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Railfan Trips
I've taken a few big railfan safaris to far away locations, some shorter trips to chase special excursions or everyday jobs, and unusual events--like the WSOR derailment of 2.16.07. As you scroll down through the trip log, use the 'slide show' feature to view the images in a cool slide show mode. Be sure to check back frequently as I'll be scanning slides from those long ago trips and adding to my trip files often. Better yet just sign up and I'll email you whenever I update the site--whether its long ago trip photos or contemporary shots.
Arizona (March 1, 2013)
A trip to Arizona to explore the BNSF Seligman subdivision, with a side trip to the BNSF Phoenix sub and the classic Santa Fe-painted bridges and landmarks from Warbonnet territory.
This trip includes: View Photos 14 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
WSOR Toys For Tots Special (November 3, 2012)
Originally scheduled to be pulled by the SOO 1003 steam engine, the classic WSOR diesel was called on to pull the 2012 Toys For Tots special when the steam engine developed a mechanical issue. I grabbed three of my four oldest grandsons who live nearby and took them to the old depot to meet the train.
This trip includes: View Photos 10 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
NS Heritage Family Gathering (July 3, 2012)
A trip to the festivities at Spencer, N.C., as the NS 30th anniversary celebration and group portrait of the heritage locomotive fleet at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.
This trip includes: View Photos 46 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Mexi Wreck WSOR Prairie Special (April 23, 2012)
The Wisconsin and Southern passenger equipment was led by rebuild Mexican GP38 #3813 out to Prairie du Chein, WI., on the WSOR Prairie subdivision.
This trip includes:
Illini Railnet Works The Ottawa Branch (October 2, 2011)
A day spent railfanning the Illinois Railnet job running from the silica plant on the Fox River at Wedron to BNSF''s Eola Yard at Aurora, IL.
This trip includes: View Photos 20 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Train Fest 2011 (July 19, 2011)
Train Fest 2011 is held in Rock Island, IL., and I am able to catch the action leading up to the event featuring three mainline steam locomotives and the Nebraska Zephyr trainset from the Illinois Railway Museum each running excursions over former Rock Island trackage in both Illinois and Iowa.
This trip includes: View Photos 47 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Arkansas & Missouri Rare Mileage Mixed (June 26, 2011)
The weekend of June 25 and 26 a trip was made to Springdale, AR., home of the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad. Tours of the shops were given and a rare mileage mixed train ran north to Butterfield, MO.
This trip includes: View Photos 10 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Pennsy Es Come To Chicago (May 8, 2011)
The beautifully restored ex-PRR E8s made the trip from Philadelphia to Chicago to help Amtrak celebrate their 40th birthday. This collection of shots is from that weekend during and after display at Union Station.
This trip includes: View Photos 8 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
National Train Day (May 7, 2011)
Amtrak celebrated a 40th birthday with National Train Day parties at several locations across the nation, including Chicago Union Station.
This trip includes: View Photos 15 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
A WSOR Cambria Sub Wind Turbine Offload (May 1, 2011)
Wisconsin & Southern is taking delivery of several wind turbine unit trains from the Union Pacific this spring, and forwarding them to an offload site just east of Cambria, Wisconsin. Cambria is the terminus of the WSOR Cambria sub, and a portion of the railroad is used to offload wind turbine parts for delivery to the build site by truck. After photographing the flatcars that were still to be unloaded, I had a chance to tour the end of track on this onetime Milwaukee Road northern road into Portage, Wisconsin, from Milwaukee. The line is severed and dismantled for the last 15 miles to Portage Jct.
This trip includes: View Photos 10 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Rock Island Heritage (April 10, 2011)
The Iowa Interstate Rock Island heritage locomotive leads the east train out of Iowa City, IA., on a fine spring Sunday morning. I''m able to intercept it at Atalissa and take it in to Davenport where it approaches the bridge to cross the Mississippi River. The trip ends with a capture of a matched set of BN SD60M''s along the river. Not bad for a half day of railfanning.
This trip includes: View Photos 8 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Chasing Amtrak Up The West Slope (March 14, 2011)
I spent the day following Amtrak 6, the California Zephyr, up the west slope of the Sierra Nevada on the transcontinental railroad. Eventually the train got away, but I was able to photograph UP action including a flanger move at Soda Springs, at the west end of the Norden Shed. The day was overcast with drizzle from the lower elevations and stayed that way all the way up to Soda Springs, where snows were still piled above homes. I was lucky, the great blizzard of 2011 was just days away, closing the pass to all traffic for 4 days and necessitating the use of SP rotaries.
This trip includes: View Photos 10 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
In Search Of SP & WP Depots (March 13, 2011)
A day spent photographing the depots of Southern Pacific and Western Pacific heritage in the Altamont, California, area.
This trip includes: View Photos 14 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Goin To California (March 8, 2011)
A trip from Illinois to California was taken aboard Amtrak's California Zephyr for Winterail 2011. These are photos from the ride out.
This trip includes: View Photos 51 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Fanning The Worm (January 22, 2011)
I had a chance to catch the Illinois Railnet moving over the CN at Rockford, Illinois, past a switch that led to what is known locally by crews and railfans as the "worm", dating from back in the days of CB&Q. The worm was the name given the trackage as it twisted through the J. Behr scrapyard, and was used at least once by the Burlington to reroute the Empire Builder via connection with the IC. Today the worm is simply a name for switch used to access the scrapyard, as most of the trackage has been pulled.
This trip includes: View Photos 5 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
South Shore Holidays (December 4, 2010)
Railfanning the Chicago, South Shore, and South Bend Railroad in northern Indiana between Michigan City and Gary. Passenger and freight operations are seen.
This trip includes: View Photos 14 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Workin on the Railroad (November 9, 2010)
WSOR spreads ballast along the Madison sub east of Stoughton as part of the welded rail project of 2010.
This trip includes: View Photos 12 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
WSOR Welded Rail Progress (October 12, 2010)
The WSOR Madison-Janesville train, T6, rolls eastward over a section of the Madison subdivision that has recently seen the installation of continuous welded rail. Gone is the clickety clack of the jointed rail dating back to the days of Milwaukee Road ownership. Speeds are still 10mph, but that will soon change with the completion of surfacing and grade crossing protection enhancement.
This trip includes: View Photos 6 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Hawkeye Fall Colors (October 9, 2010)
A trip to Iowa in search of fall colors and colorful locomotives.
This trip includes: View Photos 43 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Chasing the M&P Turn To Portage (September 8, 2010)
The Soo 2041, a worn-out looking patched Milwaukee road GP40, leads the G64 job back to Portage from Madison. This is a hill and dale trip in northern Dane county, through farmlands and small towns, 32 miles to Portage, at 10mph. A nice easy train to chase.
This trip includes: View Photos 7 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Diesel Days at Illinois Railway Museum (July 17, 2010)
Its the annual Diesel Days at IRM, and this years show spotlights the CNW, including a night photo session.
