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The Crash at Crush: A Deliberate Trainwreck

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The " Crash at Crush " was a publicity stunt organized by the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad , otherwise known as the "Katy" Line, in 1896. The event was held in Texas area dubbed Crush, created specifically for the event. Ultimately, The Crash at Crush was a reckless, but nonetheless effective, marketing strategy to get people to visit Texas in the late 19th century. It involved two locomotives being deliberately crashed into each other at full speed in front of a crowd of thousands of spectators. The event was heavily promoted by the railroad as a spectacle, with tickets sold in advance and trains chartered to bring people to the event. However, the crash turned out to be a disaster, as the force of the impact was much greater than expected and several people were killed or injured in the resulting chaos. The "Crash at Crush" is considered one of the most notorious examples of dangerous and irresponsible corporate publicity stunts in American history. I

The Abandoned & Out-of-Service Railroad Lines Map on Leaflet

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I love using Google My Maps to host our  Abandoned & Out-of-Service Railroad Lines Map , as it is thus far been the best way I've found that I can both seamlessly edit and present the crowdsourced data, and include the interactivity that I want on the map. It has been invaluable over these past 7 years! That being said, for longtime users of the site, I've experimented with other map providers as well, and now I'm experimenting with using  Leaflet , which is an application one can use to host html and JavaScript maps on their own platform. For those who know how to edit the code, you can create some amazingly beautiful maps, without having to pay an arm and a leg to Google or ESRI, and are in complete control of your geographic data, something that has always been an issue to me, as Google has a tendency to remove wonderful products once they no longer make money (R.I.P Fusion Tables ). With that in mind, I've used the wonderful tools at GPS Visualizer to create my

The Train Literally Fueled by Ramen: The Amaterasu Railway

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There's a small but amazing looking heritage railway line in Japan that mostly runs along a bridge that no longer features other railway traffic after an earthquake: It is known as the Amaterasu Railway , and the more you learn about it, the more fun this line seems to be! I hope I get the opportunity to visit it someday. Open air "Super-Kart" trains that run along the route to the bridge . (Image: Sora News 24) The Amaterasu Railway runs in Takachiho, Japan, and takes riders on a roughly 30 minute train ride along a 2 mile stretch of track along the former Takamori Station and the Takamore Bridge of the Minamiaso Railway. " Amaterasu " is the name of a Shinto sun goddess in Japanese mythology, and one can certainly see how this mythology plays out over the bridge and scenery that encompass the railway line. One of the Amaterasu Railway's "Super Kart" open-air trains over the Takachico Bridge. (Image: TAR Inc.) Originally part of the Japanese Nati

The Missouri Southern Railroad

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The Missouri Southern Railroad ran an approximately 53 mile line between Bunker, MO, and Leeper, MO, where it connected with the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad . ( Right of way ) Image: A Missouri Southern Railroad engine and cars are stopped at the Ellington Depot. The Masonic Hall (left), Bales Brothers Store (middle) and Dr. Chilton's home (right) are visible behind the train. A man walks on a wood plank footbridge in the foreground . Missouri State Archives , copied from original held by N.J. Shocklette, 1907 The line was built in stages beginning in 1886 as the  Mill Spring Current River and Barnesville Railroad Company , changing to the MS name the next year. It incorporated the right of way of an earlier narrow-gauge logging line into its route west of Leeper. Image: Paul Wobus, via  Missouri Southern: History of a short-line Like many short-line railroads of its time, it initially suffered from poor construction, something that would plague the route throu

The Granite Railway in Quincy, Massachusetts

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One of the First Railways in the United States was the Granite Railway first constructed and opened in 1826, after six months of construction. As one of the first built in the US, outside of preserved sections and memorials, no trace of the route exists today. The railroad's construction showed promise of the new technology, which at the time was met with skepticism, as the canal was the preferred form of transit at the time, having been proven by such large projects as the Erie Canal. US Department of the Interior Map , Wikipedia Commons While predated by the Leiper Railway, this may have been the first chartered common-carrier railroad in the United States, but there are quite a few operations that can lay at least some claim to being the 'first' railroad in the US. A three-car, horse-drawn train on the Granite Railway at East Milton Square c1855 . (Wikipedia Commons) Aptly named to transport granite from Quincy, MA to the Neponset River at Milton, about 4 miles south. On

