Railfan Stories
Tales of train-watching and train-riding during the golden years of steam and early diesels
NYC8288
At our favorite New York Central train-watching spot, we turned down free apricots
By Oren Helbok
Published: November 3, 2014
20140806TWIW
A 1972 ride up the Northern Alberta Railways to Fort McMurray and back was a four-day delight
By James B. Armstrong
Published: August 5, 2014
20140702TWIW
Everyday railroaders helped a small-town boy become a lifelong railfan
By David A. Nealy
Published: July 1, 2014
20140604TWIW
Being clear of an L&N track was not enough to keep one motorist out of harm’s way
By C. K. Marsh Jr.
Published: June 3, 2014
Lamanda-Pk-helper
In Pasadena, it was the best of times for a Santa Fe train-watcher
By Stan Kistler
Published: April 1, 2014
Crandic 120
When the University of Iowa sanctioned a charter on the Crandic
By William O. Vogel
Published: January 2, 2014
CNJ1524
With the Aldene Plan upon us, it was time for one last train (and ferry) ride
By John A. Yohannan
Published: December 3, 2013
20120906
Of many Chicago–Indianapolis trips in the 1950s, one stands out
By Gil Reid
Published: November 5, 2013
NH-PP-716
Alco’s DL109 made a mark in southern New England
By Bruce Beardsley
Published: October 1, 2013
MP-SLSF STL
It’s MoPac vs. Frisco in a 1941 race to St. Louis Union Station
By John A. Mills
Published: September 3, 2013
Erie 2707
The Erie provided the entertainment for Dad’s “slave labor”
By Harry V. Noble
Published: August 15, 2013
SAL 3001 Comer
The best present ever? Seeing the new Orange Blossom Special go by
By David W. Salter
Published: August 6, 2013
PRR-Detroit-Arrow-obs
A fast ride out of Chicago on a PRR open-platform observation car
By Gil Reid
Published: June 17, 2013
NCR Dayton

Fireless steam locomotives entertained a college student in Dayton

By Harry V. Noble
Published: May 15, 2013
BOCTDarkStormy

A Chicago freight-train crew finds out what happens when a 19-year-old asks, “Why not?”

By Edward J. Prendergast
Published: April 30, 2013
NCL Clark Fork
A 1947 ride on the North Coast Limited was truly flawless
By Robert Morrison
Published: April 2, 2013
SSL100

The sign touts Kreamo Bread, but my memories are of orange South Shore cars, street-running, and a pocket-size coach yard

By J. David Ingles
Published: March 5, 2013
ZISP00-B

An adventurous 1956 trip from New York took on a surreal quality on the last leg, at Bangor, as my Maine Central local began its trip to “Callous”

By Steven Duff
Published: February 14, 2013
CV461

Central Vermont 2-8-0s handled Navy nuclear-reactor components

By Douglas J. Brittin
Published: February 5, 2013
1205TW-1

Change comes to an Erie Railroad town in Ohio

By W. L. Gwyer
Published: December 4, 2012
SandyRiver

Insights into a wandering Mogul and life on the two-footers

By Mallory Hope Ferrell
Published: November 15, 2012
PhiloIL

Memories of a rural Wabash station, and the day it had a big, unwelcome visitor

By Glen Brewer
Published: November 6, 2012
HSC

How a PRR engineer kept his word on Horseshoe Curve

By Jack Wise, as told to Bob Wise
Published: October 16, 2012
ATSF33C

The Santa Fe knew how to recover from a derailment

By G. Mac Sebree
Published: October 2, 2012
BM3719

Kind railroaders introduced a machine-minded boy to the world of locomotives

By Robert T. Graulty
Published: September 17, 2012
MKT910

An assignment in Texas broadened a Wisconsin soldier’s horizons

By Frank Rogers
Published: August 31, 2012
PRR-Eries

Of railfan rumors, rare Pennsy diesels, and youthful enthusiasm

By Jay Potter
Published: August 15, 2012
GTW6327

A son remembers a special encounter with a Grand Trunk 4-8-4, and all that it stood for

By Michael Landry
Published: July 16, 2012
PRR1592

How a humble PRR 4-6-0 earned a lasting place in a young railfan’s heart

By George Gillespie
Published: June 5, 2012
HiawathaDeerfield

A thrilling encounter with Milwaukee Road’s 100-mph steam-powered speedster

By Gil Reid
Published: May 16, 2012
UP-Las-Vegas-sta

Old paperwork reveals a concern unique to the nation’s gambling mecca

By Thornton Waite
Published: May 1, 2012
SP4173

A turntable derailment tied up the roundhouse—and provided a study in human behavior

By Gordon C. Bassett
Published: April 16, 2012
SP-4415-Glendale

Thanks to darkness, the bosses never knew that a boy was doing a man’s job

By David M. Morgan
Published: April 3, 2012
CO500

C&O proudly showed off its steam turbines, then cancelled their train and quietly scrapped them

By William J. Sparkmon
Published: March 16, 2012
CBQ4000

A proud engine on a fast freight showed how steam went out in style on the CB&Q

By Bob Jack
Published: March 6, 2012
Rutland93
Completing a perfect circle—from riding to camp in 1952 to seeing an old Alco friend in 1964 to reading Classic Trains in 2003
By Bruce W. Beardsley
Published: February 15, 2012
ZTWSP04_03-low