This trip includes: View Photos 12 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Photographing the CB&Q Signal Bridges (July 13, 2010)
The BNSF is rapidly replacing the old CB&Q signal masts and bridges on the Mendota subdivision. A focus of summer 2010 was to capture as of them while they still stand.
This trip includes: View Photos 17 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
The Lehigh Valley Rambler (June 26, 2010)
A chase of the Reading and Blue Mountain Railroad "Lehigh Rambler", led by Pacific 4-6-2 #425, was made into the Lehigh Gorge to Jim Thorpe and Port Clinton, PA.
This trip includes: View Photos 22 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
A day at Steamtown (June 25, 2010)
A daylight visit to Steamtown, USA.
This trip includes: View Photos 1 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
The Pocono Express (June 24, 2010)
A round trip excursion over the former Deleware Lackawanna and Western Railroad from Scranton to the Deleware Water Gap and the border with New Jersey.
This trip includes: View Photos 23 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Roots of the American Railroad (June 23, 2010)
A NRHS trip to Honesdale, PA., "The Birthplace of the American Railroad", was made. It was here the first steam locomotive to operate in North America, The "Stourbridge Lion", made its first run on August 8, 1829. A replica of the famous locomotive is housed in a museum along with a gravity passenger car used in that era. I visited the museum and also photographed the excursion train the "Stourbridge Line" led by EMD BL-2 #54 returning to Honesdale from its trip to Lackawaxen, PA.
This trip includes: View Photos 18 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
NRHS Steamtown Night Photo Session (June 23, 2010)
Night photo session with the locomotives at Steamtown.
This trip includes: View Photos 4 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
The Susquehanna Limited (June 22, 2010)
The first trip of the NRHS Endless Mountain Rails excursions, and the first-ever excursion along the Susquehanna River operating over the CP Sunbury Subdivision between Scranton and the outskirts of Sunbury, PA. This 80-mile trip is the first passenger train over these rails in 50 years or more.
This trip includes: View Photos 36 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
In Search of Scranton Alcos (June 22, 2010)
Scranton was and is a place to find Alco products, even if some of them now serve as parts sources. The quick and the dead are seen here, active Alcos working for the DL, and others as organ donors.
This trip includes: View Photos 12 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Riding the NS Operation Lifesaver Special (May 19, 2010)
HeartlandRails.com was invited to ride along with Norfolk Southern and their Operation Lifesaver special from Springfield, IL., to Griggsville, IL. and back. Onboard, riders were guests of the NS learning more about the problem of grade crossing safety.
This trip includes: View Photos 22 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Wig-Wag Hat Trick (April 26, 2010)
For now, there are three surviving sets of antique magnetic flagmen signals still guarding grade crossings on the Reedsburg subdivision of the Wisconsin & Southern trackage north of Madison, WI. These signals fell out of favor in the 1950s, replaced by the standard crossbuck and flashers commonly seen. It is only a matter of time before they are replaced. So word of a Union Pacific rock train coming down the line from the quarry at Rock Springs, WI., sent me in action with a goal of capturing the modern locomotives of the UP with the antique signals originally installed by the Chicago and North Western.
This trip includes: View Photos 11 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
The Last Days of Ridgely Tower (April 10, 2010)
Ridgely Tower on the UP Springfield line has the distinction of being the last Armstrong-lever active tower, where switches are actually controlled by the system of pipes and rods in service anywhere in the US. It is scheduled for decommission June 2010. A day was spent catching the action there, mostly Amtrak.
This trip includes: View Photos 12 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
CP Welded Rail Project (March 22, 2010)
CP continues to upgrade former jointed-rail sections of their mainline in Wisconsin, as maintenence forces gather to install the rail. This is former Milwaukee Road rail, on main track #1 west of Watertown, WI.
This trip includes: View Photos 4 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
WSOR Works the UW Heater (March 21, 2010)
The University of Wisconsin coal-fired power plant sits astride the WSOR Prairie sub and a remnant of the former IC Freeport (IL) branch on the UW campus. The WSOR 1506, working as job L403 brings a cut of cars to the plant, afterwords makes a run west to Middleton with a lumber load.
This trip includes: View Photos 8 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Ides of March WSOR Madison locals (March 15, 2010)
Come along as we document two of WSOR Madison terminal locals doing their work, jobs L464 and L463, plying the Watertown and Reedsburg subs on the Southern Division. The Watertown sub is ex-Milwaukee trackage and is slated to become part of a high speed Amtrak route, and Reedsburg sub is ex-CNW and includes the crossing of Lake Wisconsin. We get a chance to photograph the crossing at Merrimace from the pilot house of the ferry Colsac II, getting ready for a season''s work taking motorists across the lake.
This trip includes: View Photos 20 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
CP rail train drops welded rail (February 10, 2010)
I caught a CP work train dropping ribbon rail over a section of the former Milwaukee Road in southeast Wisconsin. Here main #1 has some jointed rail dating back to the 50s, and CP is getting ready for replacement by dropping the rail in place, an interesting operation to observe from a nearby highway overpass.
This trip includes: View Photos 9 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
KC Max Floyd Roast (January 30, 2010)
I made a road trip to KC to visit my old broadcast friends from my days at KY-102. The occassion was to honor Max Floyd, the legendary Program Director of the station and the most fun I ever had working in radio those four years from 1977 to 1981. Never took train photos back then, but I've tried to make amends since then. This weekend was no exception as I was able to shoot the old Frisco main line in suburban KC's Johnson County. Nowadays its a heavy-duty BNSF tonnage route, and UP takes a ride courtesy of their acquisition of the Katy, which had trackage rights here. I also took a revisit of the old Santa Fe Ottawa sub. Then Sunday saw BNSF and NS action in mid-Missouri on the trip home. That means the old Santa Fe Transcon, the west end of the Marceline sub and the NS old Wabash route.
This trip includes: View Photos 30 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
The day the President came to town (November 4, 2009)
President Obama makes a trip to Madison, and I'm able to catch Air Force One as it takes off back to Washington. Of course I was near the RR tracks...
This trip includes: View Photos 2 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
SP 4449 Highballs the Heartland (October 11, 2009)
SP 4449 makes the second of two trips down the Mississippi River amidst fall colors.
This trip includes: View Photos 6 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Last train to Fort? (October 7, 2009)
UP local LPA18 works out of the lonely UP outpost at Jefferson Junction, WI., and serves a part of the original CNW trackage in Wisconsin, which ran from Janesville north to Oshkosh. The line began to be chopped up in CNW days. However, a section of track in the middle, known as the Clyman sub and accessed to the UP system at the aforementioned hamlet north end, works as far south as historic Fort Atkinson, WI., on an occassional basis. Fort, as it's known to locals, is the end of track, a red board is placed as the track enters the north end of town from Jefferson Junction to serve a scrap iron customer, Lorman Brothers. On this day, the train came to Fort, and I was able to snap a few photos of a rare and endangered move. Many say this part of the track is next to be pulled..
