Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’

Last weekend, Puyallup; This weekend, Medford!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Last weekend we made the long, cold trek from Southern Oregon to Western Washington for the Great Train Expo in Puyallup. We are getting ready for the Medford show this weekend so this post will be somewhat sparse, the main purpose to share some pictures from the trip. We met lots and lots (and lots) of friendly railroad-lovin’ folks, many of whom signed up for our humble newsletter.

As we traveled north, the trees got bigger….

Mmm... Trees.... - Photo by Cat Cook

Mmm... Trees.... - Photo by Cat Cook

Just south of Portland, we stopped briefly at the site where Boone’s Ferry used to operate across the Willamette River. The ferry began service in 1846 as a raft operated by oars pulled by members of the Tualatin Native American Tribe and operated 24 hours a day. Later the ferry became cable operated and finally was decommissioned in 1957 after the Baldock Freeway Bridge was built.

Photo courtesy of Emery D. Aden, Wilsonville-Boones Ferry Historical Society, circa 1950. Photo of a photo on a historical marker sign at a rest stop in Oregon.

Photo courtesy of Emery D. Aden, Wilsonville-Boones Ferry Historical Society, circa 1950. Photo of a photo on a historical marker sign at a rest stop in Oregon.

Soon we crossed the Columbia River Interstate Bridge into Washington….

Crossing the Columbia River Interstate Bridge - Photo by Cat Cook

Crossing the Columbia River Interstate Bridge - Photo by Cat Cook

And we passed under a train beneath increasingly darkening skies….

Ominous clouds rally overhead as we pass under a train in Washington State - Photo by Cat Cook

Ominous clouds rally overhead as we pass under a train in Washington State - Photo by Cat Cook

We stayed at the Tacoma Dome Hotel which gave us a view of the Amtrak station and the freight yard with the port of Tacoma behind them both…

View of the Sound Transit Tacoma Dome Station, Amtrak's Tacoma station, and the freight yard near the Port of Tacoma - Photo by Cat Cook

View of the Sound Transit Tacoma Dome Station, Amtrak's Tacoma station, and the freight yard near the Port of Tacoma - Photo by Cat Cook

As usual with Great Train Expo events the show was quite large with many clubs showing off their layouts. First up, Puget Sound Garden Railway Society….

Part of the Puget Sound Garden Railway Society - Photo by Cat Cook

Part of the layout from the Puget Sound Garden Railway Society - Photo by Cat Cook

Next up, Longview, Kelso & Rainier Railroad Club

A little farm road crosses the tracks and goes under a trestle on the Longview, Kelso & Rainier Railroad Club's Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

A little farm road crosses the tracks and goes under a trestle on the Longview, Kelso & Rainier Railroad Club's Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Next we have a scene from the Mount Rainier N-Scale club which appears to feature many Classic Metal Works vehicles

Just a small portion of the awesome layout that is presented by the Mount Rainier N Scale Club - Photo by Cat Cook

Just a small portion of the awesome layout that is presented by the Mount Rainier N Scale Club - Photo by Cat Cook

The next picture is one of the locomotives displayed by the Kitsap Live Steamers….

One of the locomotives on display from the Kitsap Live Steamers - Photo by Cat Cook

One of the locomotives on display from the Kitsap Live Steamers - Photo by Cat Cook

Next is the Seattle, Pacific & Eastern Railway layout (sorry couldn’t find a link to a site for them)…

Cotton used as smoke on the Seattle, Pacific & Eastern Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

Cotton used as smoke on the Seattle, Pacific & Eastern Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

Also attending was the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie, Washington who offer scenic train rides and birthday parties. For more information or to become a member visit www.trainmuseum.org.

Northwest Railway Museum layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Northwest Railway Museum layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Next door to the museum was the United Northwest Model Railroad Club who will be hosting their 21st Annual Train Show & Swap Meet February 4th & 5th 2012 at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe WA. For more info visit: Monroe Train Show

Monroe Train Show is February 4th & 5th 2012 in Washington

Monroe Train Show is February 4th & 5th 2012 in Washington

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! We hope to see some of you at the Rogue Valley Railroad Show this weekend at the Medford Armory. It is open November 26th from 10am – 5pm and Sunday November 27th from 11am – 4pm.

