INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1321 26 JANUARY 2019
BRANCH LINE NEWS
This newsletter covers the World outside the British Isles from information
supplied by members.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS TEAM:-
International Editor (to whom all email and postal contributions should be sent):
Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ
Email: [email protected]
Deputy International Editor: Derek Woodward, 68 Church Street, Matlock, DERBY, DE4 3BY
The line from Sarreguimines to Sarre-Union closed on 21 December 2018, prompting one member to make a hasty journey to
travel the line. SNCF two car dmu 76739/40 is seen at Sarre-Union ready to work the 12:18 to Sarreguemines on 19 December
 Croatia – EU funding for new alignment on Rijeka line
The European Union’s Cohesion Fund is to cover the majority of the cost of planning and designing a
new double-track alignment which would replace the 50 km Karlovac – Oštarije section of the Zagreb –
Rijeka route. Under the terms of the EU funding agreement, planning must be completed by 31
December 2023. The new alignment would run several kilometres east of the existing route.
 France – St. Gingolph to Evian reopening back on the agenda
This former through route, 18 km of which has been closed since 1998, has been the recipient of a
sustained campaign to reopen it, and this finally seems to be getting somewhere.
It seems that, on both sides of the border, economic and environmental issues have come to bear: less
traffic (10,000 fewer cars per day) and more economic exchanges between the two countries. The Swiss
Confederation is ready to put 100 million Swiss francs on the table to start the rehabilitation project. Of
course the French will presumably need to put some money on the table as well. That could be a big
problem as the present Auvergne – Rhône Alpes regional council is very road minded and happy to see
lines close. The optimists hope work could start in 2025 and it could open in 2028.
 Germany – Wuppertal Schwebebahn closed at the moment
The Wuppertal Schwebebahn has been closed since 18 November 2018, when sections of conductor rail
fell into the street and the river. Means of attaching the conductor rail more securely along the full
length of the line are being examined. According to this report
the earliest the line could re-open is July 2019.
 Germany - Niederlausitzer Museumseisenbahn closes
The Niederlausitzer Museumseisenbahn ceased operations after a farewell day on Sunday 30 December
2018 on their line between Finsterwalde and Crinitz in Brandenburg, roughly midway between Berlin
and Dresden. The reason is the amount of work required on the line, which at present they are unable
to do. They do not rule out resumption of museum trains eventually, but say that it will not be in the
The sign may say Finsterwalde, but the train actually only goes to a
platform on the outskirts of the town at Frankenaer Weg
Arrival at Crinitz in June 2014 finds the station area badly in need of mowing
 Germany - Prosper Coking works
The coal mine may have closed (see BLNI 1320.005) but the coke works at Prosper, which are now owned
by ArcelorMittel, will continue in operation using imported coal. Rail company RheinCargo have ordered
four new diesels to handle the traffic.
 Germany – Hamburg U-bahn 4 extended
In 2012, the 4-km U4 line was put into operation between Jungfernstieg and HafenCity Universität,
sharing the tracks with U2 between Jungfernstieg and Billstedt. Now the line has been extended 1.3km
to Elbbrücken in the eastern part of HafenCity where a new town is being built. The new Elbbrücken
station is close to the Elbbrücken S-Bahn station serving S3 and S31, so the plan is to connect the two
stations by a 65 metre ‘Skywalk’ nine metres above ground level, creating an important interchange.
Perhaps with this status in mind the new station is visually attractive. The spectacular roof with a height
of 16-metres is made of intersecting arched steel frames and 1200 glazed windows that are in total 136
metres long and 32 metres wide.
