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Texas & Pacific Class M-1 4-8-2 Mountain No. 901 heads the Sunshine Special at Marshall, TX, in June 1934. Missouri Pacific touted the train to be “Out of St. Louis at Sunset into Texas at Sunrise!” The Sunshine Special is explored in the January/February 2013 Cowcatcher Magazine. – Courtesy Harold Vollrath collection

The Cowcatcher has runs periodic perspectives on historic passenger trains dating to the early days to the Golden Era of railroading. From 2007-2016, author Joel Rosenbaum offered retrospectives on trains that roamed Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana from days gone. More recently, author Pat Hiatte has examined passenger trains from all points of the U.S. with his whimsical journeys. Both Rosenbaum’s and Hiatte’s perspectives provide interesting background on the time when transportation depended heavily on rail.

Below are stories by issue on some of U.S. railroading’s famous (and not so famous) passenger trains and engines. A link to the landing page where the issue can be purchased is provided for each perspective.

Joel Rosenbaum’s Regional Perspectives

Texas Zephyr bridged FW and Denver – Jan/Feb 2007

Texas Special made best of connections – May/June 2007

Chief linked Chicago, Texas cities – July/August 2007

Texas Rocket offered alternative – Sept/Oct 2007

Twin Star Rocket had longest run – March/April 2008

Riding high on the Santa Fe – May/June 2008

T&P Westerner was night train west – July/August 2008

RI’s Choctaw spanned 762 miles – Sept/Oct 2008

T&NO’s Alamo pulled head-end traffic – Nov/Dec 2008

Santa Fe loco a ‘public relations dream’ – March/April 2009

Golden Rocket train that never was – July/August 2009

Katy Flyer was Sooner link – Sept/Oct 2009

Louisiana Eagle linked Big Easy, Big D – Nov/Dec 2009

Santa Fe motor train served Beaumont, Longview – March/April 2010

SF served West Texas with El Paso Express – May/June 2010

Rabbit hopped along HE&WT – July/August 2010

Texas Electric was a giant in its time – September/October 2010

Delta Eagle wasn’t short on service – November/December 2010

Well-known trains ran through Oklahoma City – January/February 2011

Travel to Dallas was often via Paris – March/April 2011

Southern Belle linked KC, New Orleans – May/June 2011

California Special linked Houston to West Coast – July/August 2011

SP’s Sunset Limited automatic buffet car – September/October 2011

Firefly was a homegrown streamliner – November/December 2011

Zephyrs paid tribute to Ozark region – January/February 2012

Miss Lou left mark on New Orleans – March/April 2012

Railroad bonds Wichita Falls, Woodward – May/June 2012

Iconic Blue Goose served KC, Tulsa – July/August 2012

MP’s Eagle linked Missouri, Nebraska – September/October 2012

Morning Star took the long route – November/December 2012

Sunshine Special a train for snowbirds – January/February 2013

Missouri Pacific’s crew of one rolled on – March/April 2013

KCS filled a critical need with ingenuity – May/June 2013

Frisco provided a quick winter escape – July/August 2013

Following the flag – September/October 2013

Under the Dome – November/December 2013

HSN served passengers when wires went away – January/February 2014

M&A named streamlined cars after governors – May/June 2014

QA&P was a small railroad with big ambitions – September/October 2014

Illini made tracks between Chicago, Champaign – November/December 2014

City of Miami was a rolling tropical splendor – January/February 2015

Miss Myers Girls enhanced trips from New York to New Orleans – March/April 2015

Cotton Belt’s Lone Star served Shreveport – May/June 2015

San Juan weaved across the border – September/October 2015

Railfan delight hurried travelers’ curse – November/December 2015

From Mandy the Mule to PCC street cars – January/February 2016

Trains to all compass points: Kansas City – May/June 2016

The train with auto styling and a bus body – July/August 2016

The Golden Age of Passenger Travel Series

Chicago Great Western Mill Cities Limited – May/June 2020

Milwaukee Road Olympian Hiawatha – September/October 2020

Union Pacific Portland Rose – November/December 2020

Missouri Pacific Colorado Eagle – March/April 2021

Baltimore & Ohio National Limited – May/June 2021

Louisville & Nashville Pan American – July/August 2021

Southern Railway’s The Southerner – September/October 2021

Chesapeake & Ohio Flying Virginian – January/February 2022

Monon Thoroughbred – May/June 2022

Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Ann Rutledge – September/October 2022

Frisco Meteor – November/December 2022

America’s Top 20: The 1940s Railroad Industry – January/February 2023

Rock Island Memphis-Californian – March/April 2023

Southern Pacific Golden State – May/June 2023

To order one or more of these retrospectives, click here!

Current Issue: November/December 2023


Model railroad manufacturers are intent on bulking up their locomotives, but they aren't sending them to the gym. HO-scale long-haul and switch engines recently released have been upgraded to meet demand for more pulling power. At least two manufacturers have repowered motors and added a few more ounces for dependability to move long cuts of cars.


For the first time in its history, the Arizona Eastern Railway has a classification yard that will augment capacity from a storage loop track in Lordsburg, NM. The new Summit Yard, a joint project between AZER and Freeport-McMoRan, adds 24,000 feet of track to handle more cars for interchange with Union Pacific. 


InterMountain Railway Co. has released an updated version of its N-scale EMD F7A and F7B locomotives that are among the best-detailed "covered wagons" ever produced. See our product review.


A Colorado modeler who picked up modular railroading a few years ago scores big at the 2023 NMRA National Convention. Altoona N-scalers salute the late founder of an annual weekend event by establishing a new award recognizing excellence. And the Nebraska Central Railroad will begin hauling crushed soybeans and soybean oil, to be used in producing renewable energy, next year.