Quotulatiousness

December 7, 2017

Fifty years since the end of the 20th Century

Filed under: Business, History, Railways, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

In early December 1967, the New York Central finally had to give up on their famous passenger train, the 20th Century Limited between New York City and Chicago. Kevin Keefe tells the sad story:

The streamlined steam locomotive New York Central Hudson No.5344 “Commodore Vanderbilt”, as it left Chicago’s LaSalle Street station pulling the 20th Century Limited.
Photo via Wikimedia

I don’t know what I was doing on the afternoon of December 3, 1967, but I know where I should have been: on the platform of Union Station in South Bend, Ind., awaiting the passage of the last westbound edition of New York Central’s legendary 20th Century Limited. That’s right, it’s been 50 years since NYC pulled the plug on what was generally considered the “world’s most famous train.” The final runs of trains 25 and 26 were unceremonious, as depicted in various photos that ran in the March 1968 issue of Trains. But “unceremonious” doesn’t begin to do justice to the westbound edition: it arrived in Chicago’s La Salle Street Station hours late due to a freight derailment the night before in eastern Ohio. Just looking at these sad images from December 2-3, 1967, you can image how relieved NYC and its president, Al Perlman, must have been to be done with the train once and for all.

The economics that drove NYC’s decision were brutal. As author Fred Frailey reported in his terrific book Twilight of the Great Trains, the Century’s traditional patrons deserted the train. “On May 20, 1967,” wrote Frailey, “the westbound Century carried but 18 people in coach, 34 in the sleepercoach (budget sleeper) and 40 in sleeping cars; its eastbound counterpart had 31 in coach, 42 in sleepercoach and 20 in the sleepers. In other words, you could have seated almost everyone in one seating in the twin-unit dining car.”

Editor David P. Morgan understood the passenger-train economics that drove Perlman to kill the Century, but in that March ’68 issue of Trains he couldn’t suppress his disgust at NYC’s cavalier behavior for the last runs: “Such a train deserved better than the noiseless euthanasia it received. Kansas doodlebugs have been lopped off with as much ceremony.”

The most poignant images of that day are images of both trains 25 and 26 pausing alongside a wet platform at Buffalo’s Central Terminal, their two observation cars that night, Wingate Brook and Hickory Creek, headed in opposite directions to die forever.

Photos of the 20th Century Limited on the final run at the link.

November 10, 2017

Model Railroad – 1950 Educational Documentary – WDTVLIVE42

Filed under: Railways — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

wdtvlive42 – Archive Footage
Published on 20 Oct 2017

An introduction to model railroads, featuring the O-Scale layout of the Westchester Model Railroad Club.

QotD: Dissing model railroaders

Filed under: Media, Quotations, Railways — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

I hate it when nonmodelers talk about model trains.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3264325/My-favourite-tracks-ones-trains-says-Rod-Stewart-Singer-reveals-books-second-hotel-room-models-play-tour.html
http://www.therichest.com/expensive-lifestyle/money/rod-stewart-model-train-collection/

I’m not a lover of rock music so when Model Railroader did a writeup of Rod Stewart’s layout a few years back, I said who? Then I read the article and said wow, that’s great work. Especially when it was obvious that Mr. Stewart did the work himself. A great model railroad isn’t something you can just buy, no matter how rich you are. It’s a labor of love that involves developing real skills and tens of thousands of hours of painstaking work. Most model railroads are never finished and disappear when their builders pass on, making them more or less ephemeral works of art.

To call what Mr. Stewart does, “playing with trains” is a direct insult. Nobody says about even the crappiest painter or sculptor that they are just “playing with paint” or “playing with clay.” The same for all sorts of hobbies Yet the tone that you get when you admit to modeling trains is almost always the same. Somehow building model train is playing with toys and you are doing something childish. Somehow the idea that trains come in “sets” never seems to go beyond the train around the tree.