 Italy – Messina trams suspended
January 2019 T&UT [#973] reports that the tram service was suspended between Repubblica and Museo
on 24 October 2018, but this does not correspond with the ATM website which has an Avviso note
suggesting 4 November 2018, with buses replacing trams. Other sources reveal that the City is evaluating
the tramway's future and the Mayor said in November that he hopes to continue tram operations in a
 Poland – Gricing in eastern Poland (Part 2)
The following day our members planned to do the local Krakόw diversions and the salt mine branch,
something one of them had had missed in 2003. So it was a slightly later start to the day with breakfast
followed by an 07:57 departure on the R train to Tarnόw. This service arrived in Krakόw as the 07:33
arrival from Katowice via Krzeszowice and was formed of two 4 car 36WEa NEWAG Impulse EN78 EMUs,
one in Slaski and one in Malopolskie livery. The major reconstruction work immediately east of Krakόw
Głόwny is progressing, if slowly. The embankment for the in-bound line has been removed almost all
the way to the river bridge, and a new concrete viaduct is slowly replacing it. The viaduct is only wide
enough for one track but is sufficiently separated for another viaduct to be inserted, or for the remaining
line to be replaced by two or possibly three tracks. The new river bridge being built on the north side of
the existing one is definitely wide enough for two tracks. At Krakόw Zabłocie the tracks on the new
viaducts towards Krakόw Bonarka appeared to be very lightly used. Not quite covered in rust, but not
shiny. Most trains seem to be bustituted on this route 7 days a week. Once past Krakόw Zabłocie the
train speeded up vey considerably until it slowed for the stop at Krakόw Płaszόw. On leaving here the
train slewed right, away from the main line tracks which, after the connections into Krakόw Prokocim
Towarowy, were blocked with sleepers and lifted. Our members were on line 629 which is parallel to
and right beside the lifted main line tracks. At Krakόw Prokocim they passed a newly built southern side
platform which in April had been a sandy hole in the ground. On approaching Krakόw Bieżanόw the track
is slewed back onto the main line alignment to allow access to the double track junction for the Wieliczka
Rynek branch. In the station of Krakόw Bieżanόw the eastbound train calls at a newly rebuilt southern
side platform whilst the west bound train calls at the southern face of the old island platform. Trains
cross here and this is the only crossing place in the single track section. The old northern face of the
island platform has been removed down to ground level. The exposed surface had a membrane liner
laid on it as if it were being prepared as a new track bed. The old track bed to the north of this was being
used for vehicle access, while the freight yards further north were still very busy with three freight trains
being staged waiting to follow the eastbound passenger train.
Is it the intention to create three or even four tracks here on the main line with two side platforms? The
loco depot here had long lines of EU07 locos in traditional two tone green, and blue and grey IC colours
lined up outside along with many carriages in varying states of decay, and several of the PESA 2007 built
ED74 four car IC EMUs. ED74 009 was still in red, white, black and graffiti livery. Our member had not
seen any of these units before. It must be said that the note in the October IBSE Telegram is no-longer
accurate. All trains on this route must use what was line 629 as it is the only track remaining. Yes, the
PolREGIO train did not call at Krakόw Prokocim but it did run along the platform face without stopping.
The KML trains were using the same track and calling at this platform both ways. Our members walked
across the access road to the Wieliczka Rynek branch platform for a train back to Krakόw Głόwny. Whilst
waiting, a local man told them that there had been a large Nazi camp at Bieżanόw to provide labour for
the loco works, inmates being moved on then to a larger camp at Płaszów before being sent to Auschwitz
Birkenau. The train from Wieliczka Rynek-Kopalnia was another EN77 which took them through the
single track back to Krakόw Głόwny where there was time for a coffee before joining the ten minute late
IC heading to Przemyśl Głόwny and hauled by EP09 045 which had brought the train in from Wrocław
Głόwny before running round the stock and departing further east. Whilst conducting the brake test an
ED74 IC EMU terminated at the adjoining platform on a service from Warszawa, so they have at least
one in good working order.
Very few ICs now avoid Krakόw Głόwny. In the summer, trains terminating in the Głόwny from the north
would run direct via curve 602 and Krakόw Olsza to terminate at Krakόw Płaszow instead, whilst trains
for further east would run direct via curve 607 and line 95 via Nowa Huta to regain their normal route
at Podłeże, missing out Krakόw Głόwny in both cases. Now that the engineering works in Krakόw Głόwny
have ceased most ICs terminate or call there again. Of those that call most reverse there and still run via
line 95 and Nowa Huta. It was the connection at Krakόw Batowice between parallel line 8 and line 95
and on to podg. Dłubnia where curve 607 joins, plus the high level curve at Podłeże that were their next
targets. On leaving the main station the train curved round onto line 8 and headed to Krakόw Batowice.
