Tag Archives: Transcontinental Railroad

Vacation Trips Yield Less Live Rail-Fanning Than Usual

On my trips in July from Friday 6/30-Sunday 7/2/17, as well as Wednesday 7/12-Friday 7/15/17, live trains just weren’t happening for me. This was despite the fact that I made my usual solo trip to the Losh/Worley Family Reunion (that I have not missed since I first attended in July, 2010), and went track-side in Willow Springs, Cabool, Fordland, Seymour , North Diggins and Mountain Grove, Missouri (as I stayed in Mountain Grove for my 2nd year in a row), and Springfield, I settled for just pics as in some locations my wait left nothing to show for it, and in others, the BNSF trains I found idling on the tracks never moved, and my time or patience ran out. I did catch one that was moving south through Seymour, and initially paced it, getting some video, but there were too many obstructions for me to feel it was even worth keeping or sharing the video.

I did, however try to follow the example of the site I covered earlier here on Legacies On The Rails, The Trackside Photographer, and at least took pics of the railroad landscape. Signal towers, signal boxes, tracks, crossing gates, etc, understanding that just like some of the locomotives, rail cars, etc that I am normally so busy catching in pics and video, these features may not always be around, therefor preserving a bit of history by getting those shots.

I then started vacation on Saturday, July 8th but never went anywhere until Wednesday, July 12th, as my wife, my daughter and I had to get some much needed painting done on our house. But on 7/12, my wife Denise and I headed to the Council Bluffs, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska area. But, when I am with her, I normally spend little time if any sitting track-side unless I am approaching a crossing as we go from one place to another and a train just happens to be coming, or already on the tracks. Then I may get video, or a few pics. But on this trip, I was always too late at the crossings to catch approaching trains and settled for freight car or covered hopper pics, but no live locomotives.

On July 12th, we ate and Dan & Jami’s Railway Bar & Grill in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The food and service were good and though it was right next to the tracks, despite my mad dashes out the door to try to catch trains we heard coming, I always settled for various freight car pics. We later visited the Grenville M Dodge House (one of the architects of the Union Pacific Railroad) also located in Council Bluffs. We also stood at the Lincoln Monument, the site where President Abraham Lincoln stood and declared (referring to the aforementioned Union Pacific) “This is where I will build my railroad!”.

On July 13th, we visited the Union Pacific Museum in Council Bluffs, and the Durham Museum that located inside the Omaha, Nebraska Union Station. I also got my pic with the Golden Spike Monument in Council Bluffs, the site where the Union Pacific Railroad began building westward, to eventually meet the Central Pacific Railroad, completing the Transcontinental Railroad in Promontory, Utah on May 10th,1869.

Dinner that evening was at the Old Market Spaghetti Works in Omaha, after we visited Hollywood Candy & Antiques, and a few other antique shops.

On July 14th, in Omaha, we found a pedestrian bridge that goes over railroad tracks at Lewis and Clark Landing and then discovered that the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge (aka the “Bob Bridge“) also had the same tracks running underneath it. While we were on the “Bob Bridge“, Denise took a video of me clowning around, paying tribute to the character of “Achoo” played by Dave Chappelle from the 1993 movie Robin Hood: Men In Tights as halfway across the bridge, you can stand with one foot in Iowa, and the other in Nebraska. Unfortunately, despite waiting a bit on the bridge at Lewis & Clark Landing, I again failed to have any trains come my way and settled for pics of some some covered hoppers parked on a nearby siding.

We also took a riverboat ride on the River City Star, also located in Council Bluffs, as this is another of our favorite pursuits while we are on our various trips. We have also taken boat rides in our hometown of Kansas City, as well as in St Louis, Missouri, Hannibal, Missouri, Branson, Missouri and in one city in Texas.

We also took in the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall in Omaha. We also frequent the one in Odessa, Missouri.

The only real quality pics I ended up with on this trip came when we visited the Railswest Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs also on 7/14.

Dinner that evening was at Romeo’s Mexican Food & Pizza in Bellevue, Nebraska as we were staying the night at the Surestay Plus in Bellevue that I mentioned in my earlier blog on Presidential Trains that both my wife and daughter stayed at earlier in the year. We were in the Andrew Jackson Room. It was a really clean, impressive facility.

