Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Full Size Dioramas

United Railroad Historical Society; Boonton, N.J., September 21, 2014
The diorama is something often produced by modelers -- a small scene showing what was or what might have been. But dioramas can often be produced in full size, as well. Such was the case at the  open house held by the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey at its restoration shop in Boonton.

The URHS was established in the late 1980s to assist in the establishment of a state-funded railroad museum; three decades later, the state has yet to act on funding such a project. But back in the beginning, New Jersey Transit was on the brink of a complete modernization of most of its commuter lines in the northern part of the state. The agency asked the URHS which pieces of equipment were worthy of saving. The URHS identified some 60 pieces of equipment and sent the list to NJT. The transit agency gulped -- but to the amazement of everyone, donated nearly all the items on the list.
United Railroad Historical Society; Boonton, N.J., September 21, 2014
The URHS found itself in possession of a ton of equipment including three GG1 electric locomotives, several E8 passenger diesels, a fleet of passenger cars and some former multiple-unit electric cars that worked for the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western; there was a host of other equipment as well. The collection was put into temporary storage at a variety of locations around the state awaiting the funding for the state museum. A restoration yard of sorts was established at one of the sites in Lebanon, N.J. As the years dragged on, though, and no museum was forthcoming, one by one the owners of the "temporary" storage locations asked URHS to move its equipment. A permanent site needed to be found.

One thing URHS was able to accomplish was getting some of the equipment restored. Various short lines and tourist railroads leased URHS equipment for favorable rates with the understanding they would restore the units. Even Metro North, the New York commuter operator, leased a pair of ex-Chicago & North Western F7s under the condition that they come back to URHS in running condition -- and painted for the Lehigh Valley! The generous rules around various federal transportation funding bills allowed more equipment to be restored.
United Railroad Historical Society; Boonton, N.J.; September 21, 2014
 Finally, a permanent home was found for the collection when NJ Transit donated its unused rail yard in Boonton. The equipment that hadn't been leased out was gathered and moved to the new site. A restoration shop, cleverly built out of storage containers, was constructed. Money from donations and grants was still coming in, and equipment began to enter the shop and come out at least cosmetically restored. A few luxury passenger cars had been put back into service, fully certified to run on Amtrak, to generate additional revenue. The crown jewel of the fleet is the Hickory Creek, an observation car that ran on the New York Central's 20th Century Limited.

All this brings us back to dioramas. The facility at Boonton is a restoration yard, not a museum site. Nonetheless, each year the URHS holds an open house at the facility. The space is limited, but for photographers there are a couple of "dioramas" set up. The effect is especially effective after dark when night photography comes into play.
United Railroad Historical Society; Boonton, N.J.; September 27, 2014
For the open house, one end of the shop complex held a New York Central scene. The Hickory Creek was posed next to E8 passenger diesel No. 4083. No. 4083 wears a love-it-or-hate-it experimental scheme of jade green the NYC tested in the 1960s -- No. 4083 was one of six units to receive the scheme, and is the only survivor. Perhaps this scene could represent the eastbound and westbound 20th Century Limiteds meeting somewhere in the dark, or perhaps the engine change at the Harmon Shops in Croton, N.Y., where electric locomotives that led the train out of Grand Central Terminal were swapped for diesels for the rest of the run to Chicago.
United Railroad Historical Society; Boonton, N.J.; September 27, 2014
The other end of the shop featured units that operated for New Jersey Transit on its New York & Long Branch service from Hoboken and New York City to Bay Head, serving the northern towns of the Jersey shore. In the early 1980s NJT trains left Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan behind GG1 electric locomotives that had served the Pennsylvania Railroad since the 1930s and 1940s. At South Amboy the massive motors were swapped out for E8 passenger diesels, classics in their own right, to continue on to Bay Head.
United Railroad Historical Society; Boonton, N.J.; September 27, 2014
 This scene was a slight mismatch of eras, however. By the time NJT got ahold of GG1s for service, they had lost their attractive Brunswick green paint and gold striping, replaced by solid black from when they worked for Penn Central. Thus, in real life the good-looking blue and silver NJT diesels would not have ever appeared with Pennsy-painted GG1s. Nonetheless, the locomotives did work together at South Amboy at one time.
United Railroad Historical Society; Boonton, N.J.; September 27, 2014
The URHS has done a remarkable job in the cosmetic restoration of these two GG1s. No. 4877 has received the five-stripe whiskers scheme, while No. 4879 has the single large stripe with a larger Pennsy keystone on the side. Both look really good.
United Railroad Historical Society; Boonton, N.J.; September 27, 2014
So there you have some full-size modeling. Perhaps someday the state will finally establish the transportation museum and the equipment will be more readily available to the public. In the meantime, watch for the URHS open house each September. For more information check out the URHS website.  For more daytime photos of the equipment at Boonton you can click here. For more night photos from Boonton you can click here and scroll to the second page.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Last Lackawanna Ferry