Instead of crossing to wrong line running as they had on Friday their train remained on the correct track
until line 95 first passed underneath, then rose up to the right. They crossed over onto the east bound
goods line before passing, first Krakόw Batowice signal box and then later the station. Now they
followed the normal east bound line 95 via the short curve after Nowa Huta before remaining on the
east bound running line to take the high level curve into Podłeże. In the spring this curve had not been
wired so all ICs were running on the lower level Nowa Huta bound curve. Once back on the main line
they ran along the inner face of the island platform as there was a west bound freight train waiting on
the middle road and an EMU in the west bound platform. Now they continued to the first stop, Bochnia,
before heading back on a KML emu to Krakόw Głόwny via Krakόw Bieżanόw. At Podłeże they needed
the westbound line 91 which is on a completely different alignment to the east bound track, to allow
the lines from Nowa Huta to make non conflicting junctions. After line 608 trailed in at podg. Rudzic the
main line singles onto the east bound track and remains single until the crossing loop in the platforms
at Krakόw Bieżanόw. There was a different set of three freight trains in the low level yard behind the
station as they passed. Our members remained on the EMU until Krakόw Płaszów where they changed
for a train back to Wieliczka Rynek-Kopalnia. At Płaszów the northern face of the northern (west bound)
island platform is out of use for resurfacing whilst the track housed some engineers side tippler sand
wagons ready for use with the rebuilding of the track bed of the next northerly parallel siding, which
had been removed. On the opposing outer face of the southerly (east bound) island was an EP07 electric
locomotive and three coaches forming a starting TLK to Szczecin Głόwny which had a first advertised
stop at Miechόw. This would have to depart wrong line and was presumably booked via Krakόw Olsza.
Now they travelled on EN77-004 out to Wieliczka Rynek-Kopalnia, viewed the disconnected tracks of
the extension to the salt mine embedded in the foot path beyond the current station, and returned on
the same unit nine minutes later. At Wieliczka Park the station building is on the alignment of the
industrial lines that went off into the town. These old tracks have been preserved in the station,
embedded in clean new ballast, though cut to allow new tarmac paths out to the new island platform
on the modern curving alignment. The old track is still in situ on the weed strewn approach to the original
station, condensing down to a single line just before it joins the current track, only to be cut at the last
minute by an electrification post. Back at Krakόw Bieżanόw there was yet another set of three freights
in the east bound yard. Our members stayed on the Wieliczka Rynek train all the way to the airport.
These trains now call at Krakόw Łobόw using a new (or completely rebuilt) island platform on the
northern side of the main line formation, only the outside face is in use and in both directions. This island
did not exist when one member used the service in the spring. Freight line 100 runs further to the north.
Freight curve 601 is still blocked at both ends, whilst freight line 95 is blocked where it joins line 133
west of Krakόw Łobόw where the embankments of the connecting lines down to line 133 from the
flyover have yet to be reinstated and the parallel freight lines to the north of line 133 are also being
rebuilt from the subsoil up. Despite a note to say that it is up to date, the openrailwaymap site is not.
The lines in the Krakόw area are very out of date!!!
 Poland/Ukraine - New life for Line 102
Line 102 runs south from Przemyśl to the Ukrainian border which was crossed to reach Nyzhankovychi.
The line continued south to the junction station of Khyriv, from where it is possible to go east to Sambir
or west to Starz’yava. From Starz’yava tracks used to continue over another border crossing to
Krościenko and Zagórz. Corridor trains from Warszawa (called the Solina) used to run this way to
Przemyśl on to Zagórz, which was possible because the lines involved were dual gauge 1435/1520 mm
gauge interlaced. This service ended in 1995, but by July 2004, significant lengths of the 1435mm gauge
track within Ukraine had been lifted north of Dobromyl', with PKP 1435mm gauge carriage sidings and
freight remaining on a stub from Przemyśl to Przemyśl Bakończyce. The remaining 8 km of track in
Poland was taken over by vegetation. The only traffic on the Ukrainian side of Line 102 is a local train
once daily on the 1520-mm gauge railway, the 1435-mm gauge rails now being incomplete.
But in Autumn 2016 a group of railway fans from Przemyśl initiated a public action where over 200
people (mostly firemen, policemen, border guards and soldiers) cleared the railway from trees and
debris to allow a ‘technical train’ to successfully reach the border with Ukraine. The local activists for
recovery of Line 102 recovery managed to find partners on the Ukrainian side and the 1435 mm gauge
track from the border to Nyzhankovychi has been repaired by Ukrainian Railways allowing the first entry
of a Polish train to Ukraine via a specially arranged temporary border checkpoint in December 2016
when the train brought New Year presents from Przemyśl to Ukrainian children. So far ten cross-border
train runs on this route have been made with politicians, tourists, journalists and volunteers on board.
