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Railfan Hot Rail NewsEdited by the Railfan & Railroad staff
We solicit your contributions to this column. If you have original news items
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WRP Announces Magazine Consolidation Plan
October 30th, 2014

(Bucklin, Missouri) – With production under way of the two former Carstens titles, Railfan & Railroad and Railroad Model Craftsman, White River Productions has announced plans concerning consolidations and content arrangement for the WRP magazine fleet. On the prototype side, the four current magazines — Passenger Train Journal, Railroads Illustrated, TRP Magazine, and Railfan & Railroad — will be consolidated into three publications. On the modeling side, Model Railroad News and Railroad Model Craftsman will continue fulfilling their respective missions for the modeling world.

View the full press release

Passenger Train Journal will remain a quarterly passenger-specific publication covering all aspects of passenger railroading past and present.

Railroads Illustrated will be merged into Railfan & Railroad. The excellent current news coverage will be combined with that of Railfan & Railroad, resulting in a comprehensive current news covering Class 1, regional, short line, locomotive, steam, and museum news. The news reporters from Railroads Illustrated will continue presenting us with the most comprehensive up-to-date news in railroading. Columns in Railfan & Railroad will remain essentially unchanged. Feature articles similar to those found in Railroads Illustrated and Railfan & Railroad will continue much as before, with emphasis on the last three decades. The December 2014 issue will be the last Railroads Illustrated issue. Subscribers to Railroads Illustrated will be credited an equal number of Railfan & Railroad issues, and those currently subscribed to both will have their subscriptions extended accordingly. Higher quality paper has already been seen in the first issue of Railfan & Railroad produced under WRP. Look for more improvements soon, including some format changes and an increased page count. Plans are being developed for a Railroads Illustrated Annual, and all current subscribers to Railroads Illustrated will receive the first annual free of charge.

TRP Magazine will continue with features covering predominantly "classic” railroading from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Its current column mix will remain with only a couple of minor changes.

Model Railroad News will continue essentially unchanged. It will continue as the all-scale monthly news publication that prides itself in advance information on model releases as well as incredibly informative reviews.

Railroad Model Craftsman will continue to emphasize the "craftsman” side of the hobby. Scratchbuilding and kitbashing, as well as the usual mix of entertaining columns, model-building know-how, and detailed information will continue to be the focus of Railroad Model Craftsman. Like the first issue of Railfan & Railroad under WRP, Railroad Model Craftsman has also changed to higher quality paper, and will also see some design improvements in the near future.

Staffing and Contact Information

WRP has finalized staffing across the entire fleet of publications. Editor contact information is presented below. Staff for Passenger Train Journal, Railfan & Railroad, TRP Magazine, and Model Railroad News is predominantly unchanged. Stephen Priest has been appointed Editor of Railroad Model Craftsman.
Passenger Train Journal
Mike Schafer, Editor
PO Box 129
Lee IL 60530-0129
email: ptjeditor@earthlink.net

Railfan & Railroad
Steve Barry, Editor
PO Box 554
Andover NJ 07821-0554
email: editor@railfan.com

TRP Magazine
Jaime Serensits, Editor
PO Box 444
Hanover PA 17331-0444
email: trp@alco628.com

Model Railroad News
Tony Cook, Editor
PO Box 177
Plattsburg MO 64477-0177
email: editor@modelrailroadnews.com

Railroad Model Craftsman
Stephen Priest, Editor
6324 N Chatham
Box 117
Kansas City MO 64151-2473
email: spriest@rrmodelcraftsman.com

NMRA Magazine, Railroads Illustrated Annual, and Historical Societies

Cinthia Priest, former editor of Railroads Illustrated, has been appointed to edit the upcoming Railroads Illustrated Annual. The annual is being developed, but will include several reader favorites, including the immensely popular "Day in North America.” Additionally, she’ll assume the editorial reins in the National Model Railroad Association’s NMRA Magazine. Advertising sales for the NMRA Magazine are being transferred from Cinthia to Todd Gillette.

The many historical society publications produced by WRP will continue with their respective editors.

Author Payments

Author payments have resumed for the two former Carstens titles. Articles and photographs published in the first WRP-produced magazines (July-October 2014 issue and beyond) are going out in the near future. Author payments for articles published under Carstens (June 2014 issues and before) are Carstens’ responsibility. Questions can be directed to info@whiteriverproductions.com or PO Box 48, Bucklin MO 64631.

Issue Numbers

Due to postal regulations associated with mailing permits, the first issue of both Railfan & Railroad and Railroad Model Craftsman is the July-October issue. Subscriptions will be advanced three issues to account for the combined July-October issue. In order to get in synch with the newsstand distribution schedules for both magazines, the second issue of both Railfan & Railroad and Railroad Model Craftsman is the November-December issue. Subscriptions will be advanced one issue as a result. Monthly publication of both titles will resume with the January issue.

