam Railroad, Riverside & Great Northern Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin             -1
    Articles, Blog

    Live Steam Railroad, Riverside & Great Northern Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin -1

    August 19, 2019


    oh come all your father happy fathers day right away we came out of when built in the 1850s for the Milwaukee in the crossroads but now we would be real railroad 448 cafe it was used during the Civil War to transport Union soldiers own but because of that grade you know how slowly coming that something percent great that’s great great for railroad so they abandon his life in 1902 removing is now about 200 feet south of us when fracture be calling on the bottom now where it was left abandoned in the early nineteen fifteen where the government and Janesville was running in riverside park but he was asked to leave town because you near the hospital home making sort boys etc we come up here he puts it 15 pages 39 cars of 19 demons right here and here on the property when he retired 1980 because of illness in 1988 the riverside great northern Preservation Society report started running nineteen nineties now before June eleventh two thousand for that bridge you came over that was not a bridge that went silent lab 200 feet what’s the line boo 20-feet wide there was another track down there well what we have 27 years in the rain and 26 days that we had a fight a storm i’ll remember $MONTH twenty-second we have this one was torn off all the weight on the bridge on august 15 2005b construction company from washing equipment six weeks later the bridge was in we then add volunteers we put the mainline deciding and the tournament but we didn’t do it six weeks and it took us a year and a half but they look old decrepit people like myself some days we worked a little bit with somebody that we did you do that but how we gonna pay for it all well we got money to FEMA but any donation to put that mailbox is greatly appreciate because we gotta come up with fifty percent you okay now we’re gonna run from now after labor day daily then we go back on our weekend’s schedule as you know is beautiful or october October’s our biggest month because we come up we turn we go back to that cabin you also my cabin it’s about two-thirty way back on that side that’s where we’re going to get pumpkins now it’s going to be all four weekends not only one so far as i know we’re the only ones in this area we do not charge for the pumpkins we just chose for the right then hopefully after thanksgiving will have Santa trains why I see you won’t believe because the last two years we got one weekend mother nature took care of his former snow or any questions okay you go back over the bridge there’s a canyon down about 600 feet 700 meet another canyon look down to your right down yesterday there were deer down in there they’re real hard to see all day there’s a mall on going on on down in this okay okie i’ll give you $MONEY a week now we look up and then and then well I even get up ok take it off as we are new party hi baby maybe

    Union Pacific Railroad Museum: Highlighting technology through America’s locomotive history
    Articles, Blog

    Union Pacific Railroad Museum: Highlighting technology through America’s locomotive history

    August 19, 2019


    Steve: We’re here with An old friend of mine, John Bromley, probably John would not agree with me, but one of the foremost railroad historians around today, so we are glad that John could take at least a minute or 2 to talk to us a little bit about the history of the railroad. We are here at the Union Pacific museum, which is a fascinating place, to say the least. You’ve been around railroads for, I won’t take a guess here, but more than a few years. John: More than a few years. Steve: What has technology done to make railroads more efficient, more environmentally friendly, just, you know…. John: Well, the main thing that is done is that the technology has helped us to improve productivity in just amazing ways, leaps and bounds. When I started with Union Pacific, we had some places where we had 6 man crews on trains. We had an engineer, a fireman, and a head brakeman on the locomotive. We had a rear brakeman, a conductor, and a flagman on the caboose, and, of course, today thanks to technology with the electronic scanning we use to monitor our trains, infrared devices to monitor passing trains, we have been able to reduce the crew sizes down, increase the length of the runs, and, of course, the modern locomotives can pull longer trains than they used to. Steve: Now, as a historian, what’s one thing that hasn’t changed in probably the 150 years that Union Pacific has been around? Is there one aspect of railroading that’s kind of always been a constant? John: Absolutely. The steel wheel and the steel rail, and that’s why we’re still in business because the actual point of physical contact between that wheel and that rail is the size of a dime. So, there is so little friction involved. Once you get a train moving, that’s the whole secret to our success, and that’s why we’re still in business. We haul more freight now, today, than we ever have in our history, and we’re able to do that because of the advances in technology and the advances in productivity and the fact that we still have steel wheel and steel rail with so little friction involved and we’re able to haul such long trains. Steve: So, some things have changed, the technology has changed a lot about how a railroad works, but somethings have never… John: The basic principles are the same. Steve: Have never changed. John: Right. Steve: That is perfect. John, great to see you. Thank you for letting us come by. Steve: My pleasure.