This trip includes: View Photos 14 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Chasing UP rock loads through Madison (September 30, 2009)
When the UP sold their CNW trackage to Madison, they kept ownership of the rails north of the city to Reedsburg, with WSOR the designated operator. That kept access open for the UP to tap into the quarry near Baraboo, WI., that produced the famous CNW "pink lady" ballast. After ceasing to access the quarry for a year and a half, the UP has been dispatching trains this last month or two up to Baraboo for stone, some of the best ballast known to exist. We intercept a load of ballast coming back to the Madison area and follow it through town and out into the countryside with a WSOR crew. They will turn the train over to the UP at the Janesville terminal. It may be a MOW train, but it made for some nice variety and besides the light was perfect..come along!
This trip includes: View Photos 6 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
A WSOR Wednesday (September 16, 2009)
I got out for the first time in almost a month and stepped into a busy Wednesday for WSOR in the Madison terminal, where the Sun Prairie turn departed, followed shortly by the Prairie turn on its trip to Prairie du Chein, WI. The weather and light were perfect for a chase.
This trip includes: View Photos 6 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Chasing the Prairie turn (July 26, 2009)
I chased the WSOR Madison-Prairie du Chein turn, leaving Madison over former Milwaukee Road tracks with an ex-Milwaukee Road locomotive leading. I chased the train as far as Spring Green before the sun set.
This trip includes: View Photos 6 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
The Daylight comes to the Heartland (July 18, 2009)
The Southern Pacific 4449 comes to the midwest for an appearance at Trainfest in Owosso, MI. Heartlandrails.com joins the St. Paul-Chicago chase of Saturday July 18th, and the following day along the Amtrak line to Kalamazoo and then onto the Grand Trunk at Battle Creek, MI. This is the first mainline steam parts of this trackage in years.
This trip includes: View Photos 20 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Chasing the last of the Ball n Bar (April 23, 2009)
The last two CNW-painted units on the UP roster, 8646 & 8701, are slated for storage as excess power on the system. But, one last hurrah on the old CNW Adams sub finds the two paired out of Proviso on the Twin Cities manifest. Due to the orientation of the Adams line (NW), it is difficult to manage multiple shots of one train since UP layed welded rail over the subdivision. However, I manage to get a decent amount of photo opportunities as the train made its way past the farms and fields of southern Wisconsin and into Adams yard, where it did work before heading west at dusk.
This trip includes: View Photos 3 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
The Pac-Man returns on the CP (February 16, 2009)
The CP looks like retro-1985 for the day by running a pure Multi-Mark "Pacman" logo-ed train across Wisconsin. We chase it about 30 miles to a crew change at Portage, WI.
This trip includes: View Photos 5 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
2009 Mid-Continent Snow Train (February 15, 2009)
A Sunday afternoon trip to the Baraboo Range and the Mid-Continent Railway in North Freedom to photograph the annual snow train. Mid-Continent Railway is still recovering from the devastation of the floods of 2008.
This trip includes: View Photos 6 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Chasing the CP branchline turn on the M&P (February 14, 2009)
The CP local G64 works the 32-mile Portage-Madison branch and we follow it back to Portage from Madison over this hill-and-dale 10mph railroad.
This trip includes: View Photos 7 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Shoving the WSOR Sauk sub (February 7, 2009)
WSOR took a cut of empty hoppers out to storage on the unused Sauk Sub, a onetime Milwaukee Road branchline. This rail has been mostly inactive excepting the rare storage move like this since the early 1990s.
This trip includes: View Photos 15 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
WSOR snow removal (January 13, 2009)
During the winter of 2009, WSOR brought the Jordan Spreader up to Madison to clean up the trackage on this end of the system. They worked the Madison area 1/13 and 1/14.
This trip includes: View Photos 13 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Soo Line 1003 and the 2008 WSOR Santa Train (December 5, 2008)
Photos of the Soo Line 1003 pulling the WSOR Santa Train, including ferry moves and runbys.
This trip includes: View Photos 14 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
WSOR works the Oregon Spur (November 28, 2008)
The Oregon spur, former mainline of the CNW from Madison to Chicago, has been inactive since the UP absorbed the CNW in the 1990s. The line, still intact but sold by the UP, is owned by a couple communities south of Madison, with hopes of renewed service to industry parks yet to be built. On this day, WSOR job M3, with MP15ac 1506, uses a portion south from Olin Ave. in Madison to Fitchburg, WI., to store Soo Line centerbeam flats as part of its work around town on this "Black Friday". While everyone was beating each other up for parking space to grab deals at the Best Buy and Wal Mart, I was able to photograph this action on usually inactive rails.
This trip includes: View Photos 8 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
WSOR executive train chase (November 17, 2008)
I chased a WSOR passenger extra on the Cambria sub, from about MP 162 to Ackerville, WI., with shots at Randolph, Beaver Dam, Horicon, Hartford. The train was powered by a A-B-A consist of E-units, and the first snow of the season obscured some photos.
This trip includes: View Photos 6 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Farewell to the ICE and DME (October 1, 2008)
The DME and ICE family of roads became part of the CP system on October 30, 2008. This is a collection of the last ICE (and DME) family shots taken during the past few months of operation.
This trip includes: View Photos 14 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Milwaukee 261 Wisconsin-redo (August 13, 2008)
The Milwaukee Road 261 trip to Wisconsin planned earlier in the summer was cancelled because of flooding. Beginning August 13, the 261 came to Wisconsin for a series of rescheduled weekend trips out of Milwaukee.
This trip includes: View Photos 30 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
The Great Flood of 2008 (June 8, 2008)
Starting around June 7th, repeated thunderstorms dropped several inches of water in many areas of the heartland. In the aftermath, railroads struggled with creative operations to move tonnage around affected areas. That meant many opportunities to photograph trains in places they aren't usually seen.
This trip includes: View Photos 58 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Milwaukee Road 261 stars in a movie (May 15, 2008)
The Milwaukee Road 261 steam engine made a trip from St. Paul to Chicago and back in May for a cameo appearance in the movie Public Enemy, starring Johnny Depp as the infamous John Dillinger. The producers needed a steam engine, and using Hollywood creative liberties, cast the 261 (made in 1944) and its entire matched set of Milwaukee Road passenger cars for some scenes at Chicago Union Station set in the 1930s. I was able to catch the ferry moves, inbound May 15 and outbound May 21st, in Wisconsin and Minnesota. What a treat to see this beautiful train in pure Milwaukee dress!
This trip includes: View Photos 14 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
ICE Detour trains (May 1, 2008)
During May 2008, CP hosted ICE detour trains on account of high water and bridge outage. I was able to catch a few of these moves including a ICE unit windmill train.