The line sees use by a ‘unique railway hand car’ (presumably a draisine) which is used for tourist rides
both on Line 102 and over 700 metres of track at Przemyśl station which is made available by Polish
Railways. In September 2018 two passenger cars were awaited as a present from Polish Railways as part
of a museum project for line 102. It seems the Polish government has declared plans to rebuild line 102
for passenger traffic and is discussing this with Ukrainian Railways.
 Spain – Madrid area local transport
The 2-day Tourist Ticket at EUR14.20 covers all buses, metros and RENFE Cercanias local services within
the extensive Zone A. The main line station of Puerto de Atocha has 15 terminal platforms for inter-city
services, with a split-level concourse, and is outside the historic overall roof which nowadays covers
instead a large botanical garden. Baggage has to be put through airport-style scanners before passengers
are allowed to board trains. The adjacent Madrid-Atocha station for the Cercanias lines has 10 through
platforms. Unusual, to our eyes, is the use of overhead current collection on the Metro – accompanied
by warnings against carrying metallic balloons! (The same applies in Barcelona). It appears that some
lines use left-hand running, others right-hand, and a track diagram would be interesting, if anyone can
recommend a source. Gran Via station is closed for extensive rebuilding, whilst the nearby Sol station is
well worth a visit for the display of historic Metro photos on its Line 1 platforms. Atocha metro station
was renamed on 1 December and is now Estacion del Arte, avoiding confusion with the separate Atocha
RENFE line 1 station. To reach the outer termini of lines 7, 9 and 10, which lie outside Zone A, it is
necessary to pass through ticket barriers and change onto a shorter shuttle service. The Metro Ligero
lines, which are trams in all but name, do not penetrate the city centre, but line ML1 is wholly within
tariff Zone A.
REST OF THE WORLD
 Australia – The Overland and the Western standard gauge line
The Overland leaves Melbourne Southern Cross railway station on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 08:05 from
platform 1 or 2, both of which are dual gauge with standard gauge (1435mm) and broad gauge
(1600mm) tracks. These two platforms are also used by XPT services to Sydney and V/Line trains to
Albury. Platform 2 is further divided into 2A and 2B, the latter being furthest from the buffer stops and
the starting point of our members’ journey on the Overland in late October 2019. Taking the opportunity
to check his luggage into the baggage car, he photographed the locomotive (which was Pacific National
NR7) and checked in at the door to his coach.
Pacific National diesel NR 7 in platform 2B at Melbourne Southern Cross station with the Overland. Behind the loco is the
baggage car, with a man waiting by the door to take passengers luggage.
There are two classes, Red Service and Red Premium Service, and by booking over 30 days in advance
our member was able to enjoy Red Premium service, which includes meals, at an advantageous rate.
Seats are reversible, so always forward facing, and a clear unobstructed view from a window seat meant
an excellent start to the day.
A running Emu is the symbol of the Overland, and is carried on all the coaches
When a decision was needed as to which route the Western standard gauge line was to take in Victoria,
powerful political forces were applied. The direct route would be to gauge convert or dual gauge the
line to Ballarat and Ararat, already taken by the broad gauge Overland train, but this meant some severe
gradients had to be tackled, as well as missing out the important city of Geelong. That is why the Western
standard gauge line (opened in 1995) makes a big diversion to the outskirts of Geelong (though not
actually calling at the centre) before heading for Ararat. It also meant a rather circuitous route out of
Melbourne which our member was really looking forward to.
Leaving the station by the flyover the standard gauge line passes through the middle of an extensive
area of freight lines well away from the broad gauge passenger lines before crossing the Maribyrmong
river and flying over the 1600 mm lines near Footscray. Now it runs on the north side of the broad gauge
lines on the north side of Tottenham rail yard. At the end of the yard Sydney bound services go straight
on towards Sunshine on the North East standard gauge line, but the Overland diverges left, taking one
side of a large elevated triangle on dual gauge track which soon joins the dual gauge Sunshine to
Newport freight line. The train is no longer running west, but is progressing south east! Westerly
progress (on standard gauge metals only) is resumed after Newport, the line taking the direct route to
Werribee alongside the broad gauge suburban line which ends at Werribee, though broad gauge metals
continue for freight alongside the standard gauge line towards Geelong. The standard gauge line does
not actually enter Geelong, so passengers from this large city must join the Overland at North Shore
station, approximately 5km to the north of the city centre. South of North Shore is a triangle and at
North Geelong Junction the SG line turns north through the northern suburbs of Geelong and joins the
dual gauge Geelong to Gheringhap Loop line before continuing as SG only to Maroona and the next
station call at Ararat, several hours away. Ararat is the terminus of a BG service from Melbourne via
Ballarat, the original broad gauge route of the Overland, and a DMU could be seen in the bay platform.
