Thursday, December 27, 2018


Railfans may find some interest in this post. Others might want to skip it.

Locomotive manufacturing in the USA is in sorry shape, IMO, but Siemens, the German conglomerate, builds locomotives in Sacramento. Recently they secured an Amtrak order.

I grew up along the tracks. For ten years my father worked for the Denver and Rio Grande maintaining tracks. I tried to watch the three passenger trains the D&RG ran daily, the California Zephyr, 

the Prospector (Denver to Salt Lake City)

 and the Yampa Valley Mail (Denver to Craig).

 Seeing them was exciting to a growing lad.

 As an employee, my father could get “passes” at greatly reduced prices. My mother and I made several trips to Denver on the Yampa Valley Mail from the various towns we lived in.

I’m happy to see the new Amtrak units will be A/C instead of D/C. Tesla was right and Edison wrong.



LL said...

I love trains too. My exposure to them didn't match yours, but they're very cool. My favorite train ride is on an old steam locomotive from Durango, CO to Silverton, CO (and return). Fortunately the line still operates for the benefit of belching, wretched tourists like myself.

Coffeypot said...

I wanted to work on the railroad but my life path changed after the Navy. Many times I wished I had stayed with the desire.

LL said...

As I presently understand things, the railroads offer decent pay, good benefits and retirement. I know that it can be hard, dirty work, but it's an honest job, and American commerce still moves heavy on rails.

drjim said...

My Uncle Eddie was a railroad guy for his entire life on the Elgin, Joliet, & Eastern RR. The EJ&E, or "The J" was a big employer in my hometown.

I never realkly experienced railroading up close and personal until I worked for McGraw-Edison, and we had a huge contract retrofitting air-cooled, solid-state rectifiers for the old, obsolete Ignitron rectifiers on all the ConRail electric locomotives running out of Enola, PA.

Spent LOTS of time there, and got to know all the mechanics and electricians very well.

It's a whole, different world hauling freight and maintaining the equipment than I'd ever seen before, and it gave me great respect for the people that do it.

And yes, it's hard, dirty "Blue Collar" work done by salt-of-the-earth people, and God Bless 'Em for doing it.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Same neck of the woods you can ride the Cumbres and Toltec. Runs from Chama, NM to Antonito, CO. Different flavor than Durango-Silverton but still narrow gauge steam.

Starting pay on the UP is north of $50k first year. Much more for skilled trades.

I got the flying bug. Otherwise, who knows.

Lot of quiet (and deserved) pride among those who keep the trains running.

Should add the Georgetown Loop. Short ride but spectacular. They operate shay style engines. Look weird to me but they work well. A couple of diesel option. The Royal Gorge out of Canyon City and a Walsenburg - Alamosa train.

drjim said...

My wife and one of her visiting friends took the Georgetown loop and loved it.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

They shortened the route - maintenance issues. That bridge is worth the trip.

Old NFO said...

Sadly, my grandfather had retired before I was born, so all I ever got were some stories...

Well Seasoned Fool said...

The Moffat Road put my grandfather and great grandfather out of the freighter business when it reached Craig.