20 July 2017
Honesdale Pennsylvania USA - A steam locomotive is riding the rails in Honesdale for the first time in nearly four decades.
The steam-powered engine will be part of this weekend's "Steampunk Honesdale" celebration which celebrates the borough's industrial heritage.
It is the first time steam will be back on the rails in Honesdale since 1979.
The event is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in Wayne County.
8 July 2017
London England United Kingdom - Steam trains are set to depart from Waterloo station this weekend to mark the 50th anniversary since they were permanently replaced with electric engines.
On 9 Jul 1967 the curtains closed on London's steam era following the electrification of almost all the railway lines south of the Thames.
The route from London to Southampton, Bournemouth, and Weymouth was the last to see steam-hauled express and stopping trains in the UK.
To mark the golden anniversary, rail tour operators have organized a series of commemorative trips departing from Waterloo.
On Sunday, "Clan Line", the only locomotive active until the final week of steam that is still operational, will haul passengers to Yeovil and back.
Built in 1948, "Clan Line" was purchased by the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society (MNLPS) weeks after the end of steam.
It is still owned and maintained by the volunteer-run group today, and has just returned to its home in Battersea after a major overhaul.
Paul Blowfield, of the MNLPS, told the Standard, "Fifty years ago this week, when myself and many others witnessed "Clan Line" and her remaining sister locomotives haul the UK's last steam-hauled express trains in and out of Waterloo we collectively thought we'd never see the like again. How wonderful to be proved so wrong."
The Waterloo Sunset tour, organized by UK Railtours, will see passengers depart Waterloo at 10:41 and return from Yeovil via Salisbury.
On Saturday, a different locomotive, "Braunton", will also take passengers to Yeovil and then back via Bournemouth and Weymouth.
The End of Southern Steam tour is organized by The Railway Touring company.
The first of the commemorative tours took place on Wednesday, when the Bournemouth Belle, a famous luxury rail tour, was recreated to mark the anniversary.
Some of the Pullman cars used were among those used for the original Bournemouth Belle in the 1950s and 1960s.
Another tour featuring "Clan Line" will take place on 23 Sep 2017 titled "The Atlantic Coast Express".
It will take passengers from Waterloo to Exeter and back.
18 July 2017
Germiston South Africa - Reefsteamers volunteers will be sharing their love of trains and their stories about all things steam on Saturday, 5 Aug 2017 at their annual open day.
A small group of train enthusiasts decided to preserve a piece of history by saving some of the last running steam locomotives in South Africa after the South African Railway cancelled steam on their main lines.
The public is invited to catch the Gautrain to Rhodesfield station, where an old steam locomotive will depart for Germiston at 09:30 and will return to Rhodesfield at 14:30 with an estimated time of arrival of 15:00.
Travellers are invited to spend the morning at the depot to see the static displays and experience the blacksmiths in action in their workshops.
The open day will be compromised of a craft market with unique artisan crafts, food, beverages, and entertainment for kids, as well as a photo booth for steam punk photos to be taken with prizes up for grabs for the best steam punk outfit.
Book your spot now with email@example.com or call 062 743 9200.
Alternatively, you can buy your ticket on arrival at Rhodesfield, when you board the train.
Tickets cost R250 for adults, R200 for children aged 4-12, kids under 4 are free.
The cost of the ticket includes pickup and drop off at Rhodesfield station and one steam punk-styled photo.
All proceeds go to the upkeep of the depot and the restoration of the great 100-year-old steam loco "Susan".
19 July 2017
Llanberis Wales United Kingdom - Plans to bring a vintage locomotive from Switzerland to Snowdonia to operate on Britain's only mountain railway will not go ahead this year.
Rail enthusiasts had been looking forward to seeing the loco, built in 1891, from the Brienz Rothorn Bahn (BRB) near Interlaken, in action on the Snowdon Mountain Railway for a four-week stay.
BRB number 2 was built at the same works as the Snowdon line's steam locomotives.
A carriage from the railway would also travel from Switzerland.
Organizers had hoped to run a special service from Llanberis at least part way up Snowdon.
The Snowdon Mountain Railway is the only compatible rack-an-pinion railway in Britain although they are common in Switzerland.
OKthePK Joint Bar Editor: Both railways use the Abt rack system.
Work has been carried out at Waterfall station to allow the train to operate from the Llanberis terminus.
But a spokesperson for Snowdon Mountain Railway said, "This is a really ambitious project which unfortunately due to its complexity will not now be happening this year. However, discussions are continuing and we are still hopeful of bringing a vintage steam locomotive from Switzerland to North Wales in the future."
Earlier this year Michael Ellis, an Englishman living in Switzerland and working part-time on the BRB, said the idea of bringing the loco to Snowdonia was first suggested three years ago.
He said the steam locos at the Snowdon Mountain Railway and BRB were built in Switzerland at the same works but have never met.
The Snowdon Mountain Railway took delivery of five Swiss-built locos in 1895-1896 and three are still in operation while another is awaiting an extensive overhaul.
The other loco was destroyed in an accident on the railway's opening day.
There are several similarities between the Snowdon Mountain Railway and the BRB railway.
