3 January 2018
Chama New Mexico USA - There is nothing quite so romantic as a steam train, the sound of a steam whistle echoing off the mountains, the huge plumes of smoke billowing in the air, the chug-chug-chug as the pistons hiss and steam, the clickity-clack of the wheels as they roll over the points, the cars swaying back and forth.
You can imagine the fireman up in the cab, shoveling coal as fast as he can as the engineer looks out the window, his eyes on the track ahead, his hand on the whistle cord.
That's the steam train image poet Edna St. Vincent Millay was no doubt thinking of when she wrote the lines that summarize the feelings of every rail buff:
"My heart is warm with the friends I make, And better friends I'll not be knowing, Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take, No matter where it's going."
And of all the romantic steam railroads in the world, it's hard to imagine one that compares with the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TS) that crisscrosses the borders of Colorado and New Mexico 11 times as it climbs up and over the Rocky Mountains.
Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Bat Masterson all rode this train.
So did Indiana Jones, at least in the movies.
On film, Indy grew up beside the tracks and loved to hop on passing circus trains.
The house used as Indiana Jones boyhood home is now a B&B in Antonito, Colorado, and not far from the train, which also appeared in 40 other movies including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the Early Years.
Today, the C&TS is the highest operating steam railroad in North America, climbing almost two miles above sea level to the 10,015 foot summit of Cumbres Pass.
It's the only railroad that is owned jointly by two states, Colorado and New Mexico.
And it's also the longest steam railroad on the continent, covering 64 miles through forests of evergreens and aspens, along narrow ledges in canyons, burrowing through tunnels, and over 100 foot high trestles.
But what really sets this railroad apart?
It is the most authentic steam train on two tracks, a "Williamsburg on wheels", a complete historical re-creation of railroading in the 1880s.
The train travels at an average speed of just 12 miles an hour, so you get to look around and enjoy the scenery.
You can walk between cars, or ride outside between cars on their small platforms.
From the outdoor gondola car you can practically touch the trees passing by (though don't try it, even at 12 mph, keep your hands inside the train).
The Parlor Car Class lets you ride in luxury once reserved for railroad barons, including an outdoor deck at the end of the train.
Since the tracks travel where no roads do, you are completely off the grid.
Don't worry about people talking on their cell phones, or emailing, there is no coverage up here.
You'll need to bring a jacket because it can be cool on the train, even in summer.
But there are some modern concessions.
There's a delicious lunch mid-way through the trip, restrooms on the cars, and there's even a bar car.
You don't think Doc Holliday went six hours without a drink, do you?
The C&TS was built in 1880 as part of General William Jackson Palmer's dream to construct a railroad from Denver to Mexico City.
Though the railroad never reached Mexico, the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad did change history, bringing gold and silver from the mining towns of Leadville, Durango, and Silverton.
But with the decline of silver in 1890, the railroad didn't fare as well.
By 1969, the track between Cumbres, New Mexico, and Durango, Colorado, had been torn up and the railroad filed for abandonment on the rest.
The states of Colorado and New Mexico came to the rescue.
Recognizing the historic importance and the fact that it could become a major tourism attraction, in 1970, the two states jointly purchased nine steam locomotives, more than 130 freight and work cars, and the Chama yard and maintenance facility for US$547,120.
The C&TS began hauling tourists in 1971.
Today, the railroad is operated for the states by the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Commission and the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, a non-profit, member-based, organization whose mission is to preserve and interpret the railroad as a living history museum for the benefit of the public, and for the people of Colorado and New Mexico, who own it.
The train can be boarded in either Chama, New Mexico, or Antonito, Colorado.
Most people will take a full day excursion and return to their cars by the railroad's bus (which covers the same distance in a sixth of the time!).
However, there are also half day excursions and dinner and sunset rides.
What's it like?
The scenery is the same in either direction.
Leaving from Chama, the scenic journey unfolds the moment you chug out of the station with a gradual climb into the mountains, rolling through the meadows and aspens of the historic Lobato sheep ranch and over a high trestle that spans rushing Wolf Creek.
As the train climbs higher, the view backward reveals the entire Chama Valley, considered the most scenic alpine area in northern New Mexico.
Here, the locomotive is blowing huge plumbs of black smoke as it crawls up a 4 percent grade to Cumbres Pass, the highest mountain pass reached by rail in the United States.
