By TIM BLACKWELL/Cowcatcher Magazine America is returning to the rails in earnest. U.S. passenger rail ridership is making a significant recovery from covid-19, which put the brakes on public transit and Amtrak in spring 2020. Boardings on national, regional and local networks from coast to coast are closing in on pre-pandemic levels, despite gaps in service and equipment, according to the latest available data. Public rail ridership through September had returned to 60 percent of pre-covid boardings, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and Amtrak trips were up 52 percent through 10 months of its fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. APTA’s latest quarterly data shows that rail ridership in June surged 36.4 percent compared to the same period in 2021. Boosted by a $70 billion federal infusion last year, public transit is earning back riders on all transit modes. APTA reported in early October that ridership on…
Rapido Trains hosted a dealer open house earlier this month and announced several new products, including models of Amtrak’s NPCU “Cabbage” diesels in HO. In the mid-1990s, Amtrak began a rebuild program to convert retired F40PH locomotives into non-powered control units (NPCUs) by removing the prime movers. The NPCUs allow “push-pull” service, and engineers control the train from the cab similar to the way commuter trains operate. Many are still in service today. See more on Rapido’s models, as well as other new products in the marketplace. Visit Product News.
Denver-based OmniTRAX said this week that it has entered into a contract to purchase the assets of the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad (SLRG) out of bankruptcy. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close later this year, were not disclosed. SLRG has operated its 155-mile short line serving the San Luis Valley the past three years in bankruptcy while trying to find a buyer. U.S. Bankruptcy Court and Surface Transportation Board must approve the sale. According to published reports, SLRG was seeking a minimum bid of $5.75 million and has about $4 million in debt. OmniTRAX, a transportation affiliate of The Broe Group, reportedly began negotiating with SLRG in September. “As a Colorado company, we know how important the SLRG has been to the San Luis Valley and Colorado’s economy,” said OmniTRAX CEO Dean Piacente. “The Broe Group companies have grown with Colorado for 50 years and…
More than half of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division members voted Monday against ratifying the tentative national labor agreement reached last month with Class I freight railroads, sending the two sides back to the bargaining table and again raising fears of a work stoppage. BMWED president Tony D. Cardwell said railroaders are upset with working conditions and compensation and hold their employer in low regard. The union voted down the contract 56 percent to 43 percent. “Railroaders do not feel valued,” Cardwell said of workers in the nation’s third largest railroad union. “They resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness.” The tentative agreement was arrived at just hours before a planned strike in mid-September. It provides rail employees a 24 percent wage increase over five…
This story has been updated From published reports A lingering U.S. rail strike that threatened to further entangle the U.S. economy was averted early today, according to the Association of American Railroads. “Today the nation’s freight railroads are pleased to announce that tentative agreements have been reached with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division, and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen,” AAR said. “Collectively representing approximately 60,000 employees, the tentative agreements reached with these unions avert a potential strike in advance of Friday’s deadline.” The railroads and unions found common ground on such issues as sick time and penalties for missing work, including termination, as Friday’s 12:01 a.m. deadline came perilously close. President Joe Biden reportedly met with rail and union leaders last night and helped hammer out a…
Current Issue: Nov/Dec 2022
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
With some painting and hand-crafting, workers come to life and improve a scene on the On3 Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington model railroad. Owner and Master Model Railroader Pete Leach, a frequent Cowcatcher contributor, explains how he studied the techniques of others to improve the appearance of two figures in a secondary scene on the layout. The final product is now a featured spot on the WW&F.
Railroad in Focus: The NDW
The Meteor had to make tracks to beat the Katy from St. Louis to Oklahoma City in November 1946. Pat Hiatte records the action on his trek across the U.S. in the golden age of passenger travel.
A solid year since model train shows have returned, the new Great American Train Shows is drawing crowds similar to those before the pandemic. …
Travel on Amtrak and public transit rail lines is moving closer to a full return of levels prior to the onset of covid-19. …
Model railroaders should be thankful they are part of this hobby and think before complaining, says columnist Michelle Kempema. …
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Product News & Review
InterMountain HO ADM Corn Syrup Car
The Cowcatcher reviews InterMountain Railway Co.’s newly released HO-scale Trinity Industries 19,600-gallon corn syrup car. The tank car is one of several in the company’s second release.
Railroad in Focus
Whitehurst & Pine Ridge Railroad
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