We asked ChatGPT to write an article on Abandoned Railroads - Here's the Result

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We live in an incredibly interesting age of information - made even more interesting by one of the most advanced chatbots that exist. Chatbots have been around for awhile now, but there are very few that have captured the amount of information and artificial intelligence that have been shown by ChatGPT . To demonstrate this, I asked it to write me an article on abandoned railroads with 1200 words in it. After this paragraph, you'll see what ChatGPT wrote. I will provide relevant links in its paragraphs and make any errors that I can see in brackets "[]". What I've noticed is that ChatGPT is great when it comes to general ideas about a particular historical topic, but largely gets facts, dates, and context wrong. Thus, we're still a little ways away from being taken over by computer overlords . Otherwise, thanks as always for reading my material, the rest is by guest blogger ChatGPT! Abandoned railroads are railways that are no longer in use or service. This can ha

The Beaver Dam & Baraboo Railroad: An Unbuilt Milwaukee Road Ancestor

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As we discussed yesterday regarding the Milwaukee Road "Frying Pan" Line in Beaver Dam, WI , while built in 1882, the line actually had its genesis as a part of an mostly-unbuilt ancestor to the Milwaukee Road , that being the Beaver Dam & Baraboo Railroad. Much like the Frying Pan Line, Joe S informed me of this line as well. Given the age of the BD&B Railroad, and the fact that it was unbuilt, like thousands of railroad companies, there might not have been much to discuss about the line, however, it is interesting given that a decent amount of the right of way was graded between Beaver Dam and Fall River, WI, and we have satellite imagery showing those grades. Additionally, as the Frying Pan used part of the former right of way in Beaver Dam, at least a small part of this route was actually built as intended. A quite obvious grade of the unbuilt Beaver Dam & Baraboo Railroad at the end of Beaver Dam Lake  Image: Wisconsin Historic Aerial Imagery Finder - 11/7/1

The Milwaukee Road "Frying Pan" in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

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The Frying Pan Line was a spur line built by the Milwaukee Road to serve downtown Beaver Dam, WI. As it was a loop line that served the downtown area of Beaver Dam, it was given the "Frying Pan" nickname.  It was less than two miles in length from Beaver Dam Jct. on the mainline to the loop downtown, and thus is an interesting little spur line perfect for discussion from us. Beaver Dam on the 1914 Sanborn Map , with the majority of the Frying Pan line visible. (Library of Congress) It was built late in 1882, and used some of the right of way of the never built Beaver Dam & Baraboo Railroad, which was an early ancestor of the Milwaukee Road. The Milwaukee constructed a line northwest of Beaver Dam as opposed to heading south and west towards Baraboo, and thus the "Frying Pan" served the Beaver Dam manufacturing concerns, while the mainline bypassed the majority of the town. Fact on the "Frying Pan" line from  Beaver Dam's 175th Anniversary Brochure

2023: And Our Next Steps

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Usually I make a post at or near the end of the year to look back and plan ahead for the next year with this website. However, 2022 has been undoubtedly the most challenging year for me, and one of the worst years that I've thus far experienced. Without going too much into that, as this isn't a personal blog, I am beyond excited to see 2023 and move on to another station! So this year, 2022's recap will be quite brief. One of the few abandoned sites I'd been able to visit in '22...this one just to the east of the Skokie Valley Trail where the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Line was adjacent to a CNW line. When I started tracing abandoned railroad lines almost seven years ago, I could not have predicted the love and support from the community for this project, and I'm beyond elated that even after largely leaving social media that the site's traffic has stayed nearly the same, coupled with the fact that I haven't had nearly the time or energy to up