    Inside Amtrak’s Dying Long-Distance Trains | WSJ
    Articles, Blog

    Inside Amtrak’s Dying Long-Distance Trains | WSJ

    August 19, 2019


    (inquisitive music) – [Journalist Voiceover]
    Long-distance passenger routes in the U.S. may be
    riding on borrowed time. Amtrak wants congress to untie its hands and allow it to cut its
    longer, unprofitable routes, essentially halting service
    to rural communities. The company’s management
    sees opportunity for profits and longterm growth in
    shorter distance travel. – Shorter haul, inner-city
    service between big city pairs. It’s the way of the future. – [Journalist Voiceover] In
    the next year, U.S. lawmakers need to reauthorize Amtrak’s funding. Members of congress are
    coming under pressure to preserve cross-country rail services. – I’m afraid we’re position
    rural America to fail. – We’re beginning our journey
    from New York to New Orleans. We’re riding Acela train
    down to Washington first. – [Journalist Voiceover] Acela’s part of the northeast corridor. It runs frequently and usually on time connecting business travelers between Boston, New York, Philadelphia
    and Washington D.C. It’s profitable and Amtrak sees it as a model for future growth. According to a government commission, keeping the northeast corridor
    in a good state of repair will cost $42 billion. And Amtrak wants congress to also invest in new service between
    cities that by train would be fewer than four hours apart. – Dallas and Houston, for instance. – [Journalist Voiceover] We
    spoke with Amtrak’s executive in charge of strategy. – Amtrak’s view is we’ve
    got a big opportunity in these shorter distance corridors. The less that say,
    300-mile distance corridors where we see a lot of our
    population growth occurring. – But is there an appetite in congress to be spending more money on Amtrak? – Congress does recognize that
    trains can play a bigger role and to get there, we have
    to invest in our assets. – You’re talking even larger investments? – I am. Over time we’re gonna need
    to invest more than we have. (train whistle blows) – [Journalist Voiceover]
    The question now is whether it’s executives
    plan to also ask for money to maintain long-distance trains. In Washington, we board The
    Crescent Line to New Orleans. – Pretty narrow hallway here. I guess this is home. It’s a little smaller
    than I was expecting. Oh, this is a folding sink? Look at that. Is this the toilet? – [Journalist Voiceover] As we
    ride south through Virginia, our dinner reservation is called. – What temperature would you like? – Medium, please.
    – Medium? – [Journalist Voiceover]
    Meals are included in the ticket price. – Better than what you get on an airplane. – [Journalist Voiceover] Our
    junior roomette, one way, costs around $500, $250 a person. Coach seats start at around $100. Most Crescent passengers spend the 26-hour D.C. to New Orleans
    journey in this section. Around 2:30 a.m., we stop in
    Charlotte, North Carolina. Last year, this city had the fifth-largest increase in population in the country. – We have one train a day that shows up on a 2,000-mile journey. Maybe it shows up in
    the middle of the night, maybe it shows up on
    time, maybe it doesn’t. – [Journalist Voiceover] Amtrak
    says chronic, long delays aren’t its fault. Outside the northeast corridor, its trains ride on rails
    owned by freight companies. It’s battling some of these
    companies in the courts for priority right-of-way. It’s freight fight not withstanding, the company’s leadership says it’s current long-distance services don’t
    serve enough of a purpose to justify the financial losses. – It’ 8:30 a.m., we
    just arrived in Atlanta, well, a station that’s on
    the outskirts of Atlanta. This sleeper train is
    the only passenger train that services this city. There’s a 100-year-old woman
    who just got onboard the train. – I’ve always wanted to ride a train. – [Journalist Always
    wanted to ride a train? – [Journalist Voiceover]
