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wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed





At Promontory Summit, where the transcontinental railroad was completed.



The “golden spike” was driven at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory, May 10, 1869, by Central Pacific Railroad President Leland Stanford, completing the first transcontinental railroad connecting the West Coast to the East, and reducing travel time from the goldfields to the big cities from weeks to days.

After about a decade of debate, the Civil War removed much of the opposition to the railroad from Southern representatives fearing competition from the West and enrichment of the North. The Republican-controlled 1862 Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Act (later modified and expanded by legislation in 1863, 1864, 1865). The act created the Union Pacific Railroad Co. and authorized the issuance of government bonds to the Union Pacific (headquartered in Nebraska Territory), and the Central Pacific Railroad (a California company).

In addition to the government-backed 30-year bonds, the companies received massive land grants. The two companies were granted the rights of way, 200 feet on either side of their track, and an additional 6,400 acres (one mile along the track and the 10 miles deep) for each mile of track laid (the grant alternated between sides of the track each mile with the federal government retaining ownership of the opposite tract.)

The companies were authorized to issue $16,000 (about $290,000 in 2012) in bonds for each mile of track laid and $48,000 (about $873,000 today) in the mountains.

The Central Pacific Railroad was organized by California businessmen Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Charles Crocker and Mark Hopkins. Dr. Thomas Clark Durant organized the Union Pacific. The Union Pacific was sunk by the Credit Mobilier of America scandal in 1872, when it was discovered that congressmen received cash or stock for their votes in the railroad construction company affiliated with Union Pacific; the heavy bribing occurred when Rep. Oakes Ames forced Durant out as head of Credit Mobilier and took his job.

Construction of the railroad brought sweeping change to America. Irish immigrants and Civil War veterans primarily built the Union Pacific portion of the railway; the Central Pacific eventually used Chinese immigrants to lay their track. Construction methods changed and, by the time the two railroads met, crews could lay up to 10 miles a day. The path through the mountains particularly brought changes in bridge and tunnel construction, and the use of explosives, particularly nitroglycerin and dynamite. The number of deaths resulting from the construction is widely misrepresented, but credible reports put the total at less than 200, fairly close to the number resulting from the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s.

In addition to bringing safer and faster travel, the transcontinental railroad also provided stable cross-continent communications as the companies strung multiple telegraph lines along rights of way, replacing an earlier telegraph line that went along the Mormon Trail.

The Union Pacific laid 1,087 miles of track, from Council Bluffs, Iowa; through Elkhorn (now Omaha), Grand Island, North Platte, Ogallala, and Sidney, Neb.; Julesburg, Colorado Territory; Cheyenne, Laramie, Green River, and Evanston, Wyoming Territory; and Ogden, Brigham City, and Corinne, Utah Territory.

The Central Pacific laid 690 miles of track, from Sacramento, through Newcastle and Truckee, Calif.; over the Sierra Nevada mountains; into Reno, Wadsworth, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain, Elko and Wells, Nev.

When completed, the railroad did not quite connect to the East Coast railways. Train cars were barged across the Missouri River. A bridge was built across the Missouri at Kansas City later in 1869, and a bridge between Council Bluffs and Omaha was completed in 1873, tying the Eastern railroads to the Union Pacific.

The route also did not pass through the larger cities of Denver and Salt Lake City. Feeder lines were built to service the two cities.



Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Destruction of Salisbury freight depot delayed

Published: May 10, 2012

SALISBURY, N.C. — Norfolk Southern has delayed demolition of the former Southern Railway freight depot in Salisbury, N.C., which was scheduled to be torn down this week, the Salisbury Post reports. The railroad has offered to give the 1907 depot to the Historic Salisbury Foundation, but insists the foundation move it.

Foundation Executive Director Brian Davis said moving the depot, which measures 45 feet by 200 feet, would be impossible without dismantling it. If relocated, the depot would lose its designation on the National Register of Historic Places, Davis said. The foundation wants to leave the building where it is, install a fence for security, and use the facility as the new location for the Salisbury farmers market and an architectural salvage warehouse.

The railroad considers the depot a liability and cannot allow it to remain in place, an official said. “We have had an increased amount of trespassing issues and safety issues up and down that corridor, around the wye,” said Matthew Jones, Norfolk Southern property manager for North Carolina. The depot stands alone in the wye, and has been vacant since 2007. 

A lawyer for the railroad said the depot is “quite simply falling down” and unsafe because of an unstable foundation and the building’s location in the wye. “It’s bounded on all three sides with active track,” Jones said. Sixty-plus trains pass the depot each day, he said, making the location dangerous for pedestrians. 

The foundation has launched a letter-writing campaign to try to persuade the railroad to allow the depot to stand. The building is listed as a contributing structure in the Salisbury Railroad Corridor Historic District. “It is an invaluable piece of history for a community such as ours that emphasizes railroad history as much as any place in the South,” Susan Sides, foundation president, wrote in a letter to NS.

While the city of Salisbury insists the railroad must obtain a permit before demolishing the depot, an action that could take more than a year, Norfolk Southern argues that federal laws governing interstate commerce preempt any state law or local ordinance. Denying or delaying the demolition of the depot interferes with rail transportation, Norfolk Southern attorney Gary Bryant wrote in a letter to city attorney Rivers Lawther. He said, to his knowledge, the railroad has delayed demolition for 30 days. Railroad officials said they would not release the new demolition date.

wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed


The Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads met on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah completing the transcontinental railroad.

The connection of the two rail lines was celebrated with the hammering in of a silver and golden spike. 

