Thursday, November 15, 2018

Lex Anteinternet: Company B, 27th Infantry, at Khabarofsk. November 15, 1918.

Company B, 27th Infantry, at Khabarofsk. November 15, 1918.

Soldiers of Company B of the Twenty-seventh Infantry waiting to unload supplies from Russian box cars at the railroad yards at Khabarovsk, Siberia, during the Allied Siberian Expedition on November 15, 1918.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Blog Mirror: Lost Rail

I honestly thought I had posted a link on the side bar here to Lost Rail.

I hadn't.

My failure to do so is absolutely inexcusable.  Lost Rail is art, both visually and in terms of the beautiful writing that it features.

Well, I corrected my oversight, but it's an inexcusable omission.

If you are going to check out one railroad blog, check out Lost Rail.  If its a contest between this one, and that one, it's no contest.  Lost Rail is great.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Stop at Powder River.

The Burlington Northern stops frequently near Powder River Wyoming. 

Not at a station. There isn't a station anymore, but just before the small town.  This long coal train was resting there when we went by the other day.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Abandoned Chicago & Northwestern line, Powder River, Wyoming

This is an unusual picture if you know what you are looking at.  In the distance, you can see an abandoned Chicago & Northwestern rail bed.  The line provided rail service from Casper to Lander starting in 1906, but its fortunes declined when it lost the U.S. Mail freight in 1943.   Shortly after that the Chicago & North Western began to run on the Burlington Northern line between Casper and Shoshoni, which still exists and most of the rail pulled.  In 1972 the portion of the rail between Lander and Shoshoni was abandoned for the most part, although a small local line still runs in the Shoshoni area.

This photograph not only shows the 1906 to 1943 rail bed, but also part of the original state highway that has been moved here and there in favor of a better road grade, as well as the current highway.   The old highway is to the right, the new one to the left.  The Burlington Northern is just a few miles to the north, but of course can't be seen in this south facing photograph.

This photo has made me realize how many rail locations I pass by all the time and haven't posted here.  This entire line is one I frequently encounter and could have posted long ago, and its not the only one.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Lex Anteinternet: Mid Week At Work: "The personnel of General Pershing's special train, which is under the direction of the Q.M.C. / Signal Corps U.S.A. August 22, 1918."

Mid Week At Work: "The personnel of General Pershing's special train,  which is under the direction of the Q.M.C. / Signal Corps U.S.A. August  22, 1918."

"Left to right: Rear row: Pvt. l/c H.C. Cullars, Pvts. J.S. Banks, E.A. Smith, T.J. Cooksey, Sgt. Paul Ackwith, Adjt. R.P. Fenelon, (French Army) Sgt. 1/c Roy Wilson, Pvt. C.C. Guiral, Bugler H.C. Trobee. Front row: Sgt. C.C. Crosby, Pvt. l/c S.V. Wiley, Pvt. J.P. Bascou, Cook C.W. Brissett, Cpl. T.A. Johns, Pvt. l/c C.F. Atz, Civilian Cook G. Parrand, Pvt. A. Reed, Captain Earl L. Thornton, Q.M.C. in charge."

Monday, July 9, 2018

Friday, June 22, 2018

Holscher's Hub: Echos of Parco. Sinclair Wyoming.

From our companion blog; Holscher's Hub: Echos of Parco. Sinclair Wyoming.:

This is linked over here as it fits in quite well with the theme of the blog.  Parco was a company town, as noted below, built by a refining company in 1924-25.  The luxury hotel  was built by the company on the then fairly new Lincoln Highway, and the town no doubt benefited as it was also a stop on the Union Pacific.  Only seven miles away from the larger and older town of Rawlins, the Interstate Highway bypasses it and its a remnant of its former self.

