Previews

Previews from the pages of the all new Railroads Illustrated Annual! Get inspired by 100 pages of creative railroad photography from yesterday and today.

Growing Up in Coal Country

November 17, 2016

Growing Up in Coal Country

My earliest railfan memories are of seeing endless coal trains rolling over former Norfolk & Western and Virginian trackage. Growing up, I spent most of my time close to home along Norfolk Southern’s Christiansburg District between Roanoke, Va., and Bluefield, W.Va. Back in the early 2000s, it was nothing for my dad and me to see 10 to 15 trains climbing Christiansburg Mountain in a single afternoon.

Western Canada Odyssey

October 10, 2016

Western Canada Odyssey

Following a frigid and snowy winter in Northern Virginia, my wife Teresa and I decided to take a much-needed vacation in May 2015 to an intriguing destination to enjoy some spectacular scenery, wildlife viewing, and of course, lots of rail photography. After exploring several options, we decided to head to western Canada, taking VIA Rail’s outstanding Canadian from Toronto.

Northern Alco Adventure

September 25, 2016

Northern Alco Adventure

In 2001 Cartier had ordered 12 new General Electric AC4400CW locomotives for delivery the following spring. I elected to make the pilgrimage to remote northeastern Canada to shoot the mining firm’s 21 large six-axle Montreal Locomotive Works M636 models, three Alco C636 units, and a lone C630.

Riding Mixed Trains in the Southwest

August 29, 2016

Riding Mixed Trains in the Southwest

What does the phrase “mixed train” bring to mind? Perhaps a small locomotive, a few boxcars, and an old wooden coach? In the 1960s and 1970s, I rode some mixed trains that did not quite fit that image.

CSX Peninsula Subdivision

February 25, 2016

CSX Peninsula Subdivision

Change is present in every facet of our lives; it is inevitable. When I received new assignment at Langley AFB in Hampton, Va., it gave me the chance to discover CSX’s Peninsula Subdivision, its coal heritage, and some changes the railroad endured itself. From a native Westerner, I found what was most impressive of all was the subdivision’s coal prowess. That prowess dates back to the railway’s inception nearly 134 years ago.

Southern Ontario’s F-Unit Revival

January 11, 2016

Southern Ontario’s F-Unit Revival

In 2012, news quickly spread that Ontario Southland Railway had picked up a former VIA Rail FP9 and planned to put it in service. As if the news couldn’t get any better, word came a year later that another pair of long-retired FP9s had arrived on the property. OSR’s shops have done a lot of painstaking work to get the “three amigos” operational again, including searching for many hard-to-locate parts.

Seaboard System: Not a Temporary Railroad

October 30, 2015

Seaboard System: Not a Temporary Railroad

My discontent with Seaboard System came from the fact it erased some familiar railroad names that had been a part of my younger life, particularly Louisville & Nashville and the Clinchfield…

Buckeye State Tunnel Motors

October 30, 2015

Buckeye State Tunnel Motors

Ohio is also home to five short line/regional railroad companies that operate a locomotive of the type popularly known as “tunnel motors.” EMD modified the cooling systems of its popular SD45–2s and SD40-2s for better engine cooling in tunnels where hot exhaust fumes linger near the tunnel’s ceiling…

Romancing the Rathole

October 30, 2015

Romancing the Rathole

I first visited these rails in the spring of 1991 as part of a railfan group’s day trip. I was immediately struck by the magnificence of the massive cuts, bisected and traversed by impossibly tall bridges that carried backwoods country roads across them…

Early BNSF

October 30, 2015

Early BNSF

In May 1996, BNSF painted SD60M 9297 in a bimodal experimental paint configuration, where the schemes were different on either side of the engine. The purpose of this painting was to gather feedback from employees and perhaps shareholders as well as management on BNSF’s new but formative corporate image…