The train hugs a sheer rock face as it reaches the summit, where there are alpine meadows sprinkled with aspens that turn bright gold in fall.
After the pass comes Tanglefoot Curve, followed by 137 foot high Cascade Creek Trestle, the highest on the line.
The train then pulls into the rustic town site of Osier, which is the midway point, and a stop for a delicious all-you-can-eat hot lunch of turkey or meat loaf.
The train that departed from Antonito will meet the Chama train here.
Passengers from Chama can return to Chama, or continue on the journey to Antonito.
For those continuing, the train leaves Osier and approaches scenic Toltec Gorge.
Inaccessible by car, there are two long tunnels and Phantom Curve ahead, named for a rock spire that casts a ghostly shadow.
The rocky gorge plunges 800 feet and the train snakes carefully along a narrow ledge where the view is straight down.
From here, the terrain softens into hills as the train descends through acres and acres of aspen trees and magnificent views of Colorado.
The train departing from Antonito to Chama has, of course, experienced the same scenery, only in reverse.
It's the ultimate "bucket list" steam railroad trip, selected by the readers of USA Today as the best train ride in America.
Just ask Indiana Jones.
OKthePK Joint Bar Editor: For you Steamaholics the climb up from Chama offers the best location to photograph C&TS dirt burners working for all their worth on the 4 percent grade.
18 January 2018
Great Britain - The newly invented steam train, traveling so fast and far, were blamed for triggering dark desires in men, driving them to insane acts of violence.
The rocking motion of the trains, and their incredible speed through the countryside, was suspected for an outbreak of "railway madmen" attacking fellow passengers, and as with all new technologies, it was the technology to blame.
Just as the radio was thought to encourage indolence, the television was blamed on domestic strife, to modern day obsessions about social media polluting our minds, we have always tried to link two disparate elements, a new technology and a bad event, as somehow linked.
It's not though that they weren't without examples to fall back on though.
It's worth noting that this was also the era of small carriages with compartments rather than the long open plan carriages we have today.
Once the train left the station, there would be no way of leaving your compartment to escape the terror of the madman.
So the Victorians decided that steam trains were bad.
Some blamed the very notion of modernity itself as a cause of railway hysterias, with Victorian explorers returning from exotic lands and claiming the insanity seemed less prevalent in the less developed worlds.
As Henry Maudsley explained in 1867, the "theoretical considerations would lead to the expectation of an increase liability to mental disorder with an increase in the complexity of the mental organization."
Was there a limit to how much the human brain could cope with, and were the railways a leap too far, and was the technical marvel of the railway likely to cause insanity in the overloaded minds of Victorian gentlemen?
The fear of railway insanity was not assisted by the use of the small carriages being used by railways, who essentially took the horse drawn stage coach and put it in a train behind a locomotive.
Confining people in fast moving carriages without escape could in itself cause panic among those unused to the railway.
The use of compartments in the train carriages was described by the Saturday Review in July 1864 as "a prison where associates may be forced upon a man without any choice of his own, of whose character and antecedents he knows nothing, and who for aught he can tell may be assassins or lunatics. No seclusion from the outer world can be more absolute while it lasts than that of the English railway traveller"
Hardly likely to reassure the nervous traveller.
They added that, "we all remember again the story of that horrible journey during which the occupants of a carriage were engaged for the greater part of an hour in a life and death struggle with a raving madman"
In 1845, the satirical magazine, Punch, suggested a Railway Lunatic Asylum would be needed to deal with the growing numbers of reports of insanity on the railways.
An American (of course!) wrote to The Times in 1854 saying that he would never travel in an English railway with out a loaded revolver for fear of what madman he might be confined with.
There was even a new medical condition invented, the Railway Spine, which was a form of paralysis which is today known as a type of pre-cursor to post-traumatic stress disorder, and triggered by a repressed terror of the railway accident.
People involved in railway accidents who showed no outward physical harm were somehow paralyzed, either by fear of the accident, or in some cases, it was suspected, in an attempt to claim compensation from the railway company.
As one doctor wrote, "Railway collisions, their sudden occurrence, the dramatic setting, association of large numbers of the injured, the social prominance of many victims, the wide publication of newspaper reports, and the ground importance of the financial claim created a lurid mental picture in the mind of the injured and indirectly affected the general public in such as way as to provide a fertile soil for nervous disturbance".
Even the famous learned sort were afflicted.
Charles Dickens famously struggled to travel by train after being involved in a railway accident in Staplehurst in 1865.