Former California Gov. Leland Stanford, president of the Central Pacific, said this, acording to the New York Times:

“The Pacific Railroad companies accept with pride and satisfaction these golden and silver tokens of your appreciation of the importance of our enterprise to the material interests of the sections which you represent on this occasion, and to the material interests of our whole country, East and West, North and South.

“These gifts shall receive a fitting place in the superstructure of our road. And, before laying the ties and driving the spikes in completion of the Pacific Railway, allow me to express the hope that the great importance which you are pleased to attach to our undertaking may be in all respects fully realized.  Now, gentlemen, with your assistance, we will proceed to lay the last tie and rail, and drive the last spike.”

While Union Pacific executive Dr.Thomas Durant hammered in a silver spike, former Gov. Leland Stanford, president of Central Pacific, hammered in the golden spike into a tie made of California laurel at 12:47 pm, signaling the completion. The New York Times described it this way:

“Governor Stanford stood on the south rail, Dr. Durant on the north rail, and, on the signal of “OK” from the telegraph offices, both gentlemen struck the spikes, and the work was done.

“The vast multitude cheered lustily, and Dr. Durant and Governor Stanford cordially greeted each other and shook hands. The doctor proposed three cheers for the Central Pacific Company, which was followed by the governor proposing three cheers for the Union Pacific Company.”

Then “Jupiter,” Central Pacific’s locomotive, which faced eastward, touched fenders with “No. 119,” the Union Pacific’s west-facing locomotive.

President Abraham Lincoln had signed legislation authorizing creation of the rail line in 1962.

Stanford turned the first shovel of dirt for the Central Pacific on January 8, 1863 at the bottom of K Street in Sacramento, near the Sacramento River.

The Union Pacific began two years later in Omaha, going west.

After two years of construction, only 50 miles of Central Pacific track had been laid.

Central Pacific needed 5,000 workers to take the rail line through the Sierras but had only 600 on the company payroll in 1864.

Chinese laborers, who had helped build the California Central Railway that ran along the Feather River to Marysville, were hired by Central Pacific.

They were paid $28 per month to blast tunnels and lay track through the high mountains.

By summer 1868, 4,000 workers – two-thirds of them Chinese – succeeded in building a railroad that rose 7,000 feet in 100 miles and came down into the Central Plains beyond.

The railroad allows someone to make the trip from New York to Sacramento in one week.

Previously, the journey took nearly six months.

Two days before the ceremony at Promontory Point, California Gov. Henry Haight predicted in a Sacramento speech:

“Tourists will be attracted by the most sublime scenery on the continent and thousands will come to repair physical constitutions racked by the extremes of climate, inclement air and the miasma of the states east of the mountains.”

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

PROMONTORY — The May 10 celebration of the joining of the Transcontinental Railroad is as predicable as a sunrise, but every year, people find something to amaze them.

Thursday was the 143rd anniversary.

As always, the National Park Service and volunteers at the Golden Spike National Historic Site brought out the polished replicas of the Jupiter and No. 119 steam engines, posed them for the famous picture where they meet nose to nose and then let them sit, hissing and chuffing, glinting in the sun.

Several hundred rail fans mingled, admiring the massive machines and peppering the crew with questions.

The crew members love to answer. They’re rail fanatics, too. Most work there for free and study this stuff for fun.

Ron Wilson, engineer on the Jupiter, said the May 10 anniversary is the single best chance the public has to get a close look at the piece of history on display at Golden Spike National Historic Site.

A man walked up. “So is anything on these engines original?” he said, pointing at the Jupiter.

No, Wilson explained. The engines used in 1869 were junked a century ago. The two now at the site are completely accurate reproductions built in 1979. They are exact working replicas, down to the same forge marks.

Wilson wears an old-fashioned vest and other clothing to look the part, complete with gold pocketwatch chain threaded through a buttonhole. A small clutch of Chinese coins dangles from the chain, for luck.

Like most Golden Spike engine workers, he digs out his best vintage railroad watch for May 10. His is a worn, but shining, gold Illinois Watch Co. piece that ticks along sedately.

But that watch is only used on May 10, he said. Other days, he brings a junker.

“There’s a reason,” he said, and told of an earlier engineer who wore a good watch while shoveling coal into the engine’s firebox.

Wilson mimed wielding a shovel in the narrow cab and showed how a wayward thumb swung close to the vest could catch the watch chain, flipping the watch forward.

“The watch goes right into the middle of the flames,” he said, then shook his head and added, “Ouch! There’s nothing you can do. You stand there and watch it melt.”

A woman pointed to the small American flags fluttering from the engine.

“Is there significance to the arrangement of the stars?” she said, noting the stars on the flags are in a circular pattern, with one large star in the center.

No, Wilson said. In 1869, there were no fixed rules on the pattern of the then-37-star flag.

“There was some research done, and this arrangement was on the flags they used here on May 10.”

Over at the 119, engineer Richard Carroll explained the elaborate gold-and-red filigree decorations of his engine.

Crew members declined to guess how many gallons of brass polish they use getting their babies ready for

May 10, but “several” seemed about right.

A visitor asked if these engines were specially decorated for May 10 or if historic engines always looked so pretty.

Always, Carroll said.

The 119 was a working engine in Ogden, brought to Promontory at the last moment, “but this is the way it looked in 1869.”

“The crews were assigned to each engine, and they took pride,” keeping their charges clean and polished.

“As time went on, the accountants took over the railroads, they needed profits, they transferred the crews around, and that pride went away.”

The same visitor asked if the engines really operate on steam, at which point a puff of steam chuffed out from the 119, spraying his legs.

“I guess that answers that question,” he said, smiling.

If any kid at the festivities was sure to be having a good time, it was Nathan Paskett, 8, of Ogden, who was there with his dad, Jon.

