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Iron Horses

Iron, Steam and Coal. Photographer Matthew Malkiewicz captures the timeless beauty of the steam locomotive and steam trains - the steam, the tracks, the folks who run them and just the folks who love them. (Via Petapixel)
posted by caddis on Jul 22, 2014 - 4 comments

The Near-Death of Grand Central Terminal

"[S]tock jobbers[,]... confidence men,... an impecunious transportation entity", politicos, judges, scoundrels and Jackie O.: the near-death of Grand Central Terminal, and how it foretold the 2008 financial crisis. [sl Harper's]
posted by killdevil on Jun 19, 2014 - 5 comments

Abandoned Railways Exploration Probe

Crawling the lost tracks of Latin America. Artists Ivan Puig and Andrés Padilla Domene, a.k.a. "Los Ferronautas," converted a car into a retro-futuristic rail vehicle they dubbed SEFT-1 (Sonda de Exploración Ferroviaria Tripulada, "Manned Railway Exploration Probe") to explore the abandoned passenger railways of Mexico and Ecuador.
posted by gottabefunky on Jun 12, 2014 - 7 comments

Grand by Design

Grand by Design is a Centennial Celebration of Grand Central Terminal. It's a looong page with a lot of nice images and facts from the history of the Grand Central Depot/ Station/ Terminal. (Previously)
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 17, 2014 - 6 comments

High-speed rail in unlikely places

High-speed rail projects may be struggling in California and facing increased opposition in the UK, but they have gotten a boost in two unlikely countries. In Iceland, a country which currently has no working railways, a plan to build a high-speed rail line from Keflavík airport to downtown Reykjavík, using either conventional HSR or maglev technology, is being explored. Meanwhile in Australia, the conservative federal government has committed to safeguarding a corridor for a Melbourne-Canberra-Sydney-Brisbane high-speed rail network, a project commenced by the previous Labor minority government after pressure from the Greens. [more inside]
posted by acb on Dec 3, 2013 - 31 comments

Baltimore Train Derailment

A train derailed after hitting a truck near Baltimore yesterday. TV news / Raw helicopter footage and citizens on the scene. (NSFW Audio and explosion is about a minute or so in)
posted by josher71 on May 29, 2013 - 43 comments

Time flies by when you're the driver of a train

You may remember the 7.5 hour documentary released in 2009 which allowed you to travel the journey between Bergen to Oslo from the comfort of your home. If your wanderlust was fired up watching that video, then you may enjoy some of the other trips you can take. Switzerland: [more inside]
posted by jontyjago on May 25, 2013 - 28 comments

Home Movie of Walt Disney Playing with a Model Train in 1948

Ward Kimball's home movie footage of Walt Disney playing with a backyard scale model railroad in 1948.
posted by zzazazz on Apr 4, 2013 - 5 comments

Gottardo Nord & Sud

Trains in Switzerland's Ticino canton filmed with tilt-shift lenses: Gottardo Nord & Gottardo Sud.
posted by jontyjago on Sep 19, 2012 - 12 comments

The Big Train

"The Big Train" and other classic 1950s and 60s publicity reels from the New York Central Railroad. Lots of footage of trains, railroad infrastructure, well-dressed office minions, teletypes, punchcard machines, men in white lab coats, bubbling beakers, and even an "atomic signal light." [more inside]
posted by Kadin2048 on Jun 19, 2012 - 10 comments

You can hear the whistle blow, across the Nile

When it comes to railways, the British are famous for their colonial legacy of one of the world's most extensive railway networks built across then British India but their lesser known and far grander vision was the Cape to Cairo railway network intended to stretch across the sea of colonial pink on the African continent. Left incomplete due to politics and geography, most of it is still almost as it was built in its day. [more inside]
posted by infini on Dec 22, 2011 - 27 comments

This is a subject of but small importance; and I know not whether it will interest any readers, but it has interested me.

CN Turbo Train Part 2, part 3, 1970 Film‬. Canada Off the Rails: You know the story of the Avro Arrow, now discover how Canada fell from leader to laggard in another cutting edge, vastly profitable, globally relevant transportation industry, where Canadians had held a strong lead, until this Canadian homegrown industry was derailed; high-speed derailed... CN Turbo Train - "3:59" - The Lost Film (the high speed rail flickr pool is recommended viewing). [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Dec 14, 2011 - 17 comments

Melbourne to Brisbane in six hours

Australia's federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport has released an initial report into the prospects of building a high-speed rail link joining the eastern states. The report (which may be found here) lists a number of potential corridors joining Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, and gives the total cost of building the system at AUD100bn. The resulting system would allow journeys between Melbourne and Sydney (currently the world's fourth busiest air route) in just under three hours, and Sydney and Brisbane in a further three. Tickets between Melbourne and Sydney would be priced at AUD99 to AUD197, with Sydney-Brisbane tickets being slightly cheaper. [more inside]
posted by acb on Aug 4, 2011 - 50 comments