However, doing rail-fanning in Council Bluffs and Omaha, and Bellevue put me up to having done rail-fanning in 70 cities over 10 states since March, 2008. 21 cities over 4 states in the 2nd quarter of 2017 May through August thus far.

I did try to do some brief track-side time the morning of Saturday 7/15/17 before we headed home to Kansas City, but again settled only for pics I caught earlier before heading track-side.

Later that day we visited the Walnut Creek Recreation Area and the Nebraska Crossing Outlet Mall both in Gretna, Nebraska and the Strategic Air Command Museum in Ashland, Nebraska, (I will be covering that and another smaller air museum in Council Bluffs that we visited on my Military Air Fan blog here on WordPress) and finally the Finders Keepers Antique Mall/ Coffe Shoppe in Percival, Iowa.

I also had the week of July 16th-July 23rd off though my wife did not, and while I could have gotten in a ton of rail-fanning that week, it was so hot out (100 plus most days) I hardly wanted to get out. I did get one Norfolk Southern video on Monday 7/17, and a few videos in North Kansas City, Missouri and at at Kansas City Union Station on Friday 7/28/17 as I attended my very first meeting of the Kansas City Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society, that meets most 4th Fridays in the 3rd Floor Kansas City Terminal Railway Boardroom at Union Station: (check out my Facebook group Fans Of The Kansas City Terminal Railway) I have since started a Facebook page for them: see Kansas City Chapter NRHS. I planned to attend again on Friday 8/25/17, but something came up. Hopefully I will be back with them on 9/22/17. We were on vacation the week of  8/12-8/20/17 but I tried to concentrate on time with my family and did not get out to do any rail-fanning. That was my last vacation for 2017.

Here are my latest Legacies On The Rails Fan Videos from You Tube:

I hope that as I always encourage you to do that you are in a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and pursuing Him daily through His Word, prayer, and active fellowship in a local church. And when it comes to trains and all things railroading, that you continue leaving Legacies…On The Rails!

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Presidential Trains Take Us Back In Time

A few weeks ago, our family was planning a trip to San Antonio, Texas to watch my youngest brother-in-law’s youngest Son graduate  Basic Training for the National Guard. None of us were able to get enough time off for that distance, and as  is often the case, I was unable to get any of the time off, so  instead my girls chose to travel to Omaha, Nebraska for the weekend. Since I was not along for the trip, and I know rail-fanning can get old for those that are not “into it”, I really did not expect them to do anything train related.

But wouldn’t you know it, they stayed at the Sure Stay Plus at 305 N Fort Crook Rd, directly across from active railroad tracks, and among other places, they visited the  Omaha Union Station, taking pics of several pieces of equipment from models to real, steam to diesel. Those units included Union Pacific 4504 (SD70M), UP 5733 (AC4400CW), UP 6053 (AC4400CW), UP 7370 (ES44AC). Union Pacific CA-8 Class Caboose 25559 built October, 1964 (the year my Paternal Grandfather passed away) and retired 08/11/1986. Union Pacific Steam #1243 (4-6-0 built October, 1890 at Cooke Locomotive & Steamworks. A model of UP steam 9000 (102 foot long, 782,000 lb coal burning prototype 4-12-2 built 1926-1930: the real one  is on display at the Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona, California. They also caught a ‘Fallen Flag” in a Southern Pacific Box car, that along with an ADM Tanker and lots of assorted covered hoppers, were on a mixed manifest.

The Sure Stay Plus is also unique in the fact that all the rooms are named after various United States Presidents. They stayed in the Warren G Harding Room.

As I am trying to be more diverse in what I bring to you, the readers here on Legacies…On The Rails, it got me thinking as I not only love trains, but I love history, so Presidents….and Trains…..Hmmmm! So let’s look at some connections of our Presidents and Trains, starting with the aforementioned Warren G Harding.