Jon Paskett said Nathan is all about trains.

“This is his dream,” he told a park employee.

“I ask him, ‘Do you want to do what I do?’ and he says, ‘No, I’m going to drive a train.’ ”

Dad has taken Nathan to Union Station in Ogden multiple times and catches Thomas the Tank Engine every time it’s in the area.

Of course, Nathan has lots of model trains at home.

But the May 10 Golden Spike celebration of the event that shaped modern railroading in the United States is the peak.

“We heard this was going on, I got his teacher’s permission, and we’re out here,” Jon Paskett said. “We’re having a daddy-son day.”

wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

On May 10, 1869, the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad (extending from Omaha, Nebraska) and the Central Pacific Railroad (extending from the San Francisco Bay area) met in an obscure area of Utah Territory called Promontory Summit, after five years of arduous and often acrimonious construction.

A golden spike was driven to celebrate their joining.

For the first time the opposite ends of the nation had been linked and it was possible to reach distant California by rail. But this line betrayed an American peculiarity: A "transcontinental" railroad didn't really reach from coast to coast, but rather from the Missouri River to the West Coast. The trip required passage over two or three (sometimes more) lines to reach Omaha from New York; the new “transcontinental” line then ran from Omaha to California across only two companies, without requiring customers to change trains.

Still, a traveler could now get from New York to California in about seven days. The new connection also introduced more Americans to the splendors and vastness of the West, which most had never seen. And it opened the door to a frenzy of railroad construction in the West that, among other things, ultimately produced five more transcontinental lines. It also made possible a growing trade with the Far East.

By 1869, the railroads were already the biggest and most important industry in the country. They opened the West to settlement and development, created thousands of new towns and spurred many existing ones to grow. They regularized the flow of goods and people at greater speeds than ever before. Unlike steamboats they could go anywhere that rails could be laid and in any weather. They drastically lowered the cost of transportation, and their construction made them a huge market for other budding industries, notably iron and steel.

As the nation's first big businesses, railroad companies were pioneers in a host of fields including corporate organization, accounting practices, labor relations, competitive practices and government regulation. And they were the first businesses to raise significant capital through the issue of securities; railroad stocks and bonds dominated the stock market until the 20th century. To a large extent, the railroads created Wall Street.

But in the 1920s, the railroads began falling on hard times. Rail mileage had been drastically overbuilt in the late 19th century, and new competitors started appearing in the form of automobiles, trucks and airplanes, as well as old rivals like pipelines and barges. By the 1960s, railroads had become a sick industry on the brink of collapse. They no longer commanded the center stage of transportation, and fears were widespread that they would be nationalized, as they had been in many other countries.

The federal government did indeed have to provide a bailout to save the industry, but then a wondrous turnabout occurred. Gradually the railroads merged, dumped unprofitable lines, shed passenger traffic, adopted new technologies and transformed nearly every aspect of their operations. In a single generation the industry embraced more change than it had in the previous 50 years or so. Today it is dominated by four giant systems: CSX Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corp. east of the Mississippi River and Union Pacific Corp. and Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC west of it.

By almost any measure the reborn railroads are healthier and more profitable than they have ever been. So raise a toast to the golden spike, the ceremony that launched some of the most profound changes in U.S. economic history.

(Maury Klein is a professor of history emeritus at the University of Rhode Island and the author of 16 books on American history. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To read more from Echoes, Bloomberg View's economic history blog, click here

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Spectacular weather Saturday prompted 22 volunteers to spend all the livelong day working on the railroad.

The Down East Scenic Railway will embark later this month upon its second year of offering excursion rides on long-abandoned tracks between Hancock County’s Washington Junction and Ellsworth Falls, just west of Ellsworth.

Last year, some 8,000 railroad enthusiasts hopped aboard restored rail cars for 11-mile trips spread over 20 weekends.

This year’s excursions will begin on Saturday, May 26, and will run on weekends through Oct. 14. Until June 30, weekend trips will depart at 1:30 p.m. from a platform located behind Cadillac Mountain Sports on High Street in Ellsworth. After June 30, there will be two trips on weekends, the first at 10:30 a.m. and the second at 1:30 p.m. There also will be two trips on Father’s Day, which is June 17.

With the first trip only two weeks away, volunteers were busy Saturday replacing railbed ties that had seen better days and cleaning and painting the passenger and open air cars that are towed behind one of two locomotives acquired by Downeast Rail Heritage Trust, a nonprofit organization that operates the excursions. One is a 1948, 70-ton General Electric diesel-electric locomotive that was once the workhorse of the Belfast and Moosehead Railroad in Unity. The other is a 1,000-horsepower ALCO-4 locomotive built in 1950.

“This is really a preservation effort,” said Tom Testa of Bar Harbor, who founded the Downeast Rail Heritage Trust. “People enjoy seeing and riding in the old cars, but it’s the volunteers, the people who come out here and do the work, that make this all happen. People don’t realize all of the time and effort required for every little project. These volunteers do it, they love doing it, and they’re proud of what they’ve done.

“A railroad is all about maintenance,” Testa said. “And, once in awhile, a train passes through.”

Excursions run rain or shine, with inside seating available in two passenger coaches and the caboose. An open-air flatbed car offers picnic table seating and free rides for well-behaved dogs. Snacks and bottled water are sold onboard, and riders are welcome to bring their own picnic lunches on the 90-minute trips.

Tickets are sold at Cadillac Mountain Sports. Fares are $15 for adults and $8 for children between the ages of 3 and 12. Younger children ride free if they are not occupying a seat.

For more information, visit http://www.downeastscenicrail.org.