Binghamton; Edgewater, N.J.; September 27, 2014
A significant piece of railroad history sits partially submerged in the Hudson River in Edgewater, N.J. The ferry boat Binghamton once served the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, taking passengers from the Lackawanna's trains across the Hudson between Hoboken and Manhattan.
Binghamton; Edgewater, N.J.; September 27, 2014
The Binghamton was built in 1904-'05 by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry-dock Company, was launched on February 20, 1905, and entered service on April 3, 1905, for the Lackawanna's Hoboken Ferry Company. It was one of six identical ferry boats operated by the Lackawanna.
Binghamton; Edgewater, N.J.; September 27, 2014
Almost immediately the need for ferry service began to decline. The Pennsylvania Railroad and the Hudson & Manhattan (now PATH) both tunneled under the Hudson in 1907. The Holland Tunnel opened in 1927, with the Lincoln Tunnel following a decade later. The last ferry crossing by the Lackawanna was made on November 22, 1967; by then the Lackawanna had merged with the Erie Railroad to form the Erie-Lackawanna.
Binghamton; Edgewater, N.J.; September 27, 2014
In 1969 the Binghamton was purchased by a contractor with the dream of converting it into a restaurant. In 1971 it was moved to Edgewater. The initial plans never materialized, but a new owner came on the scene in 1974 and the Binghamton was moved about a half mile to its current location in 1975. Later that year the restaurant finally opened. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Binghamton; Edgewater, N.J.; September 27, 2014
The restaurant was shuttered in 2007 and the intervening years have not been kind to the Binghamton. Its owner applied for a demolition permit in 2011, but before any work could be done the boat took on water and became partially submerged it in 2012. Hurricane Sandy did major damage later in 2012 (the river side of the boat looks much worse than the land side seen in these photos) and a suspicious fire did further damage in May 2013.
Binghamton; Edgewater, N.J.; September 27, 2014
For now the Binghamton holds the distinction of being the last double-ended steam-powered ferry left on the Hudson, but that won't last much longer. The current owner is in the process of paying fines he owes to Edgewater for various code violations and will hire a contractor to demolish the boat. A barge restaurant will ultimately occupy the Binghamton's berth. For now, though, the Binghamton remains in sad condition, it's wheelhouse sign that once proudly proclaimed its name resting on the ferry's roof. The boat was on borrowed time when these photos were taken on September 27, 2014. It's unclear just how much longer the Binghamton has left, but time is not on its side. More photos can be found here.
Binghamton; Edgewater, N.J.; September 27, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Not Knowing When To Quit

Hilton & Albany; Albany, Ga.; December 12, 2014
Sometimes not knowing when to give up is a good thing. My brother Bruce and I headed into Albany, Ga., on December 11, 2014, as part of a recent trip from New Jersey to Florida. Our goal was to get a night shot of a train on the street running in town. I had seen photos of Norfolk Southern freight trains heading down Roosevelt Street and thought it would make a nice night shot.