Not too many people stop at Sinclair who are just passing through.  But at one time that wasn't true.  And that's why the town has what was once a luxury hotel (now a Baptist church), a spacious park, really nice tennis courts, and the like.  Only the sign on the hotel remains, as well as a historical monument, to remind us that Sinclair is the town's second name.  It was originally Parco, a company town founded by the founder of what is now the Sinclair Refinery, the Producers & Refiners Corporation.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Burlington Northern, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

These are photographs of the Burlington Northern as it runs through the Wind River Canyon, or rather at the head of the canyon.   The canyon is fairly long and the rail line, and the State highway, run throughout its length.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Painted Bricks: Scenes from the A Trail. Abstract murals

Painted Bricks: Scenes from the A Trail. Abstract murals

Painted Bricks: Scenes from the A Train. Is it art, or graffiti?

Painted Bricks: Scenes from the A Train. Is it art, or graffiti?

Painted Bricks: Scenes from the A Train. "Love this City".

Painted Bricks: Scenes from the A Train. "Love this City".: Mural on business along Denver's A Train.

Painted Bricks: Scenes from the A Train. Murals

Painted Bricks: Scenes from the A Train. Murals: Some sort of decorated building in Denver, as photographed from the moving A Train.

Painted Bricks: Scenes from the A Train. Sugar Warehouse, Denver ...

Painted Bricks: Scenes from the A Train. Sugar Warehouse, Denver ...: Old sugar warehouse as taken from a moving train, the Denver RTD A Line.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Lex Anteinternet: Big Horn Hot Springs, Thermopolis, Wyoming. April ...

Lex Anteinternet: Big Horn Hot Springs, Thermopolis, Wyoming. April8, 1918

This photograph was taken a century ago, today.

If it looks familiar, perhaps that's because we use it as the flagship photograph for our Railhead blog, dedicated to railroad themes.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February 14, 1918.

Baldwin locomotive at a U.S. assembling plant in France, February 18, 1918.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Lex Anteinternet: ENDOW Study. Air Travel First

Lex Anteinternet: ENDOW Study. Air Travel First:     Federal Express at the Natrona County International Airport .  An airport that can  handle a plane like this could sure easily handle...

Friday, December 29, 2017

Blog Mirror: The Aerodrome: Air Subsidies Continue for Cody and Laramie. . . for now.

Air Subsidies Continue for Cody and Laramie. .. for now.


From Today's Casper Star Tribune, the following headline:

Air service subsidies expected to continue in Cody and Laramie. But larger questions loom.

But that apparently doesn't mean that such subsidies aren't on the firing line still, to some degree.
For those who might not be aware, air travel to Cody is subsidized by the Federal Government for the winter months, and for all passengers all year long for Laramie.  This provides for twice a day winter flights, for example, to and from Cody to Denver during the winter months.
It's pretty safe to assume that without these funds air travel to Cody would be impaired and for Laramie it would simply end.  The Tribune notes, regarding how this works;
United’s new contract to provide service to Cody guarantees the airline an annual payment of $850,000 to provide 14 nonstop trips each week from Cody to Denver between October and May.
That doesn't provide a reason to continue the subsidy, of course, and pure free marketers would argue that if the market doesn't support it, it should end.  On the other hand, it's been proven that a lack of convenient air transportation hinders Wyoming's economy fairly massively.  
The Wyoming Department of Transportation presented an ambitious fix to the state’s reliance on commercial air carriers, who can currently decide whether and when to provide service — allowing the fortune’s of Cowboy State communities to rise and fall based on the whims of national corporations.
WYDOT proposed effectively creating its own airline, determining which communities would receive service as well as schedules, ensuring, for example, that it was possible for business people to catch an early morning flight into Casper or Rock Springs.
The state would contract with the same regional providers, like SkyWest or GoJet, that United and Delta Air Lines use on branded flights to connect relatively small communities, like those in Wyoming, with major hubs in Denver and Salt Lake City. These arrangements are known as capacity purchase agreements.
“This idea of capacity purchase agreements, for decades, has worked very well for airlines,” WYDOT director Bill Panos told lawmakers last summer.
At a bare minimum, a lack of air service certainly isolates Wyoming's economy.  So, at the end of the day, the argument somewhat comes the degree to which you favor practicality over economic purity, or whether you believe the government should have any role in subsidizing transportation.  The Governor's office noted, according to the Trib:
“Commercial air service is a significantly limiting factor,” Endow’s Jerimiah Reiman said earlier this year. “There’s a lack of air service particularly to global destinations.”
Of course, if we're going to go for economic purity, at some point we'd have to request that the Federal Government cease funding highway construction, which is a subsidy and a fairly direct one.  I can't see that request coming any time soon, but its interesting how in a state that tends to argue for a fairly laissez faire type of economics, we don't feel that way about highways.  No, not at all.  Of course, to be fair, funding the infrastructure, massively expensive though it is, is not the same as funding transportation itself.  I.e., there's no Federal bus subsidy, or Federal car subsidy. 

