Clair Fisher Dies, B&O Dispatcher
Clair Fisher, retired B&O train dispatcher, died on December 13. He was 67. For many years he held the relief chief train dispatcher's position at the office at Camden Station in Baltimore, moving to the Canco Building at Halethorpe when functions of the expanded Maryland Division were consolidated in 1983. He was the first-shift chief at that location until a further consolidation was made in 1988, with most positions moving to Jacksonville, Florida. He did not transfer to Jacksonville, but stayed behind as the third-shift terminal dispatcher, one of four regular positions then remaining at Halethorpe. He retired the following year due to illness. He began his railroading career as an operator in Philadelphia in 1953, later working in towers in the Baltimore area before being promoted to train dispatcher. "His railroad was his life," said his daughter, Patty. His brother, Ralph, is a retired B&O operator, and his son, Robert, is a CSXT conductor.
"Kentucky Cardinal" Introduced by Amtrak
Amtrak now has daily service between Chicago and the Louisville area. The Kentucky Cardinal was introduced in December with overnight service to Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Chessie System Scheme Locomotives Getting Scarce
The CSXT locomotive roster now includes only 18 units still wearing the old Chessie System scheme, according to Robert Michaels of Howell, Michigan. GP38 unit 2086 was the last Chessie locomotive to have C&O sublettering, and that unit has now been deleted from the roster. The only C&O unit still on the roster is 4617, which still has a blue paint scheme.
Commuter Train Tested in Pilot Run Between Tacoma and Seattle
Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Sound Transit conducted a pilot commuter transit run for 400 people between Tacoma and Seattle, Washington, December 9, as a test for a proposed commuter rail service between the two cities.
Regional Operation Center Dedicated in San Bernardino
Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific dedicated their Regional Operation Center in San Bernardino, California, on December 3. The center is intended to improve coordination of BNSF and UP operations in Southern California. Currently, 42 BNSF and 37 UP employees staff the facility, which directs the movement of trains over about 762 miles of BNSF trackage and 674 miles of UP trackage.
Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Merged with Yorkrail
Emons Transportation Group Inc., parent company of the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad and Yorkrail, announced the merger of the two subsidiaries into the York Railway Company effective December 1.
CN and BNSF Announce Plans to Combine
[From a BNSF news release] . . .
MONTREAL and FORT WORTH, December 20, 1999 - Canadian National Railway Company and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation today announced that their boards of directors have approved a definitive agreement to combine their businesses. The end-to-end combination creates North America's largest railroad and will offer shippers substantially enhanced single-line service. Combined, the companies currently operate about 50,000 route-miles of track, employ about 67,000 people, and have combined revenues of approximately $12.5-billion (US).
The combined businesses have an equity market capitalization of approximately $19-billion based on the closing stock prices on December 17. The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings per share in the first year after the combination becomes effective. The companies expect that all required regulatory approvals can be obtained and the transaction completed by mid-2001.
Among its benefits, the combination will:
- Be uniquely positioned to help shippers take advantage of the fast growing north-south trade flows within North America, while providing a fluid east-west transportation network serving both Canada and the United States. The new railroad will offer unprecedented single-line service with access to new markets throughout North America.
- Achieve rail market share growth by generating new business opportunities and added efficiencies through improved asset utilization and service scheduling.
- Offer increasing employment opportunities due to the growth potential of the new enterprise. Because this combination is an end-to-end operating network, there is minimal overlap of operations and only minor duplication of activities, and workforce reductions are expected to be managed largely through normal attrition.
- Maintain the culture, customer and safety focus and operational expertise of each railroad at the local and regional level.
- Combine CN's and BNSF's industry-leading service plans and CN's strength in forest products, automotive and chemical transportation with BNSF's wide geographic coverage in the western United States and its strong intermodal and coal business.
- Join the two most efficient railroads in North America, each with a proved record of implementing previous consolidations.