A couple of years after the accident, his children watched their father travel by train and noted how "as soon as it went across the points he would grab hold of the chair and look straight at the floor. He would sweat and tremble."
Some of the shame that people felt from the terrors of the railway were put down to a lack of masculinity, in that railways caused men to suffer the sorts of hysterias that were the purview of women, not men.
The railways challenged Victorian ideas of the man and masculinity, heightening the fears that some men had of the railways.
In this aspect, it was men who were afraid of becoming transformed into railway madmen, and losing control over their actions.
The trains introduced a random Jekyll and Hyde into locked carriages where railway motions replaced chemical potions.
That said, one traveller who was involved in an accident, joked that the upset had been so great as to cause the unexpected benefit of curing his rheumatic fever, and asked to be kept anonymous in case the railway company asked for compensation for his medical cure.
The problems of passengers not really understanding the strange new world of the railways was recorded in Dr. Dionysius Lardner's Railway Economy, which reminded passengers not to yield to the sudden impulse to spring from the carriage to recover your hat which had blown off, or a parcel dropped.
Unfortunately, the cure for such foolishness was to lock the carriages, which did little to assuage the fears of travellers of being attacked by a railway madmen.
August 1864 saw a report of a sailor and his wife catching a train from London to Peterborough, who, as soon as the train departed was overcome with a fearful madness and started accusing fellow passengers of robbing him and trying to climb out of the window to escape the train.
He was eventually restrained, but as the train was a non-stop to Peterborough, the passengers on the train tried to send messages to the train guard to stop the train earlier.
Passing messages along the train through each carriage, a sort of Chinese whisper, didn't work and it wasn't until the train reached Peterborough that the passengers were able to seek assistance.
Although described as a railway madman, the report did accept that the sailor was possibly suffering from Delirum Tremens, a rapid onset of confusion usually caused by withdrawal from alcohol.
Concerns about people travelling in isolated carriages without escape from the risk of being assailed by a gentleman suddenly driven mad resulted in politicians calling for some form of communication being introduced between passengers and train guards.
Lurid reports in the press did nothing to dampen down fears of being caught in a locked train carriage with a madman and no hope of escape.
Americans wrote about the peculiar English habit of "locking people up in a small box", at a time when American train carriages were longer than UK versions, indeed, the longer carriages we have in the UK today were an American import thanks to the London Underground.
There were tales of people climbing out of their small compartments and being able to edge their way along the narrow ledge outside to the next compartment, which considering how fast the trains were running is no mean feat of sheer bravery.
It was claimed that the railway owners were apathetic to the dangers and there were calls for them to be held responsible for attacks.
In 1864, the government introduced rules offering compensation for railway accidents, although the railways, fearing an outbreak of fake claims, tried to limit payments to £100.
It's not as if the railways didn't have rules covering insanity and drunkenness on the trains though.
Persons who were thought to be insane or disorderly were to be confined into separate compartments from other passengers until the next station.
The introduction of the alarm chain to warn guards of a problem wasn't without untended side-effect though.
There was the story of a child repeatedly pulling the cord while in a toilet, and when the door was forced open, the guard was faced with a distraught child trying to work out why pulling the toilet chain wouldn't flush the loo.
Others pulled the chain to control the gas lighting, or the heating.
One lady decided that pulling the chain would stop the train so she could take a closer look at a nice house for rent they had just passed.
Of course over the years, people became more used to the strange world of the railway carriage, and with familiarity came reassurance, and the fears of the madmen of the railways faded away like a bad dream.
Now the greatest terror that seems to afflict the modern railway passenger is to be sitting in a nearly empty carriage, only for a chatty person to sit next to them.
OKthePK Joint Bar Editor: There's still a few idiots around today who stop transit for inconsequential reasons of their own. Ask any transit agency.
On a side note... today the Ffestiniog Railway still locks all the carriage doors before each departure. The reason being the clearances along the line are so tight that should a passenger open a door while the train is in motion it would surely be torn off as the train passes various objects such as slate, rock outcroppings, walls, houses, etc.
1 January 2018
Lititz Pennsylvania USA - As the locomotive rolled past a gritty urban scene, engineer Lavon Stauffer smiled.
"Now watch this," he said.
He increased the throttle, blew the airhorn, and rang the locomotive's bell... all from an app on his cellphone.
Welcome to model railroading in the 21st century.
