Trains Timeline: a 75 year journey


The 1990s
1Trains’ 50th birthday part at BN’s Chouteau Yard has Frisco 1522, N&W 1218, UP 844. Mike Danneman
2Playing to a sold-out crowd of 1,700, Union Pacific 3985 and Southern Pacific 4449 face off at the climax of the musical revue "Between the Pages" as cast members exit the stage. Kevin P. Keefe
3N&W 611 climbs Blue Ridge grade out of Roanoke on its Sept. 9, 1982, inaugural. Jim Wrinn
4Don Phillips comes back to the pages of Trains in its February 1992 issue. Don Phillips
5Amtrak begins to test RoadRailers, the unique highway van with rail wheels at Philadelphia coach yard March 19, 1992. Bob Johnston
6Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac train R-409 with RF&P, Conrail, and CSX units departs Potomac Yard on Feb. 11, 1992. CSX photo by John B. Corns
7Sharing Ivy City tracks are Amtrak and VRE units. Tracy Kirk Davis
8Kevin P. Keefe is the new editor of Trains magazine.
9Debut: Metrolink train is eastbound at Upland during August 21 Claremont-San Bernardino run. Metrolink Lynn Merrill
10A Santa Fe Intermodal train approaches Bixler in California's "Hidden Valley" on this newly designed Trains January 1993 issue. Steve Schmollinger
11Casket of Robert Claytor, retired Norfolk Southern chairman who died April 9, 1993, is taken off funeral train at Roanoke, Va., April 12 after trip from Norfolk to link services in each city. Doug Koontz
12Passengers, many of them first-time Metrolink riders, create a mob scene at Santa Clarita, after the Northridge Earthquake. Dana Peters
13Three original Pacific Railroad ceremonial spikes, plus a maul and centennial spike at Promontory's 125th anniversary celebration. J. David Ingles
14Graham Claytor in the cab of SP 4449. Frank Clodfelter
15Out of a job: N&W 4-8-4 611 near Dublin, Va., in April 1992. Ron Flanary
16Westbound C&NW train PRCBA behind SD40-2s on Sept. 4, 1993, smack the Rochelle diamonds. Lance Wales
17Mike Haverty of Kansas City Southern: a "fourth generation railroad guy." KCS
18"Trains On Line" offers a custom lineup of magazine-related feature stories, reader services, and electronic graphics. Trains On Line
19Union Pacific unveils the Olympic Torch train's cauldron car at Milwaukee on April 11, 1996. Trains: Robert S. McGonigal
20In "Highballing Through New Mexico's Abo Canyon," Howard Fogg depicted one of Santa Fe's legendary 5000-class 2-10-4s. Courtesy Miner Enterprises Inc.
21Crowds inspect the lineup of old and new diesels displayed outside EMDS's old paint shop on Sept. 21, 1997, marking Electro-Motive Division of General Motor's 75th anniversary celebration at its La Grange, Ill., plant. Robert S McGonigal
22Conrail's auto terminals special rolls through the Berkshires at Chester, Mass., on July 24, 1998, one month before Conrail was officially turned over to CSX, Norfolk Southern, and the "new" Conrail. Bill Stephens
23On March 20, 1999, five mornings after the wreck, the northbound City passes the wreck site, where lead locomotive P40 No. 807 still rests under a blue tarp. Bob Johnston
24Trains introduces new quarterly magazine, Classic Trains, with Editor Robert S. McGonigal and Associate Editor Carl Swanson.


January 9

Santa Fe ally Gateway Western buys CM& W Kansas City-St. Louis line.

January 10

TRAINS Editor Emeritus David P. Morgan dies at age 62.

January 15

Canadian makes last run on CP as VIA system is cut in half, employees from 7300 to 2761.

May 17

Wheeling & Lake Erie begins service on 840 ex-N&W miles.

July 13

1Four steam engines gather at NRHS fete in St. Louis to help TRAINS mark 50th anniversary.



Canadian Pacific acquires Delaware & Hudson out of bankruptcy.

January 19

Harold H. Hall, the last president of Southern Railway and first president/CEO of Norfolk Southern, dies at the age of 64.


Russell G. Larson named publisher of Trains.

April 7

Amtrak consolidates all of its New York passenger trains into Pennsylvania Station, leaving only commuter and subway trains at Grand Central.

April 18

Railroad brotherhoods strike over wages, work rules, and health care costs, but strike only lasts 24 hours as Congress passes legislation ordering 235,000 railroaders back to work.

May 1

CSX completes union agreements systemwide for three-person train crews of engineer, conductor, and one brakeman.

May 1

Amtrak marks 20th anniversary.

May 3-12

2California State Railroad Museum stages Railfair ’91, drawing approximately 200,000 visitors.

August 20

Harley O. Staggers, the West Virginia Democratic congressman for whom the 1980 law providing significant economic deregulation of the railroad industry was named, dies at the age of 84.

Nov. 2-3

3Norfolk Southern celebrates 25 years of Southern Railway/NS steam specials with a gala weekend in Chattanooga.