CN and BNSF have principal interchanges at Chicago, Memphis, Duluth/Superior, and Vancouver.
Terms . . .
To implement the transaction in a tax-efficient manner, North American Railways, Inc., will be created as the parent company for BNSF and as the companion company for CN. The transaction will result in the shareholders of each company having voting and ownership interests in both companies.
The shareholders of BNSF will receive for each BNSF common share a common security consisting of one North American Railways common share and one CN voting share that will trade together as one security.
The shareholders of CN will receive for each CN common share 1.05 CN voting shares and, at their option, either 1.05 shares of North American Railways common stock or 1.05 shares of CN stock exchangeable for 1.05 shares of North American Railways common stock. The CN voting share will trade together with the CN exchangeable share as one security and will be Canadian Property for investment, dividend and tax purposes.
The result will be that, at all times, each company will have the same shareholder base with each shareholder having the same economic benefits and voting rights.
North American Railways, by its charter, will conform to the provisions of the CN Commercialization Act and Canadian corporate law on the composition of boards of directors. Like CN, North American Railways shareholders will be subject to an ownership limit whereby no single shareholder can own more than 15 percent of North American Railways' voting shares. North American Railways will have its head office in Montreal and will operate in both of Canada's official languages. BNSF will continue to be headquartered in Forth Worth.
Management and Board Structure . . .
Upon the closing of the transaction, Robert D. Krebs, chairman and chief executive officer of BNSF, will become non-executive chairman of North American Railways and of CN; and Paul M. Tellier, president and chief executive officer of CN, will become president and chief executive officer of North American Railways as well as CN... E. Hunter Harrison, executive vice president and chief operating officer of CN, will become chief operating officer of North American Railways as well as CN; and Thomas N. Hund, senior vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer of BNSF, will become chief financial officer of North American Railways and of CN. In addition, Matthew K. Rose, president and chief operating officer of BNSF, will become president and chief executive officer of BNSF.
A five-person implementation committee, consisting of Messrs. Krebs, Tellier, Harrison, Hund and Rose, will begin work immediately. The mandate of this committee, which will operate through consensus, is to direct the preparation of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board application and related matters, to direct integration planning and, within regulatory limits, to effect interim voluntary coordination agreements between CN and BNSF in such areas as information systems, purchasing, operations and marketing.
The size and composition of the North American Railways board will be identical to that of the CN board. The majority of directors will be Canadian residents. The 15-member board will consist of six members drawn from each of the CN and BNSF boards plus three new appointees.
CSXT Establishes 'No Parking Zones' in Three Ohio Counties
[From CSXT Employee News] . . .
CSXT has launched a voluntary pilot demonstration program establishing 'No Parking Zones' for trains on selected key highway-rail grade crossings in the Ohio counties of Cuyahoga, Huron and Lorain. The zones are in response to heavy rail traffic in northern Ohio that has resulted in blocked grade crossings. In cooperation with local officials, CSXT has established 15 No Parking Zones on crossings that will be kept open in all preventable circumstances. "We are reinforcing these strategic locations during this period of heavy rail traffic," said Emory Hill, general manager, Great Lakes Division. "As we continue to improve our operations, our goal is to not block any crossing and make every effort to keep them open." While current CSXT operating rules already require train crews to avoid blocking crossings or to separate a train, these zones will serve as reminders.
Service is Improving - CSXT Says
[From CSXT Employee News] . . .
A downward trend of cars on line, improved train velocity and reduced terminal car dwell all are encouraging signs that service is recovering from the double whammy of Hurricane Floyd and the fall peak, says Clarence Gooden, vice president-system transportation. Speaking to the 1999 Short Line Workshop at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, December 6, Gooden said cars on line are returning to more normalized levels after some challenging weeks that included Hurricane Floyd, an early bumper crop of grain, auto production that will set an all-time record, and other traffic increases. "The worst is behind us," Gooden said, while cautioning that service is not satisfactory. He said short lines aided the recovery by offering re-routing options to work off congestion - a contribution equaled only by the willingness of train and engine-service employees to remain available for work. Going forward, a simplified operating plan will help reduce blocks of cars and ease demand on the terminals with the heaviest loads.