This trip includes: View Photos 8 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Chasing the CNW Heritage unit 1995 on the UP (October 28, 2007)
I intercepted a westbound MBUVP (Milw-St. Paul) manifest on the UP Adams sub, former racetrack for the CNW fleet of 400s. The train was led by UP/CNW heritage unit 1995, I was able to capture it between MP 276 and Adams Yard, MP 202.
This trip includes: View Photos 7 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
The Skunk era nears an end on the WSOR (October 18, 2007)
WSOR SD20s, affectionately known as "skunks", have reached the end of the line on the WSOR. On October 18th, 2007, WSOR 2054 made its last run on the WSOR. We see action in view of the State Capitol building at Madison, and a switch move nearby at the University of Wisconsin. The 2054 was to go to its new owner after this run, somewhere in Texas. The official WSOR website has a page dedicated to the skunks.
This trip includes: View Photos 8 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Chasing the CP 2816 in WI and IL (August 29, 2007)
CP Royal Hudson 4-6-4 2816 made a trip into Wisconsin and Illinois for a weekend of excursions out of Chicago over the Labor Day weekend. The Friends of 261 tacked their cars onto the end of the CP company cars and it made for a colorful consist pulling into the old depot at Sturtevant, WI. We see scenes from the excursions and the ferry moves into and out of the Chicagoland area over CP trackage in Wisconsin.
This trip includes: View Photos 19 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
The semaphores come down at Brighton Park (July 6, 2007)
I made one last trip to Brighton Park, in Chicago, where the only manually operated junction left in US railroad operation is dismantled. The entire mega-junction has all the diamonds replaced along with the venerable semaphore signal towers, in service since 1944, and the shanty where the switchtender operated them by armstrong. NS contracted Cranemaster to do the work. Heartlandrails.com captured the last activity under the blades!
This trip includes: View Photos 35 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
UP Heritage trio meets the 844 in Iowa (June 26, 2007)
A day spent chasing the UP 844 steam engine as it crosses western Iowa, meeting the UP "heritage" locomotives as they pull a Z train west.
This trip includes: View Photos 28 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Fanning the KCS at Heavener, OK (June 24, 2007)
A side trip to the KCS Division point between KC and the Gulf, located in the small town of Heavener, Oklahoma, after the day on the A&M, nearby at Ft. Smith Arkansas. We only had a couple hours but the skies opened up making for some nice light for picture taking and the KCS came through with action.
This trip includes: View Photos 13 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Riding the A&M in the Ozarks (June 24, 2007)
Come along for a day long excursion aboard the A&M Railroad, riding on the south end between Ft. Smith, AR., and Winslow Tunnel with a mixed train. The heartlandrails.com cameras were aboard the caboose for the trip!
This trip includes: View Photos 35 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
2007 Heartland rail tour (June 22, 2007)
On the way to Arkansas for an A&M mixed train special these are the images I captured of action in the Heartland. I included some night shots posed with Rogers #224, a preserved and operable trolley at the Ft. Smith Trolley Museum. This session was conducted by the Boston Mtn./Arkansas NRHS Chapter, and I thank them for a great weekend.
This trip includes: View Photos 25 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
UP 1995 detours on the ICE RR (June 2, 2007)
UP 1995, the CNW heritage locomotive, made a trip across northern Illinois on the ICE Chicago sub, leading a MPRCB manifest on a detour over the former CNW archrival, the Milwaukee Road. The weather was partly sunny, with better sunlight the further west I went. I intercept the train at Genoa, IL., MP59, and follow it to Sabula, Ia. on the ICE River sub.
This trip includes: View Photos 21 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Battle Creek St. Pattys Day (March 17, 2007)
My nephew Thad and I snuck off for an afternoon of picture taking in the old Grand Trunk city home to Kelloggs--Battle Creek, Michigan. At one time NYC and GTW trains crossed here, but GTW was the big player with a major yard and shops. Today, with a much smaller scale operation, CN still has a yard and a mainline fuel pad. NS and Amtrak share CN trackage through town now. And foreign power is the rule of the day on road trains, as you'll see.
This trip includes: View Photos 12 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Amtrak to Michigan (March 14, 2007)
A trip to visit family in southwest lower Michigan via Amtrak offers up some interesting RR photo ops. The trip began in Columbus, WI., at MP 150 on the CP Watertown sub, on Amtrak 8, the Empire Builder. At Chicago, I transferred to Amtrak #30 and rode into the night as far as Elkhart. Returning later that weekend via the Amtrak Michigan Line, which includes some high speed running. During the weekend I was able to photograph the ex GTW, now CN, along with the NS in Kalamazoo.
This trip includes: View Photos 8 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
WSOR JM-16 derailment (February 16, 2007)
At 0330 hours on 2/16/07, JM-16 was westbound from Janesville to Madison when several cars derailed just behind the locomotives at MP 112.3, west of the Rock River bridge. Fortunately, there were no injuries or hazardous materials involved. When I arrived on the scene, the TV people were gathering with their crews, and the Hulcher trucks were arriving to stage their equipment for the cleanup.
This trip includes: View Photos 15 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
IC&E 922 job on the Rockford sub (February 8, 2007)
The Iowa, Chicago, & Eastern network includes a branch off their E-W main across Illinois, at Davis Junction. This 42 mile branch heads north through Rockford, IL., Beloit, WI., and eventually to Janesville, WI., where it interchanges with the WSOR. At Janesville, the IC&E has a customer they service, Freedom Plastics, and the "922" job makes a run to switch out FP a few times a week. This branch is ex-MILW trackage, and though a branch even in the MILW days, it seems to have grown in importance as it provides a possible future alternate connector from Wisconin into Chicago. At any rate, the line is still mostly 10mph, making chasing very easy, and takes the Rock River valley south out of Janesville, crossing it north of Beloit. There is a small yard at South Beloit, just over the Illinois state line. Lately, the 922 job has been appearing on the north end of the branch in the late afternoon, making their pickup and rolling south starting alongside the WSOR yard and Roundhouse. It is there we pick up the chase, on this sunny but cold February afternoon...
This trip includes: View Photos 8 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
CP Daylight M&P "Superbowl" turn (February 4, 2007)
6 days a week the CP sends a train over the "M&P" branch, the ex-MILW branch that runs south from Portage, WI., to Madison, a distance of 32 miles. Usually the train is called for 5pm and most of the line is 10mph, meaning that only in the long days of summer can a person photograph this train meandering south to Madison--and only then for a few miles into the trip before it gets dark. But, on Superbowl Sunday, the CP lets the M&P crew run 12 hours earlier, meaning a rare chance to capture this train in daylight at the south end of its run including the interchange with the WSOR at their yard in Madison.
This trip includes: View Photos 15 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
WSOR wintertime chase (January 25, 2007)
I intercepted the WSOR Janesville-Chicago train as it left Janesville and headed out of town over ex-MILW J-line trackage now known as the WSOR Fox Lake sub. I followed the long manifest for about 20-30 miles past Avalon, WI. Since the WSOR is a 20mph RR for the most part, chasing is easy and usually yields some good shot opportunities. This is primarily farming country, seen in the Wisconsin winter.