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW


The Union Pacific Railroad Museum reopened Saturday after closing in April for renovations and improvements.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at 10 a.m. to welcome people back into the building.

The first floor of the building in Council Bluffs has a new exhibit titled "Building America." The exhibit is dedicated to the history of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Upgrades also include sever X-box Kinects, which give visitors more options to experience history.

Admission to the museum is free.

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

ASHWAUBENON — After a nearly 50-year stay at the National Railroad Museum, a locomotive named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower could be headed temporarily to England.

Museum officials have agreed to loan the World War II-era locomotive to a British museum that promises to give the dark green artifact a facelift and then return it in two years.

During those two years, the British-made locomotive would be part of a celebration related to steam engine history in England.

If details of the exchange can be worked out, the Eisenhower-named engine could be gone from the Green Bay area by the summer.

National Railroad Museum officials said they are willing to loan out the prized artifact partly because their British counterparts have agreed to pay all transportation costs and to invest thousands of dollars more in refurbishing it.

Officials said the exchange also would boost their museum's profile, especially when the restored engine makes returns in 2014 as the only one of its kind in the United States.

"It gives us national visibility, which is good for the museum, which is good for Green Bay," said Kerry Denson, a member of the museum's board of directors.

Founded in 1956, the museum is a privately owned attraction that draws about 75,000 visitors annually. The 33-acre campus includes more than a dozen locomotives of various kinds, as well as other collections, special exhibits and educational programs.

Attached to the Eisenhower steam engine are two railroad cars that were used by Eisenhower himself to travel throughout Europe during World War II, when he was the supreme commander of Allied forces fighting Adolf Hitler.

The cars — which the museum obtained a few years after the locomotive got here in 1964 — will stay behind in Green Bay and get an overhaul during the next two years. They will then be repackaged with the returning steam engine in an upgraded WWII exhibit starting in 2014.

Jacqueline Frank, the museum's executive director, called it a "tradeoff" to lose a significant attraction temporarily, but to establish a valuable relationship with an overseas museum.

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Railroad historian William J. Brennan dies at 71

Published: May 11, 2012

CEDAR GROVE, N.J. – Railroad historian William J. Brennan, 71, died just after midnight May 10. Brennan authored two volumes of photo books about New Jersey commuter railroad for Morning Sun Books: “Jersey Central Lines In Color,” and “Trackside in the EL New Jersey Commuter Zone.” He was also the featured photographer in “Erie Lackawanna In Color, Volume 6,” and the upcoming “Long Island Rail Road In Color Volume 4.” His night scenes and action photography are found in several other Morning Sun books.

Morning Sun Books Publisher Bob Yanosey grew up with Brennan. “As a young kid who liked trains in the 1950s, I was delighted to find that a neighboring teenager was actually taking pictures of trains,” Yanosey said. “Bill lived across the street from me on Hendel Avenue in North Arlington, and showed me the railroad hobby and photography. He always remained an extremely generous person and a dear friend.”

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Repairs to East Broad Top blacksmith shop begin

By Wayne Laepple

Published: May 11, 2012

Timbers atop stacks of blocking support one wall of the East Broad Top Railroad’s blacksmith shop as repairs to the building begin. Funds raised by the Friends of the East Broad Top, supplemented by a donation by the East Broad Top’s owner, funded the fix.  FEBT volunteers will begin repairs to the building’s sheathing later in May.

Photo by Friends of the East Broad Top

The EBT’s blacksmith shop, righted by a contractor after leaning more and more over the past 50 years, awaits the attention of the Friends of the East Broad Top, whose members raised over $12,000 to hire a structural repair contractor. The Friends will restore the sheathing damaged by years of contact with wet ground around the 120-year old building.

Photo by Friends of the East Broad Top

ROCKHILL FURNACE, Pa. – Repairs have begun on the blacksmith shop of the famed East Broad Top narrow gauge heritage railway. The shop building, which had developed a tilt over the last several years, was corrected this week.

Woodford Bros. Inc., a New York contractor that specializes in structural restorations, was hired by the support group Friends of the East Broad Top to straighten the structure. Woodford righted the building using a system of jacks and timbers, along with chains and cables to maintain the building’s shape. One side was lifted well over two feet to correct a tilt that had become alarming in recent years. The original wooden mudsills that supported the building had rotted away over the last 120-plus years, causing the building to settle to one side.  

The blacksmith shop houses a large steam hammer, a smaller mechanical trip hammer, a forge, and other equipment. Everything was powered by a complex system of shafts and belts, including an underground shaft, from the nearby main shop’s steam engine and boilers.   

The Friends of the East Broad Top plans to begin repairs to the lower walls of the structure and beams during upcoming work sessions. The group has raised over $12,000 from the sale of $50 tickets to Preservation over the past year. Joseph Kovalchick, longtime owner of the East Broad Top Railroad, covered the balance of the cost.

For more information on the Friends of the East Broad Top go tohttp://www.febt.org.

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Former CN station to be preserved

Published: May 11, 2012

BURLINGTON, Ontario – The 1906 former Canadian National/Grand Trunk Railway Freeman station has found a new home in Burlington, Ontario, the spec.com reports. Over its lifetime, the station was variously known as Burlington Junction and Burlington West. Since 2005, it has sat behind a fire station in Burlington after it was moved from its original location when the city assumed ownership from CN. VIA Rail Canada halted passenger service to the station in October 1988.

Its new home will be between Brant Street and Maple Avenue, around the corner from where it originally sat beside CN’s tracks. The city announced yesterday it had reached an agreement with manufacturer Ashland Inc. for the station to go there, after years of looking at various locations.

