Pere Marquette Railway Steam Feature for November 2017

Featured Pere Marquette Railway steam subjects for this November post include various locations in Michigan and Illinois:

  • PM #345 – Wyoming, MI – 9/18/49
  • PM #720 – Wyoming, MI – 9/49
  • PM #1016 – Chicago, IL – 7/4/47
  • PM #1024 – Wyoming, MI – 9/19/49
  • PM #1103 – New Buffalo, MI – 9/24/49
  • PM #1110 – Wyoming, MI – 9/19/49

All photos courtesy of www.rr-fallenflags.org.


Rock on Trains © 2017, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

 

 

Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Steam Feature for February 2017

C&O Rwy Logo

Featured Chesapeake & Ohio Railway steam subjects for this February post include locations in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Washington, DC and West Virginia:

  • C&O #444 – Hammond, IN – 6/24/47
  • C&O #450 – Huntington, WV – 7/35
  • C&O #472 – Cincinnati, OH – 10/6/49
  • C&O #482 – Washington, DC – 12/27/46
  • C&O #549 – Washington, DC – 6/12/38
  • C&O #2987 – New Buffalo, MI – 9/24/49

All photos courtesy of www.rr-fallenflags.org.


Rock on Trains © 2017, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

Depot Doings: Valparaiso, IN / Durand, MI / Olivet, MI / Owosso, MI

Featured Grand Trunk Western depots on the blog this month are those in Valparaiso, Indiana and Durand, Olivet, and Owosso, Michigan:

Grand Trunk Western Herald

  • GTW – Valparaiso, IN – 9/24/12
  • GTW – Durand, MI – 3/69
  • GTW – Olivet, MI – Date unknown
  • GTW – Owosso, MI – 3/69

All photos courtesy of www.rr-fallenflags.org/.


Rock on Trains © 2016, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

 

Grand Trunk Western Railway Steam Feature for February 2016

Grand Trunk Western HeraldFeatured Grand Trunk Western Railway steam subjects for this February post include various locomotive classes around the Brush St. station in Detroit:

  • GTW #5630 – Detroit MI – 8/13/56
  • GTW #5631 – Detroit MI – 8/13/56
  • GTW #5633 – Detroit MI – 8/13/56
  • GTW #6038 – Detroit MI – 8/13/56
  • GTW #6335 – Detroit MI – 8/13/56
  • GTW #6407 – Detroit MI – 8/13/56

All photos courtesy of www.godfatherrails.com.


Rock on Trains © 2016, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

My Train Recollections: John Uhelski

Mr. John Uhelski, my friend and fellow train buff, shares his train recollections with us this month. Thanks for your memories, John!


johnuhelskiMy train watching addiction began at and early age; I, too, remember the trains at the Detroit Zoo, but also grew up with Grand Trunk Western steam at places like Brush Street Station and Eastern Market in Detroit. I also recall freight and passenger trains at the classic Birmingham Station with the high platforms.

My dad was a salaried Ford Motor Company employee, so he took my brother and me on a GTW steam-powered trip from Detroit to Pontiac in the late 1950s. Years later, I was at one of the meetings of the AATTW when Emery Gulash was showing his GTW steam slides and I saw the photos he’d taken. I mentioned that I was on this trip, and he replied, “This was a private Ford employees special; how did you get to ride on it?” I told him about my dad and it all made sense. Mr. Gulash and I remained friends for many years and stood side by side along the ROW in future train journeys over the years before his passing.

Not to dismiss the diesel engines that replaced the iron horses of my youth, my Dad often took us to the many junctions in the Detroit area. We spent much time at places like Wayne Jct, Romulus, Carleton, Milan and South Lyon, watching the growlers bounce over the diamonds in the 1960s. Great memories of climbing the tower steps to visit the operators, waiting for the bell announcing an upcoming train, throwing switch and semaphore levers to “help” the operator. All that’s left now are silver boxes trackside and memories.

In the late 50s and early 60s, we vacationed “up north” around the Petoskey, Michigan area of the northern lower peninsula. The C&O and EJ&S got the once-over by my family. I have vivid memories of C&O spotless E-Units on passenger trains and GP-30s on freights. Old #6 on the EJ&S was a treat for us steam-starved train nuts then.