January 3

Fred A. Stindt, a railroad and maritime historian who helped establish the California State Railroad Museum and was past president of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, dies at the age of 80.


4Don Phillips, veteran Washington Post transportation reporter and author of Trains’ monthly “Potomac Pundit” column from 1977-1986, rejoins Trains with a monthly column bearing his name.


CSX completes the first transcontinental shipment of an entire double-stack train of refrigerated containers on a test run from Tacoma, Wash., to Little Ferry, N.J.

February 5

Omer Lavallee, retired Canadian Pacific archivist and prominent Canadian railroad historian who authored several books, dies at the age of 67.


5Norfolk Southern, the only company to stick with RoadRailer technology, announces that the service has achieved profitability.

April 30

6Potomac Yard, located just south of Washington, D.C., which was built in 1906 to interchange traffic between railroads in the North and West with those in the South and Southeast, closes.


Union Pacific orders two locomotives fueled by liquefied natural gas as part of a $70 million order for 50 SD60Ms for delivery in 1992.


Executive Art Director George Gloff, who joined Kalmbach as an artist on Jan. 26, 1951, retires.

June 24-25

Labor unions strike all U.S. railroads over wage, job security, and work rules; strike ended when President George H.W. Bush signed Congressional legislation ordering a 38-day cooling-off period.

June 22

7After 27 years of planning, Virginia Railway Express commences commuter rail service between Washington, D.C., and Manassas. Service to Fredericksburg begins July 20.

August 24

Hurricane Andrew strikes South Florida and Louisiana, damaging the lines of CSX, Florida East Coast, Southern Pacific in Louisiana, and Miami’s Gold Coast Railroad Museum.

September 1

Norfolk Southern names David R. Goode as Chairman and CEO.

September 11

Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad ceases operation after 113 years of service.


8Kevin P. Keefe named editor of Trains, succeeding J. David Ingles, who was named senior editor.


9Metrolink is formed by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority to provide commuter rail service for a six-county area of Los Angeles.

December 10

Amtrak runs demonstration train X2000, a Swedish-built, high-speed passenger train, with hydraulic tilt technology that allows the train to take curves at higher-than-normal speeds.



10David P. Morgan’s last piece of unpublished writing, an extended caption for a photograph of the Rock Island Rocket, appears on page 74 of the January 1993 issue.


VIA Rail Canada’s Atlantic is the last full-service, long-distance passenger train heated by steam to operate in the United States, and the last such mainline train in Canada.

April 8

Railroad artist Grif Teller, noted for his paintings for the Pennsylvania Railroad, dies at the age of 93.

April 9

11Robert B. Claytor, retired chairman and CEO of Norfolk Southern, dies at his home in Norfolk, Va.  Claytor is credited with achieving a smooth merger of Norfolk & Western and Southern Railway in 1980, and restoring two landmark steam locomotives – N&W Class J No. 611 and N&W Class A No. 1218 to excursion service.


Rob McGonigal joins the Trains staff as assistant editor.

July 24

The German high-speed intercity express train hits 162 mph on a Northeast Corridor run before beginning a U.S. tour on August 5.

September 23

Amtrak’s Sunset Limited derails on an Alabama trestle, killing 44. A barge was later found to have knocked the trestle out of alignment.

December 6

W. Graham Claytor retires as president of Amtrak, and is succeeded by Thomas M. Downs.


January 17

12At 4:30 a.m. Pacific Time, a Los Angeles-area earthquake, measuring 6.6 on the Richter Scale, left 60 people dead, 25,000 homeless, severely damaged highway infrastructure, and sent thousands of commuters to Metrolink for the first time.


Southern Pacific sells the Alameda Corridor to the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach for development of an intermodal artery between the Port of Long Beach and rail yards in East Los Angeles.

May 10

13America observes the 125th anniversary of the driving of the golden spike to create the nation’s first transcontinental railroad at Golden Spike National Historic Site at Promontory Summit, Utah.

May 14

14W. Graham Claytor Jr., retired Amtrak president, former president of Southern Railway, dies.

June 30

Burlington Northern and Santa Fe announce plans to merge.


Tropical storm Alberto dumps heavy rain over the southeast. CSX and Norfolk Southern suffered washouts and mudslides that resulted in the re-routing of multiple trains, and $8 million worth of damage on CSX and $6 million on NS.

October 28

15After 28 years, Norfolk Southern announces the end of its steam excursion program. The last public trip ran behind J Class No. 611 on a round trip from Birmingham, Ala., to Chattanooga, Tenn., on December 3, sponsored by the Heart of Dixie Chapter of the NRHS.


David LeVan, 48, is named president of Conrail, succeeding James Hagen, who remains chairman and CEO.



Prompted by the magazine’s 55th anniversary, and a question on an Internet discussion group, “Who was DPM?” Trains runs a monthly piece penned by David P. Morgan for all of the 1995 issues.

January 31

Union Pacific gives up its efforts to acquire the Santa Fe, giving the green light to the merger of Burlington Northern and Santa Fe. 