The Western standard gauge line is single track throughout, with numerous 1500 metre long crossing
loops, but only a few freight trains were observed. There is no opportunity to alight from the train at
extended stops – the Overland is in a hurry and has a schedule to keep! After a call at Stawell, lunch was
served near the town of Horsham, with a population of 17,000 the major town on this section of the
line. Dimboola and Nhill follow, each with only a few thousand people and generating little traffic. In
fact it was apparent that almost everybody on the train was making the entire journey. South Australia
is entered at Bordertown, dominated by its grain silos. Clocks go back 30 minutes here. The flat and little
varying agro-scenery continues as Murray Bridge is approached. This, and the much smaller Bordertown,
are the only stops in South Australia before Adelaide.
Approaching the bridge over the River Murray the line is on viaduct to cross the flood plain.
Murray Bridge station is the last call before Adelaide
But 20km before Murray Bridge is Tailem Bend, once an important junction with two lines (now closed)
trailing in from the east, and a loco depot with a roundhouse which can still be seen on the right. The
delightful station building is now a railway museum and information centre. Soon the bridge over the
Murray River (opened March 1879) can be seen, and the line swings through 90 degrees to cross the
bridge and reach Murray Bridge station. The scenery starts to pick up now as the train starts to ascend
and follow a winding course through the Adelaide Hills. It was here that our member saw his only
kangaroo of the journey – trapped inside the railway fence! As Adelaide gets nearer the railway line
enters commuter territory, with attractive houses near the railway and close to the main highway. The
line passes through Belair National Park to emerge at Belair, the south eastern outpost of the Adelaide
commuter network, served by the local 1600mm gauge. From here the line was originally double track
1600mm gauge, but one line was converted to standard gauge. The remaining 1600 mm gauge line has
dual gauge sleepers, ready for conversion to standard gauge to create a double track section. For now
the two lines run side by side descending through woodland by a huge loop to the south before turning
north and reaching Goodwood, where the electrified Seaford to Adelaide line is joined. Soon the Glenelg
tram line passes overhead, Adelaide Showground station is passed and the standard gauge line enters
the large yard which is the base for Great Southern Rails operation. The very long three platform station
is called Adelaide Parklands Terminal (though it was called Keswick Terminal until 2008) and here the
Overland finally comes to a halt, 3 km south west of the city centre.
Adelaide Parklands terminal is 3 km southwest of the City Centre and not terribly convenient for anywhere.
There is a fifteen minute delay while the baggage is loaded and transported to the centre of the platform
to be reclaimed. There is no public transport, so those without waiting vehicles have to take one of the
taxis waiting nearby. Our member was soon ensconced in his hotel near Adelaide railway station thinking
about his evening meal and the delights of the Adelaide suburban railway network.
 Cuba – Miscellaneous recent observations
The opening of the new double track line between Havana and Mariel including the Guanajay-Artemisa
leg, would, it was believed, reduce traffic on the Linea Oeste between Artemisa and Rincon. However
the two passenger services that still operated over that section (the Pinar-Havana and the Artemisa-
Havana) have been cancelled for months, and since all freight goes by the new route, the result is that
the line hasn't been maintained and recent photographs show it to be effectively abandoned.
Former Linea Oeste mainline at Güira de Melena
In Havana itself the terminus of the Hershey Railway at Casa Blanca was also photographed recently,
and it is evident that it has been quite a while since a train last departed. In fact the Hershey railway is
still only operational for passenger traffic between Hershey and Jaruco. All other traffic is freight related.
Lack of traffic has allowed thieves to steal the catenary in some areas.