Which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Model railroading involves a great number of skills that most hobbies don’t have. For instance, you don’t get too far before you realize that your favorite prototype train is just not being made, or isn’t being made in your railroad’s paint scheme. So you get out the saw and cut up that train set locomotive and add other parts, ending by repainting the engine in your colors. Now you want a spur track on your railroad to service an industry. You might need to learn how to make your own track. That industry, well that might involve digging into historical archives to figure out what the building did before it became a shopping mall. As for how the railroad looks, those train set trees and vacuum formed tunnel get old fast, so you learn how to form hills and rocks, filling the hills with trees, that look like trees. You research that stuff too. In fact model railroading involves researching, photographing and studying far more than just the trains because the train need a reason to run and country to run through.

Almost no other hobby than model trains gets the kind of ridicule that model railroaders do. Some of that is, unfortunately, self-inflicted as model railroaders aren’t above poking a little at each other. Still, I’m not sure what causes the stigma that goes with small trains. Yet no other hobby requires the number of skills that model railroading, if done well does. You work with more kinds of tools, frequently through magnification than just about anything else. I’ve seen hobbyist machinists for instance talk about having to deal with “small parts” that were larger than a typical modeling project.

J.C. Carlton, “Rod Stewart And His Trains”, The Arts Mechanical, 2016-03-17.

November 1, 2017

James May’s Top Toys

Filed under: Britain, History, Railways — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

railwayman2013
Published on 2 Jan 2013

I love hornby trains !!!

October 6, 2017

Sabotage In The Desert – Battle of Broodseinde I THE GREAT WAR Week 167

Filed under: Britain, Europe, History, Middle East, Military, Railways — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

The Great War
Published on 5 Oct 2017

While the regular British forces were advancing towards Jerusalem and Baghdad, T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt were causing havoc behind the lines. This week 100 years ago, they were continuing to attack the important Hejaz railway which was one of the vital supply routes for the Ottoman Army. On October 4, the Battle of Broodseinde was fought near Ypres and the costly British victory there caused real headaches for German general Erich Ludendorff.

September 24, 2017

GE Steam Turbine Locomotives – 1938 Educational Documentary – WDTVLIVE42

Filed under: History, Railways, Technology, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 30 May 2017

The General Electric steam turbine locomotives were two steam turbine locomotives built by General Electric (GE) for Union Pacific (UP) in 1938. This newsreel style promotional film shows construction of the locomotives while highlighting their expected capabilities.

September 6, 2017

Grand Trunk Pacific Transcontinental Railway Construction – circa 1910 Documentary – WDTVLIVE42

Filed under: Cancon, History, Railways — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 26 Mar 2017

The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was a historical Canadian transcontinental railway running from Winnipeg to the Pacific coast at Prince Rupert, British Columbia. East of Winnipeg the line continued as the National Transcontinental Railway, running across northern Ontario and Quebec, crossing the St. Lawrence River at Quebec City and ending at Moncton, New Brunswick. The entire line was managed and operated by Grand Trunk Railway. Construction of this transcontinental railway began in 1905 and was completed by 1913.

Scenes show earthworks and removal of spoil via railway carriages, steam locomotives hauling flatcars, sleepers being unloaded from trains and position on the new roadbed, unloading of rails, fastening of rails to sleepers, and the works train travelling over the newly completed trackwork.

WDTVLIVE42 – Transport, technology, and general interest movies from the past – newsreels, documentaries & publicity films from my archives.
#trains #locomotive #railways #wdtvlive42

August 22, 2017

An unwelcome kind of “how to” article

Filed under: Middle East, Railways — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

R.G. Edmonson on a recent innocuous “how to sabotage a railway” article distributed through Inspire, a quite westernized publication for Al Qaeda supporters and sympathizers:

The Middle East Media Research Institute recently translated a complete how-to guide for making derail devices for use on railroads and transit systems. (via Trains magazine)

These step-by-step instructions, design guidelines, and templates look like any from a how-to-magazine. Then you realize it’s a how-to derailment instruction guide courtesy of Al Qaeda.

According to the Washington, D.C.-based Middle East Media Research Institute, the information came out Aug. 13 and 14 in a recent issue of Inspire, Al Qaeda‘s glossy magazine. Institute officials say the terrorist magazine urges attacks by “lone wolf” operators on rail and mass transit system, and provides detailed instructions for making a concrete device to derail trains.