Don Craig, narrow gauge historian, said both railways are about five miles long and both continue to use steam locomotives.
Although the Brienzer Rothorn mountain is twice as high as Snowdon at 7,710 feet the ascent is similar because of the terrain.
There are cafes at the summit of both mountains and there are a network of footpaths which are popular with walkers all-year round.
Learn more about the Brienz Rothorn Bahn in this article.
12 July 2017
Garibaldi Oregon USA - In a poetic twist to the strained return of a well-known logging 2-8-2, privately owned Saginaw Timber Company number 2 will return to the Pacific Northwest, where it spent all of its working career.
Its new home will be along the shores of the Pacific Ocean on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, sources close to the negotiations told Trains News Wire Wednesday.
Skip Lichter's 1912 Baldwin locomotive will move from North Freedom, Wisconsin, and the Mid-Continent Railway Museum it has called home since 1982, to Garibaldi in late September, the sources said.
Litcher chose the tourist hauler on the former Southern Pacific Tillamook Branch from 19 potential locations across the country to move the engine after he and Mid-Continent could not reach an agreement to run the engine at North Freedom again.
The locomotive, which last ran regularly in 2000, will travel on three tractor-trailers, one for the engine, one for the tender, and one for parts and supplies.
The engine is ready to run, but most likely it will be 2018 before it begins operations at Oregon Coast Scenic.
Litcher, who restored the engine himself, went looking for a new home for Number 2 after an arbitrator ruled that the museum violated its agreement with him to run the locomotive for 15 years after it was back in service.
As part of that ruling, the museum paid Litcher US$200,000 in March and also must pay for the move to Oregon, an expensive journey that will most likely reach into six figures.
The museum is disputing another part of the ruling, repayment of Lichter's legal fees.
Number 2 has been in the Midwest since 1962 when it was moved east to Michigan's Cadillac & Lake City tourist line.
Its presence at Mid-Continent further burnished the museum's status as a premier preservation operation, fielding multiple locomotives, wood cars, and a scenic route.
The museum continues to work on its own iconic steam locomotive, Chicago & North Western 4-6-0 number 1385, which is receiving a new boiler.
The arrival of the locomotive in Oregon places it back into its traditional Pacific Northwest territory, where it worked first for Saginaw Timber in Washington State, Northwest Lumber, then Polson Logging, and finally Rayonier Incorporated before traveling east to preservation.
Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad further establishes itself as a citadel of steam power with two-truck Heisler number 2, Craig Mountain Lumber Heisler number 3 (set to steam again this fall) and famous McCloud River Railroad 2-6-2 number 25.
In addition, it will soon host the much-anticipated return of "Skookum", a rare logging 2-4-4-2.
Now Saginaw Timber number 2 will join this fleet, back home again, safe among her own.
15 July 2017
Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa - Plans are afoot to have Nelson Mandela Bay's much-loved and iconic Apple Express steam train up and running again by the end of the year to cash in on the city's busiest season.
It is identified as one of the city's key products to help position the metro as a tourism destination, and the city is pushing hard to run a line during the December-January holiday season.
The metro hopes to extend this to other key city events such as the Ironman tournament and Splash Festival.
The plan, derived from continuous discussions between the municipality and Transnet, is to run a 1.1 kilometre line from the Humerail station to Kings Beach and eventually branch out to Chelsea, northwest of Baywest shopping mall, and Van Stadens.
However, in order to operate along the Chelsea and Van Stadens routes, about R17 million is required to fix some of the damage to the rail line.
In a report to the economic development, agriculture, and tourism portfolio committee, executive director Anele Qaba wrote that the shutdown of the Apple Express had without a doubt negatively affected the local tourism industry.
"The plan is to run the Apple Express train from Humerail station to Kings Beach during the December 2017-January 2018 holiday season. It is only a 1.1 kilometre trip, but it is anticipated that the steam locomotive will attract huge interest, especially if it is well advertised," Qaba wrote.
He said the details of the operation were being discussed with Transnet as minor repairs needed to be done to the Humewood Station to provide parking for passengers.
Also, minor repairs need to be done on the line.
About the following two phases, Qaba reported that the route between the PE station and Chelsea was generally in good condition except for a few places where there was storm water damage.
"The current cost estimate to fix the line is R12 million. An investigation will be done to develop a few stations along the way that will present township tourism and job creation opportunities as well as economic opportunities in Chelsea such as a farmers' and craft market," Qaba reported.
The rail line from Chelsea to Van Stadens would cost about R5 million.
"The Van Stadens area offers a basket of attractions such as the wildflower reserve, Crossways, and adventure opportunities in the gorge. Other tourism-related opportunities will be investigated to add value to a stop at Van Stadens."
Chairman of the portfolio committee, councilor Andrew Whitfield, said yesterday that the Apple Express was iconic for tourism in the Bay and had massive potential to revive the industry and attract tourists.
He emphasized that the Chelsea line would run through Walmer township and thus open the doors for small businesses to tap into other potential tourism products.
A closed event will be held at the Apple Express rail shed in Humewood this morning where the newly restored steam locomotive NG15 number 119 will be unveiled.