Trying to find information on when the trains ran proved problematic. We checked at the NS yard office in town, but no one was around. Suddenly a train pulled out of the yard and headed towards Roosevelt Street. We quickly got ahead of it and set up our strobes in record time -- only to have the train retreat back into the yard, never to be seen again.

Still without good intelligence on when trains ran, I set out on foot looking for a local. My search was quickly rewarded when I found one of Albany's finest in his cruiser about a block away. Certainly the police would know if trains ever used the street running at night. My inquiry (strange as it was) was met with a rather certain reply -- "There is a westbound train every night at about 11:30." Since it was only 8:30, we settled in for a long wait.

Now for a little background. The previous night we had also been set up on street running, this time up in Augusta, Ga., where we had a real nice shot of the history museum at the north end of 6th Street all set up. The local people told us trains went down the street "all the time." Alas, from the time we set up at 7:30 until we called it quits at 1:45 a.m., we didn't see a train. Waiting on street running in the dark was becoming a recurring theme on this trip.

Well, 11:30 came and went with no train in sight. The clock ticked over to the early morning of December 12, and we waited. Then, just after 1:00 a.m., we heard horns in the wrong direction. An eastbound was coming! We quickly swung the strobes around to light up the eastbound train. It approached, we fired the strobes and checked the shot (above). Huh? This wasn't a Norfolk Southern train -- it had locomotives wearing the paint scheme of shortline conglomerate Genesee & Wyoming. Quickly hitting the internet on my phone, I discovered NS had leased the line to G&W subsidiary Hilton & Albany. Hmmmm.....

Now, since this was a shortline running to an interchange, there was a good chance it would turn back once it completed its work in town. Bruce drove to the yard a couple of times while I stayed behind to watch the photo gear to make sure the H&A crew didn't go home. The locomotives had left their train and coupled onto another string of cars. A little past 3:00 a.m. the train headed back west again and we got our second shot.
Hilton & Albany; Albany, Ga.; December 12, 2014
Now it was 3:15 a.m. We tore down our strobes, packed the car and stumbled into a motel a bit before 4:00. We were tired, but we got two night shots for our efforts. And it was of a railroad neither of us knew existed before it showed up in our cameras. There's a fine line between persistence and not knowing when to quit -- and sometimes not knowing when to quit pays off!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Rainiest Photo Charter Ever

Little River Railroad; Hillsdale, Mich.; October 9, 2009
Just over five years ago I attended the most rainy photo charter I had ever been on. Historic Transport Preservation was in Michigan for two days of charters with Nickel Plate Road No. 765 out of Owosso, but as a bonus trip HTP added a day on the Little River Railroad using 4-6-2 No. 110 -- the smallest standard gauge Pacific ever constructed for use in the United States.
Little River Railroad; Coldwater, Mich.; October 9, 2009
The day started off wet and dark. A couple of runbys were done in Hillsdale with a Baltimore & Ohio boxcar behind No. 110. Unfortunately, the boxcar was limited to yard service, and the photo train headed out of town with a flatcar and caboose trailing. The photographers for this trip went to predetermined photo locations by car.
Little River Railroad; Jonesville, Mich.; October 9, 2009
John Craft was the coordinator for Historic Transport Preservation, and one of the photo locations was at the station in Jonesville. John's wife, Danah, waved to the train while staying out of the rain under the station eaves.
Little River Railroad; Jonesville, Mich.; October 9, 2009
After a set of runbys at Hillsdale (top photo of this post), a nice open field at Bankers provided some nice angles. The rain was still coming down.
Little River Railroad; Bankers, Mich.; October 9, 2009
At the mill in Reading it was decided to get some "human interest" into the shot. A very wet brakeman was sent into the downpour with a lantern to pose for shots. Look carefully at the caboose and you can see the amount of rain coming down.
Little River Railroad; Bankers, Mich.; October 9, 2009
Continuing out of town, the weather wasn't much better for the next set of runbys...
Little River Railroad; Bankers, Mich.; October 9, 2009
At Montgomery a shot was done looking down a dirt road. Well, a mud road. The chasing automobiles were starting to accumulate a lot of tracked-in mud and wet interiors from soggy photographers getting back in after each photo location.
Little River Railroad; Montgomery, Mich.; October 9, 2009
An open area allowed for a midday silhouette shot -- something that is normally done at sunrise or sunset. But it was dark...
Little River Railroad; Montgomery, Mich.; October 9, 2009
From Montgomery the train returned to Hillsdale for one more set of runbys before calling it a (wet) day.
Little River Railroad; Hillsdale, Mich.; October 9, 2009
The next morning at the first runby with No. 765, as the sun was rising my very soaked lens suddenly fogged up. Friend Bill Raia also had his lens fog up at the exact same moment -- come to find out, we were both using Nikon 18-200 zoom lenses, and for some reason that certain dew point triggered a huge amount of fogging. I went back to the car and held my lens up to the air conditioner, trying to force dry air into it. It was quite an exclamation point to the previous day. We'll finish with one more rainy shot at Hillsdale. More photos from this charter can be found here.
Little River Railroad; Hillsdale, Mich.; October 9, 2009