TransFlo Unveils '2000 Roadmap' for Continued Growth
[From CSXT Employee News] . . .
TransFlo has ambitious growth plans for 2000, says Tom Piatak, assistant vice president of the CSX subsidiary. Speaking to employees and terminal operators at TransFlo's annual meeting in Jacksonville early last month, Piatak said continued emphasis on the safe transloading of products would support the growth initiative. "We are second to none in the transloading area," Piatak said. "We have taken what was a flat business and transformed it into a business that is three times the rate of growth of traditional rail traffic." The secret is TransFlo's ability to extend the customer's reach beyond the rail network while offering truck-competitive service and rail economies. In 1999, TransFlo increased carloads 14 percent while almost eliminating employee injuries and product releases... In 1999, TransFlo achieved ISO 9002 registration, an international quality standard. The 166 TransFlo locations - a combination of CSX's former BIDS network and Conrail's former Flexi-Flo network including self-service tracks and independent terminals - puts one of these transfer locations within 50 miles of every major U.S. market. In fact, the CSX-Conrail transaction increased terminal coverage by 33 percent and car spots by almost 55 percent, said Glen Soliah, managing director of operations. Piatak said 2000 goals include some expansion, a nearly 14 percent volume increase and continued safety improvement. TransFlo has completed some of the work necessary for Responsible Care certification by the Chemical Manufacturers Association. "We grow because we offer a good product, and we work actively to make business happen," said Leslie Michaelis, director of marketing. "Customer satisfaction is key to that."
CSXT Response Moves Michigan Grain to Market
[From CSXT Employee News] . . .
By delivering 17 empty unit trains into Michigan in just 10 days, CSXT has helped avert a crisis for the state's grain farmers. The situation developed when several factors combined to create a shortage of empty grain hoppers to ship the Michigan harvest to market. Farmers in the state produced a bumper grain crop this year, and exceptional weather conditions allowed the harvest to get under way early and continue virtually uninterrupted. That would have put a strain on car supply under normal circumstances, said Tom Owen, CSXT's assistant vice president-agricultural products, but the situation was exacerbated by existing inventories at Michigan grain elevators and railroad congestion at Toledo, Ohio. Fearing that farmers would lose part of their crop if it had to be left on the ground awaiting transportation, U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham formed a task force to address the situation... Responding the the extraordinary circumstances, CSXT took extraordinary measures. Clarence Gooden, vice president-system transportation, traveled to Toledo/Walbridge to work with local managers and labor representatives on a plan to relieve congestion in that key gateway to Michigan. At the same time, Ken Kennedy, director-marketing, worked with four Michigan short lines to piece together an alternate route into the state's grain-producing regions. In Jacksonville, the grain desk assisted by coordinating the trains moving to and from the area. "It was an outstanding effort by many people to alleviate a situation that was causing great concern among our Michigan grain shippers and their elected officials," Owen said. "There's still more grain to be moved, so we're doing everything possible to deliver the trains quickly to customers in the South and return the equipment to Michigan for new loads."
"Kitty" of Miller Tower
[By Allen Brougham] . . .
He first graced us with his noble presence in the latter part of 1998. His initial visits were sporadic, not of very great duration, it being assumed that the tower was just another "place" in his worldly travels. He didn't care much for margarine or apple sauce - the only things we had on hand to feed him - but once we brought to the office delectable offerings of genuine cat food, he decided to stick around. Nobody knows from whence he came, but with the number of wandering cats in the area, it was concluded that he was probably a stray. Anyway, he was always free to return to his home - if he had one - anytime he wanted. Perhaps, at times, he did.
