Posts Tagged ‘Trains magazine’

Former Trains Editor J. David Ingles Dies

October 5, 2020

Former Trains magazine editor J. David Ingles died on Sunday at a nursing home in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where he had been recovering from back surgery. He was 79.

Ingles joined the Trains staff in 1971 as associate editor. He was named editor in 1987 upon the retirement of legendary editor David P. Morgan.

He stepped down as editor in 1992 and assumed the post of senior editor until retiring in 2005.

However, Ingles continued to serve as a senior editor at Classic Trains until 2018 when he became contributing editor.

Most recently Ingles was known for his remembrances of railfan outings illustrated with his photographs that he wrote for Classic Trains. Ingles was also an active rare mileage collector.

The son and grandson of railroaders, Ingles grew up in Homewood, Illinois, and Dearborn, Michigan.

After attending the University of Tennessee, and MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois, Ingles worked as a reporter for a newspaper in Springfield, Illinois, before joining the Trains staff.

Is Ohio Really the Heart of Midwest Railroading?

July 24, 2020

When I moved to Ohio in August 1993 the state had a slogan “the heart of it all.”

That always struck me as odd because it begs the question of “all of what?”

The current state marketing slogan is “find it here.” Find what here? Maybe it depends on what you’re seeking.

If it is freight trains and a rich railroad history you’re in luck, which probably is why Trains magazine in its August issue describes Ohio as the “heart of Midwestern railroading.”

That might trigger a retort from a Hoosier that many of the trains that pass through Ohio also pass through Indiana.

For that matter many of Ohio’s freight trains also pass through Pennsylvania. But the Keystone State is not a Midwest state so it doesn’t count.

Then there is Illinois, home of the largest railroad terminal in the Midwest. The Land of Lincoln also hosts trains going to and from St. Louis, another enormous Midwest railroad terminal.

So is Ohio actually is the “heart” of Midwestern railroading?

Well, the state is somewhat heart shaped. Yet if you use the meaning of “heart” as “the center or innermost part” of something then Ohio can’t be the “heart “ of Midwestern railroading because it is located on the eastern periphery of the Midwest.

A traditional definition of the Midwest includes the states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.

This region also is sometimes referred to as the Heartland, and Trains editor Jim Wrinn used that term in the headline over his column introducing the August issue.

By pure geography, the “heart” of Midwestern railroading is Illinois or Iowa because of their central location in the block of states identified as the Midwest or the Heartland.

Yet I suspect the editors of Trains didn’t have central location in mind when deciding to describe Ohio as the heart of Midwestern railroading.

Another definition of heart is “the essential or most vital part of something.”

Does that make Ohio the heart of Midwest railroading? Not necessarily.

The bulk of the rail freight traffic in Ohio didn’t originate here and isn’t bound for destinations in Ohio.

Some of that traffic may have been classified in a yard somewhere in Ohio.

Until recently, Bellevue was the home of the second largest classification yard in the United States and the largest on the Norfolk Southern system.

CSX a few years ago downgraded operations at its classification yard in Willard and its Stanley hump yard in Toledo.

All of these yards and others remain in operation and continue to play important roles even if those have been redefined in the wake of the adoption of the precision scheduled railroading operations model and its emphasis on reducing the handling of freight cars en route to their destinations.

It may be that what makes Ohio stand out from other Midwest states is the presence of numerous railfan friendly places where you can watch trains.

Notable among these are Marion, Fostoria, Deshler, Bellevue, Berea and Alliance. These locations draw fans from all over the Midwest and beyond.

I would add Olmsted Falls to the list, but beyond Cleveland it lacks the familiarity of its better known cousin a short drive east down Bagley Road.

The development of PSR has meant that the volume of train traffic in the state has diminished as railroads operate fewer and longer trains in an effort to reduce their expenses.

You can sit in some traditional Ohio hotspots and go an hour or more between trains.

And there is a fair amount of grousing on social media about how the trains of the Class 1 railroads all look alike.

Ohio will never be confused with places that feature dramatic geographic land forms that provide stunning backgrounds for railroad action photography.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter much whether Ohio is or is not the heart of Midwest railroading.

Trains was merely seeking to spotlight rail operations in a single state and it needed a theme to build around.

It may be that from the perspective of the major railroads, Ohio is just one more place on the way to somewhere else with a little bit of business to be had as well.

If you like to watch mainline Class 1 railroad action, though, it’s a pretty darn good place to be.

