Category Archives: Railroad

The Depot at Lone Pine

Once upon a time, the Southern Pacific had a line running from Mojave to Lone Pine, California. At the northern end it actually went a little past Lone Pine to a place called Owenyo, where it met and exchanged freight and passengers with the Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge. The narrow gauge line was abandoned in 1960, and the standard gauge line between Mojave and Lone Pine was abandoned in 1984. In 1997 the former depot in Lone Pine was moved to a different site, where it is my understanding that it is being used as a private residence. Owenyo is now nothing but a few foundations.

You can reach the former depot by turning off of Highway 395 onto Lone Pine Narrow Gauge Road at the north end of the town of Lone Pine, although it is on private property and you can’t get too close. I visited it in 2016 and took some pictures. (as always, click to embiggen)

 

 

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Train Porn

Found parked alongside a road in West Virginia (click pictures to embiggen).

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Well duh!

I’ve been reading Joseph Tracy’s The Great Awakening: A History of the Revival of Religion in the time of Edwards and Whitefield. Originally published in 1842, this book gives a good overview of the famous American revival of the 1730s and 40s, told from a sympathetic perspective. And it also includes some very important information about transportation in the colonial era. On page 166 the author, describing how Reverend Josiah Crocker was having difficulties traveling back and forth between Taunton and Ipswitch, Massachusetts in early 1742, makes the stunning observation that “there was no railroad between the two places.”

No railroad between those two towns in Massachusetts in 1742. Gee, ya think?

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More security theatre on trains

CNN has the story about yet another intrusion by the TSA that will do nothing to make anybody safer. This agency of thugs, thieves, and perverts has long since made it clear that when it comes to civil rights, their view is that you have none. They have also made it clear that they don’t know the first thing about security, as illustrated in the article by the ridiculous screening of passengers getting off a train. (What would they do if somebody refused to allow the search? Make them get back on?)

The idea that spot checking will cause terrorists to cancel their plans is beyond idiotic. In the unlikely event that a TSA team happens to be present at the time and place the terrorists intend to board, they would simply leave and return later, or go to another station. Or they would attack the people waiting in line. This is assuming they ever planned to board the train in the first place, rather than simply plant a bomb somewhere along the 140,000 + miles of railroad track that crosses the country.

The TSA needs to be disbanded yesterday.

 

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Again with the train porn

Over the Christmas holiday we traveled up Highway 395 into Oregon and then west to Portland. Along the way we stopped in Lakeview long enough for me to get a few shots of the Lake Railway, a short line running from Lakeview to Perez, CA where it interchanges with the Union Pacific.

This is the engine house in Lakeview. In the distance you can see the railroad’s one and only locomotive.

 

Here is a closer shot of the engine house, taken from the other direction.

 

A closer shot of the locomotive, an EMD GP49 formerly owned by Alaska Railroad.

And finally, one more picture of the locomotive. I was told by someone working at the agricultural inspection station just inside the California border (which is adjacent to the track) that the locomotive has broken down and the railroad is using a modified tractor-trailer as power instead. I would have loved to get a picture of that running down the track, but unfortunately we didn’t happen to see it.

 

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It’s here!

The first locomotive for the Los Angeles Junction Railway (Bedroom Division) has arrived. (As always, click to embiggen)

I’ve confirmed that it runs. When we get back from vacation I’ll add a DCC sound decoder and speaker, and weather it.

(Don’t worry, I’ll get back to posting about archaeology soon.)

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This woman needs to lose custody of her child NOW

Regardless of whether you support the Occupy movement or not, this kind of behavior is not acceptable, ever. Her magical “faith in humanity” is meaningless. The humanity of the engineer has damn all to do with how long it takes a train to stop. Good intentions will not change the laws of physics. And since she was at the entrance to a major port, she had no way to know whether the next train to come through would be a switcher with just a couple of cars or a mile long string of loaded hoppers weighing tens of millions of pounds.

Railroads don’t like collisions. I know; I was part of the field crew that did the archaeological compliance for the BNSF Triple Track project in the Cajon Pass. I had to attend the morning safety meeting every single day before starting work. And yet, according to Operation Lifesaver, 260 people were killed by collisions with trains in 2010, with another 810 people injured. Those injuries and deaths didn’t happen because the engineers wanted them to, or because the big faceless railroad corporation didn’t care. In nearly every case, they occurred because somebody was on the track when they should not have been.

(BTW, if you’re alongside the track and close enough that you could conceivably get in front of an oncoming train, you should expect the engineer to sound the horn. It’s considered polite to look at them and wave and let them know that you’re aware of the situation and not about to do anything stupid.)

 

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All aboard!

After many, many years of wishing and thinking and, yes, procrastinating, I’ve finally gotten started on a model railroad. Power (in the form of an HO scale CF7 diesel locomotive) has been ordered, and I’m developing the final track plan. Sometime in the next few days I’ll be getting some lumber to begin construction.

The right of way that I’ve managed to procure is rather small; just 6 1/2 feet long by 2 1/2 feet wide. But it’s a start. Someday we’ll move into a larger house, with more room for hobbies. In the meantime, it’ll sure be nice to be able to run a train without having to go all the way down to the club in Carson City.

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A master at work

Lance Mindheim has done an incredible job modeling Miami in HO scale. Go check out the photo galleries on his website. It’s hard to believe that some of those pictures are models.

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Not-so-obscure technologies, part 2

As with the video about the differential I blogged about earlier, I’m not certain exactly when this documentary was produced. Based on what is shown, it would have to be between 1938 (when the AT&SF 3765 class locomotive featured in this film began its service) and 1957 (the last year of steam operation on the AT&SF). It most likely dates from the earlier part of that range.

One of the things I particularly like about this video is that it doesn’t just explain the technology, but it also shows a lot of the human activity necessary to make these wonderful machines work.

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