Invited guests from the Historical Society will be taken on a tour of the yard and check on the progress of restoration of the coaches and locomotives.
Apple Express Rail Company chief executive Nerina Skuy said the train would not be travelling as the rails had not been prepared yet, but the locomotive would be displayed in what is referred to as "in steam".
She said the last time Port Elizabeth had a locomotive in steam had been in 2010.
She also said the second locomotive would be ready to steam within the next two months.
She said 17 of the 19 coaches had also been restored, which she described as a major achievement.
Skuy said they were also committed to having a trained crew who would operate the train for passengers and that they would not be able to operate the service without the help of their volunteers.
?Rochelle de Kock and Amir Chetty.
20 July 2017
Winona Minnesota USA - 20 Nov 1955 - The last five years have witnessed a revival of early day activities at the railroad shops operated here for more than half a century by the Chicago & North Western Railway (C&NW).
Purchased from the Winona and St. Peter Railroad 7 Jun 1900, the shops soon became a major North Western operation.
The locomotive shops here assumed all engine works of the division and the car shops at once began installation of safety appliances in compliance with federal regulations.
The so-called "safety" appliances (now standard equipment) included hand holds and proper running boards.
The car shops also made ballast cars for hauling rock and later turned to repairing passenger and freight cars.
First of the major rebuilding programs began shortly after 1900 when the shops launched a project to rebuild hopper, box, and flat cars from throughout the C&NW system.
Box car production also was added, and about 1915 the shops began making a 1,000 cars.
Employment hit an all-time high of 500.
Low Point in 1949
After that was completed, however, employment at the shops sagged, hitting a low of 70 in the motive shops and 30 in the car department in May 1949.
Winonans became alarmed when one of the city's once-great industries was on the verge of a virtual complete shutdown and business leaders in the city sought to influence the railroad to resume heavy activities here.
Early in January 1950, the railroad decided to restore car repair operations as soon as finances permitted in the hope that the car shops could resume year-round operations.
They also mentioned the possibility of establishing a diesel engine repair branch here as part of the road's extensive dieselization program.
And there was some mention of reactivating the wheel shop that had closed in 1937.
Employment gradually increased in preparation for these programs until the diesel maintenance program began here in 1953.
In March, the C&NW purchased 101 diesel locomotives at a cost of US$16,000 to US$200,000 (largest mass order in history) and conversion of the Winona shops from steam to diesel maintenance began.
In September 1953, a special "school car" arrived at the Winona shops to instruct workmen in diesel maintenance.
Some Steam Work Yet
Some of the shop's work today still is devoted to repair of the steam engines the railroad used on suburban Chicago runs, but more than 80 percent of the work is concentrated on diesels.
Reactivation of the wheel shop was accomplished in the fall of 1953.
Erected in 1925, the shop at one time was an important part of C&NW operations.
It has resumed that position today.
Two types of freight car wheel processes are included in the operation here.
In one of the buildings, a huge mounted wheel journal lathe can return defective wheels to serviceable condition without removing wheels from the axles.
Each wheel weighs about 750 pounds, and the axles weigh half a ton.
Work here consists mainly of smoothing the rough journals, which are extensions outside the wheels to which springs and other supports are attached.
A rough journal may cause a "hot box," putting a car out of operation.
The other process at the wheel shop is for complete processing of both wheels and axles.
Wheels are removed from the axle by a 300-ton hydraulic wheel press after which wheels go to a boring lathe for re-boring to fit axles processed on one of the shop's two axle lathes.
A micrometer is used to ensure absolute accuracy in the lathe operations.
Big Job Assigned
The diesel maintenance program and reopening of the wheel shop brightened the employment picture at the shops, but the most important project in the five-year period didn't come until the fall of 1954.
In October 1954, the C&NW inaugurated a car rebuilding program at the Winona shops that increased car department employment by about 124 (to 240) for a full year.
It boosted total shop employment over the 400 mark.
The huge program included rebuilding of 480 hopper cars (12 more were being finished this month), rebuilding 20 cars for transporting wood pulp, and converting 16 Pullmans as work car "rolling dormitories" for railroad crews.
The one-year program cost the railroad US$2,633,697.
One of Winona's newer industries benefited from the rebuilding program.
That was the Miller Lubricator Company, which manufactures a new type of journal box lubricator.
The muff-shaped lubricator was installed in each of the eight journal boxes on every car rebuilt here during the program.
And with this program nearing completion, officials of the lines have announced that it won't signal the need of major projects at the Winona shops.
Plans already are under way for conversion of standard to work equipment, construction of special equipment (including damage free box cars) and extensive repairs to various types of other cars.
About 90 men were laid off as the car rebuilding program neared completion his summer, but 50 are being recalled as the shops begin a regular work cycle.
Employment today is about 350 in the motive and car shops.
First Shops in 1866
First shops of the Winona and St. Peter were erected here about 1866 and the first steam locomotive repaired 23 Jul 1886.
It had been in operation for 22 years and wasn't scrapped until 28 Oct 1910.
About the mid-1900s, fire destroyed the roundhouse and blacksmith shop and the present roundhouse was erected.
The blacksmith shop was discontinued.