The Christmas season is a time when toy trains come down from the attic and surround the Christmas tree or fill up a platform in a room.
For those trains, building a model railroad is typically a matter of fastening the sections of track together, attaching electricity, and turning the throttle on the transformer.
You can still do that with direct current-powered trains, but for those who crave railroad authenticity in miniature, it takes a world of computers, decoders, and sound systems that bring the engines to life.
Several weeks before Christmas, Stauffer, of Lititz, with the help of his sons, Carson and Preston, and a few friends, set up a 70 foot long HO scale model railroad in the Lititz Library.
It's a labor of love for Stauffer.
As others linked the 4 and 6 foot modules together to create a giant 4 track loop, Stauffer was busy connecting the wiring that provides power to the tracks.
A portable wooden box carries the brains of the operation, two transformers, boosters, a router, and computer.
Stauffer's trains are powered by Digital Command Control, known as DCC.
It enables the locomotive "engineers" to operate several trains simultaneously, even in opposite directions, on the same track in prototypical fashion.
That is a distinct difference from direct Current, or DC, model railroading, in which operators must create electrical blocks to operate toy trains and avoid short-circuits.
DCC has been around for roughly two decades.
Numerous model railroad clubs such as the Short Line Railroad Club in Ephrata have long used DCC.
It gives those driving the trains a more realistic experience.
For DCC, you need a decoder in the locomotive.
While DCC equipped locomotives contain the decoder chip, most older direct current models can be modified to accept a decoder.
Stauffer has converted former DC powered engines to DCC.
With DCC, the command station sends a signal to the tracks, and the decoder translates that signal into operation.
Decoders serve various functions.
Some simply allow you to run the train remotely.
Others include diesel or steam engine noises, dynamic braking, and the bells and whistles that are common to real railroads.
The decoders are designed for specific types of engines.
Steam locomotives obviously sound different than diesel locomotives.
And while most people can't tell the difference in sound between a GP9 diesel locomotive and an EMD F45 diesel, model railroad aficionados can.
After connecting the wiring, Stauffer began to speed-match an engine that will run in tandem with another engine to pull a longer train.
"Every (locomotive) manufacturer is different," he explained.
One manufacturer's flywheel may be larger than another and therefore must be adjusted.
The minor differences do not matter as much for locomotives running on direct current, Stauffer said.
But DCC requires greater precision.
"You have to get it right," he said.
"Otherwise you might have one engine pushing or pulling the other."
Moments later, two diesel locomotives were rolling along track in perfect unison.
To use his cellphone, he simply logged onto the library's Wi-Fi system and powered up his locomotives.
Stauffer has assembled his model railroad empire at the library for each of the past four years.
While children get a kick out of it, it's often the adults who spend the most time marveling at how realistic model railroading has become.
18 January 2018
Japan - Researchers from the Railway Technical Research Institute in Japan have equipped a train with a speaker that plays the sounds of dogs barking and deer snorting to protect deer from harm.
A three-second deer snort is played first to catch the attention of any nearby deer, followed by 20 seconds of dog barking to scare the animals away.
So far, late night tests of the anti-deer device have proven successful, resulting in a reduction in deer sightings by half.
If further evidence supports the practice, it may be adopted more broadly, though the deer-dog combo noise would likely not be blasted in residential areas.
Deer fatalities by train have proven to be a challenge because the animals are attracted to train tracks.
To meet their iron dietary needs, deer lick the tracks to pick up iron filings that have formed through friction between the train wheels and the tracks.
The transport ministry of Japan reports that in 2016, there were 613 cases of trains hitting deer and other wild animals, a record high number, with each collision resulting in delays of 30 minutes or more.
There have been several attempts to make railroads less attractive spots for deer, including spraying lion feces along the tracks.
This plan was abandoned after rain washed away the animal waste products almost immediately.
Another more successful plan involved the use of ultrasonic waves, projected when a train is coming to deter animals, then dropped when the coast is clear to regulate the use of the train tracks.
Trials of this technology resulted in a notable decrease in deer deaths.
For this, railway employee Yuki Hikita was awarded Japan's Good Design Award in December 2017.
12 January 2018
Crewe England United Kingdom - Our focus for this week's Project Information is on the construction of Number 2013 "Prince George", which the LNWR George The Fifth Steam Locomotive Trust is undertaking.
2013 "Prince George", once completed, will be the 91st member of the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) designed "George the Fifth"Class.
