Entries from February 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007 at 12:31 am

El Cementerio de Trenes

In my poking around the train-related parts of the Internets, I have encountered some starkly beautiful photography from El Cementerio de Trenes — the train cemetery — on the salt flats just outside Uyuni, in southwestern Bolivia. Beautiful in that, for some perverse reason, I find photos of rusting steam locomotives aesthetically pleasing. On Flickr, […]

Monday, February 12, 2007 at 8:25 pm

The Bennie Railplane

Early monorails took many forms that look quite unlike today’s monorail designs. One that got a fair bit of contemporary attention was George Bennie’s Railplane, which may well have been the inspiration for these folks — it was a streamlined fuselage with propellers at either end. Developed during the 1920s, it ran on a quarter-mile […]

Saturday, February 10, 2007 at 8:14 pm

CN’s Safety Record Gets on Television

Not a good day to be CN. W-Five, CTV’s investigative journalism program, takes a hard look at CN’s safety record in tonight’s edition, in a piece called “Off the Rails,” which I have just finished watching. If you’ve been following CN’s record of newsworthy train accidents — and yes, there have been a few — […]

Saturday, February 10, 2007 at 12:26 pm

CN Conductors, Yard Workers Strike

At one minute past midnight this morning, 2,800 Canadian National conductors and yard workers represented by the United Transportation Union went on strike after last-minute negotiations failed yesterday. CN is trying to get the strike declared illegal; meanwhile, management is running trains. VIA Rail, Montreal and Toronto commuter services, and several subsidiaries are unaffected for […]

Thursday, February 8, 2007 at 10:12 am

HO-Scale Figurines in Toy Fair Shocker!

That manufacturers of HO-scale figurines have models of naked people doing naked-people things is not new, but Dirk Kurbjuweit, covering the Nuremberg Toy Fair for Der Spiegel, and a bit too earnestly at that (Germans have never been accused of having a sense of humour), finds something ominous about all the sex, violence and contemporary […]

Wednesday, February 7, 2007 at 5:53 pm

Historic Photos of Oregon Trains

The Historic Photo Archive is the work of Tom Robinson of Portland, Oregon, who has been collecting and preserving negatives of old Oregon photographs (prints of which are for sale); naturally, there are train photos, most of which seem to be from Oregon if the location is identified. Includes lots of steam, an accident or […]

Tuesday, February 6, 2007 at 6:39 pm

Saskatchewan Railway Map

It can be hard keeping track of which rail lines are still in service, and whom they’re owned by, especially in places like Saskatchewan (or Iowa, or North Dakota), where too many rail lines were built to handle grain traffic that have since been abandoned or sold to short-line operators. This relatively recent map of […]

Sunday, February 4, 2007 at 6:12 pm

Bruce J. Walthers (1919-2007)

Bruce J. Walthers, president of William K. Walthers, Inc. from 1958 to his retirement in 1984, died of cancer last Sunday at the age of 87. During his tenure, the family business — the company bears the name of his father, who founded it; his son Phil succeded him as president — expanded from a […]

Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 6:56 pm

The Galloping Goose

The Galloping Goose is an icon of Colorado narrow-gauge railroading, but it was born out of necessity: the Rio Grande Southern, facing bankruptcy in the 1930s, adopted these odd-looking, diesel-powered rail buses as a way of providing minimal service (and maintaining a mail contract) at minimal cost. The front half looked like a bus, the […]