Christmas Then and Now

My mother had fallen ill during the Christmas Season of 2011. That horrible demon known as Alzheimer’s was slowly tightening its grip on her memory and functions. It was soon obvious that she needed to be institutionalized and have round-the-clock care and treatment for her devastating illness.

The darkness of winter grew longer each day, and our holiday spirits were darkened as well. My wife Yoko and I thought it would be a good idea to brighten up her home once again with a Christmas Tree in the living room to help rekindle the flames of the Christmas season. So for the first time in more than a few years, there was once again a Christmas tree in mom’s house. Read more

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Holiday Train

On Sunday December 10th, 2017, the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train came to Lethbridge, Alberta, marking nineteen years that the Holiday Train has been going across Canada and parts of the United States raising awareness, money, and food for local food banks. Unfortunately, Lethbridge is off the main line so we only get the Holiday Train every second year, which has its drawbacks. This year would be different, as I wanted to chase the train from Lethbridge west to the mountains, and friends Simon Aperloo & Ken McCutcheon, had similar ideas so we planned out the itinerary for Monday! Read more

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Editor’s Notebook

A Year-End Miscellany

Gordonsville, Virginia

The year is drawing to a close, and this will be the last Editor’s Notebook for 2018. But there are still a few weeks to go, and we have several special articles for your enjoyment during the Holidays.

✒ This coming Thursday, December 13th, Jason Paul Sailer will take us along as he chases the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train across Alberta to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

✒ Then on December 20th, Steve Crise brings us the story of how memories of an American Flyer train under the Christmas Tree come to life again after almost fifty years.

✒ And be sure to catch the Holiday Extra on December 24th, as Danny Johnson remembers a Christmas Eve many years ago in a small Mississippi town on the Illinois Central mainline.

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A Brief History of 
Southern Railway’s 
Atlanta Office Building

View of Southern Railway’s Atlanta office complex looking south along Spring Street, SW . Photo was taken some time in the late 1950s or early 60s. Photo courtesy of O. Fenton Wells.

Railroad office buildings are not normally a subject covered so extensively as other aspects of railroading. I did not even think of them during my early years of rail-fanning, until I began my thirty year railroad career with Southern Railway in September, 1973.

The Southern Railway office complex was located on what was then Spring Street, SW in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The concrete buildings were quite impressive. The east side of the buildings faced Spring Street, while the west side faced the Atlanta to Macon main lines of the Southern and Central of Georgia railroads. The buildings housed various departments including information technology, operations, car accounting, engineering (maintenance of way and structures) to name a few. I worked in the Bridge Department for twenty-nine years which was a part of engineering.

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Richmond Division Recollections

Part Two
Piedmont Subdivision

Trevillian depot with the village post office in the waiting room.

Trevillian, Pendleton, Buckner, Doswell, Hanover, and Ellerson

Trevillian was a larger wooden depot with the town post office inside the former waiting rooms. I am uncertain what may have been stored in the freight room. Local lore was that the station building was used as a hospital during the civil war, but I am uncertain whether it was the one shown above or an earlier structure.

Pendleton was a closed agency with doors wide open. My understanding is that the agent at Mineral had spent a few hours there daily until the North Anna Power Station at Frederick Hall increased traffic, so that Pendleton became a non-agency station. I retrieved a tariff case from the depot which now resides at Boyce. Read more

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One Sweet Conversion

I will get this right out of the way now: until 2014, I never really took Queensland’s sugar cane railways seriously. Sure, between them they hauled an impressive amount of tonnage (up to thirty-three million tonnes of cut cane in a good season) and even more impressive because this is all two foot gauge country, but really? Little locomotives, little trains, little journeys, little variety, and nothing but little cane bins that hardly deserve being described as wagons. And all set in sub-tropical coast scenery—cute maybe, but not a setting likely to generate much
. . . drama.

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