Rogue Valley Train Show 2011 is this weekend, November 26th & 27th

Rogue Valley Train Show 2011 is this weekend, November 26th & 27th

P.S. If you are in the market for tools for your modelling needs you can see Galloway Tools at many Great Train Expo events plus they sell online as well at www.gallowaytools.com. Nice folks!

P.P.S. We also met a gentleman who has some very nice High Def train videos on YouTube, you can visit his channel here: YouTube Hi Def 1080p Railroad Video Channel

National Train Day & Rickreall Model Train Show

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Last Saturday was National Train Day, a holiday started in 2008 by Amtrak to celebrate the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. The golden spike was driven home on May 10th 1869 in Promontory, Utah connecting the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads. Although the holiday was initiated by Amtrak, all sorts of railroad museums, model railroad clubs, railfans, and model railroad retailers celebrate with events across the country.

Celebration of completion of the transamerican railroad on 1869-05-10 (May 10th 1869) at what is now Golden Spike National Historic Site.  Public Domain: From the NPS website at http://www.nps.gov/gosp/index.htm

Celebration of completion of the transamerican railroad on May 10th 1869 at what is now Golden Spike National Historic Site. Public Domain: From the NPS website at http://www.nps.gov/gosp/index.htm

This year we did our celebrating by being a part of the Rickreall Model Train Swapmeet & Show just west of Salem, Oregon hosted by the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club. This club was founded in 1993 and features an HO scale layout which is permanently housed in a large upstairs room of the historic Rickreall Grange Hall.

Show organizer and club president, Tom Pryor, welcomes everyone in at the front door. Photo by Cat Cook

Show organizer and club president, Tom Pryor, welcomes everyone in at the front door. Photo by Cat Cook

The subject of their layout is the Oregonian Railroad which was a narrow gauge railroad that ran through Polk Station to Dallas, Oregon until Southern Pacific acquired the line in 1890 which removed the narrow gauge and replaced it with standard gauge. The layout is quite large and has great use of light and sound. Below you will find just a couple of shots, one includes the Tim Burr logging truck from Woodland Scenics.

The use of lighting in the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club's layout is fabulous as seen in this part of the neighborhood. Photo by Cat Cook

The use of lighting in the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club's layout is fabulous as seen in this part of the neighborhood. Photo by Cat Cook

Section of the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club layout featuring a Tim Burr Logging truck by Woodland Scenics. Photo by Cat Cook

Section of the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club layout featuring a Tim Burr Logging truck by Woodland Scenics. Photo by Cat Cook

One of the best things about participating in train shows is meeting other vendors with unique items we haven’t seen before. This show gave us a few opportunities to meet such folks. First, we met Dave one of our ‘table neighbors’ upstairs. He does custom modeling and scratch building of HO vehicles and equipment. He displays and sells some of his already completed projects and takes on custom projects for customers looking for items that are not already available in the marketplace. Although he mostly works in HO scale, he is not vehemently opposed to doing projects in O or N scale. “If you can imagine it, I can build it,” he says. Dave can be reached at dgeo59@hotmail.com or 503-442-0140.

A custom detailed Ford F350 contactor's pick up by Dave. Photo by Cat Cook

A custom detailed Ford F350 contactor's pick up by Dave. Photo by Cat Cook

An drill that can be used for oil or water, custom built by Dave. Photo by Cat Cook

A trailer-mounted drill custom built by Dave. Photo by Cat Cook

Another unique vendor we met this show was photographer, Laurie Breier. Laurie’s collection of photography is called Graffiti Artistry and it provides a unique view of railcars acting as the canvas to graffiti’s paint.  Railroad graffiti is its own subculture which Laurie captures as striking images framed and ready to display. The subject inspires conversation about topics such as the history of ‘graffiti’ on trains back to the days of hobo codes, what is art, and how has graffiti affected railroads, railfans, and modeling. Laurie can be reached at wkndrs@cmspan.net.