Trains Features Ohio Railroads in August Issue

June 25, 2020

“Oh, yeah, I’ve photographed there . . . and there . . . and there . . . and there!”

If you’ve spent any amount of time photographing Ohio railroad operations you’ll find yourself saying that to yourself as you leaf through the August 2020 issue of Trains magazine.

And if you like railfanning in Ohio you’ll love the issue when it arrives in your mailbox late this month or you buy it where magazine are sold once it goes on sale on July 14.

Trains devoted most of the content of the August issue to Ohio, which it deems the heart of Midwestern railroading.

The coverage starts with an historic overview of Ohio as a crossroads for major railroad lines that was written by H. Roger Grant.

There are features articles about Cincinnati Union Terminal, how former Conrail lines fared after they were split by Norfolk Southern and CSX, and a look at how the former Detroit, Toledo & Ironton has managed to survive after losing much of its traditional sources of freight traffic.

The images illustrating the articles and a gallery of Ohio photographs feature work by well-known Buckeye state photographers David Oroszi, David Patch, Michael Harding and Matt Arnold.

Other photographers whose names you might recognize also contributed images from various locations in the state, many of which will look familiar to you.

The issue was overseen by former Ohioan Brian Schmidt, now an associate editor at Trains, and who supplied several photographs including the cover image of a CSX train rounding the north to east connection at Deshler past the iconic Baltimore & Ohio color position light signals.

Grant’s story is illustrated with historic photographs featuring railroads large and small.

Although Northeast Ohio didn’t rate a story of its own, it’s not ignored. Cleveland’s role as the epicenter of the Conrail X features prominently in Bill Stephens’ article about the Conrail split.

Editor- in-chief Jim Wrinn gives a shout out to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek and the various hot spots of Fostoria, Deshler and Marion.

But he said his favorite place to hang out in Ohio is Berea.

He correctly notes that there is so much railroading in Ohio that one issue hardly does it justice. But it does provide a good overview that will resonate with those familiar with Ohio railroads and their history.

Throw in two In My Own Words pieces about a double-saw meet on the Norfolk & Western in Northwest Ohio, and how a 12-year-old used to get to Deshler and a piece on how to railran the Napolean, Defiance & Western and you have an issue that you’ll want to spend hours enjoying.

Oh, there is one other name in the issue you might recognize. I wrote the story about the I&O that begins on Page 30.

It was fun to be a part of contributing to a special issue about a place I’ve gotten to know so well in the past 26 years.

Funding Progress Continues for C&O 1309

March 6, 2020

The fundraising campaign to earn the final dollars needed to complete restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 is nearing $60,000 of its stated $100,000 goal.

The campaign, which is being promoted by Trains magazine, has picked up donations in varying amounts ranging from $5 to $25,000.

The magazine reported this week that funds raised thus far have enabled the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to acquire parts to replace those stolen from the project by a former employee who sold them.

The stolen parts included 12 drive-wheel journal boxes.

Railroad officials have said that restoration of the 1309 to operating condition is 85 percent complete and $390,000 is needed to finish the work.

Donations can be sent to Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, 13 Canal Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, or made online at

The former employee who stole parts from the 1309 restoration effort pleaded guilty in January to one count of grand larceny in a West Virginia court.

He was sentenced to one to 10 years I prison, which was suspended. He also received 30 days of active incarceration with work release and must make restitution in the sum of $251,000 and provide 100 hours of community service.

However, Trains reported that it is unlikely the WMSR will receive any money from the person.

The theft of the parts cost the restoration time, but restoration efforts have also been hindered by lack of funding. Thus far the restoration has cost $2.8 million.

Looking for Love in the Steam Restoration World

February 18, 2020

On Valentine’s Day last week a group in Pennsylvania found itself showered with love after it announced that it had reached an agreement to purchase the moribund East Broad Top narrow gauge railroad.

If all goes according to plan, steam locomotives will huff and chuff again in central Pennsylvania maybe as early as this year.

On the same day that the EBT resurrection was announced I ran across a column posted on the website of Trains magazine lamenting the lack of love that another steam restoration has received.

John Hankey, who has been involved in railroad restoration for more than 50 years, decried what he described as the “unwarranted criticism, vitriol, and downright nastiness” that has been directed by some toward the restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 by the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

Hankey’s column offers a cautionary tale about what may lie ahead for the EBT project once all of the feel good moments have passed and the realities of restoration have begun to sink in.

It wasn’t that long ago when the 1309 was feeling the love.

