King Street Station, Seattle

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 the station left me was of a dark cave.  The ceilings were too low, made of acoustic tile.  It was a chintzy modern interior that … Continue reading King Street Station, Seattle

Home of Phoebe Snow

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 no street cars but you can add light rail, the PATH Tube (a subway rapid transit system between New York and New Jersey) and busses. … Continue reading Home of Phoebe Snow

You Have Built It, But Will They Come? St. Paul Union Depot

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 Builder.  On shorter holidays, like Thanksgiving, Suzi’s family hosted several of her college friends who lived far away from Minnesota, including me, for Thanksgiving.  We … Continue reading You Have Built It, But Will They Come? St. Paul Union Depot

A Train Trip through Bavaria.

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 Mad King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein (New Swan Rock) Castle.  I priced out second class rail and bus connections at €58 but the lady at the ticket … Continue reading A Train Trip through Bavaria.

Railway at the End of the World

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.  It transported prisoners sentenced to hard labor, many of them political prisoners, to cut trees for building and for fuel.  Forest duty was often preferred … Continue reading Railway at the End of the World

St. Pancras International Railway Station

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 high.  The station was the pride of the Midland Railway and was fronted by a Victorian gothic revival hotel, The Midland Grand, designed by George … Continue reading St. Pancras International Railway Station

St. Croix River Soo Line High Bridge

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 … Continue reading St. Croix River Soo Line High Bridge

Take the Train from Casablanca going south. (The Marrakesh Express)

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 … Continue reading Take the Train from Casablanca going south. (The Marrakesh Express)

Railjet, Austria’s High Speed Train.

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 … Continue reading Railjet, Austria’s High Speed Train.

Iron and Glass, Flowers and Trains

May 11, 2010 Dear Friends, On Friday afternoons I would go to my grandparents’ flat in Jersey City while my parents had their night out.  Grandpa Brew would tell me stories.  He was raised in Ireland, ran away to sea at 13 and developed a love of travel, ships, Ireland and America.    He introduced me to Democratic politics.  He also told a good story.  But … Continue reading Iron and Glass, Flowers and Trains

Tracking an Old Memory, Dobrun, BiH

This is from a June, 2010 letter: Thirty Eight years ago, (in 1972) Suzi and I fleetingly encountered a narrow gauge steam powered train while driving the back roads of Bosnia.  Last week, near the same place, we saw that train again.  The rail company is just re-opening the narrow gauge line into Bosnia after closing it in the 70s.  This time we chased the … Continue reading Tracking an Old Memory, Dobrun, BiH

Sargan 8, A railroad climbs a mountain in Serbia

This is an excerpt from a June 2009 letter:   This week we started our journalism summer school at Mokra Gora, (wet mountain) in the mountains near the Bosnian border.   As part of the program we had arranged an excursion on the narrow gauge railway. This railroad has fascinated me for more than 35 years.  Suzi and I encountered it in 1972 on a drive … Continue reading Sargan 8, A railroad climbs a mountain in Serbia