Laurie Breier displaying some of her work at the Rickreall Model Train Show. Photo by Cat Cook

Laurie Breier displaying some of her work at the Rickreall Model Train Show. Photo by Cat Cook

Laurie sharing one of her photos featuring graffiti and rust taken near the Roseburg, OR rail yard. Photo by Cat Cook

Laurie sharing one of her photos featuring graffiti and rust taken near the Roseburg, OR rail yard. Photo by Cat Cook

If you missed participating in some of the events for this year’s National Train Day here are a couple of the other big rail events coming this summer:

And here are some lists of other rail events for your perusal:

Railfans & Passengers Recruited to Observe & Report

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Do you love trains and enjoy fighting crime in your spare time? Amtrak and The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) have jobs for you complete with official identification cards! BNSF has been doing this since 2006 under the Citizens for Rail Security program but now Amtrak has joined in with their Partners for Amtrak Safety and Security program. Picture, if you will, a neighborhood watch for railroads where railfans and, in Amtrak’s case, rail passengers report suspicious activities.

Once you sign up online you are able to print out your very own membership card. You are also given some direction about what type of activities qualify as suspicious. This includes things like: trespassers, unattended vehicles, suspicious objects/packages, suspicious activities or people all on or near railroad property, crimes in progress like vandalism or theft, threats against the railroad, gates left open or damaged, track obstructions, potential mechanical problems with trains and illegal dumping.

Nothing to see here, move along. Photo by Cat Cook

Nothing to see here, move along. Coast Starlight, November 2009 - Photo by Cat Cook

So, you’ve seen something suspicious! Both Amtrak and BNSF make it pretty clear, just because you have a special badge doesn’t mean they want you to go take care of it. What they want you to do is report it! This is where the card comes in handy, as it has the number they would like you to call to report your particular flavor of suspicious activity. Before you call they want you to note some specifics first, here it is helpful to pretend you are a newspaper reporter and note the 6 W’s: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How.

  • Who is being suspicious? Describe them, their vehicle….
  • What is suspicious? Describe what you saw, what occurred….
  • Where is the suspiciousness? Explain where the issue is, include streets or mile markers….
  • When was it suspicious? Relate when this happened, or when you noticed it….
  • Why/How is it suspicious? How doesn’t start with a ‘w’ but it’s in the list; include any other information that might help the police or railroad personnel.
Watch out! I'm official! My Citizens for Rail Security card.

Watch out! I'm official! My Citizens for Rail Security card.

Now, I know you are really liking this badge situation and feel pretty special. Like you have a special ‘in’ with the railroads but wait! There’s more…. The railroads want to make sure you understand that this isn’t an invitation to trespass. You are supposed to report trespassers, not become one! That would defeat the whole purpose. Don’t trespass even to answer the 6 W’s.  Restricted areas include places like: employee areas, maintenance facilities, unoccupied trains, engines, or maintenance vehicles, office areas, baggage areas, delivery areas, commissaries, right-of-way areas, track areas, and in-service train cars. Then there are the tracks, don’t walk on the tracks! That’s a big no-no. It’s highly illegal and highly dangerous. Only cross tracks at roadway crossings or designated pedestrian areas and when taking photos of trains always do it at least 15 feet from the closest rail.

San Luis Obispo Amtrak Station November 2009 Photo by Cat Cook

Where not to stand when taking a photo. Obviously I hadn't read the rules yet. San Luis Obispo Amtrak Station, November 2009 - Photo by Cat Cook

Of course, we should all be reporting suspicious activity whether we have a special identification card or not.  However, you may want to consider signing up with Amtrak or BNSF since the cards are handy for reminding us of rules around railroads and for providing the phone numbers to contact authorities in case of suspicious activities or safety hazards. Oh, and then there is the cool factor. I printed mine on card stock to give it that extra little ‘something’. Now, I just need a laminator to preserve my fancy ID cards for all time…