Councilor Marianne Meed Ward, who organized last year to save the building from demolition along with Councilor Blair Lancaster, anticipates the station will relocate to its new home by the end of summer.

There’s still the question of fundraising to help pay the $350,000 cost to restore the building. Meed Ward knows of about $60,000 that can be put toward fixing up the station, not including the $25,000 to $45,000 the city has budgeted for its relocation.

“It’s fantastic,” said Jacquie Gardner of Friends of Freeman Station, which was formed last year and has raised about $30,000 toward restoration. “We’ve been working a long time behind the scene.” She anticipates no problem raising more funds and says the group recently received a donation “that’s quite significant.”

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The Union Pacific Railroad Museum opened its doors today after being closed for one month while its first floor was transformed into a new exhibit, "Building America," which shares the history of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Visitors are transported to the 1860s as they learn about frontier life, the monumental work needed for constructing the railroad and the communities that were created along its route.

The Union Pacific Railroad Museum is the first to use the X-Box full-body gaming technology to create an authentic experience for visitors. In addition, more than 200 artifacts are on display, including a 55-piece firearm collection and 60 railroad lanterns.

Union Pacific Railroad provided funding for this renovation, with assistance from the Iowa West Foundation, The Friends of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum and the City of Council Bluffs.

The Union Pacific Railroad Museum, located at 200 Pearl St. in Council Bluffs, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free. Visit www.uprrmuseum.org or call 712-329-8307 for further information. -- Union Pacific

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Royce Lugo grew up playing with toy trains. Today he introduced his son to them.

He brought his 7-month-old boy, Henry, with him to Union Station, a hub for rail transit that today celebrated its 100th anniversary.

"It's great that they've been able to preserve this building," he said. "I'm a big fan of architecture, and it's been preserved well."

The free event displayed everything from Lego trains to a model Santa Fe NW2 railroad to an actual train – an Amtrak Viewliner. People could walk through the Amtrak, listen to live music, see Union Station's original design and a check out a telegraph display.

"Seeing the expressions on the kids' faces – they're mesmerized by the trains," said Kevin Timmons, who helped run a 20-foot by 30-foot model railroad set up to loop around a small, orange-growing town.

Union Station, a two-story, Italian Renaissance revival-style building at 601 N. Nebraska Ave., opened May 15, 1912. The station brought citrus, tobacco and northern speculators to Tampa.

The station, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, served passengers through segregation, wars and the Great Depression. But it deteriorated through the years and closed to the public in 1984.

For years Amtrak's passengers from Tampa needed to use a temporary ticket office and waiting room in a prefabricated building next to Union Station's platforms. Ultimately city and local historic preservationists got involved in renovating the station. It underwent a multimillion-dollar facelift and reopened in 1998.

Now owned by the city, the station serves more than 140,000 Amtrak passengers each year, according to nonprofit group Friends of Tampa Union Station.

Gary King of Tampa walked through the Amtrak train today, admiring its design and taking photographs. He never before had been to Union Station, and he said it was gorgeous.

"There's so much nostalgia that goes with this station, and it's great that they kept this piece of history preserved," said King, whose grandfather was a railroad engineer. "What I look at is the history and the way trains first came to being and the marvelous amount of work and determination it took the previous generations to build these machines."

David King of Sarasota, who is not related to Gary King, celebrated his 67th birthday today at the station. He first rode a train when he was 3 years old and always has been fascinated by them.

"It's so comfortable," he said of train travel. "You get to see the land."

Peter Marschall, who attended the event with David King, said the station's 100th anniversary is a true achievement.

"It really looks impressive on the inside," he said. "I just wish they had more trains coming in."

wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

ASHWAUBENON -- After a nearly 50-year stay at the National Railroad Museum, a locomotive named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower could be headed temporarily to England.

Museum officials have agreed to lend the World War II-era locomotive to a British museum that promises to give the dark green artifact a facelift and then return it in two years.

During those two years, the British-made locomotive would be part of a celebration related to steam engine history in England.

If details of the exchange can be worked out, the Eisenhower-named engine could be gone from the Green Bay area by this summer.

National Railroad Museum officials said they are willing to lend out the prized artifact partly because their British counterparts have agreed to pay all transportation costs and invest thousands of dollars more in refurbishing it.

Officials said the exchange also would boost their museum's profile, especially when the restored engine makes a triumphant return in 2014 as the only one of its kind in the United States.

"It gives us national visibility, which is good for the museum, which is good for Green Bay," said Kerry Denson, a member of the museum's board of directors.

Founded in 1956, the museum is a privately owned attraction that draws about 75,000 visitors annually. The 33-acre campus includes more than a dozen locomotives of various kinds, as well as other collections, special exhibits and educational programs.

Attached to the Eisenhower steam engine are two railroad cars that were used by Eisenhower himself to travel throughout Europe during World War II when he was supreme commander of Allied forces fighting Adolph Hitler.

The cars -- which the museum obtained a few years after the locomotive arrived 1964 -- will stay behind in Green Bay and get an overhaul during the next two years. They will then be repackaged with the returning steam engine in an upgraded World War II exhibit starting in 2014.

Jacqueline Frank, the museum's executive director, called it a "tradeoff" to lose a significant attraction temporarily, but to establish a valuable relationship with an overseas museum.

"To have an international partnership, for us, is a really good thing," she said. "It's going to hopefully open doors for us."

The National Railway Museum in York, England, plans to use Green Bay's locomotive as part of an exhibit commemorating the 75th anniversary of a British steam engine's world-record speed of 126 mph. Of the engine class that achieved that feat in 1938, only six remain: four in England, one in Canada and the one in Green Bay.

British museum officials declined to comment, but released a statement from their museum director, Steve Davies, who said, "I have no doubt that what is being planned will be beneficial to all parties."