Buried below Park Ave

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has just finished the initial drilling phase of the East Side Access project to bring the Long Island Railroad to Grand Central Terminal. What are they doing with the tunnel boring machine? Giving it a funeral. (NYTimes link, use this if you need to get past the paywall) Instead of removing the $8 million machine, the contractor responsible for this portion of the project has decided it will be cheaper to leave it in place at the end of the tunnel. This is not without precedent; some of the TBMs used for the Channel Tunnel were turned off the tunnel mainline and left buried.
posted by spitefulcrow on Jul 25, 2011 - 45 comments

But Not All the Live-Long Day

Working on the railroad; 5.17 flash video that is strangely hypnotic.
posted by bwg on May 27, 2011 - 37 comments

The East River Bridge

Brooklyn to New York via the Brooklyn Bridge as shot by the Edison Manufacturing Co. in 1899. (SLYT) [more inside]
posted by gman on Nov 5, 2010 - 11 comments

American railways

High-speed railroading
America's system of rail freight is the world's best. High-speed passenger trains could ruin it [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 31, 2010 - 81 comments

"imagine the rotary plow's fanwheel blowing a cloud of snow 40 feet in all directions"

The logistics and beauty of snowplowing or snowblowing by train (not always successful). [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Feb 9, 2010 - 33 comments

A-trickling down the rocks

Big Rock Candy Mountain is just a wonderful little song. I don't know many hobo tunes, but this one gets stuck in my head from time to time. It has been covered by Burl Ives, a drunken Tom Waits, and then was reworked as the theme song to the amazingly awesome animated TV show that is The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.
posted by GavinR on Jan 2, 2010 - 61 comments

Masters of Time

In 1883, they took control of time ITSELF. They ran the railroads, and they got what they wanted. [more inside]
posted by hexatron on Sep 17, 2009 - 21 comments

The state of high-speed rail, August 2009

The Guardian ran a series of articles looking at the state of high-speed rail travel today. France intends to double its length of track over the next decade, and China is planning a massive rail-building programme, including a high-speed line which will halve the travel time between Beijing and Shanghai to 4 hours. In Germany, domestic air travel is rapidly going extinct, and Spain's network has made day trips between Madrid and Barcelona a possibility. The USA, which has long neglected its rail network, is planning up to 10 high-speed lines. Meanwhile, Britain's only high-speed line goes to France, but there is talk of a 250mph line from London to Birmingham and beyond, possibly by the early 2020s. Meanwhile, the CEO of France's rail operator, SNCF, weighs in on what the UK should do.
posted by acb on Aug 7, 2009 - 49 comments

I like trains

Paintings of trains. I like the energy of this one, but there are enough for everyone to have a favorite. [more inside]
posted by winna on May 9, 2009 - 14 comments

The Lackawanna Cut-Off

A glance will show / Why Phoebe Snow / Prefers this route / To Buffalo.
And Phoebe's right / No route is quite / As short as Road / of Anthracite.


In 1908 the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad began work on the New Jersey Cut-Off to make its New York to Buffalo mainline (the Road of Anthracite so liked by Phoebe Snow) even shorter and faster. It was to have no grade crossings, and was to be as straight and level as possible — through hilly terrain. The 28-mile Lackawanna Cut-Off, as it is now known, was built over three years, cost $11 million, and was an engineering marvel of massive reinforced concrete bridges, enormous cuts, and the largest railroad embankment in the world. All of this has been abandoned for years, though there are plans afoot to restore the Cut-Off for commuter rail. [more inside]
posted by parudox on Dec 24, 2008 - 17 comments

Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad refers to the effort -- sometimes spontaneous, sometimes highly organized -- to assist persons held in bondage in North America to escape from slavery. Historic places along the Underground Railroad are testament of African American resolve. One of those places is Lycoming County, PA. Freedom means a hard, dangerous trek. Do you try it?
posted by netbros on Jun 15, 2008 - 26 comments

a walking foam critter or a waistcoat studded with rhinestones

The Saluda Grade is the steepest standard-gauge mainline railway grade in the United States. Built by the Southern Railway, the Saluda Grade consists of a three-mile section of track that rises over 600 feet in elevation with a grade of 4.7% between the towns of Melrose and Saluda, North Carolina. Take a virtual flyover of the terrain with Google Earth, then ride along on the adjacent Hwy 176 in an Audi A3. When you get to the top, don't miss Coon Dog Day.
posted by netbros on Apr 27, 2008 - 9 comments

