Thursday, January 29, 2009

Trains, Trains, Trains

I am a train railfan. For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed watching trains pass, especially freight trains.

As I've grown older, the history and influence of trains has become more important to me. Today's freight trains are mostly regional or national US oriented, and frequently just pass thru smaller towns.

However, during the earlier years of Kansas' history, railroads were a much important means of commerce. Both passenger and freight trains were important to communities. I've read of many instances of towns dying when they couldn't attract a railroad to pass thru their town. Sometimes, an entire town moved a few miles in order to be on a railroad line.

An interesting timeline of Kansas railroad history can be found at the following link on the Kansas Dept of Transportation website:

Every chance I get, I am out photographing and filming trains with my camera and camcorder. I'm including a short video clip in this post with a train passing over a bridge near Matfield Green in Chase County on a very busy BNSF line. You will not hear a whistle since there are no road crossings in this area.

I have a gallery of train photos and videos at the following address which I will continue to update regularly:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Picturesque Cemeteries, Variety of Bridges, and Low point of Kansas

Recently, I finished a loop around the rural areas in Montgomery County on two separate trips. For some details about my first trip, see my blog entry below this one.

My second trip began with lunch at Uncle Jack's Restaurant in downtown Independence. I had a fabulous Philly Steak sandwich that I would highly recommend. The meat was high quality steak chunks. Learn more about this restaurant at:

I drove out on mostly unpaved roads to the northeast area of the county, then south to the southeast area near Coffeyville, and back west in the southern part of the county, before heading back to Wichita. Along the way, I visited 2 picturesque cemeteries, Choteau and Pleasant Dale, in the northeast part of the county.

I visited a variety of bridges, including some low water bridges, beautiful concrete rainbow arch bridges over the Verdigris River near Independence and Coffeyville, and a elegant iron truss bridge over Onion Creek southwest of Coffeyville that was left in place after the modern concrete bridge was built.

Also, near the Oklahoma border along the Verdigris River I drove in the official lowest elevation area in Kansas. The official low point is listed at 679 ft, and my GPS was recording 686 ft along the river.

I have posted some more photos and videos from my trips in Montgomery County at my gallery at the following address: