Are freight railroads starting to take passenger trains more seriously?


For most of the last half of the 20th century and into the start of the 21st, the apparent prevailing attitude of the large private, primarily freight-carrying railroads towards passenger trains was to treat them as a necessary nuisance and a hindrance to efficient, fluid freight movement. But there are signs that senior management at the Class I’s are starting to take passenger trains more seriously, and look to passenger train operators and the government agencies that sponsor passenger trains as potential partners rather than adversaries.

DeKalb Junction, NY DeKalb Junction, NY

I have heard ample anecdotal evidence of this attitude shift from industry observers with whom I have spoken, and also got a sense of it from two recent speeches by one  Vice President and one Assistant Vice President of two Class I’s — albeit the two that have long been considered more passenger-friendly than the others: BNSF and Norfolk Southern. In…

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Remember When: Honorary citizen of StAugustine, Florida, 1938: Col. Fulgencio Batista,


Because we follow Florida East Coast Railway and All Aboard Florida so closely, we run into some other amazing stories about Florida/ This one came from the St. Augustine WebSite

The connection of Florida and Cuba was around for a long time before the Castro “problem”, which we hope is on a way to a solution.



Contributed by James Banta Col. Fulgencio Batista, Cuban army chief, became an honorary citizen of St. Augustine on Nov. 21, 1938. Mayor Walter B. Fraser presented Batista with an inscribed scroll during the ceremony which took place during a brief stop of the Florida East Coast Railway train he was on. Pictured from left to right is Jim Banta, Mrs. Collins, General Collins, Fraser, Batista and Mary Louise Ponce. Every Monday we are running a photo to remind readers of what St. Augustine was like in the past. If you have…

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Robert R Young Hog Ad



The famous ad, “A Hog Can Cross the Country Without Changing Trains -But YOU Can’t!” was created in 1946. At the time Robert R. Young was still Chairman of the Chesapeake Ohio and Nickel Plate and was vying to get control of the Pullman Company. That was the impetus for the ad. There’s an interesting story to the ad, too.

C&O was a client of the Leo Burnett advertising agency in Chicago and that was the agency that actually created the ad.  It was one of three ads they created based on ideas in a speech Young had recently given. The agency copywriter assigned to create the ads — and Young wanted them quickly — was a young man on his first day with the Burnett agency. He was given a transcript of Young’s speech and in the margin Young had scribbled a note about hogs being able to go…

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How to Unplug A Drain Without Drano or Dynamite

Baking Soda and Vinegar

This method probably won’t work on your toughest clogs. But if you’ve got less than 100% blockage, this is a safe and effective technique that also spares you from having to physically fish the clog monster out of your drain and meeting it face-to-face.

1. Boil a pot of water and then slowly pour it down the drain. Leave one cup of the boiled water in the pot for later.
2. Immediately dump in 1/3 cup of baking soda and let it sit for five minutes.
3. In the pot, mix a cup of vinegar into the hot water. Pour the mixture into the drain. Watch it fizz! Let it sit for 20 minutes.
4. Flush the mixture down with an additional pot of boiling water.

Wire Hanger

It doesn’t get more simple than this. And for simple clogs, it also doesn’t get more effective than this.

First, unwind the neck of the hanger. Then straighten out the two elbows as much as you can. But leave the hook! That’s the part that’s going to do the dirty work.

At the end opposite of the hook, bend the last three inches to give yourself a handle. If the hook can’t fit through the drain’s cover, you’ll first have to remove the cover. Lower the wire down until you feel some resistance down there. Now, push down and pull up about five times. Then pull the wire all the way out of the drain, and hopefully you’ll be saying, “Gross.” Because that means you’ve successfully pulled the nasty clog out from its lair.

Wet/Dry Vacuum

If you’ve got a particularly stubborn clog or just have a hankering for really showing your drain who’s boss, then look no further than the trusty wet/dry vac. There are even clog cleaning attachments available.

Since there are many variations of these vacuums, you’ll need to follow the specific instructions of your particular model for this job. But suffice it to say, these vacuums have a good deal of power and barring a clog made of set concrete, you’ll have full drain clearance in no time.

Toilet Bomb

This technique is just for your toilet, but it’s too cool not to mention.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1/4 cup Epsom salt
  • 9 tablespoons liquid dish detergent
  • Muffin tin
  • Muffin liners

First, put your muffin liners into the tin. Mix together baking soda and Epsom salt. Then slowly stir in the detergent, just a tablespoon or so at a time. Now scoop the mixture into the liners and dry overnight (at least eight hours) at room temperature.

Remove one of the bombs from its liner and put it in your toilet. Then pour five cups of hot water in after it. Now wait at four hours. Then flush! Voila.

This is a really effective, cheap and actually kinda fun way to unclog your toilet that doesn’t involve harsh chemicals like sodium hypochlorite or hydrochloric acid. And you know have extra pre-made bombs for your next backup.

Snake or Millipede


This option is effective and costs next to nothing. All it is is a single-use plastic stick with some upward-facing barbs on it, but it works. Especially for hair clogs. Just stick it down your drain, pull it right back up, and you’re done.

Map: Animated GIF Shows The Evolution Of The Subway

Poring over various subway map designs is a NYC pastime, from Massimo Vignelli’s classic 1972 design to concentric circle versions, from Super Mario-enhanced maps to globally uniform editions. Add this to the pile of fun: a new animated map which shows the history of subway lines in chronological order.

We even wrote something too: “Great Subway Map Debate

The animated GIF below, created by Very Appealing, starts with the blank subway map and draws each line in the sequence in which it was built. The map covers over 150 years of NYC transit history (though don’t expect to see the Second Avenue Subway, which is a phrase you’ve probably heard for the last decade).


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