For one brief moment in time a wilderness outpost on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota was the center of an international commodity trade. That commodity, Beaver pelts. And it was all done to make silly hats. … Continue reading Global Trade in the Wilderness
July 11, 2020 Sitka to Anchorage, It was light when the alarm rang at 4:00 AM, although the sun would not, technically, be up for another 22 minutes. The days are getting shorter. We got dressed loaded the car and … Continue reading Northern Milk Run
“High Speed Rail” is a relative term. In the EU to be called “High Speed” a train must be able to travel either 155 MPH (250 KPH) over purpose-built track or 125 MPH (200 KPH) over standard rail lines. The … Continue reading “Higher Speed Rail” in America. (Drawbridge Up)
It used to be a tradition at Alaska Airlines, still may be, to put their best pilots on their most challenging runs. In the late ‘70s those included the Southeast Alaska “Milk Runs.” Wrangell and Petersburg had gravel strips on … Continue reading “Let’s Go Fly!”
In which I say goodbye to a ship named Prinsendam – the second time around. I was new to Juneau, looking across Gastineau Channel from my home in North Douglas. A neat little cruise ship pulled into Juneau’s dock. It … Continue reading Goodbye Old Friend
You can try to shelter yourself from travel’s inconveniences but you’re never completely successful. We’re used to negotiating travel’s mine fields (sometimes literally.) We’ve done winding dusty mountain roads in third world busses, train rides with goats and chickens, and … Continue reading The Long Ride Home
These are more pictures, companions to the post Flåm Railway. The final picture is the electric ferry, “Future of the Fjords” it can travel 40 KM on a charge and takes 25 minutes to recharge. I will be talking about … Continue reading Flåm Valley
This is not the first time we have ridden the Flåm Railway. One of my most vivid memories of traveling with the kids was standing on the platform at a station on the line, after having gotten off at a … Continue reading Flåm Railway
I’m not sure if I love railway stations because I love trains or if there is something about them that I love in and of itself. Paddington is a classical iron and glass station with brick front, but it has … Continue reading 19th century stations with 21st Century trains.
We had a great time riding the cable cars in San Francisco. The California street cable car climbs Nob Hill, past China Town, the Mark Hopkins and Grace Cathedral. We rode it at night and the next day at dusk … Continue reading Ding, Ding, Ding, a Ding, Ding, a Dinga Ding. Cable Cars and Other Delights.
The last time we wrote the Peak Tram to the heights of Hong Kong there was not such an elaborate structure at the top terminus. Not, after you reach “the top” you go up still higher on a series of … Continue reading Dim Sum at the Top
Shanghai is noted for its modern transportation infrastructure, the mag-lev trains and high speed rail. Hong Kong is noted for its 19th century transportation infrastructure, the Peak Tram, the rattling old double decker trams on Hong Kong Island and the … Continue reading Star Ferry — Hong Kong.
Three years ago I wrote about getting up at 5:15 so we wouldn’t miss a minute of transiting the Panama Canal. I got to the forward Crow’s Nest lounge a little early. This year we set the alarm for 6:15 … Continue reading The Second Time Around… The Panama Canal.
If there’s the possibility to ride a train I will take it. Puerto Limon is connected to San Jose by a narrow gauge railway. It no longer carries passengers, except for a few miles through the outskirts of Limon and … Continue reading Banana Train
The first time I entered the King Street Station in Seattle was when I stepped off the “Coast Daylight/Starlight in 1973.” A couple of days later Suzi and I got on the “Pacific International” to head to Vancouver. The impression … Continue reading King Street Station, Seattle
The Beaux Arts Lackawanna railway station in Hoboken, New Jersey went up in 1907, built at the site of an old ferry landing. It was designed as an intermodal transportation hub serving trains, ferries, and street cars. Today there are … Continue reading Home of Phoebe Snow
When I was in college I became familiar with St. Paul’s Union Depot. I took Great Northern’s Western Star for spring break skiing in Whitefish, Montana. The Star was Great Northern’s ‘ “second train.” I couldn’t afford the flagship Empire … Continue reading You Have Built It, But Will They Come? St. Paul Union Depot
This trip I decided to spend two jet lag nights in Munich, or rather Freisling, a small town near the airport. This time I decided to take the train from Freisling to Fussen and the onward bus to Hohenschwangu and … Continue reading A Train Trip through Bavaria.
March 9, 2015 St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Not every Holland America officer likes serving on Prinsendam; at least that’s what our American Express representative tells me. It has an old fashioned bridge, different from the other ships. The newer … Continue reading On the Bridge of MS Prinsendam
January 30, 2015 Ushuaia, Argentina The train at the end of the world started as a convict work train. It’s a narrow gauge railway that used to run from the Prison in Ushuaia into the forests of Tierra del Fuego. … Continue reading Railway at the End of the World
When the St. Pancras railway station opened in 1868 its wrought iron and glass train shed, designed by Henry Barlow, was the largest single structure roof in the world. It was 689 feet long, 240 feet wide and 100 feet … Continue reading St. Pancras International Railway Station
I love the iron and steel constructs built between the American Civil War and the First World War. Many were built by the railroads, the wonder train sheds of Europe. But the US has its share of railway architecture. The St. Croix River Soo Line High Bridge is a magical construct of steel latticework. I never tire of taking a boat down to the bridge just to marvel at how, more than a century ago (in 1909) folks made such a wonderful and beautiful structure. I love how delicate the lacework pattern of iron and steel can look. Make sure … Continue reading St. Croix River Soo Line High Bridge
I’ve never heard a train song I didn’t want to ride. I’ve ridden the Rock Island Line and the City of New Orleans. Some songs I can never ride. The Super Chief and Phoebe Snow are 30 years gone. But you can still “take the train from Casablanca going south.” We rode the Marrakesh Express. The song is more about anticipation than the ride, but the ride, while crowded, is worth it. You clickety clack from the coastal flats through rolling hills and dessert. There are settlements of brown adobe brick, circled by a wall, looking like they grew out … Continue reading Take the Train from Casablanca going south. (The Marrakesh Express)
Railjet is Austria’s high speed train. While not as fast as Germany’s ICE (Suzi’s train from Brussels to Munich topped out at 275) or France’s TGV, we clocked a respectable 232 km per hour (144 MPH) on the route between Munich and Vienna. The train is comfortable with wi-fi (I took a picture when the speedometer tipped 200 and sent it out on FaceBook), a dining car, a cart that brings food to you and nice seats. Taking pictures out of the windows at the alpine meadows at that speed was a challenge for my camera. You don’t really feel … Continue reading Railjet, Austria’s High Speed Train.