According to the institute’s translation, Ibrahim Al-Asiri, the chief bomb-maker for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, “we will be focusing on targeting means of transportation … Jihad groups and organizations may have the ability to target international means of transportation. As for the Lone Mujahid, his abilities may be limited to targeting internal means of transportation of a country.

The translation of Al-Asiri continues, “O Mujahideen, it is time that we instill fear and make them impose strict security measures to trains as they did with their Air transportation. Continue to bleed the American economy to more losses, increase the psychological warfare and make it worry, fear and weaken much more.”

Translators say Al-Asiri said that “the large numbers and numerous types of means of transportation will always set an environment of looming danger everywhere.” The attack will lead to more extensive and costly security measures, and the loss of rolling stock could force some companies into bankruptcy.

July 22, 2017

The Bus Replacement Rail Service (yes, that’s the right way round)

Filed under: Britain, Railways — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 6 Jul 2016

This may be the most British video I’ve done in a while! But I saw the news story and immediately wanted to film it: the volunteer-run, narrow-gauge Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway, in the south of Scotland, has stepped in to replace buses while a road is being resurfaced — avoiding a 45-mile diversion and meaning that local residents can still get to their neighbouring village. This isn’t the first bus replacement train in British history, but it’s pretty rare.

You can find out more about the Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway here: http://www.leadhillsrailway.co.uk — thank you so much to all the volunteers there for the time they spent with me today!

July 20, 2017

The History of Iron and Steel

Filed under: History, Railways, Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 21 Dec 2016

Thank you to Mike for helping me with some of the animations:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBG-zbNIoy8
How to Make Everything:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GM3krXtc7Fc&t=1s
Awe Me:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EG34YoRHs8&t=75s
Primitive Technology:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVV4xeWBIxE

July 15, 2017

The MOST DANGEROUS and EXTREME RAILWAYS in the World!! Compilation of Incredible Train Journeys!!

Filed under: Americas, Asia, Europe, India, Railways — Tags: — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 31 Mar 2017

This list consists 12 of the most dangerous and extreme railways in the world!!From railways That deep gorges and near vertical descents, to a 100 year old railway bridge built on sea. These are some of the most amazing, unbelievable and incredible railway routes around the world. These Railways offer daring experience to those who ride them.The Trains needs to pass through the most dangerous railroads along their journey. However, one can enjoy the scenic beauty while travelling on them.
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The Most Dangerous Railways featured in this list are :

Maeklong Railway, Thailand: This Railways passes through the congested maeklong market in Thailand.

Nariz del diablo, Ecuador : Considered most difficult train journey, the railway passed through tight cliffs and climbs steep altitudes.

Pamban Bridge, India : the trains has to pass through this breathtaking 100 year old sea bridge still operating.

Bangladesh Railways : Considered most overcrowded railways in the world where roof riding is a common sight.

Burma Railway : Constructed during world war II using forced labor, Many workers (prisoners of war) died due to rough conditions thus earning nickname ‘Death Railway’

Ferro carril Central Andino, Peru : Second Highest Railway in the World Running through the Andes.

Indian railways : World’s most busiest Railway, more than 25,000 people die annually on India’s railways

White pass & Yokon Route, Alaska : Built during Klondike Gold rush. This route boasts incredible sceneries.

Gokteik Viaduct, Myanmar : Highest railway trestle in the world.

Pilatus Railway, Switzerland : This Most steepest cogway railway offers incredible Sceneries.

Tren a las nubes, Argentina : The train Passes through dangerous curves and high bridges.

Gelmerbahn Funicular, Switzerland : Almost feels like a roller-coaster ride!

H/T to CT for the link.

July 6, 2017

British tram-train project is already 500% over budget and years late

Filed under: Britain, Government, Railways — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

It was decided, at some point, to spend £15m to build a hybrid rail connection between Sheffield and Rotherham. It’s late (not too surprising) and over-budget (also not too surprising). What is surprising is just how far over-budget the project has gone: that initial £15m budget has now grown to an estimated £75m, and there may be no end in sight. Hannah Boland reports for the Telegraph:

Artist’s conception of the Sheffield-Rotherham tram-train. (Railway-Technology.com)

Transport company Stagecoach has won £2.5m in compensation from the Government after the completion date for the Sheffield to Rotherham tram-train project, for which it is supplying vehicles, was pushed back multiple times.