    Annie Grissom is celebrating her centennial year by taking a day trip to Montgomery, Alabama. – What are you gonna
    do when you get there? – I’m gonna eat. – (chuckling) Your just going for lunch? – Yeah. – Do you fly on planes? – Uh-uh. They’re too high. – (chuckling) It’s too high. – [Journalist Voiceover] Other
    passengers say that for them, this is no joy ride. – I’m too old to drive. – What about the bus? – It’s seats are too
    close, it’s too congested. – You’re seeing a microcosm
    of the type of people that depend on long-distance trains. Their quality of life would diminish without this option. – [Journalist Voiceover] John Roberts is a former chairman of Amtrak’s board. He’s now the head of
    Transportation for America, an advocacy group for
    transportation infrastructure. – You see a lady that’s 100 years old, you think she’d be making
    that trip by car or flying? – She’s going from Atlanta to Birmingham. Let’s say you had more trains going between Atlanta and Birmingham. She’d have more options. – More trains before Atlanta
    and Birmingham is a good idea. – She doesn’t need the
    Crescent if you had that. – There are people sitting here
    going to Slidell, Louisiana. So a train just to Birmingham doesn’t get them to Slidell, Louisiana. – It sounds to me like you’re saying the current leadership of Amtrak doesn’t consider rural
    America to be a priority. – I think that would be fair to say that they don’t understand
    the needs of rural America. – [Journalist Voiceover] In
    response, an Amtrak official says the company believes in rural markets and wants to be relevant
    in every one of them. Roberts helped mobilize
    congressional opposition last year to Amtrak’s proposal for part
    of its Southwest Chief line to replace train service with buses. Company executives said
    the measure was necessary in order to avoid costly infrastructure upgrades and repairs. But senators from western
    states said, not so fast. – Would you ever consider
    the northeast corridor being shifted to buses? – [Journalist Voiceover]
    Amtrak backtracked, promising to keep the Southwest Chief running through the end of this year. – The effectively said, no,
    we are not going to replace trains with buses. – They did and we respect that. I think that we didn’t
    fully have a conversation about the future of the network. – [Journalist Voiceover]
    In Meridian, Mississippi, about three hours north of New Orleans, Roberts invited us to get off at his stop. When he was mayor of this city in the 90s, he said he led the effort
    to get this station built. – It tells our guests and
    our citizens who come home, you’ve come to a special place. – [Journalist Voiceover]
    He wanted us to see Meridian’s revitalization. – See, the question isn’t whether the Crescent or any other
    train is profitable, the question is, does it bring value to the cities that it
    serves along that line and is that value significantly more than the very modest amount that it takes to operate that train. – [Journalist Voiceover] In the mid-2000s, Meridian restored its grand opera house. Roberts, again, credits the train. – What does that have to
    do with this opera house? – [Roberts] This opera
    house existed because of the rail connection we had between Atlanta and New Orleans. – Amtrak’s not talking
    about abandoning the south. To the contrary, it would like to have more than one train a day
    stopping in cities like Atlanta. – Atlanta is sort of the poster child of what I’m talking about here. When you think about all of the corridors, Atlanta-Macon, Atlanta-Charlotte, Atlanta-Chattanooga-Knoxville,
    Atlanta-Birmingham, none of which are served
    effectively by Amtrak. – [Journalist Voiceover] Company
    officials aren’t saying yet whether they want their future network to include smaller cities like Meridian, but if Amtrak gets its
    way, cross-country routes, some more than a century
    old, may be split up. – I can’t guarantee results. What I can guarantee is that at Amtrak, we’re doing all we can to
    make these things happen.