Spokane, Portland & Seattle #700 Holiday Express Train. Trains are
operated on the Oregon Pacific Railroad and depart from Oaks Park
Station adjacent to Oaks Park in southeast Portland. Ride in vintage
rail cars behind Portland's historic steam locomotives.
FEC 428 in Stuart at A1A crossing 12-01-2016. (Approx. MM 262) EMD GP-40-2
FEC ordered 24, road numbers 411–434.
Note the section crew just past the crossing. I was listening on the scanner and after the train passed I heard them call the dispatcher and tell him they were going back to work repairing the broken rail. It is single track here, just north of the Port Sewall passing track.
Bonus: If anyone is interested "A Railfan's Guide to the FEC, Version 32A, prepared 7/25/98" is available here.
Not trains but it was a beautiful night, severe clear and an Atlas 5 launched from Cape Canaveral, about 90 miles north of here. It was at 6:42 PM EST.
Payload was the newest of the GOES weather satellites, GOES-R.
Sorry the camera lost focus a couple of times.
NOAA's next generation of geostationary weather satellites
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R
Series (GOES-R) is the nation’s next generation of geostationary weather
satellites. The GOES-R series will significantly improve the detection
and observation of environmental phenomena that directly affect public
safety, protection of property and our nation’s economic health and
The satellites will provide advanced imaging with increased
spatial resolution and faster coverage for more accurate forecasts,
real-time mapping of lightning activity, and improved monitoring of
The GOES-R series is a four-satellite program (GOES-R/S/T/U)
that will extend the availability of the operational GOES satellite
system through 2036.
Let's take another trip to South America and visit an interesting railway, PeruRail
Train Ride from Cusco to Machu Picchu, Peru
El Zig-Zag, or switchback, allows a 400 meter elevation change in less than 5 kilometers. This section of PeruRail is 3 ft. narrow gauge. All other track in the system is standard 4 ft. 8 1/2 in. gauge.
Another trip on standard gauge rails to Puno, Peru on the shore of Lake Titicaca, the "highest navigable lake" in the world at 12,507 ft.
Peru - Andean Explorer train from Cusco to Puno
At its highest point, La Raya Pass (14°28′59″S70°59′20″W),
the altitude is 4,313 m (14,150 ft). The train makes a stop in La Raya
pass where there is an exquisite view over all the plains to the
snowcapped mountains, and a beautiful old chapel, standing all alone in
the middle of the Andean plateau.
Shipping: The car floatManco Capac operates across Lake Titicaca between PeruRail's railhead at Puno and the port of Guaqui in Bolivia. PeruRail also owns the former ferry SS Ollanta, which was launched on Lake Titicaca in 1931. Ollanta is now refurbished for tourist cruises and PeruRail has leased her out for charter work.
You can buy your tickets at the PeruRail website here.
Or Blowing Steam up the Devil's Nose. I was going to put this in another post about South American Railroads but it was just too good to not have a post all to itself.
Tren Equador - from Guayaquil to Quito Ecuador.
Lots of whistles and a surprise at about the 6 minute mark.
"Filmed in 2007 this is probably one of the last runs of Baldwin 2-8-0 No
17 up the Devil's Nose to Alausi in Ecuador before the railway was
closed and subsequently rebuilt. Rebuilding was completed in 2012
restoring the full link between Guayaquil on the coast and Quito the
capital which had been severed in several places in recent years due to
landslips, bridge washouts etc. But as recent YouTube clips testify the
new 'Tren Ecuador' is now a very different railway.
conveys much of the atmosphere of the old railway - from the bark of the
Baldwin echoing across the valleys, spiked track in varying degrees of
repair (the box van carried a supply of timbers for running repairs) and
not forgetting roof riding which is no longer permitted.
There is also an amusing encounter with a straying donkey.
The clip is from video taken on the RTC tour in October 2007 when as much of the usable railway was fully travelled by train."
Visited the Bryson City, NC area in September and the first part of October. The GSMR operated their steam locomotive the last weekend we were there.
Great Smoky Mountain Railroad Locomotive 1702, a 2-8-0 Consolidation steam locomotive #1702, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1942 for the U.S. Army during World War II, was purchased by the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (GSMR) of
Bryson City, NC, in the mid-1990s for use on its scenic railway
excursions. After a decade of service, no. 1702 was retired in 2004. In
October 2012, a partnership formed between GSMR and Swain County to
provide funding to restore the locomotive. In 2013, a complete
restoration was launched and the locomotive returned to service during
Steam on a Country Road
DeHart Cemetery Road and US 19
Note the first car behind the tender. It looks like a converted caboose and is the generator car to supply power to the passenger and dining cars.
