Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ridin' the Rails on a Small Scale

From Dave Brigham:

I find enjoyment on many levels from riding the Boston subway system with my son, who's eight. I like spending four hours or so, just the two of us, checking out the Blue, Orange, Red, and Green lines; trying to solve the mystery of just where do those doors in the tunnels lead to; taking pictures of graffiti; people watching; eating lunch at South Station -- always Regina Pizzeria despite the plethora of options. I also take pleasure from the occasional Amtrak trip from Boston to New York, riding along the Connecticut shore, checking out the lesser-seen elements of cities like Providence, New London and Bridgeport, as well as small towns all along the way.

So imagine my excitement to learn about railcar trips in a recent Boston Globe article. Also called motorcars, these little vehicles are like bread boxes on wheels that railroad inspectors and maintenance workers used before the advent of regular trucks fitted with retractable guide wheels that ride the rails. Long story short: railroad enthusiasts buy and maintain these vehicles, form clubs and negotiate with railroads for time on the tracks.

Here's the Globe article, which includes a short video.

And here's a gallery from an enthusiast web site featuring some great pictures of the cars, as well as cool scenery along a trip in Georgia.

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