Railroad thread


New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal was the site of the National Railway Historical Society's 2014 Convention, as part of a greater celebration of its 60th anniversary. As one of them most ambitious conventions since the 1999 convention in Sacramento, CA, a record number of five steam engines would be appearing to host excursions. We at Pentrex will take you to see all five of them make their way to the convention, as well as their contributions to said convention.

- Chase Southern Pacific GS-5 #4458 as she makes the long trip from her home base in Colton, CA all the way to New Orleans along the SP's Sunset Route, assisted by ALCO PA #6006 and EMD E9 #6051. Meets with Amtrak California high-speed trains and speedy electrics add some spice to the already delicious SP mixture.
- Fresh off an excursion from her home base in Paducah to Memphis, Illinois Central Mountain #2613 leads an excursion train from Memphis to New Orleans over the Grenada District, including a whistle stop at Vaughn, where Casey Jones made himself into a legend. Also seen are meets with several electric powered freights as she makes her way from Jackson the rest of the way south.
- The Milwaukee Road sends former Texas & Pacific #610 down to New Orleans via Shreveport and Baton Rogue. This would be the Texas type's last appearance in the blue and white of the T&P passenger steamers, as soon after, she'd receive a 1472 day boiler inspection, during which she was painted back into the more authentic black livery she actually wore in revenue days.
- Louisville & Nashville Pacific #152, assisted by a pair of EMD GP40s, makes the long trip from her home in New Haven, KY to New Orleans along the main line she once called home. This program mainly focuses on the stretch west from Mobile, where the 152 spent her final days of revenue service.
- Southern Mikado #4501 heads out of her home in Chattanooga on the Southern mainline via Gadsen, Birmingham, and Meridian. Included are meets with the state of Alabama's Yellowhammer passenger services between Chattanooga and Birmingham.

This program provides near complete coverage of each engine's moves to New Orleans. As well as their contributions to the event and some other action provided by Amtrak Southeast.
You mean not at the VTM like they are now ? Maybe have an NW roundhouse on the line saved Roanoke had one I'd bet Lynchburgs was destroyed long ago Crewes was around until the 60 or 70s I believe but it was in really bad shape at the end.
In all seriousness, I was thinking I could still have the PRR center more maintenance out of Roanoke so that they keep the East end Shops, but give Shaffer's Crossing to the VMT.

On March 4, 1998, Frisco Mountain #1522 and N&W J #611 prepare to lead an excursion out of Mt. Vernon, IL on the L&N from St. Louis to Evansville, IN. Originally, the L&N planned to use Pacific #152, but they failed to secure the diesel assistance the 1905 Pacific would have needed. 611 was added after 1522 was chosen at the request of the Roanoke Heritage Company so that she could return to Cincinnati more quickly after a series of trips in the St. Louis area.
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I was looking at the list of feeder routes @TheMann gave me, and thought I'd provide my ideas for various regional lines.

Super Chief: Chicago - Ft. Madison - Kansas City - Wichita - Trinidad - Santa Fe - Albuquerque - Belen - Flagstaff - Los Angeles - San Diego [1]

Ohio Valley Limited: Charleston - Kenova - Portsmouth - Cincinnati - Louisville - Evansville - St. Louis

Missouri Chief: St. Louis - Springfield - Tulsa - Avard - Amarillo - Belen - Flagstaff - Los Angeles - San Diego [1]

Hoosier State: Detroit - Toledo - Ft. Wayne - Muncie - Indianapolis - Bloomington - Evansville - Paducah - Memphis

Palmtree Limited: Chicago - Indianapolis - Louisville - Nashville - Chattanooga - Atlanta - Augusta - Columbia - Charleston [2]

West Virginian: Charleston - Kenova - Portsmouth - Columbus - Toledo - Detroit

Bluegrass: New York - Philadelphia - Richmond - Petersburg - Roanoke - Bristol - Knoxville - Chattanooga - Huntsville - Memphis - Little Rock - Texarkana - Dallas - Ft. Worth - Austin - San Antonio

The Floridian: Chicago - Indianapolis - Louisville - Nashville - Chattanooga - Atlanta - Savannah - Jacksonville - Orlando - Miami

Texas Rocket: Twin Cities - Des Moines - Kansas City - Wichita - Oklahoma City - Ft. Worth - Austin - San Antonio

Southwest Limited: Chicago - St. Louis - Kansas City - Denver - Trinidad - Santa Fe - Albuquerque - Belen - Flagstaff - Phoenix - Los Angeles - San Diego

Bluegrass: Atlanta - Chattanooga - Nashville - Memphis - Little Rock - Dallas - Ft. Worth

[1] In my latest TL ideas, the ATSF does join Amtrak, but is that last US railroad to do so in 1996. Albeit under the condition that Amtrak uses the same exact routes the ATSF used for certain trains.
[2] This service was originally created to serve as a South Carolina section of the Floridian to Miami. However, business became so good that the decision was eventually made to make the route a new train entirely.
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UPDATE: A lot of the ideas we have discussed in this thread are ones I have been considering for if I contribute to @Murica1776 goes through with making second USA TL after Let The Eagle Scream! As such, some of the ideas I proposed to him for such a TL are referenced.