WRP Books

WRP will continue to produce books at regular intervals. The books portion of Carstens Publications was acquired with the two magazines, and production will continue under the direction of Chris Lane. Both very popular narrow gauge annuals, the On30 Annual and the HOn3 Annual, will continue under WRP with Chris in charge.

The inventory of books already produced by Carstens has been moved from Carstens’ New Jersey location to Missouri. Authors with contracts in place for those titles should contact Kevin EuDaly to discuss those contracts. WRP intends to honor royalty payments for sales of those books going forward. Any past royalty payments due from Carstens are not part of WRP’s responsibility.

Other books contemplated by Carstens are also in Chris’s hands. New contracts for those authors to continue under WRP will be developed in the near future on a case by case basis.

WRP thanks our loyal supporters for their patience while we get the former Carstens titles back on track. Your patience is appreciated by all WRP staff.

—White River Productions 

Officials celebrate opening of Englewood Flyover Bridge
October 23rd, 2014

CHICAGO, IL. -- Federal, state and local officials today celebrated the opening of the $142 million Englewood flyover, a major railroad bridge that has eliminated a significant source of train delays on the south side of Chicago and has reduced emissions and noise from idling trains in the neighborhood.

The flyover bridge replaced a crossing between the Metra Rock Island tracks and a set of Norfolk Southern tracks at 63rd and State St. With the completion of this project, 78 weekday Rock Island Line trains are now carried over the busy freight tracks used by approximately 60 freight and Amtrak trains, eliminating conflicts between trains that result in service delays.

The flyover is a major accomplishment of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program, a first-of-its-kind partnership between U.S. Department of Transportation, the State of Illinois, City of Chicago, Metra, Amtrak, and the nation's freight railroads to eliminate railroad bottlenecks in the Chicago area.

The Englewood flyover is the first project planned under the CREATE program to reduce conflicts between passenger and freight trains in the Englewood area and prepare the corridor to accommodate high speed rail service. Its completion lays the groundwork for two more CREATE projects. The planned 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project will divert trains on Metra’s Southwest Service to the Rock Island District at a point south of Englewood. The planned Grand Crossing Project will divert six daily Amtrak trains to Norfolk Southern tracks east of Englewood. With the flyover in service, the 75th Street and Grand Crossing projects can move forward without creating further bottlenecks at the busy Englewood interlocker.

–Norfolk Southern Corp.

Track extension for upstate New York salt mine approved
October 10th, 2014

American Rock Salt has all the approvals in place to begin construction of a 1500' addition that will extend loading tracks at their salt mine near Mount Morris, New York, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. The extension will allow the mine to load trains 100 cars long, instead of the 70 cars they are restricted to now. The salt mine is the largest operation in America, supplying de-icing rock salt to municipalities in 12 states. The mine is served by the Rochester & Southern Railroad, a unit of Genesee & Wyoming Industries. Approval was delayed until an agreement could be reached between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Tonawanda Seneca Nation over the handling of any discoveries of Native American burial sites or artifacts, an issue that was handled poorly when the mine was constructed in the 1990s.

—Railfan & Railroad

Canadian Pacific announces sale of Delaware & Hudson at investors meeting
October 2nd, 2014

Canadian Pacific's president and chief executive officer Hunter Harrison announced an agreement to sell Delaware & Hudson Railway to an unnamed party at its annual investors meeting in White Plains, New York, today. While the details of the sale were not revealed at the meeting, Harrison outlined an aggressive program to reduce operating costs and increase shipment velocity and train length. While CP has reduced its workforce and closed facilities, the railroad's stock price has nearly tripled since Harrison and his new management team took over in 2012. According to Bloomberg News, CP will continue to aggressively market its intermodal business and crude oil transport opportunities. It was also announced that Harrison's contract will be extended through 2017.

—Railfan & Railroad

College students work to preserve history of Clinchfield Railroad
September 30th, 2014

Graduate students from the East Tennessee State University held an open house at the Clinchfield Railroad Museum in Erwin, Tenn., so they could establish contacts with those who worked for the railroad. The primary focus of the project is the collection of oral histories, according to the Johnson City Press. The research program was developed in coordination with the railroad museum and county historians. Part of the Appalachia Teaching Project, the oral history project is funded in part by the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The project has two primary goals, including field research of existing documentation and interviews with residents who have some connection the old Clinchfield Railroad, as well as working with community leaders to draft along-term plan to use railroad history to promote local tourism.

The Clinchfield Railroad connected the coalfields of Virginia and Kentucky with the textile mills of South Carolina. The Clinchfield played an important part as a connector between the Chesapeake & Ohio, the Atlantic Coast Line, and the Louisville & Nashville railroads. Clinchfield was merged into Seaboard System in 1983, and is now owned and operated by CSX Transportation.