There isn't a Federal rail subsidy of any kind in most places, of course, although we do still have Amtrak, so I guess that's not fully true.  When railroads carried passengers everywhere cars were not as commonly used for over the road transportation and the Federal Government hadn't gotten in to highway funding yet.  Indeed, if the Federal Government quit funding highway construction it'd change the transportation infrastructure massively and we'd have to wonder if railroads and airlines would be big benefactors.  Anyhow, even at that time the railroads weren't necessarily super excited about passengers and the Federal Government somewhat forced the rail lines to carry them, but it didn't subsidize them.  The U.S. Mail was a big moneymaker for railroads back then, which it no longer is in any fashion, so the railroads had to listen to the Federal Government for that reason if none other.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Today In Wyoming's History: December 26. Boxing Day

Today In Wyoming's History: December 26. Boxing Day:

1917     The U.S. government took over operation of the nation's railroads during World War One.

 U.S. Capitol as viewed from a Washington D. C. rail yard, 1917.

This was a big deal.

The extent to which labor strife was a factor in the early US history of World War One is a story that tends to be drowned out by the opposite story during World War Two.  With the lesson of the first war behind it, labor was highly cooperative during the Second World War and, for that matter, the war brought massive employment relief from the ongoing Great Depression.

The story wasn't at all same in regards to World War One.  Going into the war the nation was faced with labor strife in the critical coal and railroad industries.  On this day the Federal Government, giving a late unwelcome present to the railroads, nationalized rail and put the lines under the United States Railroad Administration.  The USRA would continue to administer rail until March 1, 1920.

The action wasn't solely designed to address the threat of rail stoppages by any means.  Rail was critical to the nation and formed the only means of interstate national transportation.  This would largely remain the case in World War Two as well, of course, but by then there were beginning to be some changes to that. For that matter, its frankly the case far more today than people imagine.  But in the teens, rail was absolutely predominant.

In spite of that, and in spite of their best efforts, the railroads simply found themselves unable to address the massively increased burden on the various national private companies, the accompanying inflation in rail prices, and addressing the needs of labor.  The Interstate Commerce Commission did what it could, but it finally recommended nationalization in December, 1917.  The President took action on the recommendation on this day.

The USRA's sweep was surprisingly broad, and it even included the standardization of locomotives and rail cars.  Over 100,000 railroad cars and 1,930 locomotives were ordered for the war effort, which the USRA then leased.

USRA Light Mikado pattern locomotive.
Showing, perhaps, the radical spirit of the time, the railroad employees unions not only supported the nationalization, but hoped and urged it to continue following the war.  This of course had no support outside unions and more radical quarters.  Nonetheless, because the formal legislative act that approved the nationalization, which came in March, had provided that the rail lines had to be returned to private ownership within 21 months following the conclusion of the war the failure of the United States to sign the Versailles Treaty necessitated a separate act to do the same, with that act strengthening the powers of the ICC.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Lost Rail: Related Relics

Lost Rail: Related Relics: 1,490 miles of mainline - the distance from Chicago's Union Station to Vendome, MT.  The picture above, taken a decade ago, shows U...