GWR Dean Goods 0-6-0 #2550 was one of many railroad locomotives sent to the German-ruled Commonwealth of Poland after the Russian Civil War. Eventually, she made her way back to the UK in 1971 and is pictured here shortly after being restored to service in 1982.

The most famous of Cuban steamers, the Lima-built MS-D 4-8-0s served their masters well into the era of Governor Castro (1965-1973). One such engine, #34 pictured here, hauled the governor's private train until replacement with an ALCO PA.

One of many USATC engines unwanted on the Mainland after 1949, this USATC S160 made its way to the Cuba State Railroad. Here, we see it on a mixed train on the CSR's Bayamo Subdivision. This line was the place where the USATC engines, as well as the Lima-built MT-D Class 4-8-0s would finish their days as electrification of the main Havana - Santiago line began in earnest.

We are near Irvington, KY on a warm April 17, 1981, as Norfolk & Western #1218 is running through the Ohio River Valley on Louisville & Nashville rails as she makes her way to Evansville, IN. The locomotive had recently been restored by the Roanoke Heritage Company between 1978 and 1980, and spent several trips on the old N&W (by then the PRR's Virginia Division) before running elsewhere. The occasion for this visit was to haul the General Evans Special excursion train that was sponsored by the City of Evansville. Named for the town's namesake, Colonial Robert Evans, the train will run the next day from Evansville, IN to St. Louis over the L&N mainline via Mt. Vernon, IL and return.

On June 24, 1996, ATSF CEO Robert Krebs confirmed the bittersweet rumors that the Santa Fe would be handing over its remaining regular passenger services to Amtrak at the end of the year. However, Krebs was already making plans to make the last runs a celebration of the ATSF passenger fleet's history. On December 31 that year, people were surprised, and foamers thrilled, as 4-8-4 #3751 hauled the last eastbound Missouri Chief out of San Diego with diesel assistance, preparing to be joined by Frisco 1522 at Avard, OK for the final stretch to St. Louis. Meanwhile, follow ATSF Northern #2925 would lead the last Super Chief consist to Chicago later that day, as said consist would continue east to be display at the America Rails Museum in Jersey City. Meanwhile in the Bay Area, 2-10-4 #5021 would lead the last consist of the San Fransisco Chief. Further east, 4-6-4 #3463, one of the two remaining "Blue Goose" Hudsons, would lead the Texas Chief out of Gavelston to Chicago with a pair of ALCO Millenium 190DPs painted in a two-tone blue variation of the Warbonnet scheme. Last, but definitely not the least, the last complete ATSF EMD F3 ABBA set in operation would haul the Dixie Chief from San Diego to Birmingham, AL.

Santa Fe SD40-2 #5051, photographed here with C44-9W #641, was the last ATSF diesel to be painted in the blue-and-yellow "Bluebonnet" paint scheme that had been the ATSF's traditional livery for freight diesels. However, CEO Bob Krebs announced a plan to paint all the locomotives into the Warbonnet by 1998. At long last, #5051 received her Warbonnet scheme at the ex-SLSF Lindenwood Yard in St. Louis on February 3, 2001.

The Katy Southern, the result of the 1974 merger between the Katy and Kansas City Southern, only lasted for about six years. During the middle of those years on October 23, 1977, an ex-MKT engine leads a work train over the mainline near Wellington, OK. Said line would be extended west to Amarillo, TX a few years later after the BN takeover. Naturally, she survived to become a BN engine and can still be seen in service in the Midwest once in a while.

BNSF SD45 #6442 idles at the ex-MKT yards in Austin, with another BN diesel and a Union Pacific engine behind her. The Katy Southern, which had been formed in 1974 between the Missouri-Kansas-Texas "Katy" and Kansas City Southern, was mainly created as a necessity. Both roads had become more and more cornered with the Rock Island's return to glory as a feeder for Southern Pacific and Rio Grande traffic, as well as the Santa Fe's take-over of the Frisco. The final straw for the Katy Southern would prove to be the Milwaukee Road's take over of the MoPac. This sent the Katy Southern straight to BN, and it was agreed that the BN could take up the KS in exchange for other railroads getting larger shares in the traffic headed to Denver.