Howling Mob Society

The Howling Mob Society. Looking out over the burning Strip District from the safety of his office in Pittsburgh's Union Station, Thomas Alexander Scott must have been humbled. Only days before, as president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Scott famously suggested that impoverished and striking railroad workers be given “a rifle diet for a few days and see how they like that kind of bread.” Now, with the local Pittsburgh militia all but mutinied and the State Militia rapidly retreating, he must have wondered if his hard-line stance had backfired… [more inside]
posted by damnthesehumanhands on Dec 3, 2007 - 9 comments

Railway of Bones

Dead Road - Museum of Communism in the Open. "It was one of the most ambitious projects of the Stalin era, known as the 'railway of bones'. At least 10 people a day died during the four years of its construction [actually 1947-1953], but unlike most of Uncle Joe's grand designs it was never completed and now sits unfinished in the tundra, an icy road to nowhere." The transpolar railway was built by labour camps^ 501 and 503 and construction was stopped after the amnesty following Stalin's death in 1953; 800km, about half, was built. Some sections are currently in operation, but much is abandoned: depot and locomotives in Dolgoe, Dolgoe itself, labour camps, more spectacular decay. (Previously: Norilsk, which was supposed to see an extension of the line.)
posted by parudox on Aug 27, 2007 - 13 comments

What a pratfall!

The Berlin District Court has ruled that Deutsche Bahn must rebuild whole sections of the new Hauptbahnhof according to the architect's plans, setting a spectacular precedent. Berlin's new main train station, the Hauptbahnhof, cuts a solitary figure in the surrounding wasteland as it awaits an urban development that will complement its ambition, aesthetics and vast dimensions. But the verdict pronounced by the Berlin District Court on Tuesday November 28 has brutally nipped this development process in the bud. The judges ruled that the German rail company Deutsche Bahn has unlawfully violated the intellectual property rights of the station's architect, Meinhard von Gerkan. The rail company must rebuild the station according to the architect's plans. The station opened in May this year after a 13-year construction period.
posted by parmanparman on Dec 4, 2006 - 41 comments

Empire Building in the Golden Age of Railroads

Sid Meier's 1990 DOS game Railroad Tycoon has been released as a free download. There's no need to worry if you don't actually have a vintage DOS machine available, as it's packaged with an Windows installer that includes the full game, PDF manual, and DOSBox emulator. [via]
posted by Rhomboid on Nov 22, 2006 - 31 comments

London to Brighton. Are our attention spans getting shorter?

London to Brighton in Two Minutes (2006) [HI Apple Quicktime, LO Adobe Flash] preceeded by London to Brighton in Three-and-a-Half Minutes (1983) [RealMedia, context] preceeded by London to Brighton in Four Minutes (1953) [RealMedia, context]
posted by riotgrrl69 on Oct 1, 2006 - 21 comments

A gov't corp. losing a million dollars a day? It's no joke.

What would you think if the U.S. government decided to take six failing private companies, combine their assets into one government-operated company, and subsidized it through losses of a million dollars per day? It's something that might not happen today, but on this day in 1976, Conrail (the Consolidated Rail Corporation), took over operations for six railroads in the northeast, putting an end to the fruitless mergers and often-massive bankruptcies that had become common. [more inside]
posted by Godbert on Apr 1, 2006 - 12 comments

The Ted Kierscey Collection

The Narrow Gauge Circle hosts, among other fine features, the Ted Kierscey Collection -- page after page after page of historical photographs of Colorado's railroad and mining towns.
posted by Gator on Mar 23, 2006 - 7 comments

Breaker Breaker

Listen to Railroad Radio! Frequencies scanned are listed, as well as background information on the areas. Shoutcast streams for your favorite player. Hobos optional.
posted by angry modem on Aug 21, 2005 - 15 comments

Trains vs. Airplanes

Trains vs. Airplanes. Amtrak has reported record ridership levels for the Thanksgiving season. But the success of the rails is indebted to post 9/11 air-travel anxiety. Maybe, it would be better for travelers to stop fearing hijackings and resume flying planes instead of riding intercity trains out of fear. On the other hand, it could be a good thing that rail travel is getting a second look after years of decline.
posted by gregb1007 on Dec 3, 2003 - 51 comments

The High Line

The High Line is a strip of elevated railroad on Manhattan's West Side, it runs from 34th Street and 12th Avenue to Gansevoort Street in the meatpacking district. It is a treasure now mostly because it's the structure that time forgot. Who'd thought? Discover what could become NYC's highest park.
posted by sierray on Sep 10, 2002 - 17 comments

Man who stopped train with his bare hands

Man who stopped train with his bare hands "was a longtime railroad man from an era when such boardings were routine.... Today, it is strictly against the rules -- sometimes a firing offense -- to step aboard moving locomotives or cars."
posted by dfowler on May 16, 2001 - 6 comments

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