Showing posts from 2022

Summer Skies and Fading Paint

On the way out of Deer Lodge, the Milwaukee Road rolled west by a fuel rack and two depots that bounded it north and south.  To the south of the rails was the freight depot, shown above and below.  Note the telegraphy pole that rises through the roof at the west end.  One can scroll back through the decades online and find it, always present, rising right through the eve of the old freight house.   Those decades weren't kind to the old house either.  The white paint has washed and faded away, the wooden shingles are increasingly missing.  When these pictures were taken in the early 2000s, the end was very near.  To the north of the former main, the passenger depot has taken on a new life as a church, but no such rebirth has come to the old freight house.  Under the hot Montana sun, the remaining paint continues to fade away and soon the house, the loading dock, and the telegraphy pole that always seemed to rise through the roof will vanish from under these blue skies. To the north

Something Borrowed

  The year is 2007 and the location is Victoria, BC.  Via Rail is running a daily Budd RDC set as the Malahat  service on Vancouver Island.  It departs in the mornings from Victoria and heads up the island along the E&N (Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway) to Courtnay, a distance of about 140 miles.  To see Budd cars in operation as part of a daily passenger service is rare anytime in the 21st century.  By the time these two were captured, BC Rail's Budd cars had been gone for 5 years.   Captured here in 2007, the  Malahat  would cease operating as track deteriorated in the years that followed.  There has been talk of restoring the service, however, it seems that little progress has been made and these were on borrowed time.  The combined rail / path bridge that rolled the passenger train the last few hundred yards to the depot has also been redone, without the rails.  In 2011, the service was ended - reminding me of the axiom that once it's gone, it's hard to get back. Bu

Four-axles and boosters

 The ATSF (former) mainline from Chicago races south and then turns west to meet the southwesterly running former CBQ at Galesburg, IL.  Not far west of its crossing of the Illinois River, the 'transcon' attacks Edelstein Hill, a continuous ~1% rise of about five miles in an otherwise flat Illinois countryside.  Up on top of the plains again, an afternoon hotshot from the early 2000s races west out of Chicago showing the era's mix of power and paint.   These were interesting days to watch the afternoon parade of containers and piggy-backs rolling west from Chicago.  Power varied from unpatched BN Cascade Green units to newer BN 'Executive Paint' MACs and these unique Santa Fe GP60s.  In this set, even a b-unit is helping to pull the tonnage west.  One of the early 'war pumpkins' is present on the point, showing the earlier green, orange and silver resplendent(?) with Santa Fe cigar band striping in Heritage II paint.  Many of these quickly faded to a bleak s

Strength and Endurance

  When I first traveled to Deer Lodge, decades ago, I knew 'the Joe' was there.  That was in the early 2000s when only 20 years had passed since the transcon had been active and perhaps less than 30 years separated the venerable Joe from the point of an XL-special and a hustle across the Rocky Mountain Division.  Even that seems like a long time, until the passage of another 20 years goes by. Now still there, the enduring presence and unforgettable face of the Rocky Mountain Division still gazes with an unseeing 'quad.'  A static display if there ever was, it has received new paint over the years and even replica trolley lines overhead.  The years have given it company as well - a "Cities" painted Milwaukee Road E-8 rests nearby and a bay window caboose now resides with these fellow Milwaukee Road memories.  But the face of the Joe is unique and haunting.  Decades have passed between the photos, lifetimes even, but she endures.