APTA leader says public transit agencies need immediate help WASHINGTON – The public transportation industry is urging Congress to immediately provide $16 billion in direct emergency funding to public transit agencies to offset costs and revenue losses caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Public transit agencies are being massively impacted, and immediate measures need to be taken to ensure these agencies can continue to provide essential services to their communities now and in the future,” said Paul P. Skoutelas, American Public Transportation Association President and CEO in a statement. “It cannot be overstated – without these funds, the overwhelming majority of public transit agencies will be required to either drastically curtail services or suspend services altogether. The time to act is now.” APTA is asking for legislation to fund essential public transportation services across the country, including providing paratransit services for individuals with disabilities; public transportation for health…
This story was last updated April 7, 2020 By TIM BLACKWELL/Cowcatcher Magazine Plans are in place for the nation’s railroad community to keep trains moving as the U.S. continues its fight with COVID-19. Operations are ongoing, although the industry and others have been forced to function remotely to comply with health recommendations and state and national stay-at-home mandates. And rail fans aren’t alone. They’re feeling the trickle-down effect that’s forcing cancellation and postponement of spring shows, meets and get-togethers. Based on social distancing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, freight and transit railroads are limiting human contact and establishing remote operations while implementing thorough cleaning and disinfecting procedures. To no surprise, the American Public Transportation Association canceled its Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., scheduled to begin Sunday and run through St. Patrick’s Day. APTA may reschedule. Model railroad meets, shows and gatherings…
Steve Allen Goen returns to publishing in a big way with the release of the first of 10 books showcasing passenger trains in Texas. “Passenger Trains of Texas Cotton Belt” debuted last fall. His first book since 2006, it features passenger operations of the St. Louis Southwestern Railroad (more commonly the Cotton Belt) between the Victorian Era of the 1890s to the railroad’s last mixed train in 1958. Goen tells the story of the Cotton Belt’s historic run of passenger service through Texas with his signature style of photos and descriptions. However, he goes a step further with interesting tales that re-create the railroad’s journey through major cities and small towns in an age when rail was a major mode for moving people. The 144-page hardback is his ninth book and includes color and black-and-white images of the Lone Star and Morning Star trains, as well as the Jitney in…
FRISCO, TX — The Museum of the American Railroad (MAR) had a showing in December of a 1:32 scale model of the historic Hotel Settles in Big Spring, TX, that was built for TrainTopia, the museum’s massive G-scale layout at the Frisco Discovery Center. The model, produced by B&T Model Railroad Design, rises to six feet above the busy streetscape of TrainTopia and was delivered in November after 10 months of research and construction. It will be a permanent part of the 2,500-square-foot operating model train exhibit. The hotel opened Oct. 1, 1930, and was built by Will R. and Lillian Settles. At 15 stories and 150 rooms, it was the tallest structure between El Paso and Dallas and featured a restaurant and pharmacy. Among its guests were Elvis Presley, Lawrence Welk and President Herbert Hoover, as well as Big Spring native Jerry Allison, who drummed for Buddy Holly and…
The encore to the revival of Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 is well underway on a multi-state tour through 12 states west of the Mississippi that kicked off in late September. The world’s largest operating locomotive came back to life and showed off its renewed chuff in the Great Race Across the Midwest to much fanfare earlier this year. The Great Race Across the Southwest – a round-trip tour of Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah – began in Cheyenne on Sept. 27. The massive locomotive is currently touring California and will be on display today and tomorrow in Bloomington, a suburb of San Bernadino. From California, the tour dips into southern Arizona and near New Mexico’s panhandle before arriving in El Paso late in the afternoon on Oct. 20 to start a 23-day run across Texas. After a two-day public display,…
Some toys and scale models got a temporary reprieve Tuesday from tariffs to be imposed on goods from China arriving on U.S. shores beginning Sept. 1. The United States Trade Representative delayed imposing 10 percent tariffs on some Chinese imports until Dec. 15. The announcement came a few days after two major model railroad manufacturers said they were raising prices for products currently on the water due to arrive Sept. 1 or later. The Trump administration, responding to fears that deteriorating trade relations with China are hurting the economy, delayed a 10 percent tariff on only a portion of $300 billion in goods earmarked in May. USTR said that certain products were being removed from the list based on health, safety, national security and other factors. Among them are toys, including riding toys other than bicycles, puzzles and reduced-scale models. Other items on the list are cellphones, laptop computers, video…
July/August 2020 Issue No. 100
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A Time to Build
The covid-19 pandemic is having an indelible effect on model railroading and rail enthusiasm. And modelers, retailers and event promoters are meeting challenges head-on. Our 100th edition of the Cowcatcher has extensive coverage of how the hobby is managing through historic times. For modelers, staying at home has meant building or working on layouts.
Pump up the volume!
Adding sound to any train is easy by outfitting boxcars, hoppers and other rolling stock with Digitrax “sound schemes” decoders. Tom Marsh explains how he fitted an N-scale boxcar with the equipment to give DC-powered trains sound.
Project Layout: The N-scale Whitehurst & Pine Ridge Railroad opens up lower-level staging for better functionality, while incorporating train movements to the top of the layout into operations…
Actor Jackie Gleason’s “Bonnie Brook” Budd-built passenger car charts new territory at a South Texas railroad museum…
Special cargo makes a Schnabel car’s last run before retirement memorable…
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Product News & Review
GRAIN BELT MODELS BINS/CULVERTS
Grain Belt Models, a division of Iowa Scaled Engineering, has introduced a realistic-looking line of galvanized grain bins and culverts. The Cowcatcher reviewed some of the models and placed them on the Northwest Tarrant & Pacific.
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Tracks from Texas to Tokyo
Railroad in Focus