11.21.2007

Week of Links! Train Porn!

You'll never meet a group of people as obsessive as train enthusiasts. Considering that the entire Bay Area was once criss-crossed with municipal, interurban, and transcontinental train lines, there's lots here to obsess and enthuse about. Shall we begin?

College and Shafter.jpg
Shafter and College in Oakland, 1952. Kenneth C. Jenkins photo. Garth G. Groff collection.


I once found it unbelievable that there used to be a commuter (and small freight) train line running up Shafter Street in North Oakland, through the hills, all the way to Sacramento, and then on to Chico! Don't believe it either? This site has proof!

OB&E was created by an adorable teenager. (Daniel, please don't be annoyed that I called you "adorable" or that I'm being semi-patronizing by referencing your age. I only mention these facts because they will increase viewer awe of your site!). The site focuses on the East Bay's electric commuter trains – now long gone. It is updated less frequently because the creator went off to college, but it's well organized with lots of sweet photos. Worth a look.

Key Rail Pics is the place where the Key Route Yahoo Group posts their awesome East Bay train pictures.

A line.jpeg
John Stashik Collection


Bay Rails. Again, mostly East Bay. Again, totally awesome.

This site maps various active train tracks. It's not a map of where the train tracks lead to, it's a map of the actual track layout. I am in awe of the nerdiness of this project.

Also highly nerdy (in a good way), this site is full of highly technical information (that I don't understand at all!) and cool close up photos relating to the Southern Pacific which, I believe, once terminated in Oakland.
The Western Railway Museum site features Quicktime videos of old trains in action, and don't miss this Telstar Logistics post about the snowbound and decaying fleet of MUNI trains in Lake Tahoe.


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Finally, I can't forget the N Judah Chronicles, a fine blog of all things N-Judah which brings back my days living at the bottom of the N Line, when I used to have to sweep sand out of my living room.

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5 comments:

ByTheBay said...

You probably know that I used to be a railroad conductor and switchman, right? So, one of the first things I learned when I was in training was that people who work on the railroad call railfans "foamers". There are conflicting stories about whether the source of that term is from the foam model train enthusiasts (who are insanely obsessed as a rule) use to make mountains and other geographic features out of for their train sets.... the other is that it's because they foam at the mouth. Regardless, they were a non-stop source of amusement (and disdain sometimes) for us. There was one guy who used to stand at the station in Martinez wearing a vest covered in various train-related pins, carrying a walkie talkie on which apparently he managed to listen to the Union Pacific dispatcher, and he'd meet every train that came in. It was amazing. Since encountering those folks I can really no longer call myself a railfan, despite being really in love with trains since childhood.

Bay Radical said...

Foamers??? Would someone self-ID as a foamer, or is it kind of insulting? Assuming it's not too mean, I will do my best to work the term "foamer" into my everyday speech, as I find it to be an awesome term.

Great story BTW.

ByTheBay said...

No, "foamer" is not a self-ID. It's a bit derogatory, though not in a particularly hostile way.

Amanda said...

Good train work, Flx. Super informative and enjoyable.

anniez-k said...

bythebay, you have my thanks as well! I'm no foamer, but love the trains. And this post. Thanks, Felix!

 
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