Tuesday, May 20, 2014

In Praise of the Gravy Train

Go on! Get out there on your message boards and  email lists and model railroad clubs. I defy you to find one single railfan, of any age, that doesn't have a special place in his heart for this cheeky little blue wunderdampflok:

Author's Collection

I would venture as far as to say that the Reverend W. Awdry's Railway Series and the better known television show based off of his books have done more to make individual people interested in trains than any real locomotive or railroad company. While the research for the second part of the track history article is still ongoing, let's look at where, exactly, the world's most famous locomotive was forged, and what makes him a cut above the rest.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Anatomy of a Steel Ribbon, Part 1.

In my last article, I briefly stated that I am of the opinion that there ought to be more federal mandates requiring railroad companies to keep their tracks in good condition. It didn’t occur until after the article was posted that members of the general public probably do not have a good understanding of what, exactly, defines whether tracks are in good or bad condition, nor the details of how the tracks function in the first place. In the first part of this article, we’ll look at how the idea of railroad tracks developed, then in Part 2 we’ll continue on to take a look at the different machines and jobs involved with keeping tracks in good condition.