At the time this photo was taken, few realized that most of the GE U30Cs would be repainted into the original Rock Island freight livery, and sent down to Texas. The CRI&P was one of the first railroads to take advantage of the BN+KS merger's condition, and extended their branch line at Mangum, OK to the Memphis - Tucumcari line at Texola so their share of the traffic to and from Texas could reach Denver more directly. In addition, the Rock also built their own mainline from Ft. Worth to Eagle Pass, TX to serve as a competitor for the Milwaukee's ex-MoPac for Mexican freight traffic. Soon, these locomotives and many other ones on the Rock would be very busy again.
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Where the population density is not strong enough to justify an entirely new line, Amtrak uses host railroads. In other words, freight railroads that Amtrak runs over at certain points. The DOT rewards railroads that actively co-operate with Amtrak with direct tax breaks on their infrastructure, and where necessary the upgrades to freight lines are subsidized for the sake of both the railroads and Amtrak. Union Pacific is one of several railroads that has used this relationship to Amtrak's advantage as well as their own - like when their #7038 helped Amtrak's Desert Wind into Caliente, NV.

On October 13, 1980 the northbound edition of Amtrak's Gulf Breeze is headed north to Birmingham. At first, this service was operated by Amtrak and was not very profitable. However, President Reagan's "Balkanized Amtrak" strategy made Amtrak Southeast able to fund the service from Atlanta better than Amtrak Main HQ in Washington. Nonetheless, passenger numbers began growing until in 1983 the State of Alabama took over the service completely and re-branded it as the Yellowbird. Further upgrades would take the train to New Orleans via Gulfport in the south, and north to Chattanooga via Gadsen and Attalla in 1988. The 1988 extension to Chattanooga also saw a series of ads for the train where Lynyrd Skynyrd appeared playing Sweet Home Alabama.

Despite being part of the DOT and thus the government, Amtrak is not above the occasional fun event like what the freight lines do. One such example was on September 14, 1996 when Amtrak Midwest commissioned Nickel Plate Mikado #587 for an excursion from Indianapolis to Evansville and return. Here we see the Mikado on the southbound trip a few miles southwest of Bloomington.
I was recently thinking about the Boston North-South Link tunnel, and the possibility of getting it done in the 1980s. Same with the possibility of the NEC to Norfolk being via a bridge tunnel through Chesapeake Bay.

Thought I'd derive some more steam excursion ideas from @TheMann, since a better preservation movement was one of the reasons I tired making my own rail TL in the first place.

When steam began falling out in earnest in the early 1960s [1], many railroads would operate their steamers one last time for the sake of an enthusiastic public. Such steam excursions have their roots in the 1960s, and have only grown in popularity not just as a PR Tool for the railroads, but also a way to show off the railroad's workings to the general public.

While many railroads do own the steamers they use on their excursions, many more are leased from various companies dedicated to railtours. The most famous of these is Ross Rowland's High Iron Excursion Company - which famous owners such steamers as Southern Pacific #4458 [2], Chesapeake & Ohio #614, the Nickel Plate Quartet (Berkshire #755, #759, #763, and #765), Santa Fe #2925, Norfolk & Western #611, Texas & Pacific #610, and Reading #2101.

Union Pacific
The grand-daddy of mainline steam excursions, their program began with the continued operation of two 4-8-4s: FEF-3 #844 and FEF-4 #867 [3], on stem excursions out of Cheyenne, WY. Soon after, they were joined by Big Boy #4023 in August 1975. The following decade saw the return of Challenger #3985, as well as 4-6-0 #1243, 0-6-0 #4466, and 2-8-0 #428 being restored for leasing to various tourist lines.

Originally, this started as a series of simple excursions with Ms-1 Mikado #4501. However, its success combined with the restoration of Ps-4 Pacific #1398 led to this becoming one of the first major company-operated rail excursion programs. Soon after, Vs-1 4-8-4 "Crescent" #2609, DMs-1 Garratt #7508, and Ks-1 Consolidations #630 and #722 joined in on the fun [4]. As did several other engines from different rail companies at certain points in time.

Erie Lackawanna
This route works with Steamtown to regularly operate Erie Pacific #2935 and Lackawanna Pocono #1632. In addition, the EL also leases the Nickel Plate Berkshire Quartet, as well as the Grand Trunk Trio (4-6-2 #5629, 2-8-2 #4070, and 4-8-4 #6325).

