Sunday, June 26, 2016

Union Station, Denver Colorado

Union Station as viewed from in front of Denver's Oxford Hotel.

This is Denver's Union Station.  This large railroad station was built in 1914 and was called Union Station as a predecessor station connected  the Union Pacific, the Denver & Rio Grande Western, the Denver, South Park & Pacific, and the Colorado Central.  This 1914 terminal connected the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe, the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy, the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific, the Colorado & Southern, the Union Pacific, and the Denver & Rio Grande Western.  The new 1914 station incorporated part of the previous 1881 depot.  Today the station serves Amtrak and Denver's local RTD area commuter rail.

Construction is ongoing at the terminal as RTD is expanding and a substantial hotel is being added to the terminal.

I recently was in downtown Denver and had the opportunity to take some additional photographs of the now rebuilt station.  It's pretty impressive.


Quite impressive and very well done.

Lex Anteinternet: What Are You Reading?

Over on our most active blog, Lex Anteinternet: What are you reading?:

What are you reading?

A new trailing thread, dedicated to what we're currently reading.

And. . . we hope. . . with participation from you.

What are you reading right  now? Add it down in the commentary section

June 21, 2016

Give Me Eighty Men

I'm presently reading Give Me Eighty Men by Shannon Smith. It's a history of the Fetterman Fight, and a history of the history of the Fetterman Fight. I'll review it when I'm done, but I'll note that the favorable mention of the book by the authors of The Heart of All That Is caused me to pick it up, even though I'd been inclined to previously avoid it.

So far, I'm enjoying it, and its certainly raising a lot questions in my mind about the Fetterman battle, although I'm reserving my judgment on various things so far.
Stop over and let us know what you're reading!

That thread:  What Are You Reading?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Fantasy worlds and rail transportation. . . limiting conveyance by rail.

Of our various blogs, this one has been, by far, the least likely to see a commentary post.  Indeed, this appears to be the very first one.  But as this one involves rail transportation, I'm going to post it here.

Readers of the blog where I typically post commentary, Lex Anteinternet, know that I've posted a lot of comments on the hard times in the petroleum and coal industries, particularly in Wyoming.  As part of those, I've categorically rejected the popular thesis in Wyoming that the Federal government is engaged in a "war" on the energy industry, or that there's some gigantic conspiracy to do the energy industries in.  In this post, however, I will comment on a type of "not in my backyard" effort that's really shortsighted, and which give credence to those who feel ignored and oppressed in this area.

Recently there was a big derailment in Mosier, Oregon. That occurrence has lead to an effort, centered in the Pacific Northwest but focused nationally, to ban the transportation of petroleum oil by rail.

That's just flat out absurd.

I guess its obvious that I'm a railroad fan, why else, after all, would a person have a blog dedicated to railroad features, so perhaps I'm partisan.  But campaigns of this type strike me as very ill informed in some ways. The concept seems to be that, because all of the cars are on a single train, a train purposes a unique danger that other  means of transportation do not.  That's simply not correct.  The other means are truck and pipeline.  The hundreds of trucks that replace a single train pose a danger as well, and arguably a much greater one as the risk would have be assessed for each single truck, not just one as if it were a train.  Pipelines are probably safer, although pipeline spills do occur, and the are basically permanent. Rail lines have other uses for other types of trains.

I suspect that much of this movement doesn't even directly relate to safety, but rather is part of an environmental movement on the Pacific Coast that has been pretty successful in shutting down the loading of coal by sea.  Given the current economics of coal, I'm not nearly as convinced, however, that this has been that detrimental to coal.  It's the low price and declining use that has been.  But I suspect there's a poorly thought out concept that if the shipping of oil by rail is stopped, people quit using it.

Not hardly.

This view, I'd note, is supported by some comments from a Pacific Coast environmental activists, who is quoted as saying in a newspaper as follows:
On the evening of June 6, more than a hundred climate activists met at the First Unitarian Church in downtown Portland to discuss their response to the oil train derailment in the Columbia River Gorge three days earlier, said 350PDX director Adriana Voss-Andreae. 
“The call for a temporary moratorium on oil trains is a call for a shred of decency for the Mosier community, but it does nothing to meet the magnitude of the problem,” she said. “If the government won’t stop the bomb trains, then we must do so ourselves. There will be a mass direct action in the coming two weeks. We encourage all to join.”
Climate activists claiming its a "bomb train"?  Well, I'm skeptical. Either they simply oppose the shipping of all fossil fuels by any means, or their activism is unfocused.

Well, whatever a person might think about climate change, pretending that preventing shipping by rail is going to have some impact on the use of fossil fuels is just fooling yourself.  And, ironically, trains are by far the most efficient, and hence the most "green", of any means of transportation we have.  Putting the same oil on the road in trucks is at least as dangerous and a lot dirtier.  And that's probably what would happen if the oil wasn't shipped by rail.