Local museum officials said their counterparts in England still must raise funds for the endeavor, and they must figure out the logistical challenges of moving a 122-ton locomotive across the Atlantic Ocean -- and then back again.

Paul Koch, board president for the National Railroad Museum, said he envisions a high-profile celebration when the artifact returns in 2014, possibly coinciding with other improvements to the museum here.

"We'll throw a big party," he said. "And we know how to throw a party, too."

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

SALT LAKE CITY — Margaret Yee's ancestors were among thousands of Chinese immigrants who forged the transcontinental railroad that was completed with the driving of the golden spike at Promontory on May 10, 1869.

Her great-grandfather on her mother's side, Ng Shee, was a railroad worker, and her grandfather on her father's side, Wong Wah Yu, worked as a cook on the Central Pacific Railroad.

"We're proud of their contribution to the United States," Yee said. "Our ancestors' hard work and what they contributed, we can never, never forget."

But the historic celebratory photo from that day the Central Pacific and Union Pacific came together doesn't include her relatives or any Chinese workers, a fact not lost on Yee. Chinese workers, she said, were not only discriminated against — they were paid one-third that of their Irish counterparts — but forgotten when the job was done.

"We feel it is really unfair," said Yee, who served as the Asian affairs adviser for two Utah governors. "We had to do something about it."

On Monday, a delegation from mainland China will be at the state Capitol for a cultural exchange with Utah officials. Renowned Chinese artist Xikun Yuan will present to the state a sculpture depicting a Chinese railroad worker with his wife and child. Yuan served as the cultural ambassador for the 2008 Olympics and established the Jintal Art Museum in Beijing.

"It think this is a significant event," said Eric Cheng, who initiated efforts to bring the delegation to Utah and serves on the planning committee.

While in Utah, the delegation will meet with officials and Chinese employees at the Utah Department of Transportation, where Cheng works as the chief railroad engineer. The group also will visit with the local Chinese community.

The Chinese delegation's trip coincided with a National Train Day event in Los Angeles on Saturday and Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. The group will also travel to Chicago for a cultural exchange.

In "Asian Americans in Utah — A Living History," Cheng writes that connecting of the railroads at Promontory marked the beginning rather than the culmination of the Chinese presence in the state. The Chinese population grew steadily over the years.

Two years after breaking ground for the transcontinental railroad in 1863, only 50 miles of track had been laid. A Central Pacific executive suggested using Chinese workers. Initially, 50 were hired for a trial period. The experiment proved successful and eventually 12,000 to 14,000 worked on the line. Some settled in Utah, while others moved to other states or returned to China.

On the 100-year anniversary of the completion of the railroad, a plaque was erected at the Golden Spike Historical Monument honoring Chinese workers. It reads: "To commemorate the centennial of the first transcontinental railroad in America and to pay tribute to the Chinese workers whose indomitable courage made it possible."

The monument held its annual re-enactment of the historic day last week.

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Huntington exhibit explores the importance of the railroad in America

By Michelle J. Mills, SGVN

Posted:   05/12/2012 07:11:20 AM PDT

The exhibit, Visions of Empire: The Quest for a Railroad Across America, 1840-1880, will feature 200 items never before on view at the Huntington through July 23. (Courtesy The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens)


Even in the car-clogged Southland, people still have a passion for trains. The newest exhibit at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino clarifies this love affair.

"Visions of Empire: The Quest for a Railroad Across America, 1840-1880" toasts the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Pacific Railroad Act, the legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Lincoln that provided the financial support needed to create a transcontinental railroad.

"I think it's tremendously significant to take this moment to point this out, because at that time, the country was engaged in the ... Civil War," said Peter J. Blodgett, exhibit curator and H. Russell Smith Foundation curator of Western

(Courtesy The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens)

historical manuscripts.


"Visions of Empire" features close to 200 items, including maps, photographs, illustrations, newspapers, magazines, letters and diaries. Much of this material has never previously been on display. The show consists of six sections focusing on the highlights of railroad history from 1830 through 1893.

Included is a story by newspaperman George Wilkes of New York in 1848 promoting a land route that would serve as a Northwest passage for commerce and secure the United States as the center of a global market. Along with the story is a large map depicting America and its trade routes and their connections with the rest of the world. The map showed a new, bolder vision of many Americans.

There also is ephemera such as an 1859 California Eastern Extension Railroad bond. For $1,000 (which was often a year's income at that time) an investor would receive a sheet of coupons. Every six months, he would clip the proper coupon and remit it for $50. If the train company didn't fold before the bond was completed, the initial investment would also be returned.


Railroad posters are on display as well, showing the luxury of dining on trains and the scenery riders would enjoy during their trip.

There is an 1840 travel narrative by British Army officer William Fairholme, in which he recounts his travels on a hunting trip through the Southern Great Plains. The text is accompanied by hand-drawn illustrations and maps.

"He has some wonderful views of traveling before the railroad era," Blodgett said. "It is really just a spectacular piece of historical documentation."

Another treasure is "American Notes of Travel" by Sir William Clayton, a hand-produced manuscript travel diary recounting Clayton's 1871-1872 trip by boat from his home in England to the U.S. and journeys by rail and sea across the continent, with forays to Panama, the Deep South, New York's Niagara Falls and other sights. Not only does the work feature Clayton's writing and sketches, it also contains business cards, photographs, newspaper clippings and more that he collected along the way.

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

If you're holidaying in Las Vegas, fancy a steak and want to be reminded of the Tube (don't we all) pop into Gordon Ramsay's new steak house.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has opened up a new restaurant with a London Underground shaped bar at its centre in a casino hotel in Las Vegas. It's first establishment in the US gambling hub.