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cool Chromes -- A Quintessential Short Line of the South

Aberdeen, Carolina & Western; Star, N.C.; May 1992
The short line railroads of the south have their own charm. They have a reputation of being laid back and friendly, and many have a storied history. Some are prosperous, some just hang on.

One prosperous short line that has (or at least had) the appearance of "just hanging on" is the Aberdeen, Carolina & Western. Today's AC&W has sharply painted locomotives operating over 150 miles east of Charlotte. But when I first visited the railroad in 1992 it was only five years old and scratching out a living between the towns of Aberdeen and Star. The line's shop was in Star, and on my first visit it showed a lot of hardscrabble southern charm. The freight house showed its Southern Railway heritage thanks to the distinctive green sign on the building, and a former Chesapeake & Ohio EMD GP9 sat outside. Definitely a hand-me-down railroad.

My next visit to Star was five years later on May 6, 1997. This time I was there at night and wanted to do some night photos. The shop was wide open on the warm spring night, the lights were on, but no one was around. Not finding anyone, I took a few night shots and left. Once again the hand-me-down life of the railroad was evident by the locomotive in the shop -- ex-Chessie System GP38 No. 2077.
Aberdeen, Carolina & Western; May 6, 1997
It looks like this year I'll be making a couple of trips southward during the winter, and the short lines of North Carolina are high on the list of places to visit. The Aberdeen, Carolina & Western will certainly be one of those.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Random Ramblings - The Acadian

The Acadian; McAdam, New Brunswick; July 2002
In July 2002 I went to the Maritime provinces of Canada, along with my brother Bruce, to photograph the three VIA Rail Canada streamliners running at the time. We spent one day chasing the Chaleur onto the Gaspe peninsula, two days chasing the Ocean to Halifax and one day chasing the Bras D'Or onto Cape Breton to Sydney. The Chaleur is currently suspended (I guess it's running with buses due to bad track), the Ocean no longer has its streamlined equipment and the Bras D'Or is long gone. It proved to be a worthwhile trip given all the change that has come to the Maritimes.

On our way home from Cape Breton, we were traveling west on a day that a short-lived luxury cruise train was heading the same direction. The Acadian made a once-a-week round trip from St. John, New Brunswick, to Montreal, Quebec, with an overnight stop at Greenville, Maine. Powering the train were three former Amtrak F40PH locomotives, two of which were used at a time. We set up in St. John at the Reversing Falls bridge, shot the train there, then headed west, shooting the train once again at Fredericton Junction. From there we bee-lined to the one shot we really wanted to get -- passing the magnificent former Canadian Pacific station at McAdam, New Brunswick, just east of the U.S. border.