This trip includes: View Photos 7 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
DM&IR Iron Range railfan ramble (November 3, 2006)
Railfan friends Tom McNair, Tim Fullbright, the Godfather, John Dziobko, and myself met up in Proctor, MN., at the top of the hill from the Duluth/Superior basin. Our objective: photograph as many DM&IR painted locomotives still running on the Messabi and Two Harbors subs over the course of a long weekend of railfanning. And, as of this writing, I can report many were still to be found 2+ years after the CN purchase. Oh, there were a couple CN painted ex-SP SD40-T2s seen, and the signage on all the buildings and property had the CN wet noodle plastered on them. Otherwise it looked like DM&IR circa 2003. It was sad to see the once busy Proctor shops and yard significantly downgraded in the CN era. Weather wise, we had a mix of clouds and sun, but enough of each to get a diverse photographic experience. Temperatures moderated nicely to above normal, there was no snow on the ground. Coincidentally, it was the opening weekend of the deer hunt, and the sounds of distant rifle fire was somewhat disconcerting since I did not have blaze orange on. Everywhere I went I saw people wearing orange, even non hunters. Happily I did get back safe and sound, and hope you like looking through this collection of photos of one of the most interesting railroad operations in the Heartland!
This trip includes: View Photos 47 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
IAIS Chow Mein choo choo safari (September 15, 2006)
East meets West as the Jitong Railway QJs team up with the Milwaukee Road 261 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 1st RR crossing the Mississippi River in 1856 between Rock Island, IL., and Davenport, IA. All told, 3 mainline steam engines worked to pull excursions over the various railroads in the area over the course of 5 days, piling up milage pulling passenger specials and tonnage freight! The HeartlandRails.com cameras caught all the action, check out the slideshow and check back often as more photos from all the trips are uploaded!
This trip includes: View Photos 131 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Private Car ride on the Empire Builder (July 9, 2005)
On the trip home from the NRHS Convention in Portland, I lucked into a ride aboard the J. Pinckney Henderson, a private car owned by the Landcaster & Chester RR (for more on the car, see this.) The car was chartered by Mr. Burton Eisenberg and his wife Janet who were attending the NRHS Convention as a gift to his father-in-law, Mr. William Eilberg, an aging and ailing WWII veteran. A survivor of the Pacific Campaign in WWII, Mr. Eilberg returned on a troop train back to his home in New Jersey from disembarkation at San Fransico in 1945, kissing the ground like many GIs as he stepped off the ship. His one wish some 60 years later was to relive his rail route home from the War. Since health concerns limited his ablilty to climb the stairs in a Superliner sleeper, the chartered car was the only option for Mr. Eilberg. I spent 2 nights in an unused room on that car in complete luxury, with meals cooked from scratch, riding through some of the most beautiful country in the world, and getting to know Mr. Eilberg, his family, and his incredible story of survival, all the way to my home in Wisconsin on the tail end of Amtrak 8. There were no cars behind ours up the Columbia River Gorge all the way to Wisconsin. It is amazing the bonds you make with total strangers over the course of a railroad journey. To this day Mr. Eilberg thanks President Truman for saving his life. POSTSCRIPT: Sad to report that in 2006 Mr. Eilberg passed away of complications from long term health issues. What a pleasure it was to know him for even a short time and share the experience we did.
This trip includes: View Photos 42 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
2005 NRHS Convention in Portland (July 5, 2005)
Photos from the 2005 NRHS Convention in Portland, OR., including the Lewis & Clark Explorer RDC run to Astoria, OR., the Western Star steam special to Wishram, WA., the Port of Tillamook Bay excursion from Banks, OR., and the tour of the ex-SP Roundhouse at Brooklyn including the NRHS night photo session.
This trip includes: View Photos 54 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
TUT Charter to the 2005 NRHS Convention (July 2, 2005)
I rode the Trains Unlimited Charter train that ran from Emeryville, CA., to Portland OR., with side trips on the McCloud RR and ex-SP branch to Coos Bay., prior to the start of the 2005 NRHS Convention in Portland, OR. We traveled north from Emeryville joining the ex-SP Shasta route at Marysville, CA., for the ride north. Our trip culminated with a ride up the UP Brooklyn sub into Portland on the evening of July 4th, where we enjoyed the fireworks displays in nearly every town we passed through.
This trip includes: View Photos 94 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Amtrak Chicago to Emeryville on the Zephyr (June 29, 2005)
I rode the westbound Zephyr from Chicago to Emeryville to connect with the Trains Unlimited charter to the NRHS Convention in Portland. Included are scenes from Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Nevada, and California.
This trip includes: View Photos 48 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Dennison Railroad Days (July 31, 2004)
A trip was made to the ex-PRR Panhandle sub, now operated by the Ohio Central, for the Railroad Days festivities at Dennison, OH. The OHCR RR brought out their vintage F9s painted in Tuscan Red, along with other vintage diesel and steam power, including the CP 1293 & GTW 6325. Joining the party were the PRR-painted Es of Mr. Bennett Levin. This was the first time I ever remember breaking off one steam train chase to chase a second steam train! On the way home, we caught the PRR Es deadheading on the NS high iron near Marion and Crestline, OH., before heading west on the CSX Indy Line to Sidney, OH. It was a railfan trip that lived way beyond my expectations!
This trip includes: View Photos 23 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
2004 NRHS Convention in the Twin Cities (June 30, 2004)
Here is a collection of photos from the 2004 NRHS Convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Tours were made of the Minnesota Transportation Museum and the old Twin Cities interruban and the new Minneapolis Hiawatha light rail system which had only been in operation one week. Milwaukee 261 & CP 2816 were the stars of the Convention, I chased the circle trip featuring the MILW 261 over the BNSF to La Crosse and back to St. Paul on the Minnesota side of the river via the CP. At Red Wing, MN., the CP 2816 was waiting for the MILW 261. Both trains posed for pictures, and then each left back for the Twin Cities. Back to back mainline steam moves on one RR in the same day in 2004? Yes! But the highlight was the ride the next day on the doubleheader where the 2 steamers teamed up for a ride on the CP side of the river to La Crosse and return-which I was lucky to have a ticket for. Like the Doobie Brothers sing, "Oh black water, keep on rolling, Mississippi moon wont you keep on shinin on me?"
This trip includes: View Photos 39 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Milwaukee 261 on the CP River Sub in Fall colors (October 3, 2003)
On October 4 & 5 2003, the Milwaukee Road 261 steam train operated over home rails--now the CP River sub--on a trip from St. Paul to La Crescent, across the Mississippi River from La Crosse, WI., and return. I chased it on both days, in great light with the fall colors just starting to explode along the mighty Mississippi.
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NWI-NRHS Corwith & Clearing Tours (September 13, 2003)
The North-Western Illinois Chptr. of the NRHS sponsored a trip to visit several Chicagoland rail facilities for guided tours. Included in our stops: the BNSF Corwith Yard and the Belt Railway of Chicago Clearing Yard. For a complete rundown of the trip, click here.
