World Passenger Steam Trains – Railroad Anthropology – N-Scale Model

Locomotives – North America

Milwaukee Rd 261 Restored and Powering! – Life to the Max

The American 4-8-4 locomotive – Milwaukee Rd 261, said good-bye in 2011, not knowing if it would ever be restored.  In 2013, it was indeed restored and running beautifully again!!  Yay!!

This is an episode from a 28-minute show called Life to the Max, which covers a Fall Trip in 2013.


Beauty & Grit – Hopes & Dreams: MUSIC VIDEO

This is a great music video recently loaded onto YouTube by the young man “The Action Effect.” This is of American trains of the 40s to the 50s.

It’s a nice montage of Vintage Train action put to the music of Bruce Springstein’s “Land of Hopes and Dreams.”

From the 1920s through the 1960s, the railroads played a huge part in the imagination of the American people. While the rest of the world continued their respect for trains, the United States concentrated on planes and cars.  But in the U.S., there was the “Golden Age” and “revival.”

From its inception through the Golden Age of Passenger travel, trains were a strong part of American cultural identity due to its major role in the movement of goods and people, connecting lands and cultures and dreams as well as the violence and destruction and isolation that comes with these dreams.

Railroads leaders were usually ruthless, crushing smaller opponents and collecting their power to rule the land to lay the rails and rule the movements of food, shelter, clothing, oil, coal, stone. Moving mountains and shaping the lands to mold as well as adjusting to the lands, the rails created and destroyed lives, like dreams.

Young boys and girls stole away in the middle of the night to escape, perhaps, a boring and heavy life, or perhaps abuse and confinement, poverty and despair.  Taking what little they had in bags, meeting a friend or two, perhaps, at a pre-arranged meeting at midnight, jumping onto the trains, yearning for adventure and a “better life.”

African-American and Asian-American workers, searching for work and perhaps dignity in those days of a more emboldened and accepted dominant racist society, sought to work on the railroads to have livable wages and to be respected.  Porters and waiters and some of the best chefs of the lands, sought to work on the fancy and comfortable railroads, upon the trains that company executives, sports and entertainment stars and presidents often traveled. To wear the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad or the Pennsylvania, or the New York Central, or the Santa Fe or Northern Pacific and the countless other ‘Name-train” railroads were a mark of pride.  Young boys and some girls, dreamed of becoming engineers and agents on these railroads.

Promises of distant lands and different lives, promises of living wages and being looked at with dignity.  Back-breaking grimy work in track-laying and oil-loading and tunnel-making, marked sources of pride as well as resentment.

Love, hate, beauty, grime, political intrigue, assassination, assimilation and resistance– like life, are all present in the beautiful and grimy trains that passed in the day and the night.

Today, the workers and trains still work in America, albeit no longer in the mainstream cultural imagination.  But perhaps those days are slowly returning, in new forms.  The train is an important part of human consciousness and life.  It cannot be forgotten.

Enjoy this video put together and loaded by “The Action Effect.”  Song is by Bruce Springstein.


The 4-6-4 Hudson of the New York Central

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In the United States, in 1926, rail passenger travel was in its glory years.  That year, the New York Central Railroad, one of the most prestigious, powerful, and largest railroad corporations in the world at the time, wanted a faster and stronger locomotive to pull the longer and heavier passenger trains required by the increase in passenger travel in the United States.

That year, although the elegant and mightily Pacific steam locomotives had been handling the bulk of the fastest and longest passenger lines in the United States by most of the first world national railroad companies, the New York Central ordered the mighty 4-6-4 wheel arrangement “Hudson” locomotives, as they were to be called by the New York Central Railroads.

The Hudsons were popularized in the US American public via an intense publicity campaign.  Television ads, new movies, billboard signs and magazine articles abound.  Model trains pushed the “Hudson” as the epitome of the beautiful, grimy, energetic and powerful passenger steam locomotive that was constructed in the social imaginary during these times.

Later, the Hudson locomotive was re-designed on the exterior with a silver and gray streamlined body, which were assigned to the famous passenger trains: The 20th Century Limited and the Empire State Express.

Even later, as Diesel locomotives began erasing steam locomotives off their roster and into their garbage heaps, a stronger, faster and more efficient locomotive was to enter the New York Central Railroad’s roster–the Niagara.  I will cover this locomotive more in detail later.

If I were to be asked what is my most favorite of favorite locomotives of all time and I had to begrudgingly decide, it would have to be the NIAGARA.  But i am off-topic here.  Here I cover the Hudson locomotive, which dutifully and proudly served the New York Central from 1927 to the demise of steam in the mid-to-late 50s in the US.  Versions of the Hudson remained popular throughout the world however, into the 70s.

More reading: http://www.steamlocomotive.com/hudson/


Soo Line (USA) #2719 in 2011

video by SD457500


Canadian Pacific Locomotive 3254 – photo by Dave Carney

 


Video: POWER! USA Nickel Plate (NKP) 765 – the sight and sound in September colors

The beautiful 2-8-4  Berkshire type locomotive, the NKP 765, starts up in the fall surroundings on the Cuyahoga Valley Line in Tennessee for a September 2011 run.

Great video by dferg100.

For more information on the NKP 765, please visit the owner’s site:  The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society


Southern 630, USA – October 8, 2011

Southern 630 pulls an excursion for the Tennessee Valley Rail Museum on Oct. 8, 2011 through Georgia. Photo courtesy of John Higginson at Railpictures.net


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