Since the early 1990s, Norfolk Southern (formerly Norfolk and Western) streamlined 4-8-4 steam locomotive has been dormant, with no plans for its revival, and placed in a museum.
In 2015, enough interest pushed finances to move forward to bring the beautiful locomotive back to life, and have the first test runs in the spring, then with full excursions from May through the summer.
Here are some video glimpses.
For information, contact the 611 page: http://fireup611.org/
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.
Here is a wonderful short documentary done in 1959, logged in the National Film Board of Canada, documenting a small window panning across the middle of the last days of steam locomotive dominance in Canada in the late 50s to early 60s.
By 1960, all but preserved tourist locomotives were gone in the United States. But in Canada, a few steam locomotives were in service in the 60s.
In the UK and most of Europe and Japan, a few mainline steam trains were operating through the 60s and into the early to mid-70s. It is also true that in North America, trains in general, were becoming less important as the automobile and airline industries worked hard to push the railroad out of public consciousness (and did not succeed in many ways).
In Europe and Japan, for instance, the railroads have continued to play a major role. The nostalgic emotions for steam locomotives are still a major aspect of most cultures around the world. This beautiful documentary uses interviews and the lives of those who had worked intimately with steam trains, to portray loss, change, and the contradictions of the passing of steam locomotives into the category of ‘relic.’ However, train travel in North America is again on the rise. The railroads also understand the steam locomotive to be strong central figures in the bedrock of most modern societies and reminders of colonial and imperial might and industrial-technological advancement and and nation-building itself. The steam locomotive will most likely not go away from human consciousness completely.
This documentary is certainly worth a quiet 30 minutes of our time with a hot drink along with our deepest connections to our histories and where we are headed as humans.
End of the Line by Terence Macartney-Filgate, 30 minutes, 1959.
This is a superb short film for any steam and/or railroad fan or historian/anthropologist.
Some of you may note that once in awhile, I post a video by one of my favorite UK Steam video/DVD companies: PSOV http://www.mainlinesteam.net/
There are, however, many great videographers as well, from the UK.
Here is another video posted by Andy Edkins, a compilation of UK steam in 2013.
57 Irish workers who were hired from Ireland to help build some of the first tracks for the Pennsylvania Railroad, were buried in mass graves by the rail site. These people were virtually unknown and forgotten until a group of scientists uncovered mysteries that did not quite fit the silence or the known stories of death by cholera.
Railroads are built by sweat and blood. Industrialization was not only about bigger and better opportunities, but were also about the social relations and death that ‘bigger and better’ brings about.
The story of the Irish people in general, along with others in the histories of Europe and in the United States, must be told over and over, to understand all that we have and don’t have.
On PBS on Wednesday May 8, at 10:00 Eastern Standard Time, PBS will air another documentary/movie on this topic.
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