When we got there, the shot was looking like it wouldn't be quite like we had planned. The tracks were lined for a train to travel on the north side of the station, and the building would cover most of the train. Weeds were in abundance as well. For some reason we couldn't see down the tracks far at all -- the train was going to just pop out from behind the station with little warning. And to complicate matters, the sun started playing peek-a-boo with the clouds.

We waited and as our estimated train time approached we heard a rumble. Unfortunately, a cloud parked itself between us and the sun. Oh, well... The rumble got louder, we aimed our cameras -- and a freight for New Brunswick Southern (which operates freight service on the tracks) popped out from behind the station. Hmmm... The train pulled ahead then tied down west of us, which was a very good thing -- it would force the Acadian to take the much better track on the south side of the station.

In due time, the Acadian appeared and this time the sun was out! The resulting photo can be seen at the top of this post. Once into Maine, the train would no longer be chaseable, so we let it go here and returned to the U.S. at a leisurely pace.

The Acadian had begun service in June 2002, so it had been running only about a month when we photographed it. It stopped running in June 2003, just  few days after its one-year anniversary. It proved to be a fitting coda to a trip to shoot the vanishing streamliners of the Maritimes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Night Time Magic

Steam Railroading Institute; Owosso, Mich.; June 20, 2014
The big steam event of 2014 was Train Expo, sponsored by the Steam Railroading Institute and held in Owosso, Mich., from June 19-22. Main line and short trips were run, and a total of eight live steam locomotives were present for the event. The highlight, though, (at least from a photographic standpoint), were the three night photo sessions put on by Lerro Productions and Pete Lerro.
Steam Railroading Institute; Owosso, Mich.; June 20, 2014
The stars of the show were two Lima-built 2-8-4 Berkshire steam locomotives. Pere Marquette No. 1225 calls Owosso home, and gained fame when it was the locomotive used as a model for the Polar Express. The other big Berk in attendance was Nickel Plate Road No. 765, which is operated by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society in Indiana. Four of the visiting locomotives were small "tank" engines (lacking tenders) and could be seen around the turntable in the photo below. Pete Lerro's father, a noted railroad artist, posed as the turntable operator.
Steam Railroading Institute; Owosso, Mich.; June 20, 2014
The sessions ran from just after sunset (which was nearly 9:00 p.m. that far west in the time zone) until about 1:00 a.m. Just after sunset it was possible to get some "blue hour" light in the sky.
Steam Railroading Institute; Owosso, Mich.; June 21, 2014
The line-up around the Owosso turntable was pretty impressive. Each of the three sessions started with the "money shot" of the locomotives on the radial tracks. Little River Railroad 0-4-0T No. 1 usually operates on a tourist railroad nearby in Michigan, and was joined by stablemate Little River 4-6-2 No. 110, the smallest standard-gauge Pacific-type locomotive ever built.
Steam Railroading Institute; Owosso, Mich.; June 21, 2014
After the big turntable shot, smaller scenes were set up. Pete Lerro and his crew worked hard to get the lighting just right for each set-up, and volunteers from both SRI and the FWRHS stayed late to tend to their locomotives.
Steam Railroading Institute; Owosso, Mich.; June 21, 2014
The hallmark of Lerro Production night photo sessions are the "railroaders at work" scenes, many inspired by the Depression-era photography of Jack Delano or the late 1950s work of O. Winston Link. Jeff Mast posed as a railroad worker on the 1225.
Steam Railroading Institute; Owosso, Mich.; June 21, 2014
After 11:00 each night the large crowd of about 50 was broken into a smaller extra-fee group that stayed around for more detailed shots that weren't suitable for a large number of people. One shot was from inside the turntable "house" looking out at the two Berkshires. It was discovered during testing that the glass in the window caused too much glare, so it was carefully removed -- one of the many details that make Lerro Productions night sessions worthwhile. Gary Melford posed as the turntable operator.
Steam Railroading Institute; Owosso, Mich.; June 21, 2014
A subset of the "railroaders at work" theme are portraits of railroaders. A World War II-era portrait of "Rosie the Riveter" capped off the final night session of the evening. Alaina Kraus made for a wonderful Rosie.
Steam Railroading Institute; Owosso, Mich.; June 21, 2014
This is the seventh and final (I think) post from a two-week long trip I took in June. To recap the posts, we rode a photo freight on the Arkansas & Missouri, went to the Ozark Mountains to visit three tourist operations, chased the Amtrak Exhibit Train behind Alcos on the A&M, followed a Kansas City Southern freight through parts of three states, looked at Arkansas streetcar operations in Little Rock and Fort Smith, and checked out the railroads in and around Nashville. It was a heck of a two weeks!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Music City USA