But an announced event for the triumphant return of the Baldwin-built locomotive was canceled and the restoration project was halted for lack of funding. That had to be embarrassing and frustrating for the WMSR.

Indeed, the 1309 restoration is still in the “pause” stage as the WMSR continues to shake the money trees for the final $390,000 the restorers say is needed to complete their work.

Thus far WMSR has spent $2.8 million on restoration of the 1309 and that has strained the tourist railroad’s finances.

Hankey’s column details the travails WMSR has faced over the years since its creation in the 1980s and that alone makes it a must read for anyone seeking to understand the restoration world.

There is much we don’t know yet about the finances of the newly formed East Broad Top Foundation.

We don’t know, for example, how much it paid to buy the EBT from the Kovalchick family that has owned the railroad since the middle 1950s.

We don’t know how much it will cost to rebuild the EBT and how those efforts will be financed.

We know that three high-profile luminaries from the railroad industry – Charles “Wick” Moorman, Bennett Levin and Henry Posner III – are involved and that suggests the foundation is being backed by some deep pockets or at least people who know where to find deep pockets.

Unless the EBT foundation has some fabulously wealthy benefactors it seems likely that at some point it, like the WMSR, will be appealing for money.

It also seems likely that the same negativity that has dogged the 1309 restoration efforts will eventually descend on the EBT if it hasn’t already.

Conflicts and tensions long have been part of the business of operating vintage railway equipment. Those long predate the Internet era, which has tended to magnify disputes by giving them a wide platform on which anyone can express gripes, grievances and opinions whether those are informed or not.

Judging by the casual comments I’ve heard over the years during railfan events there is much jealousy and no shortage of opinionated people in the railroad restoration world.

There also are more restoration projects chasing dollars than there are dollars to go around.

The potential for the 1309 to run again and for the EBT to come back to life probably are pretty good given the support that they have managed to attract.

Many were skeptical that a Union Pacific Big Boy steam locomotive would ever operate again under its own power, but it did last year.

Of course the Big Boy had the resources of a Class 1 railroad in its corner.

The underlying lesson is that it takes more than dreams to return a machine to steam.

The day that 1309 finally rounds Helmster’s Curve under its own power or that an EBT steam locomotive reaches Colgate Grove with a smoke plume trailing will be a most happy one for those who’ve spent innumerable hours working to make those days possible.

There will be dozens, if not hundreds, of photographers on hand to record those historic moments.

All of those chat list and social media comments that said the restoration efforts couldn’t or wouldn’t make it that far it won’t mean anything.

Trains Leading Fundraising Push for C&O 1309

February 14, 2020

Trains magazine is leading a push to raise money to finish the restoration to operating condition of former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309.

Work on the locomotive halted last August after the project ran out of money.

Trains editor Jim Wrinn wrote on the magazine’s website that officials estimate the project needs $390,000 to complete the restoration work.

The work is being done on the property of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and is estimated to be 85 percent complete.

Wrinn said a review of the work plan found “no potential for unanticipated additional major expenses at this late date.”

Most of the projected expenses to finish the restoration will go toward labor, machine work, rewheeling, final upfit, testing and breaking in the locomotive.

Once funding is in hand the restoration work can be completed in less than six months, officials say.

Trains said it had already contributed $10,000 in 2015 toward the restoration efforts and its readers have kicked in $50,000.

“We’re asking individuals, organizations, and corporations to donate to help raise $100,000 toward the effort,” Wrinn wrote.

No. 1309 was built in 1949 and retired in 1956. It sat for several years at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore until being acquired by the WMSR in 2014.

It currently resides in the former WM carshop at Ridgeley, West Virginia.

Donations can be sent to Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, 13 Canal Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, or made online at

Kentucky Group Wins Trains Preservation Award

December 3, 2019

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation has received the 2019 preservation award from Trains magazine.

The $10,000 grant will be used in the restoration of former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-4 No. 2716.

The museum plans to use the funds to pay for rebuilding the hot water pump on the Kanawha type locomotive’s boiler system.

Trains said it received 37 applications for the award, including bids for funding for renovation of rolling stock; steam and diesel locomotive rebuilding; and preservation of archives.

The Kentucky group earlier this year was awarded $46,000 from the John Emery Trust to pay for new boiler tubes for No. 2716, which was retired by the C&O in 1956 and donated to the Kentucky Railway Museum three years later.

No. 2716 has twice been restored to operating condition. The Southern Railway restored it in 1981 and the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society overhauled it in 1996.

After both restorations the 2716 ran only for a brief time before being sidelined with mechanical issues.

