6 Virtual Train Rides From Around The World

These vids got me into a lot of hot water. Wife Sarah could not understand how I could spend so much time watching vids of train journeys, So a warning to the wise these vids are looooooooooong. The original post does not tell you how long each is. The site has a lot of advertising “clutter” on it so I have taken it apart and added a bit of personal stuff. So here we go with number one.

The Bernina Railway

Switzerland’s Unesco listed Berninabahn (Bernina Railway) is one of the world’s most spectacular mountain railways. It contains some of the highest (over 7,000 feet) railway crossings in Europe and is one of the steepest railways in the world. This vid last TWO HOURS and takes you through the section between St.Moritz in Switzerland and Triano in Italy. The alpine mountains make a spectacular backdrop to this trip. I have actually made this journey and can attest that it is great. Note that this a narrow gauge railway.

 

Line 7, NYC Subway 

I have ridden the NYC Subway but never this route.  While the number 7 NYC subway express line might not be among the prettiest train journeys in the world, for real and wannabe New Yorkers, it remains a cultural experience. The route offers some iconic views of the New York City skyline in its above-ground sections. This virtual train journey takes you on the Manhattan-bound leg of the train line nicknamed the “international express” due to the number of ethnic neighborhoods it crosses. The unique front-facing view in the video also gives a pleasantly calm feel to a rush-hour commuter train journey. This vids takes 41 MINUTES.

The Nagaragawa Railway

Number 3. When you think of Japanese trains, the first thing that likely comes to mind is super-fast bullet trains that remain one of Japan’s cultural icons. However, Japan also possesses a vast network of rural railway lines that take its citizens and visitors nearly everywhere in the country. This journey takes you on the Nagaragawa Railway in Gifu Prefecture and winds through a snowy winter wonderland surrounded by high mountains. Grab some ramen or a bento box to complete the feeling of traveling through Japan in the middle of winter. I have never been to Japan so this was a revelation to me. Travel time is 43 MINUTES.

The Flåm Railway

The Flåm railway line is one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions. Although only 20 kilometers long, it packs a massive amount of dreamy Norwegian mountain scenery into a short space of time. It’s also one of the steepest standard gauge railways in the world as it climbs up through remote mountain villages in Norway’s Vestland province. This vid takes you along the windy, steep, and breathtaking route from the train driver’s point of view. Alas, I have never been to Norway. This one lasts 40 MINUTES.

The Belgrade to Bar Railway

This is the fifth vid trip. The Belgrade to Bar railway, which takes travelers from Serbia’s capital city to the Adriatic coast in Montenegro. It is one of the world’s greatest feats of railway engineering. The line, which crosses the region’s mountainous terrain, has 254 tunnels and 234 bridges. This video journey takes you on the final section of the route from Bijelo Polje to Bar and brings you through high mountain ravines down a 3000 feet elevation change before stopping just short of the coast. This one lasts 3 HOURS 26 MINUTES. And yes, I have watched all of it.

VIA Rail Canada – Toronto to Vancouver

I have not taken this one in one foul swoop. When I lived and worked in Canada part of my job was to visit all of the major cities in Canada, Rather than sit in an Air Canada tobacco smoke filled cabin of an egg beater I would try to go from city to city by train. I did from Toronto to Winnipeg, Winnipeg to Calgary, Calgary to Vancouver or Edmonton to Vancouver.. Traveling from Toronto to Vancouver takes at least three days and four nights. If you fancy making the same journey in 16 Minutes, then this compressed account of an epic trans-Canadian railway journey is worth checking out. The comprehensive video showcases the highlights of a three-day railway journey from a passenger’s point of view. It includes shots of meals, sleeping arrangements, and some fantastic scenery.

Nothing like a trip by train when you are at home.

Thanks to VP Lonnioe Dickson for the heads up.