The usual Project Information Layout will follow, firstly looking into the background of this lost class, the aim of the LNWR George The Fifth Steam Locomotive Trust, and the Progress they have made to date.
When Bowen-Cooke became Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the LNWR in 1909, he set about improving the fleet of locomotives from his predecessors.
The most notable improvement included into some of his designs was the use of superheating.
The practice of superheating had originated in Germany, when Wilhelm Schmidt designed his Schmidt-Type superheater.
Many CMEs in England were keen to try this new improvement.
This is the most significant change between Bowen-Cooke's Predecessor's Class of 4-4-0, the "Whale Precursor" Class and his own "George the Fifth" Class.
The majority of the Class was built from scratch, but 10 were rebuilt from locomotives previously a part of the "Queen Mary" Class.
All 90 members of the class, including the rebuilds, were completed between 1910 and 1915.
The first member of the class was named "George The Fifth", this becoming the name of the class, like many other classes on the LNWR.
Both names and numbers were retained from locomotives withdrawn at the time each new George The Fifth was completed.
This caused the numbering of the class to appear in a random order.
The George the Fifths were designed to haul the heaviest and fastest passenger express trains on the LNWR.
They had roughly 25 percent more power than the Whale Precursors, making them very suitable replacements.
They held this top link until bigger locomotives, of the 4-6-0 wheel arrangement surpassed them.
Decline and Withdrawal
Only a few years after 2663 "George the Fifth" had been completed at Crewe Works, Bowen-Cooke produced his large 4-6-0, the "Claughton" Class.
As the Claughtons were bigger and had more power, they were put onto the heaviest and fastest express passenger trains.
Despite this, the George the Fifths still hauled many express passenger duties.
It was under London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) ownership that all the George the Fifths were downgraded to Secondary duties.
There were two main reasons for the decline of the George the Fifths under LMS ownership, the first being the engines themselves.
B the late 1920s many were fast approaching 20 years of age.
Although still capable engines, this age, as well as their power classification of 3P meant they were suited for secondary duties, were trains were lighter and easier timings.
The second reason being ex-Midland Railway policies influencing LMS polices more than ex-LNWR polices.
The effect of this on the George the Fifth class was being downgraded to secondary duties sooner than if the LNWR hadn't been absorbed into the LMS.
1933 saw the first class member withdrawn, this being number 1628 "Foxhound".
The majority of the class were withdrawn by 1940, with only 3 surviving into British Railway ownership.
This didn't last long, with the last class member being withdrawn in May 1948, which was number 868 "India".
Unfortunately, the preservation movement was not big in the late 1940s, leading to no George the Fifths being preserved.
Aim of the LNWR George The Fifth Steam Locomotive Trust
The main aim of the Trust is to build the 91st member of the George the Fifth class, with the possibility of mainline running.
Choosing which locomotive to represent the LNWR was a hard decision to make.
Originally, the precursor class was chosen to be built.
This being due to them setting the trend for the LNWR's locomotive development in the 20th century.
They were also a much needed replacement for the ageing fleet Wale inherited from Webb.
This is where the Trust felt the George the Fifth class was actually more representative of the LNWR, as they featured Wale's basic design, but with modifications made by Bowen-Cooke.
With new builds such as Tornado being completed, the Trust felt if a big complex locomotive can be finished, then the smaller less-complex George the Fifth would be more than capable of being built by the Trust.
The Trust have decided to number and name the new George the Fifth number 2013 "Prince George".
The engine being named after Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's son, Prince George, with the number 2013 being the year the Prince was born.
Progress Made So Far
Good progress has been by the Trust to date.
Components manufactured include smokebox, wheel splasher and whistle.
The Trust's last Newsletter, from January 2017, contains information on a few components.
The first component mentioned is the boiler.
The original drawings the Trust had have been updated to meet all modern regulation standards.
With the new drawings, the Trust was in talks with potential suppliers who could build the boiler.
To help raise finances for the boiler, the Boiler Barrel Club was set up.
The completed smokebox will be used for display purposes until eventually attached to the locomotive's frame.
The smokebox has been to the Great Central Railway, with the public being able to view it.
Funds have been raised to allow the order for both coupling rods to be placed.
The order for both the bogie wheel cast and full height chimney were placed shortly afterwards.
Once again we have come to the end of another Project Information.