The National Audit Office (NAO), in a report released on Tuesday, said Stagecoach had claimed “prologation costs” and loss of revenue for the two-and-a-half-year delay of the government-sponsored project.

The scheme was approved in 2012, aimed at modifying train and tram infrastructure and buying vehicles capable of operating on both networks.

The Department for Transport had originally said it would be completed by December 2015, and would cut transport costs in the region.

However, Network Rail, which is undertaking the first stage of development, pushed back the deadline, first in 2014 and then in 2016, to May 2018.

The £15m budget originally agreed between the department and Network Rail has rocketed to £75.1m.

Tim Worstall offers some comments:

We hear ever louder cries, in both the UK and US, that government really must get on with spending billions, trillions even, on building out vital infrastructure — the problem with this being that government isn’t very good at building infrastructure. In fact, government is so bad at building infrastructure that there is a very strong argument to have it built by private economic actors. Yes, true, it’s entirely possible that the plutocrats will then profit from the public, even that only projects which make a profit get built, but we would have, given government’s record, more infrastructure for less money.

At least, that’s the lesson to take from this disaster with the Sheffield-Rotherham tram-train project. It is currently an alarming 5 times over budget and horribly late. Further, at this price it should never have been built. It is simply not possible that the value in use of this will exceed the costs of doing it — this is something which makes us all poorer […]

And here is in fact that cost benefit ratio [PDF]:

    1.0 the benefit–cost ratio for the programme when it was approved
    in May 2012. The business case was based on benefits to local
    transport users. The Department approved the project on the basis
    of the ‘strategic’ business case. Wider industry and economic
    benefits were considered ‘very uncertain’

    0.31 the Department’s estimated benefit–cost ratio – based on the
    local public transport case – as at October 2016

For any project, however funded and whatever it is, we need to have benefits higher than costs. This is simply because economic resources are scarce therefore we need to use them to add value. We have here a project where the benefits are one third of the costs — this is something which makes us all poorer. It should not be done therefore. And even after it was started once this fact became known it should have been stopped.

But it wasn’t stopped, of course:

It wasn’t cancelled for political reasons. It was felt that cancellation would lead to “reputational damage.” The way to read that being that once government has decided to do something not splurging the taxpayers’ money like a sailor on shore leave might call into question the right of government to splurge the taxpayers’ money like a sailor on shore leave.

July 5, 2017

Armored Trains in World War 1 – Germany & Austro-Hungary featuring The Great War Channel

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military, Railways — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 26 Jun 2017

Armored trains were used to varying degrees by most countries during World War 1. This video takes a closer look at the German and Austro-Hungarian armored trains.

Check out the Great War’s Version on Armored Trains here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5Jl5KdG-Tc

July 3, 2017

Homemade train / rail cart riding on abandoned railway tracks

Filed under: Railways — Tags: — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 5 May 2015

Last summer, I build this wooden rail kart from scratch. It’s powered by a 8HP Briggs and Stratton engine. The power is transmitted to the wheels by a selfmade ‘transmission’ with parts from a lawn tractor. It can go up to 50km/h (31mph), the speed is not limited by the engine’s power but by the weakness of the wooden base. (it starts to vibrate quite a lot around 50 km/h).

The 20km long railway has been abandoned for more than 10 years and is quite steep for a railroad. The maximum steepness is 20mm/m (2%) but it is often close to 10mm/m (1.5%)

Fun fact:
The last train that drove on this railroad never got to the train station, as the modern passenger train got stuck on the 20mm/m part of the tracks because of the wheels losing grip!

Click here for PART 2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=467&v=2D1l3sMc56c

Click here to see a slideshow with some photos of my rail cart:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am5RQc1_yus

Unfortunately, some people destroyed it and stole the valuable parts, there is not much left of it, only the wooden base and the seats.

June 30, 2017

Meet the 89-Year Old Who Built a Train in His Backyard | WIRED

Filed under: Railways — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 14 Jun 2017

The future of train transportation might be pneumatic tubes and magnets. Meet the 89-year old entrepreneur who wants to disrupt the railroad with a modern twist on a very old train idea.

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