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Chasing the Pere Marquette 1225 (August 9, 2003)
Before starring in the Polar Express, the 1225 made an excursion from Owosso to Cadillac, MI., over the tracks of the old Ann Arbor, now operated by the Tuscola and Saginaw Bay. We chase the train southbound from Cadillac all the way to its home base in Owosso.
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Twin Cities railfan Spring Fling (April 13, 2003)
I took a Spring trip to the Twin Cities for a weekend of railfanning & photography. The area around Dayton Bluff in St. Paul was the place to catch all kinds of action, but side trips were made to Northtown (BNSF) and the Minnesota Commercial.
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Pittsburgh railfan safari (August 3, 2002)
Join me on a weekend railfan getaway to the steel city to photograph the NS & CSX and the distinctive position light signals of their former owners. Also, see URR action in Dravosburg, Irvin Jct., and Duquesne plus the bottle train at the J. Edgar Thompson Steel Works alongside the CSX ex-PLE main at Port Perry, the last remaining icon of the steel making age in Pittsburgh. Side trips were made to B&P property at Butler, PA., alongside the B&LE main, plus the railroad rich environment north and east of Pittsburg in places like Newcastle and Mahongingtown, PA. On the return trip home we caught up to the Wheeling and Lake Erie featuring a 3-way meet at Spencer Junction, OH., plus action on the NS at Bellevue, OH. Pittsburgh is a great place to visit--take a look!
This trip includes: View Photos 45 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
2002 Circus World Museum Circus Train (July 6, 2002)
I chased the Circus World Museum Great Circus Train over three days as it wound its way to Milwaukee from their home at Baraboo, WI. over the WSOR RR. The train pulled vintage circus cars and antiques and was led by vintage diesel and steam power.
This trip includes: View Photos 18 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
2002 Milwaukee 261 Illinois tour (June 20, 2002)
With a pure MILW consist, The Milwaukee Road 261 ventures from its home in the Twin Cities to the Land of Lincoln. I capture action on the inbound deadhead move over the BNSF LaCrosse sub at locations like E. Dubuque, Savanna, Burke, Polo, & Steward. The following Saturday and Sunday, the 261 runs a pair of trips out of Chicago--Saturday on the BNSF Mendota sub to Galesburg and Sunday on the "C&I" to Rochelle. Heartlandrails.com has images from all 3 days.
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UP 3985 trips from Chicagoland to Milwaukee (June 15, 2002)
UP brought the 3985 to the midwest for a couple of runs up the Milwaukee sub to the Beer City from West Chicago as a tonic to help soothe the loss of the CNW identity in the heartland. The inbound ferry move to West Chicago came over the UP Geneva sub on June 12, 2002. I chased the inbound deadhead move and the weekend runs to Butler Yard in Milwaukee.
This trip includes: View Photos 15 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Twin Cities railfan safari (April 20, 2002)
A weekend railfan trip up the Mississippi River to the Twin Cities in early April netted action at Hoffman Interlocking from CP, BNSF, UP, TC&W on a beautiful sunny Saturday. The next morning we awoke to a Spring snowstorm and captured some nice snowy action in the Minneapolis area including Northtown & Humboldt Yards.
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A Warbonnet gets a new dress (August 16, 2001)
BNSF 523 gets repainted by the WSOR Horicon, WI. paint shops. It then leads a WSOR turn west out of Madison on the Prairie sub where it will be interchanged with the BNSF at Crawford, near Prairie Du Chein. We capture it at the wig wag near Black Earth and again after working at Mazomainie.
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A day on the Wisconsin Central (July 15, 2001)
Railfan compatriot Tom McNair and myself made a swing through Wisconsin Central territory on this mid-July date. The railroad wouldn''t be long for the world, and we spent the day getting numerous shots in and around Fon du Lac, and Stevens Point, WI. The day concluded with the CP M&P turn out of Portage.
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2001 Great Circus Train (July 7, 2001)
The Circus World Great Circus Train makes its journey to the Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee from its headquarters at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI. The train travelled via the Wisconsin Southern RR, traversing the state in a 2-day tour.
This trip includes: View Photos 4 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Rathole railfan safari (March 9, 2001)
I made an early Spring weekend railfan trip to southern Indiana and semaphore country on the ex-Monon with my friends. After a successful day bagging the blades we gambled that the best weather the next day would be to our south and east, so we headed into the night to position ourselves at Somerset, KY., the north end of the famous "Rathole" sub, the former CNO&TP mainline now operated as a Norfolk Southern artery to the south from Cincinnati. Our gamble paid off, the weather was a glorious 65 degree sunny day as we took photos of the NS action in the deep cuts of the Rathole through the Cumberland National Forest. We ended the day shooting photos of trains on the huge doubletrack bridge at Burnside over the Cumberland River. The return trip included railfan stops at the IC in Fulton, KY., UP and NS action plus a quick stop at the NRE facilities in Salem, IL., and lastly a tour of the spiffy Effingham RR engine & facilities in Effingham, IL. to wrap up a great trip.
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2000 Great Circus Train (July 8, 2000)
I rode the Great Circus Train on its first lap to Milwaukee. We started our trip at the Circus World Museum home in Baraboo. Baraboo was the winter headquarters for Al Ringling and today is a Circus Museum. The museum participated in a parade in the streets of downtown Milwaukee, and it would transport its antique circus train via the RR until 2004.
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Milwaukee Road 261 Illinois tour 2000 (May 20, 2000)
The Milwaukee Road made a couple trips over the BNSF Mendota sub and I was able to capture a few images of the train running in soft light.
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Green County Railroad Days (April 29, 2000)
Green County Railroad Days happened the weekend of April 29-30, 2000. It included a ride on a gasoline powered section car over the recently abandoned (and now removed) ex-IC branch from Freeport, IL. to Madison, WI, through the line's only tunnel. Other activities included a WSOR excursion led by E's and fun at the Brodhead depot and environs.
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Kansas Flint Hills railfan safari (March 10, 2000)
A weekend railfan getaway with Tom McNair, Will Rasmussen, and Brian Carlson in the early Spring included a return visit to railfan some of the hotspots in Kansas City. The trip extended into the heart of the old ATSF county-the Flint Hills-between KC and Wichita, for action at Matfield Green, Emporia, Topeka & Ottawa KS. too. Santa Fe all the way!
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Green County Railroad Days (April 17, 1999)
Various rail activities commemorating Green County railroads happened on this Saturday including a Special by WSOR to Brodhead, WI., and the running of classic railroad "speeders" over the unused ex-IC branchline.