If you are a fan of the BR Standard Classes, you won't want to miss next week's Project Information.
18 January 2018
Tiruchi India - It could mean fewer technical snags and more trips up and down the mountain every day for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR).
The Railway has drafted plans to give the heritage steam line a shot in the arm that could lead to an upturn of its sagging fortunes.
A.K. Kathpal, Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer, Southern Railway, told The Hindu that wide-ranging measures, including additional oil-fired locomotives, and newly designed coaches are to be introduced, probably by the end of this year.
These could lead to an increase in the frequency of the trains and also fewer mechanical faults along the NMR line.
Mr. Kathpal said that two knowledge centres for steam locos were being created, retired steam personnel in Chennai and Tiruchi were being identified, and a framework is being created for the knowledge they possess on steam locomotives to be preserved and passed on.
"A vendor meeting was organized last month at the Golden Rock Railway Workshop in Tiruchi to encourage the industry to participate in tenders being floated for components, while an industry partner is being identified who can do the steam work on works contract," he said.
Officials added that the NMR heritage coaches are being given a fresh look, while it was expected that there would be Rolling Stock Programme sanction for four additional oil-fired steam locomotives this year.
Moreover, the only coal-powered locomotive still in running condition is also expected to be used along the NMR line, and work is currently under way to get it back into top running condition.
Responding to the action plan to revive the NMR, K. Natrajan, a heritage train enthusiast and founder of the Heritage Steam Chariot Trust (HSCT), said that the plans indicated the railway board's move to recognize the importance of the heritage steam lines, and if fully implemented, these measures would have wide-ranging implications for the NMR.
"If the sanction for the four additional engines is received, then there would be 11 locomotives, including the coal-fired engine, operational from Mettupalayam to Udhagamandalam.
This could mean more tourists will have the chance to enjoy travelling along the iconic NMR line, with fewer breakdowns mid-journey," said Mr. Natrajan.
18 January 2018
New South Wales Australia - Tickets for Aprils Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest are now available for purchase.
Returning to the show again is steam locomotive number 3642.
A fine example of express passenger locomotives in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.
The class of locomotive was introduced in the 1920s to help with journey times in NSW.
3642 was built in 1926.
Clyde Engineering made all but 10 of the 75 strong class of locomotives.
After being withdrawn in 1969, it was moved to Transport Heritage NSW, where it has been ever since.
Steamfest is a family fun day and a great look at the days gone by.
Steam train trips, vintage machinery displays, and live music.
What more could you ask for?
2017 saw Steamfest welcome over 50,000 people over the weekend.
Make sure you book your tickets now!
12 January 2018
Alresford Hampshire England United Kingdom - A small team of people involved in the Mid Hants Railway Watercress Line's project to restore its flagship steam locomotive, Canadian Pacific (CanPac), embarked on a journey of discovery in December 2016 to collect people's memories of the railways in the Hampshire area.
The aim was to build up a bank of memories from a wide range of people relating to the railways during the Second World War and up until the 1960s.
This valuable oral history project is just one of a wide range of outreach and educational activities which have been part of the ambitious Heritage Lottery-funded CanPac project.
These activities reflect how the rich and precious heritage of railways lies not only in preservation work but also in the very human stories that show how these railways impacted the everyday lives of so many people.
The stories that have so far been gathered from the public cover a wide range of fascinating and treasured memories, including those of a former resident at the railway orphanage in Woking, a draftsman in Southern Railway's civil engineers department in the late 1930s, a fireman's witnessing of a Canadian Pacific journey in record time, travel adventures by rail by one young boy during the 1950s and 1960s, memories of an evacuee, a boy's recollections of travelling to school by train during the war, and memories of a former volunteer driver on the Watercress Line.
A spokesman for the project said, "These are just some of the many stories that the Watercress Line team have come across and they would like to add more to their collection. So if you have a recollection about steam travel, you went on holiday by train, worked on the railway, or you were a train spotter, please get in touch."
Sharing your memories will usually involve a simple face-to-face interview and voice recording.
However, if you would rather write your story, or share pictures, or film, you are welcome to do so.
You can get in touch with the CanPac project's outreach and interpretation officer, Becky Peacock, to arrange an interview or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 01962 733810, or writing to Becky at the Canadian Pacific Project, The Railway Station, Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 9JG. Images, films, and written stories can be e-mailed or sent by post.
See and learn more about the Watercress Line, the Mid-Hants Railway in this article.