For the past 15 years I have been subscribing to "Trains" magazine which has articles covering everything from the latest technology to descriptions of different territories to ongoing historic preservation. Even when I was 10 or so I used to check out the magazine from the library. This year marks the magazine's 70th anniversary, and as part of the celebration they were selling a dvd with every magazine since 1940 digitized and in .pdf format. I balked at the cost at first, but then realized it was only $0.15 an issue. I thought there could be some pretty cool historical stuff in there. And so I bought it.
Last night I started reading some of the articles and I can see that it will be well worth the price. So much has happened in the past 70 years! Of course the biggest change has been switching from steam to diesel. There have also been so many "fallen flags" to the point where there are only a handful of major lines left in the country. There is also the death of the passenger train thanks to the advent of air travel and the construction of the Interstate Highway system.
I only spent a few hours perusing last night, but I have already found a few gems. In 1956 the yard that was just down the street was being touted as a new high-tech switching center. Now it is an intermodal facility with most of the yard replaced by a few tracks where containers are unloaded. Albuquerque was mentioned several times in articles about the Super Chief, the Santa Fe's flagship between Chicago and LA. The almost racist comments about Indians selling stuff to passengers was lol-worthy. And then there were great pics of "The Chile Line" which once connected Santa Fe with Denver. Now that line is just a memory with only the Cumbres and Toltec line remaining as a tourist carrier. I just love this stuff! Over the next few years I hope to find some historic locations caught on film decades ago and recreate the shot as it appears today. Kinda like this post