Indian Pacific – the Australian Trans-Continental Train

I was talking to a gentleman at our Model Railroad a while back who thought I was an Aussie. Before I could tell him otherwise he asked me if I knew of Slim Dusty. I replied, “Yes.” “Then, ” he said you being “into” trains you know his song about the Indian Pacific.” Before I could answer he said, “You sound just like Slim in his song, “G’day, G’Day.”

As is usual as a result of such encounters I jot down something to help remind me of the conversation and to look up what I was presumed to know. Today I found a note with the words, “G’day, G’Day,” recalled the conversation and wrote this blog ………

If you want to learn Oz the song, “G’day, G’Day” is as good a place to start as any.

The Indian Pacific is Australia’s most famous train. It runs across Australia from Sydney to Perth. (Click to enlarge the map.)

Indian Pacific Route Map with elevations

It is one of the few truly transcontinental trains in the world. The train’s route includes the world’s longest straight stretch of railway track, a 297 mile stretch over the Nullarbor Plain. The length of the journey is 2,704 miles and takes between 70 and 75 hours.

This vid by Slim Dusty gives you an idea of what the Indian Pacific is all about.

My good friend and club member Hank Simonson and his wife Flo rode the Indian Pacific when they visited Oz to meet Flo’s cousins. Hank told me it was the highlight of his retirement.

PS – I was born in England

 

1895 Lumière Brothers film “L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat (Arrival of a train at La Ciotat station)

Video editor Denis Shiryaev has remastered the iconic 1895 Lumière Brothers film “L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat” into a 4K high definition version at 60 frames per second. Shiryaev achieved this through neural network learning, which smoothed out the rough edges of the original.

Truly remarkable for a film taken over 125 years ago.

Douglas (Wyoming) Railroad Museum

Douglas, Wyoming isn’t a very big place – 6,120 people at the 2010 census. Its former railroad passenger depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Douglas was platted in 1886 when the Wyoming Central Railway (later the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company) established a railway station; the settlement had been in existence since 1867 when Fort Fetterman was built and was first known as “Tent City” before it was officially named “Douglas”, after Senator Stephen A. Douglas. It served as a supply point, warehousing and retail, for surrounding cattle ranches, as well as servicing railway crews, cowboys and the troops of the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Fetterman.

None of the above tells you why Club Member Dan Fessler went to visit Douglas – he went to the Railroad Museum there. The Douglas Railroad Museum is housed in the historic FE & MV Railroad Passenger Depot. The historic depot was updated in 2018 and today features exhibits highlighting Douglas and the region’s railroad history. The building is listed on the National Historic Register and is surrounded by seven historic railcars including the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad 4-8-4 Steam Locomotive #5633. The steam loco was built in Burlinghton, Iowa in September 1940. She remained in service until 1956.

Visitors are invited to climb aboard many of the rail cars including a day coach, a dining car and a new caboose exhibit. Here’s a gallery of the pics he took on his visit:

Douglas Railroad Museum #1

Douglas Railroad Museum #1

Steam loco in Douglas Railroad Museum #2

Steam loco in Douglas Railroad Museum #2

Steam loco in Douglas Railroad Museum #3

Steam loco in Douglas Railroad Museum #3

Next up is the sleeping car:

Douglas Railroad Museum #4

Douglas Railroad Museum #4

Douglas Railroad Museum #5

Douglas Railroad Museum #5

Douglas Railroad Museum #6

Douglas Railroad Museum #6

Douglas Railroad Museum #7

Douglas Railroad Museum #7

Douglas Railroad Museum #8

Douglas Railroad Museum #8

Douglas Railroad Museum #9

Douglas Railroad Museum #9

The Dining Car:

Douglas Railroad Museum #10

Douglas Railroad Museum #10

Douglas Railroad Museum #11

The Caboose:

Douglas Railroad Museum #12

Douglas Railroad Museum #12

Douglas Railroad Museum #13

Douglas Railroad Museum #13

Douglas Railroad Museum #14

Douglas Railroad Museum #14

Douglas Railroad Museum #15

Douglas Railroad Museum #15

And last but not lease the Passenger Coach:

Douglas Railroad Museum #16

Douglas Railroad Museum #16

Douglas Railroad Museum #17

Douglas Railroad Museum #17

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

This, in my opinion, is the numero uno heritage railroad in the USA.  It has run continuously since 1882.