Trips to the Railroad Capital in the 1930s and ’40s are fondly remembered today

By Frank Rogers
Published: December 6, 2011
CS1-E1111_13
Cramming 500 soldiers onto Frisco’s Meteor
By Kenneth Rohde
Published: November 16, 2011
ZCSSP03_02-low

When Dad was a Philadelphia motorman, “quality time” meant trolley rides

By Michael G. McHale
Published: November 1, 2011
ZTWWI03_011

In changing from NYC’s Harlem Division to the New Haven, I learned the truth about no free lunch

By Adrian A. Paradis
Published: October 4, 2011
CTR-A0609_1975

Did Friday the 13th do in two Amtrak electrics as well as the D&H PA’s?

By J. David Ingles
Published: September 15, 2011
ZTWWI03_021

For a 12-year-old, genuine awe resulted in invitations up into two streamliners’ locomotive cabs

By Steve Glischinski
Published: September 6, 2011
ZTWFA03_01

Streamlined Hudsons blazing through with the Hiawathas were only part of the show at a northern Illinois junction

By Frank Sellers
Published: August 15, 2011
CTR-L0608_01
A wreck on the NYC main line brought some excitement to Frankfort, N.Y.
By Ben Alabastro
Published: August 2, 2011
ZTWSU03_01

Northern Alberta Railways’ humble varnish had a royal connection

By J. F. J. Pereira
Published: July 5, 2011
ZTWSP03_07

A tiny depot and a bus filled in while Amtrak was changing stations

By Jack N. Bruce Jr.
Published: June 16, 2011
ZHWI00-05

On the Rutland, as on all railroads, old nicknames die hard

By Jim Shaughnessy
Published: May 31, 2011
ZTWSP03_03

For a boy on his first train ride, a humble mixed was like the Crescent Limited

By Curt Tillotson Jr.
Published: May 16, 2011
NW

N&W’s Pocahontas — and an era — pass

By Rick Wright
Published: May 3, 2011
ZTWFA02_01

Mixing high speed with low drivers on the Canadian National

By Hal Lewis
Published: April 18, 2011
ZTWWI02_03

“The bark of those locomotives . . . was a sound I have never forgotten’’

By Harold E. Ahlers
Published: April 5, 2011
ZTWSP03_02

Searching for SP, finding SP&S

By David Lustig
Published: March 15, 2011
ZTWFA03_04
Body-building with a coal scoop
By Hal Lewis
Published: February 28, 2011
RDG1517

A boyhood encounter with the dirty side of railroading

By Bert Pennypacker
Published: February 16, 2011
ZTWSP03_08

And why was she riding NY&LB train 719?

By Harry Bruce
Published: February 1, 2011
ZTWWI02_02

Thanks to Mom, Dad, and the New Haven

By Scott A. Hartley
Published: January 4, 2011

Recalling a Canadian Pacific kindness

By Steven Duff
Published: November 30, 2010
Riding a Missabe 2-8-8-4 in command of 190 cars of iron ore — just before diesels took over
By William D. Middleton
Published: November 3, 2010
RDG-0-6-0-1323
Learning to love an ordinary yard goat
By George Gillespie
Published: November 2, 2010
ZTWSU02_01

A 1961 day of discovery in Waterloo, Iowa

By Richard J. Anderson
Published: September 1, 2010

Thoughts on changing land-use in Toronto

By J. W. Swanberg
Published: July 7, 2010

In 1966, not all the fun rides were at Ohio's Lake Erie amusement park

By J. David Ingles
Published: June 2, 2010

When Canadian National answered a teenager's prayers

By Ken Kraemer
Published: May 5, 2010

Overshadowed by the Erie, little Susie-Q was an endearing, enduring presence

By Robert Dykstra
Published: March 3, 2010
Shocker in the Tennessee woods
By C. K. Marsh Jr.
Published: February 3, 2010
Rare Santa Fe diesel on Cajon Pass
By David Lustig
Published: January 6, 2010
Fascination with a Canadian Pacific sleeping car
By Steven Duff
Published: January 5, 2009
Riding back in time behind a Ten-Wheeler in the Owens Valley
By Chard Walker
Published: September 1, 2001
A surprise offer on the platform at Newark's Penn Station
By Curtis L. Katz
Published: September 1, 2001
Tales by railroads and railfans
By Cornelius Hauck
Published: September 1, 2001
Trips after the NKP+N&W and PRR+NYC mergers yielded some surprises
By J. David Ingles
Published: June 1, 2001
Making the most of a clergyman's pass
By Richard J. Anderson
Published: June 1, 2001
An old Camelback 2-8-0 pinch hits for a Pacific on the Reading
By Bert Pennypacker
Published: June 1, 2001
How a C&O caboose helped the Clinchfield solve a problem
By C. K. Marsh Jr.
Published: March 1, 2001
Trouble at speed for the East Coast Champion
By Thomas Francis
Published: March 1, 2001
Who was that man on the platform at Wayne Junction?
By Michael G. McHale
Published: March 1, 2001
Accommodations for MofW crews were memorable, if not luxurious
By Michael J. McLaughlin
Published: March 1, 2001
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