But Kitty knew he was always welcome. All of the regular operators at the tower had pets of their own at home, and Kitty easily made his place. Indeed, he had found a home as fitting as for any cat of his stature, a place where there was always someone to let him in whenever he wanted, to let him out whenever he wanted, and to feed him whenever he wanted, 24 hours a day. All he had to do was let us know.
Kitty's routine never took on a systematic schedule. At times he would remain in the office for an entire shift or longer, or he would remain away for up to a couple of days at a time. But usually he would make at least a cameo appearance every several hours, if only to get something to eat. The lid from a paper carton became his bed, complete with towels to assure his resting comfort. Still, he found that he could get away with ignoring instructions not to sleep in chairs, and he even found a hiding place in a box used for the storage of used computer paper. He occasionally misbehaved by jumping up on the desk and walking upon the fax machine, or the computer keyboard, or just simply getting in the way. With this he'd be put back in his bed, where he'd sometimes stay, or be put back outside. Aside from this, Kitty was never much trouble.
It was evident that Kitty had been in a few scraps during some of his wanderings; at times he would come back with cuts and bruises. One gash to his forehead caused us some concern, but it did heal in the due course of time.
He had been with us for nearly a year when one evening he came back limping from what I thought had been an attack by dogs. Indeed, I did see three hound dogs nearby. To be sure, Kitty was badly hurt. I had to carry him up into the tower. There was a wound over his left shoulder, about an inch square, and I could tell he had lost a great deal of blood. I offered him dinner. He didn't want any. All he wanted to do was go to bed. I tried turning him over, to assess the damage, but he cried! Poor Kitty!
I called a vet. They took my call, but it was late, and they could not accept him until the following morning. Instinctively, I called one of the extra operators, Debby Haddix, at her home in Frederick, Maryland. I told her the situation. It was decided to let Kitty stay in bed over night, and Debby would make the hour long drive to the tower the following morning to take him to the vet.
Once at the vet, it was discovered that Kitty had not been attacked by dogs after all... He had been SHOT!... The doc removed fragments of a .22 caliber rifle bullet from deep within his shoulder. Kitty was lucky, the bullet had just missed his spinal cord.
He remained at the vet for 10 days. The prognosis was good, but he will likely have a limp for the rest of his life.
It has now been about a month since his injury. Debby took Kitty home with her, to recuperate, and to see how he likes living in an apartment. I think she's going to keep him. She's since given him a new name... LUCKY. How appropriate!
I'm going to miss Kitty (er, I mean, Lucky), but I'm happy that he's now in a place where he'll be safe, and well taken care of. Moreover, he has now been neutered, and he has had all of his vaccinations.
If cats have nine lives, Lucky still has (at most) eight to go.
Of Music and Trains
Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904), a native of Bohemia, is noted for his numerous musical compositions. Best known of these is his Symphony No. 9, "From the New World," his last symphony, which he composed and introduced while he was in the United States. It is generally considered his tribute to America. He also composed operas, cantatas, oratorios, rhapsodies, piano works, vocal and chamber music. Music was his life, and it is for this that he will forever be remembered.
But history will little note another element in the life of this famous man...
Antonin Dvorak was a Railfan!
One might wonder how this particular passion could have affected his legacy if he were living today, but a biography written on the man (Dvorak, by Hans-Hubert Schonzeler, 1984, Marion Boyars, Inc.) gives some clues. In fact, a whole chapter is devoted to his hobbies, of which locomotives was foremost.
In 1850, when Dvorak was nine years old, a railroad was opened through his home town. This put the seeds in motion, and "in a very short time he had struck up a friendship with station masters, engine drivers, stokers and the like and knew precisely which locomotive under whose guidance was taking out what train and to where."
Later, as a teacher of music, Dvorak was often prevented from attending to his hobby in person, a matter described as "a great annoyance" to him. There is a story of one instance when he sent a student to the train station to record the number of the locomotive for a certain train about to depart. The student, who was then courting Dvorak's daughter, returned with the number, "not of the engine but of the coal-tender." Dvorak is said to have later confronted his daughter with the words: "So that's the kind of man you want to marry!"
