After the post on the shiny rebuilt GE road power, it's only fair to have a look into what Progress Rail has to offer on their side of the table. I'm using the company's recently-changed, formal name of course. For those who are not up-to-date on the current state of North American railroading affairs, Progress Rail is the company (owned by Caterpillar) that purchased EMD a few years ago.

The SD90MAC was arguably the biggest gong show in EMD's recent memory. It happened at a time when they were comfortably resting on their laurels, unaware the fateful changes that were about to occur in the locomotive market in the not-so-distant future (they got beaten badly by GE). What was supposed to be one of the most remarkable locomotives whose presence is to grace the mainlines in modern history, turned out to be an utter disaster (I'll redirect further readings to Wikipedia). As a result, today, the number of SD90s still in operation on a Class 1 Railroad is, if not ident…

Siemens-Düwag U2

By Koman90 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Sometimes I feel like I'm running out of things to write about on this blog, but maybe that's because there are really too many things out there. It's hard to decide, and I can't keep up lately. One of the very first posts on this blog I started quite a few years ago was about the C-Train. For those of you who don't know, that's the name given to the Light Rail Transit system in the Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta, a place I reluctantly (at first, anyway) called home due to its lack of public transit infrastructure (still true today, but hell, we've got oil and pickup trucks) despite having a population of over one million. Though, never had I known was that the C-Train would become one of this meaningless but nonetheless interesting coincidence in my life. You see, the oldest of the C-Trains are the Siemens-Düwag U2. They were built in the city of Düsseldorf, a few stops down the line on the RegionalExpress from…


North American railroads are no strangers to rebuilding older locomotives to help lower cost. Unlike many parts of the world, the adhesion-limited operating environment often means that our locomotives are heavier and moderately powered. At one point in history, First Class Railroads have converged onto the ideal mainline locomotive, a six-axle unit having about 4,400 hp, and weighing at about 400,000 lbs.

By Nstrainman1006 - Taking a photo. Previously published: YYYY-MM-DD, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

In the 1990s, amid the market dominated by General Motors, the microprocessor-controlled Dash 9 Series was the revolution General Electric needed that kick-started their rise to the top. Within the series, there was the C40-9W, a limited-power edition of the mainstream C44-9W, specifically conceived for the Norfolk Southern. Starting in late 2013, these units were converted to the C44, and then two years later, some started further upgrades to, eventually, become the AC44C6M.

Compared to DC trac…

Another lazy week (but there are steam engines!)

Last week, I linked a couple of clips that I posted on Instagram from the Fototag at the local museum. I actually have more footage, and I briefly patched them together in iMovie, and here it is, in one video.

A Special Museum on a Special Day

It was a long weekend here in Germany last week, and the Eisenbahnmuseum Bochum put on a good show to celebrate its 40-year history. Well, I confess, of course I hadn't found out about any of it until it was almost too late.

Click here to view the entire album

In the spirits of the East Meets West theme, many locomotives from other railway museums across Germany joined their brethren in Bochum-Dahlhausen. I attended on the extra-special day, May 1, der Fototag (Photo Day), where locomotives paraded down the track, providing lots of photo ops for foamers of all sizes and shapes. Of course, the typical Bochum-weather did not bother to show us any blue sky, but boy, do those steam locomotives look beautiful in the rain.

Three pairs of diesel and three pairs of steam locomotives participated in two rounds of parades throughout the day. Each pair shared performed similar duties for the Deutsche Reichsbahn and Deutsche Bundesbahn. First was a presentation in their individuality, and the…


Let me come back to my own side of the pond for now and write about a locomotive in the warm parts of the continents. The slight mystery surrounding them intrigues me a little, but I'm sure it's nothing a seasoned railfan can't educate me on.

I shall begin by talking a little about the previous life or lives of what are known today as the MP32PH-Q. Unlike its brethren MPXpress locomotives, it is a direct re-iteration of its ancestors from MPI's Morrison-Knudsen days.

By Artystyk386 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

When MK Rail was still a thing, they were known for rebuilding locomotives of other origins. Many transit agencies enlisted their service to provide spin-offs of the proven EMD GP38 and GP40 locomotives. Known as the GP40WH-2 in their previous life under MARC (Maryland Area Regional Commuter), the MP32PH-Q already packed lots of mileage hauling passengers under their belt. These days, they work down south, serving in Florida and soaking up all the sunshine the…

DB Class 420

Shall we continue with the retro theme of the recent weeks? The DB Class 420 EMU screamed 1970s the very first time I laid eyes on it (not in a bad way). It's not bad looking by any means. In fact, it is actually refreshing to see something relatively old among all the shiny modern passenger equipment around me in the NRW.

By Manfred Kopka - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Like the Class 111 locomotive featured last week, the Class 420 was developed by the Deutsche Bundesbahn for the S-Bahn service. It, however, was assigned to the S-Bahn networks of Munich, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt am Main instead. Each trainset consists of 3 cars. As usual, they can doubled up and work in multiple units. Like older subway cars, these mass-transit mainline trainsets do not have through gangways between cars. If you were unlucky, you'd be stuck in a very packed car, while the next one could be nearly empty.

By Michael Bienick - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

By Rolf Heinrich, Köln, CC BY 3.0, Link