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Chapter 7 Cotton Belt Engineer


Ed Cooper

C. W. “Red” Standefer railroaded from 1917-1967 and saw everything from the sharp end of saturated steam locomotives to second generation diesels. He saw his first train in 1907 while the Stephenville, North & South Texas Railway was being built into his hometown of Hamilton. Standefer decided then and there to become a railroad engineer at the age of eight years. It took him ten years to land the job of engine watchman for the Cotton Belt in Hamilton. He was promoted to fireman in early 1918 and began working for the Cotton Belt out of Tyler and Waco. He moved to the Cotton Belt rail center of Commerce, Texas in 1920 and started his family there. He lived in Commerce for the rest of his life. Red Standefer was promoted to engineer in early 1939. He loved his job and the steam locomotive. This is the story of Red Standefer’s last acquaintance with active steam locomotives and how the Cotton Belt’s last steam locomotives were used…  (more)

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Iron horses put out to pasture

Scenes from the Piney Woods

Glen Brewer

In my youth, I was already a steam fan, but by the time I had means to explore and photograph, steam was about just about finished in the United States. My first solo trip far from home was to a new job in Houston after I finished my education. Where could still I find steam along the way?

Trains Magazine regularly documented the sad news of the demise of steam operations throughout the nation. One of the last holdouts was the Moscow, Camden & San Augustine in the east Texas “Piney Woods”, but I remembered reading that not long ago they had bought their first diesel, a GE 44 tonner. The steamers were no longer needed…  (more)

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How I became a lifelong railfan

Glen Brewer

A non railfan father’s influence in the making of a young railway enthusiast.

I think most people become railfans because their father or some other close relative or friend is a fan or works in the railroad business. But my father was not a railfan, and I didn’t know anyone who was or who worked in the business either… (more)

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RGS Goose No. 5

Samuel E Howard

Under a blue sky, the Durango Silverton Charter bus arrives in Silverton at 8:30 for a fun-filled day aboard the Galloping Goose.. (more)

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Alcos to White Pass

Glen Brewer

Skagway, Alaska -The White Pass & Yukon Route was built to take miners and supplies to the newly discovered Klondike gold fields. That was over a century ago, but now the gold rush of Alaska cruise ships is bringing far more business to this narrow gauge railroad than the original gold rush ever did. (more)

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Royal Gorge Route


Beneath the suspension bridge, the walls are so close together and so steep that a place to build railroad tracks seemed impossible. The surging river simply must occupy the entire canyon bottom. But in 1879 a “hanging bridge” was devised and built to allow the tracks to pass through the narrow space suspended above the rushing water.  (more)

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Riding the Electroliner


My first train ride was on the blue and gray electric cars of the old Chicago Aurora & Elgin. When the end was obvious for the CA&E, I wanted to ride the lines west to Aurora and Elgin. Somehow I never got around to it; I have been kicking myself ever since.  (more)

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Rebirth of a Historic Colorado Narrow Gauge Engine


For the first time in many years, the canyons west of here echo to the sounds of a genuine Colorado & Southern steam engine. C&S Number 9, a diminutive mogul built by Cooke in 1884, was primarily used in passenger service.  (more)

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Remembering the ‘Ror’n’ Elgin


For a little boy growing up in Chicago’s western suburb of Villa Park just after the war, the old ‘Ror’n’ Elgin was the main feature of any visit to either of Villa Park’s two downtown districts. Crossing bells were always ringing as the gates went up and down all day long…  (more)

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The End of an Era

John Fasulo

Late in the evening, with a light rain falling, my train snaked through the yard at Hof. Before my eyes was a dream come true. Here, in the 20th Century, were some of the last working steam locomotives in Western Europe.  (more)

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