Dvorak came to America in 1892. He did some traveling in this country and in Canada, but much of the time he lived in New York. He did not particularly like the city - it was so big - and his pursuit of railfanning especially suffered. An acquaintance described Dvorak's plight by explaining how New York at the time had but one main station, and "they did not allow anybody on to the platform except the passengers and it was in vain that we begged the porter to let us look at the 'American locomotive'." An alternate activity was to travel to 155th Street, an hour-long ride by elevated, where they could observe the trains en route to Chicago and Boston. "Only it took up a lot of time, nearly the whole afternoon, as we always waited for a number of trains so that it would be worth the journey...."
Stymied by the difficulty involved in watching trains on a regular basis, Dvorak soon adopted a new hobby. He took to exploring and watching steamships. The harbor was close to his home - the public was allowed on board prior to sailing - and he would often venture to Battery Park where he could watch a "ship in her outward journey for as long as she remained in sight."
Antonin Dvorak returned to Europe in 1895, never again to come back to America. Presumably he was then able to resume the hobby of railfanning unabated.
B&LE Meadville Branch Survey
[By Thomas K. Kraemer] . . .
The Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad has always been known for its "high iron" main line and operations. However, during its history, three branch lines were operated stemming from its main: The Hilliards, the Meadville and the Western Allegheny Railroad (the WA officially becoming part of the Bessemer in 1967)... The line that would eventually become the 15.6 mile "Meadville branch" was completed in 1881 as part of the original "Meadville RR" (reorganized several times to finally be known as the Meadville, Conneaut Lake and Linesville RR) to connect the Atlantic and Great Western (Erie) at Meadville with the PRR-controlled Erie and Pittsburgh RR at Linesville - an "East/West" route, 19.1 miles. As the "Bessemer" (Pittsburgh, Shenango and Lake Erie RR at the time) constructed its main line northward from Greenville toward Albion in 1891, it crossed the MCL&L near Shermansville at a location about 21 miles south of Albion, PA, and about 19 miles north of Greenville. The Bessemer shortly thereafter leased the line from the MCL&L and operated it as a branch, with it officially becoming merged into the Bessemer system in 1949... The Bessemer's purpose of the branch obviously was to reach business and industry in Meadville, but it also saw passenger service to what's known today as "Conneaut Lake Park" - known as "Exposition Park" until 1920. The park was developed in conjunction with railroad interest and funding in hopes for generated passenger traffic, and as a pleasant meeting place for associated corporations and stockholders (private organizations were also welcome). To be able to provide direct access to the park, the railroad constructed a one-mile spur from a place on the branch called Lynces Junction to the park itself. The automobile would eventually put an end to the need for passenger trains running to the park, and the service was discontinued in 1934 (the spur finally being abandoned in 1969). The portion between Linesville and Shermansville (Meadville Jct.) was abandoned in 1953, and the portion between Meadville Junction and the crossing of Route 322 (just outside Meadville) was abandoned in 1977... Actually, a small section of the original line is still active in Meadville, operated by NS (Conrail), as an industrial spur off the former Erie main. It serves local industry and is referred to, in NS's timetable, as the "Mead Industrial Track." Today, Meadville Junction on the B&LE is still an active location with a 10,000 foot CTC passing siding and a couple of non-controlled sidings between the "mains" used for setting out bad orders or placement of MOW equipment and rolling stock...but a cinder "wye" grade on the east side of the main line is all that remains of the branch that named the location.
WHAT ELSE IS LEFT
While living temporarily in the Conneaut Lake area last winter, I had several opportunities to explore what was left of the old Meadville branch. Unfortunately, the section between Shermansville and the now-removed PRR at Linesville is practically untraceable, with almost 50 years worth of nature's reclamation of the land... The section of right-of-way between Meadville Junction and Conneaut Lake (including the spur from Lynces Junction) appears to be fairly intact, however many gates and posted signs prevent the casual "industrial archeaologist" from gaining access to most areas. But wait... that still leaves a good 12 miles' worth of right-of-way to explore... between Conneaut Lake and Meadville.
