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American-Rails.com Blog

Here is your one-stop shop for learning about all of the newest additions or changes happening at American-Rails.com. Listed below is every page that is either new or which was updated within the last few days. Simply click on the link "Continue Reading..." under each heading to visit the page in question. With new articles added on a regular basis be sure and either check back here often or subscribe to the website's RSS feed to keep up with the latest.

May 23, 2024

EMD "GP38," "GP38-2," and "GP38AC"


The GP38 series continued the builder's dominance during the 1960s and 1970s as combined the three sold more than 3,000 examples.

Continue reading "EMD "GP38," "GP38-2," and "GP38AC""

May 22, 2024

"Afternoon Hiawatha" (Train): A Twin Cities Streamliner


The Afternoon Hiawatha was Milwaukee Road's original Hiawatha, renamed in the late 1930s when an additional train was launched.

Continue reading ""Afternoon Hiawatha" (Train): A Twin Cities Streamliner"

May 22, 2024

B&O 2-8-8-4 (EM-1) Locomotives: Specs, Roster, Photos


Baltimore & Ohio's 2-8-8-4's, the EM-1's, were the largest, most powerful, and newest steam locomotives the railroad ever owned. Sadly, none survive.

Continue reading "B&O 2-8-8-4 (EM-1) Locomotives: Specs, Roster, Photos"

May 21, 2024

2-8-0 "Consolidation" Locomotives, First Tested In 1866


The 2-8-0 was a highly successful steam design first developed just after the Civil War. As technologies improved the 2-8-0 became larger and more powerful.

Continue reading "2-8-0 "Consolidation" Locomotives, First Tested In 1866"

May 19, 2024

"Sunset Limited" (Train): History, Route, Schedule


The Sunset Limited was SP's legendary train serving New Orleans and Los Angeles. It survives today as a prominent train under Amtrak.

Continue reading ""Sunset Limited" (Train): History, Route, Schedule"

May 15, 2024

4-6-6-4 "Challenger" Locomotives: Another UP-Inspired Design


The 4-6-6-4 Challenger was a late model steam locomotive which was incredibly powerful.

Continue reading "4-6-6-4 "Challenger" Locomotives: Another UP-Inspired Design"

May 14, 2024

Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (Katy)


The Missouri-Kansas-Texas, better known as the "Katy," was a southern Midwest line that connected St. Louis with much of east Texas.

Continue reading "Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (Katy)"

May 13, 2024

"Cab Forward" Steam Locomotives: SP's Unique Design


The Cab Forwards were unique, odd, and extremely powerful steam locomotives that enabled crews to safely operate through the Sierras.

Continue reading ""Cab Forward" Steam Locomotives: SP's Unique Design"

May 13, 2024

The "Alphabet Route" (Railroad Consortium)


The Alphabet Route, the alternative connection between Chicago/St. Louis and New York/Boston was a marketing tandem of several classic railroads.

Continue reading "The "Alphabet Route" (Railroad Consortium)"

May 11, 2024

M-497 "Black Beetle" Jet-Powered Train (Railcar)


The M-497, otherwise known as the Black Beetle, was an experimental turbojet train tested by the New York Central in 1966. It was scrapped in 1984.

Continue reading "M-497 "Black Beetle" Jet-Powered Train (Railcar)"

May 11, 2024

Camelback Locomotives: "Mother Hubbards" and "Camels"


Camelbacks were unique steam locomotives that featured the cab sitting directly over the main boiler. Read more about the history of them here.

Continue reading "Camelback Locomotives: "Mother Hubbards" and "Camels""

May 10, 2024

2-8-4 "Berkshire" Locomotives, Born From The 2-8-2


The 2-8-4 is often regarded as the Berkshire type due to its first test runs carried out in the Berkshire Mountains in the 1920s on the Boston & Albany.

Continue reading "2-8-4 "Berkshire" Locomotives, Born From The 2-8-2"

May 09, 2024

4-4-2 "Atlantic" Locomotives: Designed For High-Speed Service


The 4-4-2 Atlantic type could be found in widespread use typically in passenger service. Learn more about its history and how it was developed.

Continue reading "4-4-2 "Atlantic" Locomotives: Designed For High-Speed Service"

May 08, 2024

Nickel Plate Road Diesel Roster (All-Time)


The Nickel Plate Road's all-time diesel roster can be found here, from its early switchers to modern road-switchers.

Continue reading "Nickel Plate Road Diesel Roster (All-Time)"

May 07, 2024

4-4-0 "American" Locomotives: The Common 19th Century Engine


Learn about the history of the 4-4-0 American type and how it could be found in use all across the country.

Continue reading "4-4-0 "American" Locomotives: The Common 19th Century Engine"

May 06, 2024

Wabash Diesel Roster (All-Time)


The information covered here details the Wabash Railroad's all-time diesel locomotive roster.