I bring it to your attention for two reasons. One, two couples came into our layout recently bubbling over with enthusiasm over their ride on the Durango and Siverton. Two, I felt the same way after each of my rides.

As one of the United States’s most scenic historic railroads, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNG), with its  steam-powered locomotives and 1880s-era coaches, travels along the same tracks that miners, frontiersmen, and cowboys journeyed nearly 140 years ago. The Durango & Silverton stretch of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad was completed in 1882. It was built to transport gold and silver ore from the more than 4,000 mining claims in and around Silverton, Colorado, to the smelters and mills in Durango, 45 miles to the south. But in the 1910s, the Silverton mining boom began gradually subsiding. The D&SNG was then promoted as a scenic route for travelers and tourists. It remains as one of a very few surviving narrow-gauge steam railroads in the United States.

As it leaves Durango, the train’s multiple-chime steam whistle can be heard reverberating throughout the town and along the Animas Valley. As it proceeds north, the train winds alongside the Animas River as it traverses the green pastures of the Animas Valley and then crosses through the spectacular San Juan National Forest. The remote and treacherous route through the mountains includes a dramatic and stomach-churning stretch along the edge of a narrow shelf carved into the sheer granite cliffs 400 feet above the river. The 45-mile route between Durango and Silverton crosses the Animas River five times, has an elevation climb of 2,800 feet, and takes 3-1/2 hours, with the train chugging along at no more than 20 miles per hour. With a layover of about two hours in Silverton, the round-trip is a full-day adventure.

If you haven’t been. here’s a 10 minute vid to whet your appetite.

 

 

Galloping Goose (Geese?) Railcars owned by the RGS (Rio Grande Southern Raiload)

We, the Mendocino Coast Model Railroad & Navigation Co.. own two. One is G Scale and runs on our layout. The other is an HO model and resides in our Museum/Library. The Galloping Geese have a fascinating story to tell:

Galloping Goose is the popular name given to a series of seven railcars (officially designated as “motors” by the railroad), built in the 1930s by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad (RGS) and operated until the end of service on the line in the early 1950s. Originally running steam locomotives on narrow gauge railways, the perpetually struggling RGS developed the first of the “geese” as a way to stave off bankruptcy and keep its contract to run mail into towns in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. There was not enough passenger or cargo income to justify continuing the expensive steam train service at then-current levels, but it was believed that a downsized railway would return to profitability. The steam trains would transport heavy cargo and peak passenger loads, but motors would handle lighter loads.

Motors were not only less expensive to operate, but were also significantly lighter, thus reducing impact on the rails and roadbeds. This cost saving meant that the first Goose was paid off and making a profit within three weeks of going into service. RGS built more Geese, and operated them until the company abandoned their right-of-way in 1952.

The RGS built its first motor in 1913, as a track maintenance crew vehicle. This was wrecked in 1925, but inspired the idea of using motors for scheduled service.

All of the “geese” were built in the railroad’s shops at Ridgway, Colorado. The first was built in 1931 from the body of a Buick “Master Six” four-door sedan. It was more conventional in its construction than the later geese, though it had a two-axle truck in place of the front axle. Part of the rear of the car was replaced by a truck stake-bed for carrying freight and mail; this was later enclosed and partially fitted with seating. It was used for two years to carry passengers, US Mail, and light freight before being scrapped.

US mail Galloping Goose

US mail Galloping Goose

A second “goose” was built in the same year from another Buick, but later versions used Pierce-Arrow bodies except for #6, which was constructed partly out of parts taken from the scrapped #1.