CSX Transportation; Nashville, Tenn.; June 8, 2014
We're moving along with the big circle trip across the midwest from New Jersey to Arkansas and return. In both directions my brother Bruce and I stopped in Music City USA -- Nashville, Tenn. -- to check out the rail action. Our first stop on the outbound trip was at Lebanon, Tenn., where the Music City Star commuter trains lay up. Since this was a Sunday (June 8, to be precise), no Star trains were running.
Music City Star; Lebanon, Tenn.; June 8, 2014
Moving into Nashville our next stop was at the yard of the Nashville & Eastern just east of downtown. The railroad had some interesting locomotives in the yard, including a couple in modified BNSF Heritage II paint, relettered for the N&E. B40-8W No. 568 showed off the modified scheme, with N&E lettering replacing the BNSF on the nose and flank; it has also been named City of Nashville.
Nashville & Eastern; Nashville, Tenn.; June 8, 2014
Next we went into downtown, where the event formerly known as Fan Fair was going on (back before Nashville sold its soul to Clear Channel -- but I digress). Demonbraun Street provides a nice overview of southbound CSX trains passing under Broadway (below) and going by Nashville Union Station (top photo of this post). The station used to have a large train shed extending south from the headhouse, but all that's left is an empty parking lot. A steady stream of trains paused here to change crews.
CSX Transportation; Nashville, Tenn.; June 8, 2014
From here we continued west to Arkansas, but we would pass through Nashville again on the return trip, this time on Thursday, June 19. Our first stop was to get an inbound Music City Star train passing the bowling alley at Donelson as it pushed into Nashville.
Music City Star; Donelson, Tenn.; June 19, 2014
Next we had an outbound train passing through the station in Donelson. It would meet another inbound train just east of the station.
Music City Star; Donelson, Tenn.; June 19, 2014
Music City Star; Mill Creek, Nashville, Tenn.; June 19, 2014
Music City Star began operating on November 6, 2006, with the hope of capturing 1500 riders each day. Those numbers have never come to fruition, with 2013 ridership running around 900 passengers (which is actually slightly less than the previous year). Part of the problem is the Star only has three inbound trains in the morning and three outbound trains in the evening, with no midday service; to a large extent, many jobs are moving away from traditional work hours, making the train impractical. The other issue is the Nashville station is located outside the core of downtown, forcing riders to finish their trip to work on a bus. Nonetheless, Nashville remains committed to making the service work.

Service is maintained with three EMD F40PH locomotives that originally worked for Amtrak. Numbered 120-122 (Amtrak 332, 398 and 399 respectively), they pull two or three ex-Chicago & North Western gallery cars. Surprisingly, the trains don't lay over in Nashville during the day. All three sets return to Lebanon as revenue moves (although ridership is extremely light). They then return to Nashville (once again as lightly-used revenue moves) for the evening rush hour.

After finishing at Donelson we moved to the scenic highlight of the line -- the through truss bridge over Mill Creek outside Nashville, where we caught an outbound almost-deadhead move behind No. 122.

