American-Rails.com Blog

Header Photo: Drew Jacksich


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.

Feb 16, 2020

New York, Ontario & Western: "Route Of The Mountaineer"

The New York, Ontario & Western was a regional system linking Weehawken, New Jersey with Scranton, Pennsylvania and Oswego, New York. It shutdown in 1957.

Continue reading "New York, Ontario & Western: "Route Of The Mountaineer""

Feb 16, 2020

#261

Milwaukee Road #261 is a 4-8-4 locomotive part of its S-3 Class built by Alco in 1943. Today, it is in owned by the Friends Of The 261.

Continue reading "#261"

Feb 15, 2020

Lehigh & New England: "Industry's Freight Route"

The Lehigh & New England was another Northeastern anthracite coal hauler. An early victim of the times it shutdown in 1961.

Continue reading "Lehigh & New England: "Industry's Freight Route""

Feb 15, 2020

Gensets/Green Goats

RailPower's Green Goats and gensets were first introduced in 2001. Owned by RJ Corman since 2009 the operation was shutdown in 2020.

Continue reading "Gensets/Green Goats"

Feb 14, 2020

East Broad Top Railroad & Coal Company

The East Broad Top Railroad & Coal Company is a historic narrow-gauge coal-hauler dating to 1856 located in Pennsylvania.

Continue reading "East Broad Top Railroad & Coal Company"

Feb 11, 2020

Easter Train Rides, 2020 Schedule And Dates

Provided here is a list of museums and tourist railroads that offer Easter train rides, including schedules and dates in 2020.

Continue reading "Easter Train Rides, 2020 Schedule And Dates"

Jan 03, 2020

BNSF Railway: How America's Second Largest Railroad Was Born

The BNSF Railway is the nation's second-largest system, behind only Union Pacific.

Continue reading "BNSF Railway: How America's Second Largest Railroad Was Born"

Dec 19, 2019

Regional Services

Amtrak provides several regional services to complement its long-distance trains. Many are state-sponsored or subsidized.

Continue reading "Regional Services"

Dec 18, 2019

Fall Foliage Train Rides 2020

As the leaves begin to turn fall foliage train rides have become a popular way to see the vibrant colors. Find out where you can find these excursions here in 2020.

Continue reading "Fall Foliage Train Rides 2020"

Dec 08, 2019

Dinner Trains 2020

Dinner trains have become a popular attraction in recent years. Here, you can find dates and locations for these events in 2020.

Continue reading "Dinner Trains 2020"

Dec 05, 2019

Thomas The Train: Day Out With Thomas Train Rides, 2020

Here you can find a complete schedule regarding where Thomas The Train/Day Out With Thomas train rides will be operating for the 2020 season.

Continue reading "Thomas The Train: Day Out With Thomas Train Rides, 2020"

Oct 29, 2019

The Polar Express, 2020

Looking for official Polar Express train rides in 2020? You can find them all the dates and locations here.

Continue reading "The Polar Express, 2020"

Sep 29, 2019

Lindale, Georgia Railfan Park

The city of Lindale, Georgia will soon be opening a new attraction, a railfan park which is expected to be finished by October or November, 2019. The town sits along Norfolk Southern's former Central of Georgia and Southern main lines.

Continue reading "Lindale, Georgia Railfan Park"

Aug 12, 2019

Jersey Central Lines

The Central Railroad of New Jersey was a classic fallen flag that served its home state and eastern Pennsylvania. With a heavy dependence on anthracite coal the line went bankrupt in the 1970s.

Continue reading "Jersey Central Lines"

Aug 12, 2019

Canadian Pacific, "Spans The World"

The Canadian Pacific Railway is one of North America's oldest Class Is still in operation. Like rival CN, it services much of its home country as well as sections of the U.S. through mergers.

Continue reading "Canadian Pacific, "Spans The World""

Aug 12, 2019

Class I Railroads

In railroad jargon, Class I railroads refer to the largest companies in the industry and all seven in North America are highlighted here.

Continue reading "Class I Railroads"

Aug 09, 2019

Great Northern Railway

The Great Northern Railway was the second company to reach Seattle doing so in 1893. It was part of the James Hill's vast empire. The GN disappeared into Burlington Northern in 1970.

Continue reading "Great Northern Railway"

Aug 09, 2019

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy: "Everywhere West"

The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy served much of the Midwest and Texas. It helped kickoff the streamliner era in 1934 and later formed Burlington Northern.