Burlington Northern
The "Great Green Giant", like most western railroads, generally prefers to lease engines from separate companies and historical societies. However, they have taken preference to certain engines from their predecessors: Burlington Route 4-8-4 #5632; Great Northern 2-8-2 #3388; and Northern Pacific 4-8-4 #2626. Burlington 2-8-2 #4960 and 4-6-4 #3007, as well as Grand Trunk Pacific #5629 are preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, and occasionally perform trips on their home rails in Illinois and Iowa. The 2626 is also the famous "Timken Engine", which makes here popular as well. There have even been occasions where Rowland's "Nickel Plate Quartet" ran over BN territory - like when #759 ran in Montana as part of the project that led to the construction of the ACE 3000 Modern Steam Engine.

Grand Trunk Western
Only a handful of steam excursions have really happened on this route, and all of them are on the Chicago - Michigan lines running via South Bend, IN. These are operated entirely by the "Grand Trunk Trio" consisting of 4-6-2 #5629, 2-8-2 #4070, and 4-8-4 #6325. The first of these engines is famous because Walt disney helped it escape scrap in the 1980s, and eventually it was named the "Ruth F. Disney" after the Man Behind Mickey's sister.

Louisville & Nashville
Unlike its rival the Southern, the L&N does not operate its own steam programs. However, it does actively collaborate with various preservation groups who run steamers from the L&N and the lines it took over. Among those are the Kentucky Railway Museum (Pacific #152), the Old Smokey NRHS Chapter ("Big Emma" 2-8-4 #1966), Nashville Steam Preservation Society (NC&StL #576), Vigo County Historical Society (C&EI Mikado #1915), and the City of Evansville ("Big Nellie" 4-8-4 #2003) [5].

Toledo, Peoria, & Western
As a freight railroad, the TP&W usually does not have enough time to operate steam excursions with all the freight traffic circumventing Chicago. In the rare scenarios where it does have time however, the railroad is partial to the Indiana Transportation Museum's ex-Nickel Plate Mikado #587.

Florida East Coast
The few excursions that operate on this line are almost entirely behind 4-6-2 #148 and 4-8-2 #809. This is due to how sheerly busy the FEC is with fast, electrified freights.

Delaware & Hudson
Once upon a time, 4-6-2 #653 and 4-8-4 #302 were often seen on the mainline hauling happy tourists in the summer. Unfortunately, those days came to a close due to the decreased route availability. However, there has been some talk of returning the 302 to service as of 2006.

Rock Island
During the 1980s, 4-8-2 #4055 could sometimes be seen operating out of Des Moines. However, insurance costs lead to those days ending prematurely. However, the IRM's 4-6-2 #938 sometimes sees service, as does 4-8-4 #5114 based in Kansas City. In addition, Ross Rowland's Nickel Plate Berkshire Quartet has sometimes made cameos on the mainline in Illinois and Iowa, as have some of the SP's steam stars. Even so, talks to run #4055 once more have surfaced at times since 1999.

Milwaukee Road
Steam excursions on this railroad are pretty much 4-8-4 #261, MoPac Mountain #5321, and T&P #610. Some talk of restoring Hudson #105 has been raised at certain points, but nothing has come of its just yet.

Boston & Maine
Two steamers run on the B&M from time to time. Those engines are 4-6-2 #3713 "The Constitution" and 4-8-2 #4117 "Hercules". However, various environmental laws have limited the scope of their excursions to the more rural areas of Maine - even with special exemptions at times.

Wisconsin Central
Excursions on this line are almost entirely on the network in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Most of these are operated by QJ 2-10-2s #6988 and #7081 - the former of which was modified to resemble an authentic American locomotive. The railroad has also seen some excursions behind GTW engines like 4-6-2 #5629 and 4-8-4 #6325.

Gulf, Mobile, & Ohio
A few steamers have run over this route from time to time. Though the GM&O's heavy use of precision-scheduled railroading (PSR) has meant that steam excursions only happen on special occasions. Most of these are behind one of the Ross Rowland engines - often N&W #611, C&O #614, or the Nickel Plate Berkshire Quartet.

Chessie System
Several steamers from the Chessie's predecessor railroads are common. The most notable is Ross Rowland's C&O #614, with the B&O T3s #5562 and #5585 being close seconds. Then there are Reading #2101 (also owned by Ross), Wabash #702, and Pere Marquette #1225.

Southern Pacific
Ross Rowland's #4458 is a major source of SP's excursion services, often being paired with EMD E9 #6051 and ALCO PA #6006. In addition, the SP also operate Pacific #2472, Mikado #745, 4-10-2 #5021, Mountain #4334, and Cab Forward #4294. The 4294 was the last Cab-Forward ever built, and the generally good condition as a result is why it was chosen over the other surviving Cab Forwards like #4274 or #4219.

