At one time considered to be the most expensive to operate in the world, the Northwestern Pacific Railroad traversed the seismically active unstable slopes of the wild and scenic Eel River on its route paralleling the San Andreas fault to the heart of redwood country in far northwestern California.
The NWP opened in 1914 when the Southern Pacific Railroad and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway combined 42 railroads upon realising there would be only one route through the Eel River canyon. SP took full ownership in 1929 and moved freight and passengers along the 271-mile line. But steep slopes constantly eroded trackbase and slid debris onto the tracks. Maintenance and operating costs skyrocketed. At times men would have to walk the track in front of the locomotives to insure it was safe to pass.
By 1969 passenger service ended. Before the end of the century nature prevailed and landslides doomed the friable northern 200 miles of the line, leaving abandoned equipment and failing infrastructure, some 20 years after its demise.
Today these ageing relics are trapped, unwanted, and succumbing to entropy, yet exuding character as they mark the passage of time.
Words & pics Doug Wallance aka instagrammer la-vida_rhombi
Do check out his page to see some great street art around his native area - San Francisco/California area.
Enjoy model trains? Well, you're going to enjoy this video. The guys at TSG Multimedia US a-things-trains-cannel have put together a great collection of run-bys. What's your favourite?
Issue 3 Autumn goes with a flash!
In our next issue (autumn) we're going to take a look at early electric locomotives on both sides of the Atlantic - we profile Italy's E.626s and the US Pennsylvania Railway's GGs1. Do they have any similarities and which lasted the longest? Clue take a read of the caption below!
E.626 TFT (Trasporto Ferroviario Toscano S.p.A., regional Tuscan railway) locos are both ready to leave Bibbiena station, hauling freight trains to Arezzo. These locomotives, Nnumbers 223 and 311, are the only ones in the whole E.626 group that have remained in regular service (Bibbiena, 22/08/2015). Photo Andrea Sosio
Pic of GG1 by instagrammer vefa_nuri
It's looking like we will have an interview with Tony Thompson, the great railroad author and authority all things, Southern Pacific and we also have a contribution from a young railfanner (we love it when young guys and girls) send us in material. NS8104 on insta has some cracking shots of preserved steam locos running right by where he lives! He tells us about, for example, Reading Blue Mountain and Northern's Light Pacific number 425. We can't wait, can you?
And don't forget to check out our current issue - link in header.
Just watched the latest Chasing Trains (Donner Pass) from the TSG Guys, or should they now be called the Fantastic 5 Train Guys... ? Each supertrain hero has a pseudonym (as do all er super heroes)... there's "Mary" and "Bainter".... we'll let you find out the others names by watching this highly entertaining train fest.
Can the Fantastic 5 film the trains and avoid getting in trouble (stuck in railing or arrested for trespassing)?
We're working on pulling together the next issue of Off the Tracks. So far confirmed for the issue are: an interview with renowned railroad writer and historian Tony Thompson. Tony is an expert on the Southern Pacific - a now "fallen flag" US railroad. (Do check Tony out at http://modelingthesp.blogspot.co.uk/)
We also have a train journey (we'll keep you in suspense as to which one) from UK railway blogger "That Railway Girl" (Do check out her blog at https://thatrailwaygirl.wordpress.com/)
And to keep all railway modellers happy we go to Germany to look at MarlinO's creation. There's an image from this great layout in this post.
There will be lots more more railway related articles, including art and poetry in the autumn issue. Off the Tracks is the train mag with a difference...
Do take a look - it's free, it's created by social media train fans - link to issue in website header image.
Above pic: Nancy Station under a beautiful sunset
As a train fan we're always looking forward to hopping on a train, whether it be a commute, or something much longer, like a hop across the channel on the Eurostar and onto the north-east/east region of France.
If you've been following our instagram page, you'll have seen that we posted some pics of our journey and asked a few questions along the way. The shots were candid i.e. of the roof at St Pancras and an exit (depart) sigh, in the facade at Gare du Nord (congrats to instagrammer Fw.Kelly who somehow got that one). Boarding our train on Sunday morning meant that it was not too busy a journey, but the Eurostar was packed.
It was a speedy and uneventful sprint into the 50-odd km tunnel and then onto Paris. A quick 10-minute left-right walk then got us to Gare d'Lest, for about a 90-min trip to Nancy by TGV. Relatively flat and not that inspiring countryside flashed past on what looked like to relatively new line.
Nancy is a large-ish station with connecting services to Metz, Stasbourg and Luxembourg for example. We took the 30-min service to Metz a day or so after our arrival. Well, 30 minutes on the way there as we took the stopper on the way back which took an extra 20-min and was air-conditioned by opening the windows. Still this enabled us to see more of the sights, such as they were. The views of forested hill-tops and rivers were much appreciated and there were quite a few industries along the line with plenty of trackage and what looked like a coaling facility for coal trains (Mrs OfftheTracks was less impressed with the latter).
Nancy is worth a visit for the Place Stansislas - a UNESCO world heritage site. It is stunning and construction began in 1752.(more on this in a planned in-depth article in Off the Tracks (autumn issue). With easy connection from the UK and other points across mainline Europe we'd say go there!
Oh, there's also a model train shop just across from the station called Nancy Train... yep, we did go there too...
For more great travel, and railway related content - including art, jazz and people check out our Click here LATEST ISSUE,
Off the Tracks is created through social media for train fans, train travellers. Over fifty percent of our readers are under 40 and it's an equal male/female split by train fans.. .in case you are interested!
Our friends at TSG Multimedia (as featured in issue 2 of Off the Tracks) produce great prototypical, model railroad and fun train content. This Layout Tour video of Jack Burgess's Yosemite Valley Railroad is one not to miss. We watched it from start to finish and the attention to detail is incredible. The trackside buildings have fully detailed interiors, for example, and the model is as lifelike a representation of a prototype as you will find. Started in 1980 the layout was completed in 2011. There are over 100 structures on the railroad and all are representations of buildings that were located around the actual railroad. Such is the focus on detail that the 'date' being modelled is August 1939! You'll only find rolling stock that is therefore appropriate to that time period, most of that is scratch built or built from resin kits. All track is hand laid. Jack explains that when he started the railroad he was bringing up his family and did not have lots of money, so he hand laid the track to literally make his money spent on railroad purchases last. The Yosemite Valley Railroad is very much a labour of love. Check it out.
We are thinking of offering a print version of Off the Tracks. We've had a sample made up. Let us know what you think. This would involve quite a lot of expense and so we'd need to charge for this. Postal costs could also make this a difficult proposition. Are we being too negative? Let us know what you think. Initially, if we were to go ahead, the print version would be a copy of the digital one. In future we may design two issues a print and a digital one. Let us have your comments and indeed any comments on what we are attempting with Off the Tracks.
Off the Tracks