My first real freight ride was in 1967 on the C&O from Petoskey to Central Lake, MI. We were at the Petoskey station and the train was about to depart southbound when a request was made to hitch a ride.  The friendly conductor told me, “You cannot ride in the caboose, but if you find an open box car, I will turn my head while you jump on.” To this day, I cannot believe that my parents allowed this trip. It was a perfect Michigan summer day with blue sky and lakeside breezes. The trip was magical for me and I only wish I had taken my Kodak Instamatic along for the ride. The crew dropped me off at the Drawbridge Road crossing, just north of Central Lake, MI, where I had a short walk back to my grandparents’ cabin on Benway Lake.  I was walking on air, a railfan for life!

I have countless more snapshot memories like this and could go on for days. My first ever train photo was of an eastbound NYC freight at the Henry Ruff Road crossing in Inkster, MI, led by a set of ALCO cab units. The B&W image is speed- and nerve-blurred , but I have it to this day. First color photos were of cigar band NYC E-Units on long passenger trains at the classic depot in Ann Arbor, MI. My aunt and uncle lived in this town , walking distance from the depot. Our tradition was as follows: visit with Ethyl and Rolland, eat dinner at the Old German Restaurant, then head to the depot in the late afternoon/evening for the passenger rush. I can remember the massive waiting room there, foot steps echoing on the tile floors. Then the show began, east and west bound varnish, pulled by sets of big E-Units. The spotless stainless steel cars hinted of exotic far away places and had to be documented with my trusty Instamatic camera — then, the wait for processing soon after.  All quaint memories in this digital age of instant gratification.


Rock on Trains © 2014, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

Rock on Trains history: My Train Recollections

Today, I offer you a brief narrative of my own infatuation with trains. I hope you enjoy this blast from my past!

Tom and the Detroit Zoo train

A very young Tom Rock and the Detroit Zoo train

My interest in trains began at a very early age, probably when I was 5 or 6 years old. My father would often take me to Sarnia, Ontario, to visit my great-grandfather, an engineer for Canadian National Railways. His job involved moving electric freight trains from Sarnia to Port Huron, Michigan. Canadian National rules would not allow me to stay on board the train during these movements, but grandfather made sure I boarded once the engine was parked near the roundhouse. At this time, Canadian National was still running steam, so it was quite an experience for a 6-yr. old to grasp the size of one of those coal-fired giants.

When I was 10 years old, my father accepted a job in California. On the way out west, we stayed in Cheyenne, Wyoming. My father noted my fascination with trains, so he took me to the Union Pacific station in Cheyenne for a closer look. There I saw a diesel locomotive up close for the very first time. When the engineer offered a tour of the cab, I backed away and refused to board. After a little encouragement from my father, I finally climbed the ladder and got into the cab. The engineer tried to show me the entire working components of the engine, but I wanted no part of it. I grew up around steam engines, but the sounds that this new type of locomotive produced frightened me. With that, I gracefully exited the engine.

Back in the 50’s, Chrysler produced locomotives to be used at the Detroit Zoo. These scaled-down versions of steam engines would carry patrons around the entire zoo complex. One day while I visited the zoo, my father took a photo of me studying one of the engines before it departed. I had convinced myself at this age that a railroad life was for me, but like all dreams, some come true and some do not.

Upon my high school graduation, I took a drafting job. This lasted 43 years until my retirement came in 2006. During those 43 years, I worked with many notable NASA illustrators that taught me the art of painting with acrylics.

I had to trade my railroading dream for painting, which flourished into railroad nostalgic scenes. Evidence of this dream can be seen on this blog or at my website, www.TDRProductions.us.


Rock on Trains © 2014, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

Interlocking Towers: Carelton / Penford / Wayne Jct / Romulus / Delray / Pelton

My Depot Doings feature is being replaced with Interlocking Towers this month.  I am currently reviewing my depot photo sources and am not able to post photos at this time. I’m substituting the depot photos with these Interlocking Tower photos for November.  I hope to have new depot photos up next month — please stay tuned.

All of the towers featured here are located in southeastern Michigan except the Pelton Tower, which was located outside Windsor, Ontario. The Wayne Jct., Pelton, Penford and Romulus towers have been razed. The Carelton tower remains, but is not active. The Delray tower is still maintained by CSX as far as I know.


Rock on Trains © 2012, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions.  All rights reserved.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.