A few more from Scholle, New Mexico





Scholle, New Mexico, a spot that consists of, as far as I can tell, an overpass, railroad tracks, and lots of desert is a beautiful spot to watch the trains pass by. The tracks are part of BNSF's "Transcon," rolling across the Southwest. It is also near Abo Canyon, which used to be a huge bottleneck on the route. It has since been double-tracked, but that just means those hundred or so trains a day roll through at a faster clip.
If you get bored with the trains, head over to the nearby Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument for a nice change of pace. There is gas and food (and more railroad) in Mountainair.

The Reappearing Railroad Blues


For decades the railroad industry was seen as a decaying backwater that would more or less vanish after the last American steel mill shut its doors. I can just remember those sad days when Penn Central collapsed and Conrail looked like a government boondoggle. I remember a TV news reporter making a stretch of railroad track bounce up and down merely by pressing on it with his tasseled loafer, and young Arlo Guthrie riding the train, singing City of New Orleans in a desperate bid to save an important industry. This, I think, appealed to a lot of railfans, who seem to be a very nostalgic lot. Every glimpse of a train could be the last, every snapshot archival, every bankrupt line a "fallen flag," as if it were Appomattox Courthouse - the lost cause.
But then something happened. The railroads came back. Unburdened from outdated regulation by the Staggers Act, and streamlined to the point of profitability, they were positioned perfectly to take advantage of rising fuel costs and the fact that most of our manufacturing has gone abroad. Today, unit trains bound for Walmart and Best Buy speed across the entire continent in just a few days time, piling up well earned profits by the barrelful. Not to mention all that low-sulphur coal rolling out of the West, and that oil squeezed from the sands of the Northern Plains. Even our stinky Eastern coal is headed to the ports by the mountaintop. What's a mournful railfan to do?
I think there will always be rail fans, there is indeed "something about a train." But we may see a generation gap emerge in the hobby, dividing those who spent a lifetime dedicated to salvage photography and those who track the myriad trains hurtling across the nation using laptops running ATCS software - many of them have never known a time when it wasn't like this. Lucky kids.

Chasing the MA & PA Railroad around York, Pennsylvania
























O.k., so it's not the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad anymore (MPA), it's The York Railway (YRC), but it will always be the MA&PA to me. And anyway, there's still plenty of old MPA remnants to be found in town, not to mention the fact that the York Railway, part of the Genesee & Wyoming (which also merged the MA&PA with Yorkrail) group of shortlines, is a great little railroad too.

Anzio Annie Railway Gun (Krupp K5)



(Wikipedia) The Krupp 28-cm-Kanone 5 (E), in short K5, was a heavy railway gun used by Germany throughout World War II. ... A K5(E) is preserved at the United States Army Ordnance Museum in Maryland [recently moved to Fort Lee, Virginia]. It is composed of parts from two guns that shelled Anzio beachhead during World War II. They were named Robert and Leopold by the Germans, but are better known by their Allied nicknames - Anzio Annie and Anzio Express.

Photos taken with a Canon EOS 5D