—Railfan & Railroad

Despite opposition, Kenosha approves streetcar extension
September 24th, 2014

The city council approved an extension of the streetcar system in Kenosha, Wis., last week, despite opposition from those who felt that other areas of city transportation deserved attention first. Federal funds would cover about 80% of the total $10.3 million cost, with Kenosha contributing $2 million. The existing streetcar loop connects the Metra commuter rail station with the marina and waterfront areas, using a collection of vintage PCC trolley cars. The current system has been in operation for 14 years, and has become a tourist attraction for the area as well as driving "transit-oriented development" along its route.

—Railfan & Railroad

2015-2019 Capital Program for MTA includes plans for new Metro-North cars
September 24th, 2014

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority released their 2015-2019 Capital Program  yesterday, which includes spending plans to improve all aspects of transportation and transit in the metropolitan area, including the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad. The proposed $32 billion Capital Program is designed to renew, enhance and expand the MTA network, which moves 8.7 million customers every day.

"The MTA Capital Program is our single most important effort to ensure we can keep the New York metropolitan region moving, so people can get where they need to go, businesses can thrive and the quality of life here can continue to improve," said MTA Chief Executive Thomas Prendergast in a statement.

The latest plan includes a budget for new M-9 electric multiple-unit railcars for the Hudson and Harlem lines, to replace the last of the M-3 cars that were delivered in the 1980s. These cars would also have the ability to operate on the New Haven Line, which would move Metro-North one step closer towards its plan to route some rush hours trains into Penn Station via Amtrak's Hell Gate Bridge route.

New cars for the Subway and the Staten Island Railway are included in the budget, as well as new buses, track and signal improvements, station facility renewal, and bridge and tunnel rebuilding and maintenance. The second phase of Second Avenue Subway construction is also a large part of the 2015-2019 Capital Program.

The 2015-2019 Capital Program can be downloaded from this link.

—Railfan & Railroad via Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Canadian Pacific expands St.Paul yard over city objections
September 22nd, 2014

In a plan that has been labeled "controversial" by city officials, Canadian Pacific will begin its project to expand Dunn Yard in St. Paul., Minn., according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The project involves lengthening six tracks to accommodate longer trains and reduce congestion on the main line. The city raised objections because the expansion will increase train traffic and noise levels, and potentially impact a nearby wildlife preserve due to the filling of adjacent wetlands. The yard was originally designed in the 1950s, and the construction will lengthen the arrival tracks from 7,000 feet to 10,000 feet, which is a better fit for today's longer trains.

The city and Canadian Pacific were locked in a months-long dispute over environmental impact statements and an extensive permitting process. The railroad filed a petition with the Surface Transportation Board in July to address the issue. With approval coming from the STB, Canadian Pacific will begin construction soon, though the city of St. Paul promises it will continue to oversee the progress and intervene if public health and safety are threatened. The railroad will be working with the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers to come up with a plan to mitigate the loss of wetlands around the project site.

—Railfan & Railroad

NRHS board votes down "new business model," installs new president
September 22nd, 2014

The board of the National Railway Historical Society voted down a new plan that would have reinvented how the nearly 80-year-old organization conducted business in a day-long meeting that took place over the weekend. Facing mounting financial losses, and a membership that is rapidly graying and aging out of participation, a special five-member committee was tasked with examining the problem and coming up with a new plan to present to the board. The vote was close, with 12 again and 10 in favor of the new plan. The new business model would have transformed the society into a donor-based organization, and the role of chapters would have changed as well. Railfan & Railroad editor Steve Barry was a member of the committee tasked with developing the new business model for consideration.

Al Weber was installed as president during the meeting, an abrupt move that was originally planned to transition in November. However, according to the new NRHS by-laws, the president is supposed to assume office a few weeks after the conclusion of the election. Weber replaces Greg Malloy who has led the organization since 1994. While Weber was one of the members who voted down the new business model, he is looking at implementing many aspects of the plan to help streamline and modernize the organization.

The NRHS was founded in 1935 by a group of independent rail historians and enthusiasts. It has since grown from 40 founding members to include over 13,000 men and women of all ages and professions in every state and many foreign countries, making it the nation's largest rail preservation and historical society.

—Railfan & Railroad

Jeffrey Bliemeister joins Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
September 22nd, 2014

Jeffrey Bliemeister has been named as the new site administrator at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. He joins a staff of 25, an active corps of volunteers and a board of directors of the non-profit Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania to lead the world-class institution.  Bliemeister is expected to assume his duties as Museum director beginning October 6. 

Bliemeister has more than 25 years of professional museum experience. He most recently directed the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum in Galeton, Penn., where he oversaw renovations to and expansion of the visitor center. Additionally, he served as director at the Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia, N.Y.; Hyde Hall New York State Historic Site in Springfield, N.Y., and Renfrew Museum and Park in Waynesboro, Penn. Bliemeister also was the founding curator at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey, Penn. He has extensive experience in collections management, exhibitions and interpretive programs, community-based fund raising and working with volunteers.

Opened to the public in 1975, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is home to a premier collection of more than 100 historic locomotives and railroad cars, a vast library and archives, a working restoration shop and an immersive education center.

—Railfan & Railroad


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