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…
For more than two decades, Larry Price has crafted the country’s most comprehensive youth model railroad program. More recently, William K. Walthers president Stacey Walthers Naffah has changed the dynamic of one of the industry’s oldest and largest companies by encouraging youngsters – and everyone else – to interact with trains. Their work has been so valuable to ensuring model railroading’s future, enough to earn two of the industry’s highest honors in August. Price was inducted into the Model Railroad Industry Division of the Hobby Manufacturers Association Hall of Fame and Naffah received the Bobbye Hall Award at a breakfast earlier this month that coincided with the NMRA National Train Show in Collinsville, IL. The awards were presented in person for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020. Price, the hall’s 51st member, founded Youth in Model Railroading (YMR) in 1997, a nonprofit organization dedicated to children ages…
Union Pacific Railroad signed a historic deal with Wabtec Corp. this week for 600 locomotive modernizations featuring a suite of digital solutions and innovations. The agreement, worth more than $1 billion, is the largest investment in modernized locomotives in rail industry history, and part of UP’s fleet strategy to move more freight efficiently and sustainably across its service territory. Wabtec will modernize 525 of UP’s AC4400 and AC6000 locomotives, as well as 75 Dash-9 locomotives. The modernized locomotives will feature a suite of digital solutions and innovations such as the FDL Advantage engine upgrade and Modular Control Architecture, a next-generation controls technology that is applicable throughout Wabtec’s locomotive installed base. The modernizations will extend the locomotive’s life and provide benefits, including a fuel efficiency improvement of up to 18 percent; more than 80 percent increase in reliability; and haulage ability increase of more than 55 percent. “UP is taking thoughtful,…
This story last updated June 24, 2022 The Texas Central Railway, seemingly on life support after its president resigned suddenly, may be back on track. The Texas Supreme Court ruled today (June 24) that the company may acquire land via eminent domain to build its high-speed line between Dallas and Houston. The ruling comes nearly six months after the court heard arguments again to support an appellate court’s decision that Texas Central is a railroad or interurban, which have rights to acquire private property for public use. The court supported the appellate court’s decision two years ago but reversed direction in 2021, leading to a second review. The time lapse between today’s decision and a series of recent events, including the June 13 resignation of Carlos Aguilar as CEO and president of Texas Central Partners, seemingly put the project in jeopardy. Aguilar cited an inability to get key players on…
Current Issue: Jan/Feb 2023
Due to printer issues, the January/February issue is running behind. We expect it to be at stores by Jan. 11.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
The Illinois Chapter of the Mudhens Modular HO Narrow Gauge Society’s layout makes a seamless transition from the mountains and hills of Pennsylvania to the Colorado plains. Through an eye-catching blend of scenery, modules transition from North Carolina’s East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad and Pennsylvania’s Tuscarora Valley and on to the Denver & Rio Grande Western. Highly detailed trees and foliage swallow the terrain; tree leaves seem to jump off the layout in this superb interpretation of portable narrow gauge model railroading.
2023 State of Model Railroading
Modelers say times are still good in the hobby but they may spend a little less this year because of the economy. The Cowcatcher’s 2023 State of Model Railroading survey polled readers last fall to get their insights on everything from the quality of models to sustaining the future of the hobby. They had a lot to say.
Railroading in the 1940s
The railroad industry in the late 1940s hummed as steam transitioned to diesel. Interesting, some things don’t change much. Pat Hiatte reflects on a time when railroads were high-balling across the U.S.
Milwaukee’s Trainfest came back strong in November after being sidelined by the pandemic for two years. More than 20,500 attended one of the nation’s top shows. …
InterMountain Railway Co. and ScaleTrains announced recently that each will produce EMD’s short-lived SDL39, due later this year. …
The sun has set on Fort Worth’s Tower 55, which for decades was the guardian of maybe the busiest railroad junction in the country. …
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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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