CONNEAUT LAKE TO MEADVILLE HIKE
With the right-of-way becoming fairly remote and less accessible beyond Conneaut Lake, I decided to hike the section between the south end of Conneaut Lake and where the trackage starts up again outside Meadville - about 12.5 miles. So on a clear day last August, I teamed up with my friend (and fellow railroader) Jay Schmucker to explore and document what was left of that section of the route... After crossing Route 6 in Conneaut Lake, the right-of-way is being used as a driveway to a privately-owned (and open to the public) winery. As we walked on by the winery building after traversing its driveway, some folks sitting on the porch of the establishment looked at us suspiciously (it's a 90's thing), but offered no resistance. It is possible that the property had been purchased from the railroad and was indeed theirs, but no signs were posted threatening passage. Behind their building (and beyond a nicely mowed backyard), the line picked back up as a fairly clear trail through what we could tell were Pennsylvania State Game Lands. About a mile beyond the trailhead, we came across an official Pennsylvania-type sign stating, although faded and somewhat unclear, that the right-of-way (and its access to the land) was restricted - to be used only during the months between July and December. Since it was August, we were OK, and continued on. The trail was fairly well used as a footpath and was clear, offering views of unspoiled swamp land and smooth rolling hillsides complimented by shady wooded passages. A few overgrown tree limbs blocked the way slightly, but the trail was easily passable... Since most of the railroad was built on the towpath of the old Meadville Branch of the Erie Extension Canal, I found its characteristics to be similar to that of the C&O canal towpath in the East - long sweeping curves with a raised grade, and, obviously, a canal bed about 20 feet wide in parallel with the right-of-way. The canal had become overgrown, of course, but still held water in places and was filled with various water plants and wildlife. An old farm bridge (in poor condition) across the canal at one point was the only evidence we had found thus far concerning the actual railroad...several lengths of the old rail and ties were used in its construction. The small wooden trestle over Mud Run had been removed, with a few pilings still standing in the stream bed... From the crossing of Brown Hill Road to West Vernon Road (about two miles) the trail continued to be clear and usable - the landscape becoming more of a densely wooded area. The trail seemed very remote, but at one point we were overtaken by a kid driving an ATV at an aggressive pace (disruptive, yet probably to thank for keeping the trail open!)... East of West Vernon Road, a local farmer had stored hay rolls squarely on the right of way, with the area behind the rolls having become totally grown in and offering difficult passage. We also seemed to lose sight of the old canal at that point. The Watson Run bridge (or the lack thereof) presented our next obstacle. The bridge appeared to have been about 40 feet in length and wooden during its day. Luckily, the water level in Watson Run was low, and we were able to descend the bank and cross the stream bed without the bridge after all. Dense vegetation on either side of the bridge (and its cement abutments) proved to slow our passage until we could find a clear trail once again... East of Watson run road, the trail finally did clear up - providing use initially as a driveway, then an ATV trail for about another half mile. The ATV trail would dart off to a neighboring farmer's field as the right-of-way entered a shallow cut through a wooded ridge for approximately one mile. Passage through the cut was impossible, as trees from the woods on either side had fallen into the cut. Drainage through the cut was poor, and dense vegetation filled any open spaces between the fallen trees. We were forced to ascend the cut and hike through the woods until we came across Route 19... Since the right-of-way had been lost for the time being, we decided to follow country roads for a mile or two until we were east of Interstate 79, where we found the trail once again. The trail was perfectly clear as we picked it up heading east from Mt. Pleasant Road, just under the I-79 bridge. A sign restricting the use of motorized vehicles was all we saw entering the trail, along with metal posts spaced to limit anything wider than a horse's behind. The trail looked to be well used - but maintained only by its use... At the