Is the Real Thing getting, well, blah?

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by ls1gto, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Yeah, I did an editorial earlier about all the bad things in the modern railroading situation...but never touched on the good things. I guess I was just bitter about ALL my favorite railroads being gobbled up! (SP) :( (CNW) :( RioGrande) :( but once in awhile, there is a glimmer of the past, and that fills me with joy!

    Here we have an Ex-Erie Lackawanna SDP45! Shopped out by a rebuilding firm (M-K?) and bought by the SP which was procured by the UP. Took this photo last weekend! :eek: Still a few survivors out there! :thumb:

    Attached Files:

  2. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Just a heads-up to enjoy your memories. All active Chessie locomotives have since been retired by CSX. Also, Conrail was taken over in part by Norfolk Southern in 1999 so eventually their locomotives will disappear from Ohio, too.
  3. ls1gto

    ls1gto Member

    Very cool pic!
  4. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Great Photo Miles.:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  5. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    I guess it is your perspective. Having seen F units in action, Alco S-2's kicking cars in the yard and on locals. GP7's in multiples of 4 or 5 screaming across the country side. GP40's pulling long trains of auto racks and auto parts high cube box cars all trailed by cabooses. Today's railroading seems boring. But on the flip side, one can't but be impressed with a single -9 pulling 75 or more hoppers at track speed. While the SD40-2 is old school, and I never really liked them to railfan, they were good engines to work on. The U boats were neat to railfan but a pain to run. The F units are a pain to switch with but boy they were fun to cruise in on the road. Today's SD70ACe's are homely but a whole lot nicer to work on than many engines of the past. In my perspective, the boring part of railfanning is the loss of the classic old class one railroads. No more EL, SCL, BN, CNW, Frisco, WP, SP, ATSF, DRGW, SOU, NW, IC, GMO and a host of others. Even the railroads of Mexico have changed significantly over the last decade. Canada has lost BCR to CN. Less road names to me is the reason for a boring train to watch. IMHO. :D

  6. isboris4449

    isboris4449 Member

    Strickly from my railfan's perspective, the railroads today are rather bland and not nearly as visually stimulating as they have been in the past, and as a railfan, that is the only thing I care about. I know railroads are businesses with an obligation to use the best equipment in the most efficient manner possible to get as much of a share of freight traffic as they can to fulfill their obligation to the shareholders to earn them dividends. But it is how they look while they do it that determines if they are interesting or not to me, not the bottom line on their annual reports.

    I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 50's and 60's. I did experience mainline steam locomotives first hand, but not until the 70's. I have memories of solid sets of F's, of a time when a turbocharged 2000hp GP-20 was a mighty impressive machine, and in my mid twenties when a set of 6 SP SD-45's was as good as it got. I can remember a time when the most common freight car was a 40' boxcar, and enough of them were wood sheathed to not be worthy of much comment. I hated it when SP went bloody nose, and GN turned Big Sky Blue, but I loved the BN right from the start.

    Railroads were businesses back then too, but it seemed they went about their business in much more interesting ways. Like the time in the mid 60's my family was driving along the Embarcadero in San Francisco, and there she was, Western Pacifics beautiful car ferry, the "LAS PLUMAS". My father quickly parked, and for the next hour or so we watched as a burbling orange WP ALCo switcher pulled about twenty five freight cars off of her and then loaded another twenty five on board for the short trip across the bay to Oakland. It was a several times a day, everyday activity for the WP crews, but a much cherished, unique experience for me.

    Railroads today are still businesses, and very efficient ones at that. But the evolutions in railroading that makes them so has brought with it a sameness of locomotives, equipment and operations that to me, has erroded the visual enjopyment of it all. Although the massive power of the locomotives still gives me cause to pause and watch, its a rare occasion when I'm motivated to get out my camera to take a shot of the action. But every now and then, a tiny scene of the old-fashioned, more casual style of operations emerges, and reminds me of the railroading of old that will always be my kind of railroading. Just today I stood smiling as I watched a Tacoma Rail switcher as the engineer blew for the crossing at E 11th St., stopping in the middle, dropped a lit fusee to the ground, lit another and arched it up over the cab roof onto the other side, and then proceeded, confident the crossing was now flagged for his reverse move.

  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Well after a summer of railfaning every day I must recant what I said earlier as I found today's railroading is just exciting as the railroads was years ago..These newer GE and EMD units can shake the ground like their old counterparts! Throw in pool power and lease units you can see a very nice locomotive consist..:thumb:
    Guys,Make no mistake todays railroads still put on a great show and the excitement is still there IF you will allow it to happen.:D
  8. R. MARTIN

    R. MARTIN Member

    I suspect more than a few lines would love to have a few steamers they could put back into service with coal standing at $2.00 a ton and diesel fuel over $2.00 a gallon.
  9. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Just day before yesterday I spotted the CNW Heritage unit at the head of a consist sitting in the UPRR east yard here in Council Bluffs. It's fun to be able to spot those heritage units from time to time and I keep an eye open for them when I am down by the yards.
  10. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    The fuel savings wouldn't even come close to matching the other increased operating costs. Remember that railroads spent millions and millions of dollars to replace active and sometimes relatively new steam engines with diesels. They saved enough to recoup their capital expenses on the roughly decade-long spending spree. How many steam locomotives would be required per train? They'll each need a separate crew whereas a dozen diesels can be operated with one. How about building new support facilities, turntables, coaling towers, water plugs, etc.? What's to keep the price of coal from skyrocketing again especially given that using it for propulsion would immediately increase the demand?
  11. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    And then there's the old saying "form follows function". Pretty soon everything functions and looks the same.

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