Built in 1911, The Superb was President Harding’s personal Pullman railroad car in his cross country tour in 1923. It was that year that he drove the final spike completing the Alaska RailroadThe Superb is the 2nd oldest steel private car in existence. The Superb had also been used by President Woodrow Wilson. It also carried President Harding‘s body from San Francisco to Washington DC by way of the Southern Pacific and the B&O Railroad. after his death on 08/02/1923. He had traveled hoping to improve his health and his image with the American people as his administration was was plagued with scandal in The Tea Pot Dome.  But high blood pressure, an enlarged heart, pnuemonia and an obvious stroke (though many speculated as  to a heart attack or food poisoning, even trying to cast guilt on Mrs. Harding or the Mob)  took his life. Mrs. Harding did not allow an autopsy of the President’s body. The Superb was temporarily renamed Pope Pius XI for his train from New York City to Chicago.  The Superb  was later an office car for the Charleston & West Carolina, Atlantic Coast Line, Seaboard Coast Line railroads.

The Superb was donated to the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Georgia and opened to the public in 1995 after a 20-month restoration. It was placed on the National Registry Of Historic Places on 03/09/1998.

President Franklin D Roosevelt made use of United States Railcar #1 in late 1942. It was later a part of his funeral train. He had traveled 243,827 miles in 399 trips by rail in his life. It is on display in Miami, Florida. President Harry S Truman later inherited US Railcar #1, used it for his 1948 “Whistle Stop Tour“, and enjoyed running it at 80 mph. The iconic pic of President Truman holding the famous “Dewey Defeats Truman” copy of the Chicago Tribune was taken at the St Louis Union Station.  The term “Whistle Stop” was actually coined by Robert A Taft as an insult to Truman.

President Rutherford B Hayes was the first President to travel Coast To Coast in 1857 after the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

President Abraham Lincoln  used a train trip for his inaugural trip in 1861. It took twelve days, and 23 railroads. He later used the Executive Coach “United States” that was built for him in 1865. He was also the first President to use a train for Military purposes as he used it to visit Civil War Battlefields, including to deliver the Gettysburg Address which he put the finishing touches on during the train ride. Like President Harding, and others, it later carried his body home after he was killed by John Wilkes Booth.

On May 28,1886 President Grover Cleveland got engaged, and would later travel with his new bride to their honeymoon spot aboard the B&O Railroad.

President Zachary Taylor rode a riverboat from Louisiana, then a stagecoach to Uniontown, Pennsylvania, by horseback to Cumberland, Maryland, and the B&O Railroad to Washington

In 1853 President Franklin Pierce and his family were traveling on the B&O Railroad, when it derailed, and his son Benny was killed. The White House was always a sad place during his term as a result.

In 1857, President James Buchanan (who succeeded Pierce) rode the B&O Railroad to his Inauguration

President James Garfield was shot twice by Charles Guiteau in July 1881 at the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad station-planning to board a train for vacation but was without his security detail.

President William Henry Harrison was the first president to campaign on a train, as his 5 predecessors never rode them. He also took a train to Washington after he was elected in 1840. But John Quincy Adams was the first to actually ride a train.

President Theodore Roosevelt (before he was President) took lots of train rides on behalf of President William Mckinley. After Mckinley was killed in New York, in 1900, he rode a train to Mckinley‘s funeral. Roosevelt would become the first President with an entire train at his disposal, then dubbed the “Potus (President Of The United States) Train.

The Ferdinand Magellan is a Pullman Standard observation car refitted to serve as living quarters and office for Presidents from 1943-1958. and is on display at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Its last official use was by 1st Lady Mamie Eisenhower in 1954 on her way to cristen the world’s 1st Nuclear Powered Submarine the USS Nautilus in Groton, Connecticut.  President Ronald Reagan used it for a one day tour on 10/12/1984, traveling 120 miles in Ohio, from Dayton to Perrysburg doing Whistle Stop speeches.

President Dwight D Eisenhower campaigned aboard a train. On March 28th, 1969, he died of congestive heart failure. His body was carried aboard a military train on a B&O Railroad baggage car.

President Elect Barack Obama traveled part of President Lincoln’s Inaugural Route in 2009. He used the Georgia 300 car built in 1930, that was also used by President Gorge H.W. Bush for campaigning in 1992.

Prince Charles did a 5 day Whistle Stop Tour of the United Kingdom on 09/06/10.

I hope you have enjoyed this little Whistle Stop Tour back in time looking at connections to our nation’s leaders and the trains they rode.

I’m John Losh, “The Losh-Man“, and as always, I hope that the very first priority in your life is a living, breathing, active relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and if you have never come to know Him as your personal Lord & Savior, my prayer is that you will do that today!

And I’ll see you next time here on Legacies…On The Rails!