WASHINGTON – A specially-painted Amtrak P42 diesel locomotive, emblazoned on both sides with the message, “See Tracks? Think Train!” was released into service Jan. 12 during a special ceremony at Washington Union Station. The black-and-yellow locomotive commemorates the 50th anniversary of Operation Lifesaver, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing railroad safety education and awareness nationwide.
Amtrak is one of several partners with Operation Lifesaver, which began in 1972 with the goal to reduce railroad-related collisions, deaths and injuries across the United States, utilizing the “3 E’s – Education, Engineering and Enforcement.”
“See Tracks? Think Train!” is one of several major campaigns the organization conducts to connect with the public to increase visibility and awareness around trains and railroad tracks.
“Amtrak and Operation Lifesaver have been partners for many years with the goal of educating the community on the importance of avoiding high-risk behavior on or near railroad crossings and tracks,” Amtrak President Stephen Gardner said. “We are proud to celebrate Operation Lifesaver in reaching a critical milestone. When you see this distinctive Amtrak locomotive travel through your community, you will be reminded of the importance of rail safety.”
By TIM BLACKWELL/Cowcatcher Magazine
For the second consecutive year, the Cowcatcher has taken the pulse of model railroading, and once again readers believe the hobby is thriving. However, some subtle changes in rating the state of model railroading suggest a little more concern about its direction than 12 months ago.
In December readers answered 25 questions about the overall state of the hobby, their personal preferences and skill levels and spending habits. The survey attracted the highest number of responses in its history.
Respondents rated the hobby’s value, product quality and ease of use and reliability of models, scenery products and more. The consensus is that model railroading continues to provide a great experience and is still a good value. Nearly 80 percent rated the overall state of model railroading as excellent or good.
OMAHA, NE — Union Pacific Railroad is taking additional steps to reduce global supply chain congestion with a weekend incentive to help relieve intermodal shipment backlogs. By offering refunds on some containers, the railroad hopes to speed goods and products moving across the United States from West Coast ports.
The move comes as railroads experience continued intermodal shipment backlogs, which is contributing to a decline in North American rail traffic. The Association of American Railroads, which charts weekly traffic, reports steady dips in North American carload and intermodal shipments since the end of July.
In the U.S., intermodal shipments have been down an average of 8 percent since the week ending Sept. 18.
To encourage weekend in-gates and reduce port backlog, UP will run a pilot program through Dec. 31 offering a $60 per container refund to its ocean carrier customers for each container in-gated Saturdays and Sundays at its near-port Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) in Long Beach, CA. The refund will apply to containers in-gated incremental to each customer’s current 2021 weekend average.
Terminals set for Dallas, Bryan/College Station and Houston
Texas high-speed rail investors plan to form an entity to develop train stations in Dallas, Houston and Grimes County near College Station, where the Texas Central Railway’s high-speed rail line terminals will be built.
The Texas High-Speed Rail Station Development Corp. (SDC), independently owned and separate from Texas Central, will build three stations along the planned line from Houston to Dallas.
SDC will undertake planning, design, development, construction, improvement, commissioning, operation, maintenance and funding of the terminals, station sites, platform surfaces and circulation area. The company will engage with governmental agencies and private companies seeking to deliver high-speed rail to Texas.
The company, to be led by investors John Kleinheinz and Jack Matthews, is an offshoot of Cadiz Riverfront Holdings and Cadiz Development Houston, LLC. SDC owns approximately 52 acres south of downtown Dallas, approximately 45 acres in Houston formerly known as Northwest Mall and approximately 59 acres in Grimes County.
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When modeling a particular era, some agonize over what constitutes an appropriate freight car for the period. Today’s trains can be far more diverse in freight type and age than one from the 1970s. They are built better to last longer and are more varied to meet shippers’ needs.
Design, build date and service life are factors in determining the modern era of freight cars. See our overview of the types of freight cars in service today on the North American rail network, based on manufacturer and railroad data.
Brewing up an Industry
Details make the difference in Campbell’s brewery kit on the Mystic Branch HO model railroad. The scene is loaded inside and out with accoutrements that are readily available, plus some that require a little imagination and haphazard materials found on the workbench. And even a little trash.
– Gene Mangum
Imagining a Railroad
Columnist Michelle Kempema, who recently began sharing her insights with the Cowcatcher, opens model railroading’s world of free-spirited imagination after becoming the new owner of the Big Turn & Southern Railway.
The NMRA is changing, one member at a time. Marketing consultant Christina Zambri is striving to improve the long-time organization’s visibility and image. …
The Surface Transportation Board now requires certain railroads to submit service recovery plans in an effort to speed up rail traffic. …
Fifty years since the last trolley ran, East Troy (WI) welcomes MVPS No. 56 for restoration and an eventual return to service. …
THESE STORIES AND MORE, PLUS A FULL CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS AND THE BUSINESS PULSE OF THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY!
Whitehurst & Pine Ridge Railroad
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.
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