Ramsay, who holds a number of Michelin stars already has restaurants in New York and Los Angeles, and now has "brought his unique style and culinary flair to Las Vegas with the opening Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas," said a statement issued on Friday.  The Las Vegas venue is described as a modern steakhouse serving huge cuts of beef and lamb, but "British Ale Onion Soup", Shepherd's Pie, Scotch Eggs, Fish and Chips and Sticky Toffee Pudding will also be on the menu to satisfy those on a break from gambling with some good old British stodge.

John Curtas from the food blog "Eating Las Vegas" said "The Tube-like entrance (and the bar inside it) symbolizes the London Underground, and immediately makes an architectural statement about the big, brash Brit whose aura alone is enough to ensure the success of the place."  

It's certainly an architectural statement. However if he wanted to complete the ambience of late night eating and drinking in a Tube carriage, I'd suggest he throws in a few accordian playing buskers, a rambling nutter in the corner, some drunken office City boys & sprays around some Eau de KFC or Fragrance of Chicken Cottage for good measure.

Hat tip @TheSkintFoodie who originally tweeted about this over the weekend.

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Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

War of words between railroad and excursion train operator escalates

Published: May 14, 2012

LENOX, Mass. — The dispute between the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum and the Housatonic Railroad has escalated into a public exchange of charges and counter charges, with each side accusing the other of accusing the other of mischaracterizing the dispute.

Berkshire Scenic has been operating excursion trains from Lenox to Stockbridge, Mass., for the past nine years through an easement with the state Department of Transportation and the Housatonic. That easement expired in December 2011 and Housatonic has said it will not renew it. The state of Massachusetts has taken Berkshire Scenic’s side. 

With the permits expired, the Housatonic said it is not negotiating because of safety concerns. It has now accused Berkshire Scenic of applying “political and social pressure” to force the company to change its mind, iBerkshires.com reports.

A statement from Edward Rodriguez, executive vice president for the Housatonic, says that despite Berkshire Scenic’s claims it has never been cited for a safety violation, Housatonic has identified liability concerns that the company has not addressed. The statement also says that the Housatonic has been absorbing all of the costs associated with hosting the trains.

In response, on May 11, the museum’s events manager and attorney Pamela Green issued a counter statement alleging that Housatonic’s comments are “defamatory.” Green said the museum refuses to accept Housatonic’s reasoning that there are safety violations, saying those concerns are “baseless.” The statement says that Berkshire Scenic welcomes Federal Railroad Administration inspections and that the museum carries its own insurance, thus reducing Housatonic’s liability.

Housatonic has received more than $4 million in state dollars for the operations, the statement reads, and the company has always been compensated for Berkshire Scenic’s use.

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Florida steam locomotive taken out of service

Published: May 14, 2012

TAVARES, Fla. — The steam locomotive powering the Orange Blossom Cannonball on the Tavares, Eustis & Gulf Railroad is being taken out of service for an inspection. The locomotive is a 2-6-0 built by the Baldwin in 1907 for the Lufkin Land & Lumber Co., and is owned by Arkansas’ Reader Railroad. It was also used over the years on the Shreveport, Houston & Gulf Railroad, the Carter-Kelley Lumber Co., the W.T. Carter & Brothers Lumber Co., and the Scott & Bearskin Lake Railroad. It is now Reader Railroad No. 2.

The Reader is performing an annual inspection on the engine. To perform the work, No. 2 is being transported to the Reader’s headquarters in Arkansas. The inspection is expected to take six to seven weeks.

Diesel-powered tourist train service will resume the weekend of May 19, and continue until the steam locomotive is shipped back to Florida.

For more information, go to http://www.orangeblossomcannonball.com.

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Nevada Northern Railway hosting special events Memorial Day Weekend

Published: May 14, 2012

ELY, Nev. — The Nevada Northern Railway Museum is sponsoring two events on Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial kickoff of the summer travel season. All active military and veterans can ride trains at no charge on Memorial Day, May 28.

On May 26, the museum is steaming up its Industrial Brownhoist 100-ton wrecking crane “A,” among the only operating cranes of its class. The Nevada Northern purchased the crane new in 1907 from the Industrial Works of Bay City, Mich., for $16,015. It was restored to operation in 2005 in part with funds from a Trains magazine preservation grant.

On May 27, Baldwin 4-6-0 No. 40 and Alco 2-8-0 No. 93 will be doublehead on two trips. This is the only time the two locomotives are scheduled to doublehead this year.

The weekend kicks off the museum’s 25th year of operation. The railroad was built to serve the copper mines during the early 20th century. In 1983, the White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation was organized to receive, administer, and develop an operating railroad museum. Kennecott Copper made substantial donations consisting of more than 32 miles of track, the East Ely complex of machine shops, roundhouse, yards, and rolling stock, and the McGill Depot.

For more information, go to http://www.nnry.com.

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW




MONDAY, MAY 14, 2012

"Antebellum Jefferson, Texas: Everyday Life in an East Texas Town"


Founded in 1845, Jefferson, Texas was a boom town positioned to exploit river trade along the Texas-Louisiana border.  It served as a frontier gateway for goods heading west after traveling up the Red River (Shreveport was 40 miles to the east). According to Jacques Bagur in his monumental local history Antebellum Jefferson, Texas: Everyday Life in an East Texas Town (University of North Texas Press, 2012), at its 1870 zenith, the town may have been the busiest steamboat port in the state.