The Heritage Corporation is leasing the 2716 from the Kentucky Railway Museum.

Cincinnati Union Terminal Tribute Programs Set

October 20, 2018

Two programs featuring photography of Cincinnati Union Terminal by former Trains magazine managing editor Wallace W. Abbey have been set in early November.

The programs will be presented by George W. Hamlin.

Titled Wally Abbey Visits Cincinnati Union Terminal, the programs will feature background on CUT and the railroads and trains that served it.

Abbey, who died in 2014, wrote an article about CUT that was published in the May 1953 issue of Trains.

His collection of 25,000 black and white negatives and 8,000 color slides is now housed at the Center for Railroad Photography & Art.

One presentation will be given during the Nov. 1 meeting of the Cincinnati Railroad Club at Harmony Lodge. More information is available at

Another presentation will be hosted on Nov. 2 by the Miami Valley Railfans at the West Carrollton Civic Center at 7 p.m.

During that presentation, club member David Oroszi will show photos of CUT from his collection. For more information, go to

John Gruber was Influenced by the Work of Photojournalists and Brought That to Railroad Photography

October 11, 2018

Wednesday, Oct. 10, was a slow day for railroad news. Oh, there was news made and reported, but none of it involved railroad operations in the region that I cover for the Akron Railroad Club blog.

Among the news items on Wednesday was an obituary for John Gruber, 82, of Madison, Wisconsin, a noted railroad photographer and founder of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art.

I wasn’t going to report Gruber’s death on the ARRC blog because I wasn’t sure most ARRC members would know who he is even if they might have seen his work.

But I was intrigued when former Trains editor Kevin Keefe wrote in a tribute that Gruber had pioneered a “daring new approach to photographing the railroad scene.”

That got my attention. What was it? How was it daring?

It turns out that Gruber was an early practitioner of using a telephoto lens to, as Keefe put it, practice the art of “getting up close and personal with professional railroaders.”

This wasn’t something that Gruber thought of on his own but rather was the byproduct of the influence of newspaper photographers.

Keefe wrote that Dick Sroda of the Wisconsin State Journal and Jim Stanfield of the Milwaukee Journal inspired Gruber to go beyond what he was seeing in Trains magazine.

“It was a time when press photographers and journalists were interested in what people were doing,” Gruber once said. “I saw this as an underrepresented area of railroad photography, and I took advantage of every opportunity to document railroad people at work, rather than concentrating on equipment.”

Gruber may have built a career on people-oriented photographs, but it is not a philosophy that has caught on with most rank and file railfan photographers.

Most railfans are fixated on the equipment, particularly the lead locomotive of a train. The people working on the train, riding the train, or watching the train are an afterthought if they are thought about at all.

That is particularly true of spectators and bystanders. We’ve all heard someone lament that a railfan or a daisy picker got into an otherwise pristine image of an oncoming train. I’ve griped about that myself at times.

Although I never considered myself a photojournalist per se, I did engage in the practice during my early years in the newspaper industry.

At small town newspapers you need to make photographs as well as conduct interviews and write stories.

News organizations spend a lot of time writing about the behavior of organizations. They also report a lot of staid news about people in organizations, much of it focusing on such things as the work history of someone who was just named to a position such as vice president.

That information can be contrived and lacking a sense of authenticity even if it is rooted in reality.

But it’s the moments when people are captured acting naturally that most excites photojournalists. To capture those moments on film or megapixels takes practice, some training, and patience. In time it becomes something that you just do.

John Gruber is not the only railroad photographer who took a journalistic mindset into his work and he probably wasn’t the first.

But it became his trademark or brand to use a current buzzword.

His first photograph published in Trains featured shivering railfans photographing an excursion on the North Shore interurban line at Northbrook, Illinois, in February 1960.

That led to a friendship with legendary Trains editor David P. Morgan, who published many of Gruber’s photographs. The two would go on to become traveling companions.

Keefe wrote that Morgan would later say about Gruber that he was always “on top of the action, however unexpected and regardless of the hour. His pictures tell it like it was.”

Gruber never worked as a newspaper man, opting instead to take a job in publications and public relations at the University of Wisconsin, a position he held for 35 years.

But you don’t have to be a professional journalist to understand and practice the principles of photojournalism.

Aside from his work for the university, Gruber was an editor of the Gazette of the Mid-Continent Railway Museum.

In 1995 he began editing Vintage Rails, a magazine about railroad history and culture published by Pentrex.