Continue reading "Wabash Diesel Roster (All-Time)"

May 05, 2024

Santa Fe's Raton Pass (Railroad): Thru The Sangre de Cristo Mountains


The Santa Fe's famous Raton Pass, located mostly in New Mexico, was part of the railroad's original main line between Chicago and Los Angeles.

Continue reading "Santa Fe's Raton Pass (Railroad): Thru The Sangre de Cristo Mountains"

May 03, 2024

Boston and Maine Railroad: "Route Of The Minute Man"


The Boston & Maine, whose slogan long read "Route Of The Minute Man," was an important New England line for more than 1480 years.

Continue reading "Boston and Maine Railroad: "Route Of The Minute Man""

May 02, 2024

Pennsylvania (PRR) Steam Roster: Post 1906


Featured here is the Pennsylvania Railroad's complete steam locomotive roster, post 1900. The information includes general road numbers, types, and retirements.

Continue reading "Pennsylvania (PRR) Steam Roster: Post 1906"

May 01, 2024

C&O 4-8-4 "Greenbrier" #614 Locomotive


Chesapeake & Ohio #614 is one of the railroad's classic 4-8-4 "Greenbriers." Read about the unit's history.

Continue reading "C&O 4-8-4 "Greenbrier" #614 Locomotive"

May 01, 2024

Western Maryland Railway (WM), "The Fast Freight Line"


The Western Maryland honored its slogan well as the Fast Freight Line. It connected Baltimore with Connellsville and Elkins.

Continue reading "Western Maryland Railway (WM), "The Fast Freight Line""

Apr 30, 2024

The "Super Chief": The Train Of The Stars


The legendary Super Chief was the flagship of the Santa Fe railroad and used the theme of the Southwest Native Americans. It disappeared upon the startup of Amtrak in 1971.

Continue reading "The "Super Chief": The Train Of The Stars"

Apr 26, 2024

"Cincinnati Limited" (Train): New York - Columbus - Cincinnati


The Cincinnati Limited was once a top PRR train, and arguably the best between New York and Cincinnati. Established in the 1920s it survived until Amtrak.

Continue reading ""Cincinnati Limited" (Train): New York - Columbus - Cincinnati"

Apr 26, 2024

Clinchfield Railroad


A brief history of coal-hauler, the Clinchfield Railroad; a classic system connecting Kentucky with South Carolina. Today, its route is still used by CSX.

Continue reading "Clinchfield Railroad"

Apr 24, 2024

SP&S 4-8-4 #700 Steam Locomotive


Spokane, Portland & Seattle #700 is a 4-8-4 locomotive built during the 1930s. The Northern was later restored in the 1980s and now calls Portland home.

Continue reading "SP&S 4-8-4 #700 Steam Locomotive"

Apr 23, 2024

Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad


The Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad was a classic shortline in the West Virginia hills that is fondly remembered by railfans.

Continue reading "Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad"

Apr 21, 2024

Alco "C628" Locomotives


The burly Alco C628 was briefly successful before proving far too heavy. Find out where the few surivors are now.

Continue reading "Alco "C628" Locomotives"

Apr 20, 2024

Columbus and Greenville Railway


The Columbus & Greenville Railway is a line that dates back to the late 19th century. Today, part of the route remains in regular service as a shortline.

Continue reading "Columbus and Greenville Railway"

Apr 19, 2024

Western Pacific Railroad


The Western Pacific was a small classic railroad linking Salt Lake City with Oakland. In 1982 it became part of Union Pacific.

Continue reading "Western Pacific Railroad"

Apr 19, 2024

EMD "GP35" Locomotives


The GP35 followed the GP30 in 1963. Another second-generation model that sported a new prime mover and other components it sold incredibly well.

Continue reading "EMD "GP35" Locomotives"

Apr 18, 2024

Alco "C415" Locomotives


Learn about why the Alco C-415 was an unsuccessful attempt by the builder to remain relevant in the locomotive market.

Continue reading "Alco "C415" Locomotives"

Apr 18, 2024

Pennsylvania Railroad, "The Standard Railroad Of The World"


The Pennsylvania Railroad regarded itself as the "Standard Railroad Of The World" and for several decades was the most powerful in the industry.

Continue reading "Pennsylvania Railroad, "The Standard Railroad Of The World""

Apr 17, 2024

Mohawk and Hudson Railroad


The Mohawk and Hudson was New York State's first chartered railroad, established in April, 1826. It became part of the NYC and is still in operation today.

Continue reading "Mohawk and Hudson Railroad"

Apr 13, 2024

"The Rebel" (Train): The South's First Streamliner (1935)


The Rebel was a GM&O streamliner passenger train that dated to 1935 as an articulated trainset. The train ended service to the south in the late 1950s.