Seaboard Coast Line
Steam excursions are very rare of the SCL due to how busy it is most of the year. When it does have the time or will however, the SCL management is partial to N&W #611 and #1218 - the former most likely because of when it pulled the American Freedom Train.

Rio Grande
The majority of steam excursions are really just the seasonal services the railroad operates with its narrow gauge Mikados in the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico. However, SP #4458 and UP #867 have seen some occasional operations on both lines. In addition, talks of restoring 4-8-4 #1705 to service have surfaced.

Western Pacific
Mikado #394 and GS-64 #482 are sometimes seen double-heading excursions on the mainline in California. Both are owned by the Western Pacific Railroad Museum.

Illinois Central
Like most railroads, the IC often allows steam excursions if the locomotive is from the IC itself or a railroad that it acquired. This means that IC's own 4-6-2 #1196, 2-8-2 #3769, and 4-8-2 #2613 are common sights, as is the Atlanta NRHS' ex-Central of Georgia #451. The 1196 and 3769 are mainly operated in the Midwest on native and ex-M&StL trackage, but the 2613 and 451 see a slightly larger scope of service - often in the Deep South.

New York Central
Despite generally tolerating the idea of steam excursions, the NYC has a strict "NYC Engines Only" policy when it coems to what steam excursions are operated. That means L4a Mohawk #3130, J3a Hudson #5433, and S1a Niagara #6015 are the most commonly seen locomotives on their system. However, plans to restore other NYC steamers have been around since the 1990s, and many have made some progress at certain points.

Santa Fe
ATSF does not any of the steam engines it allows out itself, but does with with historical societies to operate them. The most famous of these engines are 4-8-4 #2925 and 2-10-4 #5021 - the former is owned by Ross Rowland, who works with the Belen Historical Society, who in addition to helping Ross maintain the former, also owns the latter. Other locomotives seen on the ATSF are 4-8-4 #3751, the "Blue Goose" 4-6-4 #3460, 4-6-2 #3415, and 2-8-2 #4076. Last but far from least are two ex-Frisco steamers; 4-8-2 #1522 and 4-8-4 #4500, which mainly run over their native territory.

The PRR has a more lax policy about what kind of steam excursions are allowed. Oftentimes they work with the Railroaders Memorial Society in Altoona, PA to operate K4s #1361 and #5495, R2 #7116, M1a #6826, and T1 #5522. In addition, they work with Ross Rowland and the Roanoke-based Roanoke Heritage Company to operate N&W steamers like J Class #611, A Class #1218, and Y6a #2156 across the Virginias and Ohio. On the Erie/Buffalo - Harrisburg route, I1sa Decapods #4483 and #4625 can also be seen double-heading sometimes. Lastly, New Haven Hudson #1405 is occasionally seen on her old stomping grounds in Connecticut along the Northeast Corridor during the less busy times of year.

[1] Thank various going-ons in the Middle East for that.
[2] ITTL, the 4458 was preserved and eventually restored, whereas 4449 was also preserved but eventually went to the America Rails Museum in Jersey City.
[3] In my TL, the FEF-4s were indeed built.
[4] Long story short, the Vs-1 4-8-4s were built in my TL's 1920s for the Southern Crescent and the new Palmtree to Jacksonville. Whereas the 2-8-2+2-8-2 Garratts were built for the Southern's increasingly busy Rathole Division from Cincinnati to Chattanooga.
[5] ITTL, the L&N went though with buying 4-8-4s from Lima for passenger service north of Mobile.
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Lately, I was thinking of various ideas for how I could have steam last into the mid-60s. One idea I personally had was labor costs not becoming as severe - as well as the fact that railroads in my TL don't have to pay as many bills as a reward for their public services.

Of course I'd have steam eventually phased out on the N&W (still the last railroad in my TL, even after the PRR gives up) by 1967. But not only would my hope be to give preservationists more time, but also allow electrification to become an even bigger consideration.
I was recently thinking about my plans for having the Illinois Central take up the Central of Georgia and M&StL.

What should I do with the CofG beyond the line from Birmingham to Savannah via Macon? I was thinking I could have IC keep the whole thing, then the L&N gets to take up the C&EI in exchange for IC trackage rights over the NC&StL from Nashville to Chattanooga.

Plus, another condition of the SCL merger could be the IC reaching Jacksonville from Albany, GA. On that subject, the IC could lobby to get the SAL's Birmingham to Atlanta line in exchange for the SCL to take over the A&WP to Montgomery.
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