1702 is oil (diesel) fired and there was a bit of a leakone evening. We just happened to be there and saw the leak breaking out in flame. Pretty exciting for a couple of minutes. The first 2 or 3 fire extinguishers they grabbed didn't work. Double oops.
The Pan-American was a passenger train operated by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N) between Cincinnati, Ohio and New Orleans, Louisiana. It operated from 1921 until 1971. From 1921 to 1965 a section served Memphis, Tennessee via Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Pan-American was the L&N's flagship train until the introduction of the Humming Bird in 1946. Its name honored the substantial traffic the L&N carried to and from the seaports on the Gulf of Mexico. The Pan-American was one of many trains discontinued when Amtrak began operations in 1971.
Postcard of the Pan-American as it passed the WSM transmitter in Nashville.
Another source with additional information and some more photos of different EMD locomotives used is at American-Rails
"The Pan-American" (1948) by Hank Williams
This song is one in the playlist from a previous post and was the reason for this post.
More information on the WSM transmitter tower found at Wikipedia. I have seen it numerous times.
WSM's unusual diamond-shaped antenna (manufactured by Blaw-Knox) is visible from Interstate 65 just south of Nashville (in Brentwood) and is one of the area's landmarks. It is located near the I-65 exit 71 interchange with Concord Road (State Highway 253).
When the 878-foot tower was built in 1932, it was the tallest antenna
in North America. Its height was reduced to 808 feet (246 m) in 1939
when it was discovered that the taller tower was causing
self-cancellation in the "fringe" areas of reception of the station (it
is now known that 195 electrical degrees, about 810 feet, is the optimum
height for a Class A station on that frequency). For a period during World War II
it was designated to provide transmissions to submarines in the event
that ship-to-shore communications were lost. It is now one of the oldest
operating broadcast towers in the United States.
As a tribute to the station's centrality in country music history, the diamond antenna design was incorporated into the new Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's design in 2001.The tower is listed as a National Engineering Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 15, 2011.
As I was looking for something to post for tomorrow, I found this list of Halloween train rides. Many ended yesterday, some end today and a few go through tomorrow, Halloween day. The list is worldwide.
Before Terminal Station was built, Southern Railway passengers used this station built in 1886. On the left side of the picture is a trestle that took the Central of Georgia over the Southern tracks.
Macon's 1916 Terminal Station, at the foot of Cherry Street downtown,
is Georgia's grandest surviving railroad station. It was designed in
the Beaux Arts style by architect Alfred Fellheimer (1875-1959), who
with his partners also designed stations in Cincinnati, Buffalo, and
The 13-acre station was owned by the Macon Terminal Company, which in turn was owned equally by the Central of Georgia, the Southern Railway, and the Georgia Southern & Florida. Each of these companies, along with the Georgia Railroad, had offices on the upper floors. Other railroads using the station were the Macon, Dublin & Savannah and the Macon & Birmingham.
In 1926-27, the station handled as many as a hundred
arrivals/departures each day. The eight tracks for through trains and
ten tracks for local trains had platforms between each track. The
through tracks were connected by a tunnel.
Terminal Station closed in 1975 and became offices for Georgia Power. The city purchased the building and refurbished it, completed in 2010.
Note the four eagles standing guard over the entrance.
The brick depot at Mineral Bluff was constructed in 1887 by the Marietta & North Georgia Railroad , a predecessor of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad (now CSX). Located on the now-abandoned line from Blue Ridge, Georgia, to Murphy, N.C., it is only surviving M&NG depot in Georgia.
Using funding from the federal Transportation Enhancement
program, the community rehabilitated the building in 2007. It was
listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. (News article on the listing.) Source with more information and photos.
The Peak Tramway is a funicular railway that goes to the top of Victoria Peak on Hong Kong island. I was lucky enough to ride it once in the early 1990's while there on a business trip. I was reminded of it by Chickenmom's post about the cog railway on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. The Peak Tram was opened for public service on 28 May 1888 by the then governor Sir George William des Voeux. As built, the line used a static steam engine to power the haulage cable. In 1926, the steam engine was replaced by an electric motor. It has a maximum grade of 48% and is .87 miles long. On 11 December 1941, during the Battle of Hong Kong, the engine room was damaged in an attack. Service was not resumed until 25 December 1945, after the end of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. More information here. A funicular, also known as an inclined plane or cliff railway, is a cable railway in which a cable attached to a pair of tram-like vehicles on rails moves them up and down a steep slope,
the ascending and descending vehicles counterbalancing each other.