Continue reading ""The Rebel" (Train): The South's First Streamliner (1935)"

Apr 11, 2024

Tehachapi Loop: SP's Engineering Marvel Of The Tehachapi's


The Tehachapi Loop was an engineering wonder completed in 1876. Today, it is owned by UP with BNSF using the line under trackage rights.

Continue reading "Tehachapi Loop: SP's Engineering Marvel Of The Tehachapi's"

Apr 11, 2024

EMD "DD35" and "DD35A" Locomotives


The DD35/A was an experimental diesel model based from the GP35, designed by Electro-Motive for Union Pacific in the 1960s. They remained in use until 1981.

Continue reading "EMD "DD35" and "DD35A" Locomotives"

Apr 10, 2024

Observation Cars (Trains): First Introduced In 1888


Observation cars were a product of the early 20th century during the heavyweight era. They became instantly popular, particularly in the streamlined era.

Continue reading "Observation Cars (Trains): First Introduced In 1888"

Apr 10, 2024

Mallet Locomotives: Brought To America In 1904


The Mallet was a unique steam locomotive design developed by Anatole Mallet that utilized two boilers.

Continue reading "Mallet Locomotives: Brought To America In 1904"

Apr 10, 2024

Union Pacific 4-8-4 #844: The Railroad's Famous Northern


Union Pacific 844 is one of the most famous steam locomotives still operable. It was the last steam locomotive UP purchased from Alco in 1944.

Continue reading "Union Pacific 4-8-4 #844: The Railroad's Famous Northern"

Apr 10, 2024

Southern Pacific 4-8-4 #4449: A Long And Storied Career


Southern Pacific #4449 is a 4-8-4 classified as its Golden States or GS Class. Today, the locomotive is restored and wears the railroad's Daylight livery.

Continue reading "Southern Pacific 4-8-4 #4449: A Long And Storied Career"

Apr 09, 2024

Florida Scenic Train Rides (2024): A Complete Guide


A Florida train rides guide, including all known railroad museums to visit within the state. Learn more about them here.

Continue reading "Florida Scenic Train Rides (2024): A Complete Guide"

Apr 06, 2024

"Golden State" (Train): An SP - Rock Island Streamliner


The Golden State was launched in 1902 by the Rock Island and Southern Pacific between Los Angeles and Chicago. It was canceled in the 1960s.

Continue reading ""Golden State" (Train): An SP - Rock Island Streamliner"

Apr 04, 2024

Articulated Steam Locomotives, Introduced In 1904


The articulated locomotive was first used on the Baltimore & Ohio and is defined as having its lead set of drivers swivel to more easily negotiate curves.

Continue reading "Articulated Steam Locomotives, Introduced In 1904"

Apr 02, 2024

C&O 2-8-2 "Mikado" Steam Locomotives (Class K)


Chesapeake & Ohio's fleet of Class K 2-8-2's first entered service in 1911 and remained in use until the 1950s.

Continue reading "C&O 2-8-2 "Mikado" Steam Locomotives (Class K)"

Apr 02, 2024

The "Twilight Limited" (Train): Chicago - Kalamazoo - Detroit


The Twilight Limited was a notable New York Central train serving its busy Detroit-Chicago corridor. Established in the 1920s its name was lost in 1967.

Continue reading "The "Twilight Limited" (Train): Chicago - Kalamazoo - Detroit"

Apr 02, 2024

Rutland 's 4-8-2 "Mountain" Locomotives (Class L-1)


The darlings of Rutland's steam fleet were a quartet of new 4-8-2 Mountains it received in 1946 from Alco. Sadly, they survived less than 10 years.

Continue reading "Rutland 's 4-8-2 "Mountain" Locomotives (Class L-1)"

Apr 02, 2024

"Havana Special" (Train): Serving Key West Until 1935


The Havana Special once carried passengers all of the way to Key West. After 1935 it remained on the FEC timetable as a truncated route until 1962.

Continue reading ""Havana Special" (Train): Serving Key West Until 1935"

Mar 30, 2024

The "Idahoan" (Train): UP's Omaha-Portland Service


The Idahoan was a regional, secondary Union Pacific train running between Cheyenne and Portland. Inaugurated in the late 1940s it was canceled a few years.

Continue reading "The "Idahoan" (Train): UP's Omaha-Portland Service"

Mar 29, 2024

The "San Joaquin Daylight" (Train)


Southern Pacific's San Joaquin Daylight operated the same routing as the original, between San Francisco and Oakland, debuting in 1941.

Continue reading "The "San Joaquin Daylight" (Train)"


Wes Barris's SteamLocomotive.com is simply the best web resource on the study of steam locomotives. 

It is difficult to truly articulate just how much material can be found at this website. 

It is quite staggering and a must visit!