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Railfan & Railroad
DECEMBER 2017: The old Northwestern Pacific has experienced a revival hosting increased freight traffic and a new commuter rail service on this distinctive remnant of the old Redwood Empire. C.N. Southwell takes us on a tour of this colorful Northern California shortline, while Steve Schmollinger presents a brief history of workplace safety in the railroad industry. Jeff Terry gets us in the holiday spirit aboard the North Pole Express departing St. Paul Union Depot, and Frank Keller takes us on a whirlwind roadtrip following shortlines of the South. All this and more in the December issue of Railfan & Railroad!

Railfan & Railroad - December 2017

VOLUME 36, No. 12

This Month's Features

Remnants of the Redwood Empire

by C.N. Southwell — While dormant for many years, the “new” Northwestern Pacific operation not only moves freight, but is also host to a new commuter rail service.

Safety First

by Steve Schmollinger — In a world of dangerous and unforgiving machinery, railroads’ attitudes toward workplace safety have steadily improved…but is it enough?

Piedmont’s Last Run

by Otto M. Vondrak — Jim Boyd made a trip to Washington, D.C., in November 1976 to witness one of the last runs of Southern Railway’s Piedmont.

Steam, Snow, and Santa

by Jeff Terry — Milwaukee Road 261, St. Paul Union Depot, and BNSF Railway team up to bring the North Pole Express to thousands of happy visitors.

Southern Tour

by Frank Keller — Three friends take a whirlwind tour that includes interesting shortlines, rare street-running, and streamlined steam trains throughout the South.


Departures/commentary: Alexander Benjamin Craghead

Railnews/top news stories and photos

LocoNotes/diesel location and disposition data: Ken Ardinger

Transit Currents/transit news: Bob Gallegos

Capitol Lines/news from Washington: Wes Vernon

Railroadiana/new products, books and videos

Timetable/railroad events submitted by our readers

Camera Bag/photography tips and technique

On the Menu/dining by rail: James D. Porterfield

Markers/editorial commentary

Parting Shot

On The Cover

Railfan & RailroadOfficially known as the Napa River Railroad Lift Bridge, this infamous span at Brazos, Calif., is where two runaway Southern Pacific GP9s took a plunge in 1983. Nothing so dramatic on March 27, 2017, as Northwestern Pacific MP15DC No. 1501 safely trundles over the span at 10 m.p.h. with interchange destined for the outside world at Lombard. C.N. Southwell takes us on a tour of the "new" NWP starting on page 28. PHOTO BY C.N. SOUTHWELL

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