Funiculars of one sort or another have existed for hundreds of years and
continue to be used for moving both passengers and goods. Its name
derives from the latin, funiculus, diminutive of funis, meaning "rope". More information, history and pictures of numerous examples of funiculars can be found here.
The only old video I
could find didn't show the steam power but is pretty cool anyway.
Here is a YouTube video by Luis Costa from December 2010 that includes the tram ride and spectacular views and a tour of Victoria Peak. (almost 15 minutes)
From Luis' descripition: "Hong Kong skyline is nothing short of amazing, and it's best admired at Victoria Peak. The city has more buildings above 100m and 150m than any other city in the world. Hong
Kong also holds the title for the world's biggest skyline with a total
of 7,681 skyscrapers, placing it ahead of New York City, even though New
York is larger in area." The population of Hong Kong in mid 2015 was 7.3 million in an area of 427 sq. miles. (includes Hong Kong island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories. See the Wikipedia entry for more information.
After I did the Railroad Telegraphy post I thought I would mention another type of key and keyers. The electronic fully automatic keyer that uses "paddles". Instead of just two wires with bugs and straight keys, paddles have three wires, one for dit, another for dah and ground. They go the keyer. Close the contact between the dit wire and ground and they keyer generates dits for as long as the connection is made. Dahs are generated the same way, continuity between the dah wire and ground. To my knowledge, these keyers were never used with the railroad.
What happens if you close both contacts at the same time? Glad you asked. From Wikipedia:
"Iambic keying or squeeze keying creates alternating dits and dahs. This makes sending some characters easier, like the letter C,
by merely squeezing the two paddles together. In single-paddle,
non-iambic keying, the hand motion would require alternating four times
for C (dah-dit-dah-dit).
Iambic keyers function in one of at least two major modes: Mode A and Mode B."
See the wiki article for the differences in modes.
Something a little different, no train photographs. For the hardcore, there are some pics in the links. :)
The first ever railroad telegraph message was send and received in Orange County, NY in January, 1851.
Samuel Morse invented his telegraphic code in 1832. Originally magnets were used to mark the dits and dahs on paper tape with ink. The telegraphers discovered they could decode the letters by the sound made by the machine, later to be called the sounder.
Sounder with resonator. Note the tobacco tin to give it a distinctive sound.
The first ever railroad telegraph message was send and received in Orange County, NY in January, 1851.There is an interesting website with a nice telegraph page here.
In addition to the sounder the telegraph key was essential. There are numerous styles but basically there are two kinds. The manual "straight key" and the semi automatic key or bug. Descriptions follow.
This is called a straight key. It is a Speed-X model J-38. J-38 is the
military designation from WW II. Note the shorting lever, required for
land line keys. No one mentions that the shorting lever was also
required for some older ham radios that used cathode keying. It was
closed when you wanted to use voice.
Next isthe Vibroplex "bug". It is a semi automatic telegraph key which automatically sends "dits" but the "dahs" must be made individually. Vibroplex was founded in 1905 by Horace Martin and the basic design has remained unchanged.
I am also an amateur radio operator (ham). My straight key is pictured above. Here is my Vibroplex Original Standard. It is not very old, the serial no. is 108708.
Close up of the nameplate and "dit" contacts.
There are several versions of Morse code but the two that are important for this post. American and international Morse
American Morse Code — also known as Railroad Morse—is the latter-day name for the original version of the Morse Code developed in the mid-1840s, by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail for their electric telegraph. The "American" qualifier was added because, after most of the rest of the world adopted "International Morse Code,"
the companies that continued to use the original Morse Code were mainly
located in the United States. American Morse is now nearly extinct—it
is most frequently seen in American railroad museums — and "Morse Code" today virtually always means the International Morse which supplanted American Morse.
Another excellent article with some great photos found here.
Ever wonder what all the wires on the poles that used to be next to the tracks were for?
- Carried telegraph communication, both railroad and public
- Dispatcher's voice communication
- Teletype communication
- Electrical power to run signals, switch machines, wayside detectors
- Wayside detector communication
- Vital signal information
Some of the lines were leased to companies like Western Union.
It has all been replaced by radio, satellite and buried cable / fiber.
EDIT: An article by Jim Thompson, a retired Frisco telegrapher. Long but really interesting. Some history plus personal experiences.(Moved here from my comment below)