No. 2 and No. 6 were constructed with two trucks, with the rear truck powered on both axles. #2 had an enclosed freight compartment (like a very short boxcar), while #6 had an open bed similar to #1 (but larger). It was used only for work train service. The other four had three trucks and were articulated in the same manner as a tractor-trailer truck. In these, the second truck was powered, and the freight compartment was essentially a conventional boxcar.

Initially, the “geese” were painted in black and dark green. In 1935 they were all painted in a silver scheme which they retain to this day, though the style of lettering and heralds changed over the years. In 1945, #3, #4, and #5 were rebuilt with Wayne bus bodies (at least the front half) replacing the old Pierce-Arrow bodies. This provided more passenger seating and comfort. A year later they also received new war surplus GMC engines.

Crews taking up the narrow-gauge rails the Geese ran on, September 1952. In 1950, when the railroad finally lost its mail contract (in favor of highway mail carriers), #3, #4, #5, and #7 were converted for tourist operations, and the “Galloping Goose” name was officially recognized by the railroad. Large windows were cut in the sides of the freight compartments, and seating was added. A figure of a running goose and the words “Galloping Goose” were added to the carbody doors. This service lasted only two years, and the last work of the “geese” on their home line was to take up the rails.

It is unclear exactly where the name “Galloping Goose” comes from. It is mostly commonly suggested that it referred to the way the carbody and the freight compartment tended to rock back and forth on the line’s sometimes precarious track. It is also suggested, though, that the name arose because the “geese” were equipped with air horns rather than the whistles of the steam locomotives. The name was used informally for years before the tourist operations, though the railroad officially referred to the units as “motors”.

A similar unit was built for the San Cristobal Railroad, and was rebuilt by RGS in 1934–35. When the San Christobal folded in 1939, this unit was returned to the RGS railroad and dismantled, with some parts going to rebuild and maintain Goose No. 2.

After a fair amount of searching I’ve managed to assemble pics of Number 2 through 7.

Galloping Goose Number 2

Galloping Goose Number 2

Galloping Goose Number 3

Galloping Goose Number 3

Galloping Goose Number 4

Galloping Goose Number 4

Galloping Goose Number 5

Galloping Goose Number 5

Galloping Goose Number 6

Galloping Goose Number 6

Galloping Goose Number 7

Galloping Goose Number 7

Come to our layout and watch one run.

Rerailing a Steam Locomotive

Today we had two classes of local schoolkids visit the layout on a field trip. Fifty plus children generate a lot of excitement. Fifty plus schoolkids also generate a lot of questions. I give the kids a lot of credit – all but a very few of their questions were on the money. I did pretty good answering their questions. However one young lady stumped me when she asked if locomotives ever came off the track. That was easy, “Yes.” Had I ever been on a train that had come off the tracks? Again easy, “Yes.” I have been on the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad which ran six hours late because of two derailments.Then she asked, “How do they get them back on the rails?”.  Now if she’s asked what are the rules for a pooling of interest I’d have nailed it. Alas, this accountant couldn’t answer her question. As is my wont I wrote the question down and started searching for an answer. Rather than bore you with a lousy answer Have a look at this vid.

The vid is from the Fort Wayne historical Society. The volunteer crew made up of veteran railroaders, experienced mechanics and new recruits wrangled their 200-ton steam locomotive back on the rails. This was not an easy way to spend a Saturday. For those curious, the boiler was filled with compressed air to help move the locomotive.

Having watched the video twice my new answer is, “With a great deal of difficulty.”

Big Boy (UP’s 4-8-8-4) at Laramie Wyoming yesterday May 4th, 2019

They said it couldn’t be done. It was too heavy, too long, it burned too much fuel, and would cost too much to restore. But they were wrong. Union Pacific, Big Boy #4014, now holds the title of the Worlds largest operating steam locomotive. This locomotive underwent a frame up rebuild and is now better than new. She came to Laramie WY. May 4th,2010. This is the first time out since the complete rebuilt. Fist time under own power for 50 years.