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Nebraska railfan safari (April 9, 1999)
Tom McNair, Will Rasmussen, and myself drove late night west across Iowa, destination Council Bluffs, where we would begin a 3 day rail rampage into Nebraska on this Spring weekend. Scouting the next morning, we happened upon information that the UP business train at Council Bluffs, with the 6936 leading, would be heading west later that weekend. With that info tucked away, we photographed the IAIS shops, made the local rounds, and headed west to Lincoln, NE. Once there we launched out onto the Alliance sub, capturing images of BNSF coal trains before returning to the UP at Grand Island. We intercepted the UP business train westbound took and took it west as far as Gibbon before breaking off the chase. Before heading home, we captured action on the triple tracked UP, where a headlight was always in view. Crossing back to Iowa we followed an eastbound IAIS train out of Council Bluffs across Iowa.
This trip includes: View Photos 21 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Milwaukee 261 and Galesburg RR Days (June 26, 1998)
I met up with railfan friends Tom McNair and John Dziobko in Chicago on Friday night, June 26th, to be in position to chase the Milwaukee Road 261 steam engine to Galesburg, IL. RR Days celebration. Friday night we pick off some south Chicago freight action, and the next morning we are in position at Roosevelt Road in Chicago to catch the MILW 261 departure for Galesburg over the ex-BN Mendota sub. It is a hot, humid day in the heartland, and we are able to intercept and photograph the train along the way, and fortunately the air conditioner worked great in our car!
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The Monon Semaphores (June 13, 1998)
Fanning the remaining Monon territory under protection of semaphores.
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IMRL Inspection Train (November 5, 1997)
The IMRL has purchased the SOO Iowa lines, and uses the Montana Rail Link executive equipment including F45 391 to pull a special into the Quad Cities from Kansas City. I was able to catch a few shots of the train in the last few miles of its journey.
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Circus train passes the old Gibson Guitar factory (October 15, 1997)
The Ringling Brothers train passes the old Gibson guitar plant in Kalamazoo, MI. Guitars are still made at this plant today, to find out more on the Heritage story, go here.
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A Grand Trunk Focus (May 10, 1997)
A day-long railfan trip covering Grand Trunk territory in Lansing and Battle Creek, MI.
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UP 844 comes to the Heartland (August 25, 1996)
UP had finally swallowed the CNW in the mid 1990s and to help soothe the loss of the beloved CNW to the families and towns it served, the UP dispatched their one of their steam ambassadors to the former CNW territory for a meet and greet...
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BN 1 and MILW 261 Star at 1996 Galesburg RR Days (June 23, 1996)
Galesburg Railroad Days is underway and the star attraction this year is the BN 1, giving employees rides on the freight-only Barstow sub out of Galesburg. The trip offers an opportunity to photograph the executive units with Metra bi-levels as coaches.
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Farewell to the Santa Fe RR in New Mexico (September 15, 1995)
I made a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a last blast with my favorite RR, the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe RR. With less than a week left before officially becoming the BNSF, I caught action in Glorietta Pass as a warbonnet-led 198 train detoured on the Raton sub while the slowly setting sun turned the Sangre de Cristo Mountains the blood-red color they were named after. The next day was spent at Abo Canyon on the New Mexico sub, working both ends of this famous canyon. Side trips included a ride on the Santa Fe Southern to Lamy and a ride on the Cumbres & Toltec west end from Chama, N.M. with doubleheaded steam.
This trip includes: View Photos 23 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Kansas City railfan safari I (February 17, 1995)
I called Kansas City home from 1974-81. I lived within yards of the Frisco main and made numerous trips to nearby Holliday, KS., to watch ATSF action west out of Argentine Yard. And when that got boring, I could always cross the river to Bonner Springs, Ks., and catch the endless parade of UP & ROCK action there. Too bad I did not own a camera, I never knew people actually took pictures of trains back then. But, I try to make up for some of the lost opportunity on this weekend getaway to the other American RR capital-Kansas City. And, the weather was great for February--sunny and in the 50s--which netted some nice action at various hotspots around the Metro.
This trip includes: View Photos 22 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Fall Colors Along The Mississippi (November 6, 1994)
Starting at Clinton on the CNW and working our way north with fall colors the objective.
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Horseshoe Curve railfan getaway (September 14, 1994)
In September 1994 my wife Ruth Ann and I took a trip to Altoona, PA., and the railfan mecca Horseshoe Curve. I explored the Altoona area, as well as the Curve and Cresson, PA. On the way home through Ohio I explored the ex-PRR Panhandle line now operated by the Ohio Central, and then made a stop at Marion, OH. and the famous NS/CSX/CR crossing there.
This trip includes: View Photos 17 Photos (Slideshow) or (Grid View)
Fanning the route of the National Limited (February 5, 1994)
Tom McNair and I left for Effingham, IL., one Saturday night, and upon arrival checked in to our motel. Our objective was to be out at daybreak to catch the action at the busy crossing of the IC and Conrail, the former PRR RR route of the old National Limited. After a few trains there, we headed east following the old PRR line to Danville and then Terre Haute, IN., where we spent the rest of the day catching NS and CSX action including Haley Tower, before turning back home.
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Fanning the Frozen Upper Mississippi (January 29, 1994)
Friend and railfan Tom McNair and I ventured to the Upper Mississippi River area of LaCrosse, WI. for BNSF action, and across the river to LaCrescent, MN., for a wintertime look at the SOO River sub. The fun continued a week later downriver at Savanna, IL.
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New Mexico railfan ramblings (September 16, 1993)
My wife had an Great Uncle who was a retired artist and lived on a mountainside near St. Johns College, 7,300 feet above sea level, and overlooking Santa Fe, N.M. in the Sangre de Cristo Range. That put me in the thick of Santa Fe action in Glorietta Pass and not too far Abo Canyon, south of Albuquerque. We also made a side trip north to Taos and Chama, riding the C&TS from Chama, N.M., to Osier, CO., and back.
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1993 NRHS Convention in Chicago (July 20, 1993)
The 1993 NRHS Convention saw big steam come to the midwest in spite of numerous operational difficulties due to the flooding of the Mississippi River that year. UP came to the Windy City with the 3985, and the NKP 765 & 587 doubleheaded inbound from the east.
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Santa Fe 3751 Employee Special (September 8, 1992)
Santa Fe ran an employee special featuring a full set of classic Santa Fe passenger equipment pulled by the 3751, the first 4-8-4 on the railroad, from Southern California to Chicago. We met the train in Topeka, KS., and followed it to Fort Madison, IA. A couple days later, we again intercepted the 3751, this time as it crossed the Chillicothe Sub in Illinois westbound.
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Illinois Central revisited (June 28, 1992)
Not getting enough of the great Mid-American railroad flavor on a day long outing a couple weeks earlier, Tom McNair and I made another day long trip down the Main Line of Mid America, the Illinois Central, to examine the newly single-tracked line and the various crossings of railroads it encountered on its southerly run downstate Illinois.
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Central Illinois Railfan Raid (June 7, 1992)
A long summer day of fanning central Illinois railroad locations including stops at the TP&W, and various towers including friendly visits with Operators on the IC and CSX. Looking back, I''''d say Tom McNair and I took full advantage of the long summer day to capture plenty of Heartland flavor.