As its large size (over 600 pages) suggests, Antebellum Jefferson is remarkably comprehensive.  It is not a traditional narrative history, but rather a bit of a hybrid between that and a data driven reference work.  Each chapter tackles a different theme and together they create a wide ranging social, political, economic, and cultural portrait of the town.  The material presented is both descriptive and quantitative in nature. Not surprisingly, economic activity (e.g. navigation, markets, manufacturing, warehousing, meat packing, railroads etc.)  is a major focus but the lives and experiences of citizens and slaves are also dealt with in similar depth.  Political life, social organizations, religion, education, entertainment, and public health are all covered, as well as darker subjects like vice and crime.

The absence of footnoting makes the book less helpful than it could have been for scholars, but the lengthy source discussion at the rear of the book, loosely organized by section, compensates to some degree for a lack of traditional notes and bibliography.  While the largest audience for Antebellum Jefferson will probably be local, students of western boom town development and Texas history in general should find the volume of significant use in their research.

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Margaret Yee’s hands caressed the sculpture in the Gold Room at the State Capitol Monday morning while her mind wandered over her past.

"This is my grandfather," she finally said with a laugh and rubbed the figure with a shovel balanced over his shoulder.

Of course it wasn’t technically him, but for Yee, who has lived in Salt Lake City for 50 years, the depiction of the man represented everything she had heard about him growing up as a child.

"It was very hard work," she said. "I recall my mother saying how one person died for every mile of railroad track built. He was very fortunate."

To honor the more than 2,600 Chinese that built the transcontinental railroad — which was completed at Promontory Summit 143 years ago — Chinese officials presented Gov. Gary Herbert’s Office with the statue before continuing on their journey by rail to Chicago. The delegation began their journey in California last week and made it a point to stop in Utah, which is home to the Golden Spike National Historic Site, near Brigham City.

Deng Yuyang, who spoke on behalf of the sculptor, Yuan Xikun, said the Chinese workers who laid down the tracks were instrumental in joining America together and helping to usher in the nation’s role as an economic power.

The sculpture, about two feet tall, depicts three generations of Chinese workers — a middle-aged man standing on unfinished tracks and holding the shovel while a grandfather bends down and tells a young boy the history of the work done on the railway.

Yuyang told Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, that the statue would eulogize the workers’ spirit.

"They have made a contribution to the diversity of Utah and it was widely acknowledged that they were kind, industrious and smart," he said. "Which is also a celebration of the men’s dignity and fortitude."

Eccles presented the Chinese delegation, which included representatives from the Chinese national transportation ministry and the Chinese consul to America, with commemorative plates and a book about Utah to the group.

Eccles said the connection made at Promontory Summit with Utah and China continued to this day — noting Herbert had just completed a trade trip to China and that his successor, Jon Huntsman, was previously the U.S. ambassador to China.

"I think our future is bright," he said.

Eccles said the statue would likely end up in the Office of Economic Development’s new home at the World Trade Center at the City Creek Shopping Center. He said it would symbolize the growing economic and cultural connection between China and Utah.

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

ST. LOUIS — The North Missouri Railroad showed a tidy profit over the previous year despite disruptions of service, the annual report to stockholders showed.

The railroad earned $78,219 on revenue of $252,577 and anticipated that when it was paid for shipping soldiers and military supplies, it would receive about $110,000, the St. Louis Daily Missouri Republican reported.

The North Missouri Railroad ran through Audrain, Boone and Randolph counties on its way to the junction with the Hannibal-St. Joseph Railroad in Macon.

The profit would be used to repay debts and cover the cost of repairing the railroad after rebel raids. Before the destructive December 1861 raids, the company had wanted to extend the rail line northward 10 to 15 miles. But the war conditions prevented it, the newspaper reported.

The railroad directors called on the legislature to be elected in August to authorize $3 million in bonds, which would enable the company to extend the line to the Iowa border and lay track from Randolph County to St. Joseph.

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Santa Fe Warbonnet F units to be unveiled

Published: May 14, 2012

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Two F7As painted in Santa Fe’s famous Warbonnet livery will be unveiled in Greenville on June 9. The two former Southern Pacific units, which will be numbered Santa Fe 315 and 316, are owned by the Galveston Railroad Museum and are being overhauled by Motive Power & Equipment Solutions Inc. BNSF Railway owns the trademark to the AT&SF Warbonnet, and has licensed its use to the museum for these two engines.

The locomotives replace another pair of F7s the museum owned, former SP/Texas Limited Nos. 100 and 200, which were severely damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008 and scrapped.

The event will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time and is limited to 200 attendees. To RSVP, send an email toSantefef7unveiling@bellsouth.net. Include the following information: Name, company, address, state, phone number, and email address.

Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

California State Railroad Museum to debut ‘Ticket To Ride’ exhibit

Published: May 14, 2012

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California State Railroad Museum is unveiling a new exhibit titled “Ticket to Ride: 150 Years of Passenger Comfort & Style” on May 31. The exhibit will showcase railroad artifacts that chronicle how customer experiences on passenger trains has improved over time through innovations in comfort, design, service, and technology.

Visitors will be able to view different types of passenger seating from the 1870s to today. They may sit in a restored 1930s vintage passenger car seat and, for comparison, a current Amtrak double coach seat. Visitors will see a variety of vintage tickets, sleeping accommodations, and amenities from different eras and traveling classes. They will also have the opportunity to touch manufacturing materials used to produce passenger seats, read conversations between passengers from different eras, and see printed advertisements. The exhibit includes an original barber chair used in the early 20th century, a bar from a 1930s streamlined lounge car, a coal stove, light fixtures, dining utensils, china, and decorated leaded glass.

The “Ticket to Ride” exhibit be open through March 2013. For more information go to http://www.californiastaterailroadmuseum.org or call (916) 445-6645.


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