Monthly Archives: February 2009

Town of Buell noted for place in railroad history

Many friends and acquaintances have asked me over the years whether there is any reason for the existence of the community of Buell.

And I tell them, “Yes. Two reasons, in fact. It is where many go to worship and where many go to be buried after they’re done worshiping.”

But there’s more to Buell, a satellite of metropolitan Keene, than churches and graveyards. As I learned at the feet of famed historian Jack Carlton some years ago, Buell is noted for its exalted place in railroadiana. In other words, the Santa Fe.

“In 1880, Jasper “Jap” Logan, a former Confederate soldier, owned land near the narrow gauge railroad — the Dallas, Cleburne and Rio Grande,” Carlton wrote. “This road was experiencing difficulties with derailments due to the bad roadbeds that held the rails. Without re-routing, the area would soon have been without a much needed railroad.

“Mr. Simpson, a big-time Dallas lawyer and representative of the railroad, met Jasper in the fields near Jasper’s home. Thinking he would obtain a deal worthy of a lawyer against a poor farmer, he soon learned that these farmers were used to trading on Cleburne’s Trade Days Market Square, where one could start with a broken-bladed knife and before the day was over turn it into a solid three-bladed pocket knife.”

And with the three-bladed pocketknife probably kill a bear for mama’s stew pot and frying pan.

“Jasper was a hard bargainer,” Carlton continued, “and when the day was over a contract was in Jasper’s hand that brought a much needed railroad right into old Buell. Jasper was to be paid $26 in cash and retain the right to grow corn and cotton adjacent to the new route over his lands.

(Read article here)

Arrested for Photographing a Train: “It’s Almost Embarrassing”

Last week in New York City, a fan of trains was arrested for photographing a train. It might be funny if it didn’t keep happening.

Robert S. Taylor of Brooklyn was taking photos for fun last Thursday in a subway station. Police saw him and cited him for unauthorized photography, disorderly conduct/unreasonable voice and impeding traffic.

The charge of unauthorized photography – a crime that doesn’t exist – has already been dropped, Taylor says.

“It’s almost embarrassing,” Taylor says. “It was a waste of everybody’s time.”

His summons reads “[Police officer] observed respondent taking photos from the [southbound] platform of incoming/ongoing trains without authority to do so by [the Transit Authority].” The citation cites section 1050.9(C) of the MTA rules of conduct. Ironically, that’s the rule that permits photography “in any facility or conveyance.”

Adding further irony, Taylor is an employee of the MTA, which operates the New York City Subway. He was off duty at the time.

(Read article here)

Texas State Railroad’s new owner plans unique events

The American Heritage Railway, which owns the Silverton-Durango train and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, bought the Texas State Railroad a year ago and has brought some unique trains to operate between Rusk and Palestine. Huge crowds showed up to view “Thomas the Tank Engine.”

The two newest ones are the ” Little Engine That Could” and “The Lone Ranger.” The latter, to run on Thursdays, will feature a train robbery that is interrupted by the Lone Ranger. A “Lone Ranger” movie with Johnny Depp as Tonto will be filmed on the railroad in coming months.

The ” Little Engine That Could” will run pretty much all year on Thursdays. On the drawing board is a train featuring Snoopy and Charlie Brown.

(Read article here)

People Get Ready

People Get Ready is a classic video from Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart, a cover of an old time gospel song with a railroad theme.

German Model Train Maker Goes Broke

Märklin, the 150-year-old German model train manufacturer, declared bankruptcy on Wednesday after talks with banks to extend a €50 million line of credit broke down.

There may be light at the end of the tunnel: Märklin executives say they intend to go on selling model trains. “We are determined to restructure our traditional company…using the instruments of German insolvency law and establish it permanently in the market,” said Märklin boss Dietmar Mundil in a statement.

In spite of strong sales in 2008—the company posted a turnover of €128 million ($165 million)—Märklin was in talks by December to extend a €50 million line of credit. It obtained one extension through January 31, but even in January the firm couldn’t cover salaries to its roughly 650 employees. Talks for a further credit extension ended without a deal.

(Read article here)