Showing posts from August, 2013

Winnipeg-Churchill Train

As the title simply states, this is a train that connects Winnipeg to the great white north. It is one of the trains on my to-ride list and this 36 hour journey over 1 000 miles into the subarctic looks it will be absolutely amazing. The train is previously known as the Hudson Bay and Northern Spirits. After rounds of modern cuts in service and abandonment of Canadian railroad heritage, this train is simply referred to as the twice weekly Winnipeg-Churchill train by Via Rail Canada, a ghost in limbo of a passenger rail operator of its former self as the passenger division of the former National Rail, or as Train 692/3 (however, the blame cannot be on Via Rail, it is merely the voters' will that we no longer need railroad passenger service, political rant of the day...). Fortunately, this train is the only mean of land transport between Churchill and the south, thus the reason she has not been replaced by a bus of some sort like Ontario Northland's Northlander has.

Like all nor…

D&RG Rwy Depot in Colorado Springs, CO

I'm pretty much writing this blog post live, how exciting! Although by the time it's posted it will have been a few days.

Work has brought me to the city by the Rockies by the name Colorado Springs, in the State of, well, you've guessed it, Colorado. The hotel I'm staying at is conveniently located just south of the old passenger deport on the Denver & Rio Grande Railway, by the Antlers Park. And of course, I had to take a stroll down and take a look.

A passenger depot first existed at the site in 1871 (a year after the railroad's incorporation), the oldest part of the photographed depot though, however, was from 1887 (still impressively old nonetheless). The depot stopped being served by passenger trains in 1971, the fateful year of the passenger rail massacre in America and the birth of Amtrak. During the century of passenger service, the D&RG went on becoming part of the Denver & Rio Grande Western, Southern Pacific Railroad, and ultimately the Union…

JNR Class C62

This week I'm trying to write, again, about something I'm not entirely familiar with, a steam locomotive (How Steam Engines Work). The nostalgia and romance the steam train brings is unrivaled, however, I cannot say, as someone born in the late 1980s, that the steam locomotive is something I have much emotional connection to. Nevertheless, they are charming machines, each with their own personality and character. Evolution of the steam locomotive is no doubt a powerful testament of Victorian ingenuity and has brought revolutionary changes to the landscape of transport around the world.

The star featured today then is a locomotive from Japan, the Japanese National Railways Class C62. The C62 is the biggest and fastest passenger steam locomotive Japan has ever built for its Cape gage railroad network (we shall revise that Cape gage is 3 ft. 6 in., considerably narrower than the standard gage of 4 ft. 8.5 in.). These locomotives were built in 1948 and 49 for hauling express train…

The Jōban Line

I think I'm gonna be somewhat of a romantic today and talk about a railroad mainline in Japan whose name has quite a poetic meaning. Well, the romantic part is really going to be somewhat cheesy but we'll see.

The Jōban Line (常磐線, or jōban-sen) connects Tōkyō to the City of Iwanuma in the Miyagi Prefecture, in northeastern Japan. The line officially begins in Nippori, but most trains originate in Ueno, a major station in Tōkyō. The name Jōban comes from the former Provinces of Hitachi (常陸) and Iwaki (磐城, you have to look at the first character of the names of the two places, apparently when you put them together it's pronounced totally differently and somehow became jōban) which probably sit somewhere near the current Miyagi Prefecture. Interestingly, the name jōban can also literally mean an everlasting rock.

The line can trace its roots back to 1889, long before the former JNR, but has been ever expanding. In its current form, the Jōban Line is approximately 230 miles lo…

Indian Pacific

Somehow I vaguely remember writing about this transcontinental journey here but I cannot find it. Maybe I haven't after all, maybe it's memories from some tele programming I've seen instead. Anyway, even if I have it doesn't hurt to have a refreshed look at it.

The said train here is one of the few transcontinental trains still operating in the world. Like the transcontinental passenger train of North America (just to name a few, the Canadian/Super Continental, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief; although I argue that we don't really have a true transcon except for the Sunset Limited before Hurricane Katrina), this train also features sleek stainless steel cars. The cars were built by Commonwealth Engineering in Australia (now owned by Bombardier), but I wouldn't be surprised if the design was borrowed from our favorite Budd Company (now part of ThyssenKrupp). These cars do spot striking similarities to our famous streamliners, especially with t…