crossing of the Mercer Pike, a parking area (again poorly maintained) and some vandalized signs proclaimed the right-of-way as a public bike trail - a good intention, but the route was not paved making it suited best for mountain bikes or hiking. The trail curved gently northward toward Meadville at that point, and NS's (former Erie) Meadville Line could be seen paralleling between the trees of a thinly wooded area... At the railroad location known as "French Creek," the line curves sharply northward and actually shares the right-of-way with NS's (original Erie RR) Meadville Line for a few hundred feet. Apparently, there was an interchange there at one time. A few concrete "stumps" from mechanical interlocking devices could be found in the immediate area, but we could find no evidence of a tower. We assumed the junction was controlled by Erie's nearby "BK" tower at Buchannan Junction where the branch to Franklin splits from the old Erie main (tower closed and razed about 1986)... The B&LE continued to curve sharply northward, with the "Erie" curving less sharply and crossing French Creek on a girder bridge. At that point, the B&LE trail entered its most scenic section, with a steep wooded hillside to the left and French Creek on the right. As we walked, we did actually meet some other hikers and an older couple on mountain bikes who seemed to be enjoying the trail... As the valley spread out, farmland was developed in what was the floodplain of French Creek. A couple of bridges had been constructed over small runs intentionally built for the trail and looked to be fairly new (they were not configured from original railroad structures)... As we neared our destination of Meadville, the line curved gently and came quite close to I-79 - the scenery continued to be nice, but noise from the highway subtracted from the remote atmosphere the trail had presented thus far. But that was only for a short distance, and as I-79 curved toward the west slightly, our trail curved slightly east, then straightened out for the last mile into civilization... The trail ends, unmarked, at a spot on Route 6 just outside the city of Meadville - near Value City plaza, Hoss's Steak House, Pizza Hut, etc...the colorful array welcomed us back to the "real world" once again. Our trip on the Meadville branch was second only to being in a caboose pulled by an orange-and-black SD-7.
Boston & Maine #494
[By Railroad Rob Brzostowski] . . .
In a small New England town sits a locomotive. Not just any locomotive, but a true American locomotive. It is the Boston & Maine #494.... Built in 1892 by the Manchester Locomotive Works in New Hampshire, she was put into service hauling passenger and light freight trains on the Eastern Line of the B&M.... As the years went by, #494 had her wooden cab replaced with a steel cab, the oil-burning headlamp was replaced with an electric lamp, and other improvements were made. After 19 years of service, the B&M renumbered her to #905. During the final years of service, you could see her pull coal trains from Fabyan Station to Marshfield Station on Mount Washington, a climb of 2700 feet. In 1938, after 46 years of service, the B&M retired her.... After being retired, the B&M shops in Billerica, Massachusetts, cosmetically restored her to her original 1892 appearance for the 1939 New York World's Fair. When the fair was over, she was put into storage at the Fitchburg and Lowell yards. Before she could be scraped, a group later to become the Railroad Enthusiasts, Inc., rescued her. The group found a permanent home for her in a small Vermont town called Hartford (a.k.a. White River Junction). In 1957, she arrived in Hartford to be displayed for the rest of her life.... Now owned and maintained by the Hartford Parks and Recreation Department, a restoration effort by the White River Junction Chapter of the NRHS was started in 1997. Under direction of the town of Hartford, the group plans to restore #494 and her adjoining caboose to their original appearance and to build a permanent display track with a protective canopy... For more information on this project, write to the White River Junction Chapter NRHS, P.O. Box 1215, White River Junction, Vermont 05001-1215.
Railroad Park Opened in Rochelle, Illinois
The city of Rochelle, Illinois, outside of Chicago, has opened a free public railroad park with a raised observation platform overlooking BNSF and UP trackage. The $300,000 project was funded by a state grant and an added motel tax. The park includes restrooms, soda machines, picnic facilities, a gift shop, and a paved parking area.