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Galesburg Railroad Days (May 30, 1992)
Photos from a trip to Galesburg RR Days offers opportunity to photograph equipment displays and excursions.
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SOO passenger extra chase (October 13, 1991)
A fall color trip along the Mississippi on the SOO from Davenport, IA., to Dubuque, IA. sees a pair of Cat-powered Geeps leading a train through the fall colors along the Mississippi River and makes for a fine chase in this old Milwaukee Road territory.
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Middle Illinois Santa Fe action (August 11, 1991)
A day spent chasing the Santa Fe in the Streator, IL. area. Our goal was new warbonnets, but most of the action seen was still bluebonnets.
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Central Iowa CNW hunt (April 28, 1991)
A day long central Iowa excursion to photograph CNW subjects in Marshalltown.
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A Rainy Weekend in Cincy (April 7, 1991)
A quick trip to Cincinnati with a friend for the weekend netted a few railroad shots including the CSXT at the massive Queensgate Yard.
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Spring Day On The SW Side Of Chicagoland (March 25, 1991)
Fanning the SW Chicago hotspots including Clearing Yard and the ex-GM&O line.
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K Line Coal (March 17, 1991)
A chase of a BN coal train down the K line from Burlington, IA., towards St. Louis, ensues when the train is discovered to have relatively new Oakway leasor SD60s from EMD powering the train. Several locations along the Mississippi framed the train as it crossed from Iowa into Missouri.
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BN Executive Fs chase (November 25, 1990)
On Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend 1990, the BN executive F9A&B set were dispatched to lead a freight from Galesburg, IL., to the Twin Cities. The F's had just been released into service and this was my first of many looks at these handsome covered wagons. Today, the F's would lead a combo 143-45 freight, and Tom McNair and I chased the train from Galesburg to Savanna, over the BN Barstow sub, aka the "Peavine". The weather conditions were less than perfect with a milky layer of clouds, but there were a few sucker holes in the clouds to cast a soft glow on the train as it headed north (timetable west) over the BN.
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Ill-fated Frisco 1522 trip to the Quad Cities (October 4, 1990)
In October 1990, the SLSF 1522 was scheduled to run a steam powered excursion train along the SOO (now ICE RR) from Davenport, IA., to the Twin Cities. The train never made it. Upon arrival in Moline, IL., via the BN from St. Louis, the crew rediscovered a persistant overheating problem with one of the axles in the pony trucks. The train did get on SOO property after dark at Davenport, but after only a short distance the problem resurfaced and that was enough for SOO to embargo the train to the siding at LeClaire, Iowa. The next morning the train backed up to Davenport, crossed the Mississippi, got back on the BN, and limped at 5-10mph all the way to Galesburg, some 45 miles. Unfortunately, the 1522 was never able to show her stuff, but the weather was great both days and 10mph running plus frequent stops to hand repack oil soaked rags in an attempt not to further damage the axle, meant lots of photo ops for railfans. The next day at Galesburg, BN lent a hand with their forces in an effort to get the 1522 back to St. Louis. It was a problem that would go on to plague the 1522s operations for a long time after that. On HeartlandRails.com you will see photos of the train arriving in the Quad Cities, and the return the next day via BN to Galesburg, IL.
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NW 1218 Chase (July 7, 1990)
NW 1218 ran an excursion from Calumet Yard in Hammond, IN., to Ft. Wayne, IN., over the ex-NKP RR. It was the first midwest tour for the 1218.
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On The Warbonnet Hunt (June 10, 1990)
In what would become a normal quest at this era of railroading, a day spent near the ATSF mainline in western Illinois in hopes of getting warbonnet painted units. Looking back, the BN green in the yard and the Amtrak action was nice too..
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St. Louis weekend (March 24, 1990)
The family took a weekend trip to the St. Louis area for family fun, of course I took my camera and managed to squeeze in some railfanning, along the UP ex-MP and BN Cuba subs, plus a side trip to the Museum of Transportation.
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Chasing candy-apple red SOO for the 1st time (December 23, 1989)
The Soo Line had painted the #772 in the new candy apple red colors, and I chased it from Clinton to Davenport, IA., a couple days before Christmas in 1989. My railfan friend Mark Zaputil joined me in the chase.
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Riding the "Wicket" in Wisconsin (November 11, 1989)
On a cloudy Saturday, we climbed aboard an excursion train on the Wisconsin & Calumet RR, known as the "Wicket". The WICT operated castoff MILW trackage in southern Wisconsin, including the ex MILW "Southwestern" trackage that ran from Sturtevant, WI., to Beloit (and Savanna, IL.); and the "J" line that ran from Rondout (IL) to Janesville, intersecting at Bardwell Junction in southern Wisconsin. The WICT had a pair of F7s painted up in nice IC-style chocolate brown & orange along with a matching trainset of cars. We boarded at Elkhorn, WI., ran west on the Southwestern to Bardwell, then wyed the train on the connection that hadn't been used in years and ran on the "J" line to Janesville. At Janesville, we continued west past the old MILW yard (WICT then, now WSOR) and onto the old MILW line to Boscobel & Monroe. There were several photo runbys, and since this was mostly 10mph running, a leisurely attitude by the crew and passengers made it a fun day trip. Since the weather was so cloudy, many of my photos that day were unusable. However, I managed to salvage a few decent shots of our train and I've uploaded them here. The cool thing is that most of this trackage is operated today with higher and higher carloading counts yearly on the WSOR. At the time of our trip in 1989, the future of this trackage was in doubt. Some of the line hadn't seen service and was overgrown by weeds. But the State of Wisconsin had foresight to purchase the lines from the MILW trustee and today its a active, vibrant rail network served by the WSOR. The "Wicket" is just a footnote in Wisconsin RR history, so enjoy these photos of our little trip that day!
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EMD FT103 50th Anniversary Open House (September 17, 1989)
EMD celebrated the 50th birthday of the diesel widely accepted as being THE diesel that did in steam power on American railroads, by displaying the A-B set in fresh paint. There was also an assortment of EMD classic power in the colors of different roads, including a Santa Fe warbonnet, which was resurrecting the famous paint scheme at the time.
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Iowa Interstate Thanksgiving weekend (November 27, 1988)
A short window of time to railfan on a family getaway to central Iowa yielded Iowa Interstate action. This was my first exploration of the ex-Rock in Iowa and I was rewarded by two road trains, meeting in Altoona, Iowa.
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NW 611 chase Chicago to Ft. Wayne (July 26, 1987)
My friend, the late Mike Abalos, taught me what it was like to chase steam on this hot July day. We chased the 611 on an excursion from Chicago to Ft. Wayne and back over the old Nickel Plate.
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Florida Spring Break railfanning (April 15, 1987)
A family vacation to Florida for Spring Break gave me a chance to photograph the FEC one afternoon.
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