Continue reading "Chicago, Burlington & Quincy: "Everywhere West""

Aug 09, 2019

Milwaukee Road

The Milwaukee Road, whose official name was the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific, was often regarded as the "Route of the Hiawathas." It dates to the mid-19th century and disappeared in 1985.

Continue reading "Milwaukee Road"

Aug 05, 2019

Railroad Tycoons

Railroad tycoons were titans of 19th and early 20th century American commerce who laid the foundation of the industry we still in regular service today. Read about several of them here.

Continue reading "Railroad Tycoons"

Aug 05, 2019

Fallen Flags

Featured here are detailed histories of more than 100 classic railroads, or "fallen flags," from the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad to the small Monon.

Continue reading "Fallen Flags"

Jul 23, 2019

Streamliners, The Classic Passenger Train

Read about many of the most well known streamliners here and why the period of the 1930s to 1960s is often considered the "Silver Age" of rail travel.

Continue reading "Streamliners, The Classic Passenger Train"

Jul 11, 2019

World War II Railroads, The 1940s

Railroads in World War II were critical to winning the conflict and were prepared unlike with the World War I crisis. Unfortunately, the historic traffic numbers declined after the war.

Continue reading "World War II Railroads, The 1940s"

Jun 10, 2019

Rail History

Interested in learning much more about out nation's rail history as well who invented the railroad and when? You can do so here, from the earliest years in the 1820s through today.

Continue reading "Rail History"

Jun 10, 2019

Lehigh Valley: "Route of the Black Diamond"

The Lehigh Valley dates as far back as 1853. At its height the anthracite road connected Buffalo with eastern New Jersey.

Continue reading "Lehigh Valley: "Route of the Black Diamond""

May 28, 2019

The 70 Year Train Ride

"The 70 Year Train Ride," published in 2019, is authored by Frank Heppner detailing his life's adventures by rail. These trips were not exclusive to the United States as the professor has traveled around the world riding trains. A fascinating, comical, and engaging story you are sure to enjoy!

Continue reading "The 70 Year Train Ride"

May 13, 2019

Union Pacific 4014

Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 is the latest star in the railroad's growing collection of heritage steam locomotives. It returned to active service on May 2, 2019.

Continue reading "Union Pacific 4014"

May 13, 2019

Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy

The Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 "Big Boy" was designed by Alco and UP's Otto Jabelman to handle freight over the Wasatch Mountains. Today, several still survive.

Continue reading "Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy"

May 11, 2019

Transcisco Tours: Sierra 49er Express

The Transcisco Tours' "Sierra 49er Express" was a short-lived dinner train running between San Jose, California and Reno, Nevada between 1990-1991.

Continue reading "Transcisco Tours: Sierra 49er Express"

May 10, 2019

Transcontinental Railroad

The Transcontinental Railroad's completion marked the first time in history the United States offered an efficient mode of transportation from coast-to-coast.

Continue reading "Transcontinental Railroad"

Top Of Page

› Blog


Researching Rights-Of-Way

A popular pastime for many is studying and/or exploring abandoned rights-of-way.  Today, there are tens of thousands of miles scattered throughout the country.  Many were pulled up in the 1970's and 1980's although others were removed long before that.  If you are researching active or abandoned corridors you might want to check out the United States Geological Survery's (USGS) Historical Topographic Map Explorer.  It is an excellent resource with thousands of historic maps on file throughout the country.  Just type in a town or city and click on the timeline of maps at the bottom of the page!



Studying Diesels

You will be hard pressed at finding a better online resource regarding diesel locomotives than Craig Rutherford's TheDieselShop.us.  The website contains everything from historic (fallen flags) to contemporary (Class I's, regionals, short lines, and even some museums/tourist lines) rosters, locomotive production information, technical data, all notable models cataloged by the five major builders (American Locomotive, Electro-Motive, General Electric, Fairbanks-Morse, and Baldwin), and much more.  A highly recommended database!



Electro-Motive Database

In 1998 a gentleman by the name of Andre Kristopans put together a web page highlighting virtually every unit every out-shopped by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division.  Alas, in 2013 the site closed by thankfully Don Strack rescued the data and transferred it over to his UtahRails.net site (another fine resource).  If you are researching anything EMD related please visit this page first.  The information includes original numbers, serials, and order numbers.