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Showing posts from November, 2011

Thanksgiving and Nothing Could be Finer...

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In the years of railroading's past, holidays and holiday meals were something of an event.  Those were curious days by today's standards:  dining cars employed chefs who cooked on stoves and ovens using fresh ingredients from along the way.  The Northern Pacific, for example, restocked dining cars with fresh fruit from Central Washington as trains made their way through.  Railroads had their own recipes that made their dining cars famous and specialties that set them apart from competitors.  Moving people was important, and the business of railroading reflected that.

The holidays had their own menus in many dining cars, reflecting the best meals for travelers who found themselves out on the rails.  For many years, even Amtrak changed its regular meal plan to offer special holiday turkey for Thanksgiving.  The picture above reflects one such holiday specialty: Alaskan Railroad Cranberry Pie.  It is a thing of beauty, and has become a tradition for our friends and family many y…

Spring Creek Sunsets

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Location:  Spring Creek Trestle, near Lewistown, MT.  2005
Big events change things quickly, but the accumulation of small changes mark the years and decades just as effectively.  The sun comes up and the sun goes down: one day leads to the next as a mix of change.
Every so often, there appears just a few years of stability when the reliability of the status quo seems unshakable.  Recently the expectation of burgeoning productivity and expansive wealth have been questioned, though for years they marked the American Dream.  Cheap energy was a hallmark of the U.S. as was its ability to manufacture products for domestic and global consumption.  For years the railroads owned the landscape and mail was always delivered by RPO car.  Today the RPO is long gone, and the unique Saturday delivery that as marked the USPS seems destined to follow it into history as well.  Many of the towns that were served by these institutions are depleted or vanished.
There was a time, during one of those periods…