After Pentrex shut that publication down four years later, Gruber moved on to organize the Center for Railroad Photography & Art, which has its own magazine and hosts an annual conference known as “Conversations.”

“I had become curious about railroad photographers — who they were, their backgrounds, their ideas about photography,” Gruber said of why he created the organization.

Other than magazine articles, Gruber wrote or co-wrote a number of books, including Travel by Train: The American Railroad Poster, 1870-1950 (with Michael Zega); Classic Steam; and Railroaders: Jack Delano’s Homefront Photography

In 1994, the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society presented Gruber its Senior Achievement Award.

You sometimes hear railroad photographers describe one of their images as having been inspired by a well-known photographer such as Philip R. Hastings, Richard Steinheimer, David Plowden or Jim Shaughnessy.

None of the images presented above were inspired by John Gruber as such. But I’d like to think that he’d appreciate them and understand why I made them.

They were all made on the same day on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and none were planned. They were just moments I saw and was nimble enough to capture. More often than not instinct takes over when these opportunities present themselves.

The top image was made at Boston Mill before a photo runby featuring Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765.

I don’t know who that boy is. He might be the son of the engineer or another members of the locomotive crew. But this experience is one he will never forget and one that many children and even adults are not fortunate enough to have.

The middle image was a grab shot of a passenger sitting in one of the open-window cars in the steam excursion. I did intend to make images of passengers watching out those windows, but you don’t know what you will get.

This guy’s demeanor captures the joy of riding an excursion, particularly one behind a big steam locomotive.

The bottom image was made at Botzum station of a CVSR engineer working the northbound National Park Scenic.

It’s one of those countless moments that unfold on the CVSR or any other passenger railroad every day. And yet it tells a story, even if only a small one, of life on the railroad.

I can’t think of a better way to pay tribute to Gruber than to post the type of images he devoted his life to making.

Legendary Photographer Shaughnessy Dies at Age 84

August 9, 2018

Acclaimed railroad photographer Jim Shaughnessy died this week at age 84 after a long illness.

Mr. Shaughnessy was a prolific photographer whose collection includes about 100,000 negatives of which thousands were published in books and magazines.

Several of his photographs were included in fine-art collections. His photos appeared on the cover of Trains magazine 13 times and his work regularly appears in Classic Trains magazine.

In a tribute that was posted to the Trains website, former Trains editor-in-chief Kevin Keefe described Mr. Shaughnessy as a pioneer who revolutionized railroad photography in the post World War II decade by shifting the focus of photographs from locomotives to the entire railroad environment.

Keefe called Mr. Shaughnessy one of the deans of the field whose powerful images from the steam-to-diesel era of the 1950s and 1960s placed him among the “big three” of railroad photographers, the other two being the late Philip R. Hastings and the late Richard Steinheimer.

“[Mr.] Shaughnessy was a fearless artist who got in and around railroading as few others did,” Keefe wrote. “He was an important figure in the shift away from simple train pictures toward depictions of the entire railroad environment.”

Speaking to Trains, Jeff Brouws, who wrote a profile of Mr. Shaughnessy for the 2008 book The Call of Trains, described him as a pioneer and door-opener.

“Jim sought to contextualize the engines and trains he loved into a broader framework that spoke less about hardware and more about their role in everyday life,” Brouws said. “His widespread acclaim deservedly conferred upon him the title of master photographer.”

Mr. Shaugnessy was by profession a professional engineer and he began making railroad photographs during his youth around his hometown of Troy, New York.

His favorite subject in Troy was the city’s union station, which served the New York Central, Boston & Maine, and Delaware & Hudson.

The D&H was one of Mr. Shaughnessy’s favorite railroads and he would later write a book about it that was published by Howell-North Books.

Mr. Shaughnessy eventually began photographing railroad operations in northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces of Canada.

His first photograph in Trains featured a view of the Mount Washington Cog Railway near Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, and was published in May 1952.

Eventually Mr. Shaughnessy also traveled to photograph trains in southern Ontario, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois.

Keefe said the editors of Trains knew that Mr. Shaughnessy could be counted on to produce images that were beautifully composed and technically flawless

“He was a master of the action photograph, taken in all manner of inclement weather, but he was also made frequent night photographs and depictions of railroaders at work,” Keefe wrote.

Mr. Shaugnessy was honored by the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society in 1987 with its Fred A. and Jane R. Stindt Photography Award.

A book of Mr. Shaugnessy’s photographs, Jim Shaughnessy: Essential Witness, was published in 2017 by Thames & Hudson.