Moving into downtown, we caught one more outbound move near the Nashville & Eastern yard. In retrospect, we should have gone downtown and shot the train departing from the station. Next time...
Music City Star; Nashville, Tenn.; June 19, 2014
We wrapped up our look at Nashville when we found a Motive Power Resources leased switcher working what appeared to be gondolas of scrap metal outside of downtown. We were unable to determine the company the locomotive was working for, however. From here, we headed north -- I had to drop Bruce off at Lafayette, Ind., to catch Amtrak's Cardinal home, while I continued on to Owosso, Mich., for Train Expo.
Motive Power Resources; Nashville, Tenn.; June 19, 2014
More photos from the first day around Nashville (including the Union Station area) can be found here. Photos from the second day (including more Music City Star) can be found here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Streetcars Of Arkansas

Central Arkansas Transit; June 17, 2014
We're continuing our two-week foray into the upper midwest, turning back east from the National Railway Historical Society convention in Springdale, Ark. So far we have ridden a photo freight charter on the Arkansas & Missouri, visited tourist railroads in the Ozarks, chased the Amtrak display train behind A&M Alco diesels, and headed south along the Kansas City Southern in three states. We are now in Little Rock, Ark., home to the decade-old River Rail Streetcar of Central Arkansas Transit.
Central Arkansas Transit; Little Rock, Ark.; June 17, 2014
The River Rail Streetcar opened in November 2014 and operates 3.4 miles of track in Little Rock and North Little Rock. The original line operated 2.5 miles between the downtowns of the two cities. In 2006 an extension was opened to the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library. Three replica trolleys were used when the line initially opened and two more were added with the extension. The cars, built by Gomaco Trolley Company, resemble the Birney cars that operated in Little Rock (which previously had electric streetcar service between 1891 and 1947); the original Birneys were numbered 400-407 and the five replicas continue that series, numbered 408-412.
Central Arkansas Transit; Little Rock, Ark.; June 17, 2014
The line is broken down into two "routes," the Green Line and the Blue Line. The Green Line operates a loop through downtown, and continues on to the Clinton Library (except in the evening). The Blue Line covers the exact same loop downtown, but also crosses the Arkansas River to make a loop in North Little Rock; it also goes to the Clinton Library during the day. This two-route system means that North Little Rock only gets half the service that Little Rock gets. All the above photos were taken on the primary loop in downtown Little Rock. The photo below takes us out near the Clinton Library.
Central Arkansas Transit; Little Rock, Ark.; June 17, 2014
All trackage is one-directional, running clockwise in Little Rock and counter-clockwise in North Little Rock. The Clinton Library extension is double-track with rail on both sides of the street. The exception to one-directional running is the bridge over the Arkansas River, where both northbound and southbound cars share a single track.
Central Arkansas Transit; Little Rock, Ark.; June 17, 2014
North Little Rock has a picturesque downtown, and the system's car barn is located here.
Central Arkansas Transit; North Little Rock, Ark.; June 17, 2014
Fort Smith Trolley Museum; Fort Smith, Ark.; June 12, 2014
This concludes our look at the River Rail Streetcar, but while we're on the subject of Arkansas streetcars let's backtrack to the other operation in the state, the Fort Smith Trolley. While River Rail serves as a means of transportation to tourists and residents, the Fort Smith Trolley is primarily a tourist ride. This is part of the Fort Smith Trolley Museum, and the trolley ride was inaugurated in 1991 on a quarter mile of track. Subsequent extensions now gives the line a distance of about 3,000 feet.

The car in use in Fort Smith is an actual Birney car (unlike Little Rock's replicas), built in 1926. It served Fort Smith in regular service until streetcar service was discontinued in 1933. Several more streetcars (including a couple of Little Rock Birneys that are being combined into one operable car) are undergoing restoration. Much of the collection is native to Fort Smith.

The museum also owns three locomotives of various types, the most notable being Frisco 2-8-2 No. 4003.

More photos of the River Rail Streetcar in Little Rock can be found here. More photos of the Fort Smith Trolley (and the NRHS convention train that went there on the Arkansas & Missouri) can be found here.
Fort Smith Trolley Museum; Fort Smith, Ark.; June 12, 2014

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