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

steam train

Norfolk & Western 611, Famous Passenger Steam Loco is Reborn in 2015!!

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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/ 


PSOV of the UK – Beautiful Steam Symphony Video

0 brittaniaPSOV

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.


Duffy’s Cut on PBS – May 8th

Duffys Cut gravemark

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.

http://www.thirteen.org/13pressroom/press-release/secrets-of-the-dead-death-on-the-railroad/

For more information on Duffy’s Cut, please visit:

New York Times article March 24, 2013

Duffy’s Cut Project website

They can also be followed on Facebook here.


World Class Train Stations – A Video from 2008

The Cincinnati and Ohio Railroad’s “George Washington Express” drives out of the Great Cincinnati Union Terminal in 1933. Photo by Paul Briol, one of the great Cincinnati photographers.

Below is a short, great overview video from Vimeo, of a discussion held in New York, with Christopher Brown, author of the excellent book:  Still Standing: A Century of Urban Train Station Design regarding the notion of what civic life is in a democratically-inspired region/nation and its relationship to public life, transit, and political power.

As High-speed rail is on peoples’ minds in the United States, catching up with Europe and Asia, and South America as far as attention to railroads, is an interesting development.  Most decidedly, it is about politics, money, and power. The way the people of power see themselves on the global stage, from the 16th century forward, has become an important aspect of how we are all, as citizens of the phenomenon of nationhood, see ourselves.

Ultimately, it is, as the video states, about how people may move between places in comfort, safety, speed, and enjoyment.


Train at the Crossing!

This is one of those sensual memories for those of us who grew up with steam trains.

Although I grew up in Japan in the 50s and 60s, the sight of a running steam train coming through the crossing while we stopped, heard, felt, smelled—is forever burned in memory, no matter what country.

Below is an example from the UK. User willhayfield has posted this wonderful short video of 34067 Tangmere pulling the Cathedrals Express special through Mottisfont and Dunbridge on October 2011.

Turn up the volume!


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/


Alan Pegler – Flying Scotsman Savior, passes away at 91 years old

On March 8, 2012, Alan Pegler passed away at 91 years old. Arguably the most famous internationally known steam locomotive is the Flying Scotsman, a LNER (former London & Northeastern Railway) Class A3 steam locomotive, #4472 of the United Kingdom. It was a famous express passenger locomotive of the time.  In 1972, the Flying Scotsman was brought on a tour of the United States. The tour was unsuccessful.

Alan Pegler is also credited with single-handedly “saving” the Ffestiniog Railway of Wales, from extinction, buying it and reviving it as a modern excursion/tour railway.

He had bankrupted his family fortune via the purchase and maintenance of the #4472 Flying Scotsman and was thought of by many to be obsessed.  However, most view him as one committed to his love of steam and historical rail in the United Kingdom.

LINK TO ARTICLE:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2012/mar/25/alan-pegler-obituary

The Flying Scotsman sits at the platform during an excursion in 2007.