May 15

17Mike Haverty, former president and CEO of Santa Fe, becomes president and CEO of the Kansas City Southern Railway.

June 23

Union Pacific finalizes its acquisition of the Chicago & North Western, bringing an end to an important granger road that was chartered in 1859.

July 1-4

A revitalized Steamtown National Historic Site opens its doors for a grand-opening celebration, attracting more than 50,000 visitors.

September 10

Amtrak discontinues Broadway Limited, the one-time flagship of the Pennsylvania Railroad, closing 93 years of history for this once-celebrated train.

October 9

Amtrak’s Sunset Limited derails near Hyder, Arizona, about 55 miles west of Phoenix. The cause was sabotage of the rail adjacent to a dry creekbed. A sleeping car attendant was killed and more than 100 were injured.



18Trains introduces its website, “Trains On Line” in January.

January 2

The Surface Transportation Board is created as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. It replaces the Interstate Commerce Commission, which was closed at the end of 1995. 

January 14

V. Allan Vaughn, chairman of the National Railway Historical Society, dies at the age of 61.

May 1

Amtrak celebrates its 25th Anniversary.

June 3

19Union Pacific’s special train carrying the torch for the 1996 Olympic Games, held in Atlanta, arrives in Chicago after an eight-week trek across the West and Midwest.

July 3

Surface Transportation Board approves merger of Union Pacific and Southern Pacific.

October 1

20Prolific and esteemed railroad artist Howard Fogg dies at the age of 79.

October 14

Conrail and CSX announce merger plans, putting Norfolk Southern on the defensive.

October 26

Downing B. Jenks, former president of Missouri Pacific, dies at the age of 81.


April 8

CSX and Norfolk Southern announce an agreement for splitting Conrail. NS acquires 58 percent of Conrail’s routes and assets, while CSX gets 42 percent.


Norfolk Southern dedicates its rebuilt bridge across Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana, which leads into New Orleans. 


21General Motors celebrates its Electro-Motive Division’s 75th anniversary at the famed EMD plant at La Grange.


Former Amtrak president Paul Reistrup joins CSX as vice president–passenger integration, overseeing CSX’s relationships with Amtrak and commuter services.


Beset with congestion problems, due in part to challenges in combining Union Pacific and Southern Pacific operations after their 1996 merger, Union Pacific announces that it has cancelled all steam and diesel excursions out of several on-line cities.



Tom Danneman joins Trains staff as assistant art director


Metrolink marks five years of service to Los Angeles and notes that it has increased from 3 routes to 6 routes, from 112 miles in 2 counties to 416 miles in 6 counties and from 11 to 46 stations, and now has 25,000 daily riders.

February 11

Canadian National announces purchase agreement with Illinois Central, pending Surface Transportation Board approval.


Amtrak president Tom Downs resigns, and is succeeded by George Warrington, formerly president of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor business unit.

March 25

Gus Welty, 66, Senior Editor of Railway Age magazine, a long-standing rail industry trade publication, dies at his home in Clarendon Hills, Illinois.


Norfolk Southern sells its North American Van Lines subsidiary to an investment firm for $200 million.

June 8

22Surface Transportation Board approves Conrail split between Norfolk Southern and CSX.



Jim Slocum succeeds Russ Larson as publisher of Trains.


Amtrak will receive 44 additional Roadrailer Mailvans, allowing for more growth of its rail and express business, which grew 19 percent in 1998 and brought in $83 million in revenue.


United States Post Office celebrates 130 years of association with America’s railroads with Celebrate the Century Express on a nationwide tour.  Concurrently, the Postal Service released it’s “All Aboard” series of five 33-cent stamps depicting five streamliners of the Art Deco era, painted by noted watercolorist Ted Rose.

March 4

Ernest L. Novak, 72, retired Michigan Central, New York Central, Penn Central, and Conrail engineer and photographer, dies of a heart attack.  His work was widely published, including in the pages of Trains.

March 13

Nicholas Morant, one of Canada’s premier railroad photographers, dies.  Morant spent 54 years as a Canadian Pacific photographer, prior to his retirement in 1981.

March 15

23Amtrak’s southbound City of New Orleans hits a tractor-trailer truck at Bourbonnais, Ill.  Eleven passengers were killed and 125 people injured when the train hit the truck at a grade crossing at 79 mph.

June 18-27

California State Railroad Museum holds “Railfair ’99” in Sacramento.

September 16-17

Hurricane Floyd moves up the Atlantic Seaboard, seriously impacting rail service along the East Coast.

November 23

Louis W. Menk, the first president of the newly formed Burlington Northern Railroad, dies at his home at the age of 81.

November 24

George Krambles, longtime general manager and executive director at the Chicago Transit Authority and distinguished railroad historian, dies in Oak Park, Ill. at the age of 84.


24Kalmbach Publishing Co. announces the addition of a new rail magazine to its roster, called Classic Trains. Trains Associate Editor Robert S. McGonigal is named editor of Classic Trains.

Go to the 2000s »

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