The tracks leading out of Havana Casa Blanca station have clearly not seen any use for a while
And finally, the restoration of Havana’s Central station is way behind schedule and looks unlikely to be
ready for Havana's 500th Anniversary celebrations this year or the first 80 long distance coaches from
China aimed at re-launching long distance rail services during the second half of the year. Coubre station
should still be in use for some time yet.
A recent picture of the renovation works at Havana Central station shows a lack of progress
 Taiwan – Light Rail Transit scheme opens
The Danhai Light Rail Transit (LRT) line in New Taipei City's Tamsui District opened to the general public
on Christmas Eve (24 December 2018). The official opening ceremony had been held the previous day.
The new 7.3 kilometre-long line, the first light rail transit system in northern Taiwan, has 11 stations, all
of which have public art by well-known Taiwanese illustrator Jimmy Liao. Of the 11 stations on the new
line, which has been dubbed the Green Mountain Line, seven are elevated, while four are at-grade. The
fare for the Danhai LRT ranges between NT$20 (US$0.65) and NT$25. Riders can enjoy a 20 percent
discount using an electronic ticket. New Taipei Metro plans to introduce nine mobile payment tools for
the system in June 2019 to provide a more convenient riding experience. In addition to the Green
Mountain Line, a nine-station Blue Coast Line, which runs from Taipei University of Marine Technology
to Fisherman's Wharf, is slated for completion in 2019. There are also plans for the Bali and Sanzhi lines
in the works.
 Uruguay – Another line opens
18 years after the last regular passenger train service ran, the line from Tacuarembó to the Brazilian
border at Rivera reopened on 19 December 2018. Services on this route had operated intermittently for
a number of years after 1993 but were withdrawn with effect from 13 December 2000. There will be a
single train each way on three days per week using ex-Swedish Y1 diesel railcars. The journey time of
2 hours 30 minutes should reduce to 1 hour and 50 minutes after track works and level crossing
improvements are completed. The previous day services had resumed on the main line between Paso
de los Toros and Rivera after track renewal works.
 USA – More PTC for the eastern part of the South West Chief route
Another federal grant for Southwest Chief infrastructure was announced 20 December 2018 for a little
over $US 9.1Million to install Positive Train Control (PTC) on the 179 miles between Dodge City, Kansas,
and Las Animas, Colorado. This would give PTC all the way from Chicago to La Junta. However it appears
that, like the March 2018 TIGER grant, the new grant requires an Amtrak contribution, which may
require some political pressure.
Further south it appears that the Sunset Limited (Los Angeles to New Orleans) will be reduced to two
days a week for a few months related to Union Pacific track work with Sunday departures from Los
Angeles discontinued from 20 January through to 3 March 2019.
 USA – The Funeral train of George W Bush (2)
The previous item (BLNI 1320.024) of this name derived from a newspaper cutting sent in by a member
and transcribed with minimal modification to BLNI. It has been pointed out however the original material
was rather deficient in several areas, not to say a little confusing. Perhaps this should be expected from
modern journalists whose mission is to produce copy quickly and sensationalise with little regard for
accuracy. So, to set the record straight, here is a (hopefully) somewhat better version.
There were actually two funeral services: the state funeral at Washington National Cathedral and the
next day a second funeral service for family and friends in Houston, Texas. The coffin was then taken
from Spring, Texas (a suburb of Houston) by train about 70 miles north-west to College Station.
Mr. Bush, a World War II aviator from the East Coast, came to Texas in the summer of 1948 to make a
name for himself in the oil business, driving to the West Texas town of Odessa in a red two-door
Studebaker. Seventy years after that trip, Mr. Bush’s funeral train took him on one last journey through
the state, this time by a train hauled by Union Pacific locomotive 4141 a 4,300-horsepower locomotive
painted blue, grey and white to echo the colours of Air Force One. Members of the Bush family were on
board. The train travelled 70 miles through Magnolia, Navasota and other small towns. Arranged for a
man who had been America’s oldest living ex-president, Mr. Bush’s locomotive procession gave his long-
planned memorial services a throwback touch, evoking the presidential funeral trains for Abraham
Lincoln in 1865, Franklin Roosevelt in 1945 and Dwight Eisenhower in 1969. The train ride from his
Houston funeral to his College Station burial was his idea. At a brisk pace, the train passed through the
heart of downtown Navasota, population 7,607, and it was like the Fourth of July on a cold and drizzly
December afternoon. People stood by the tracks as the train’s horn blared, waving, taking pictures and
holding aloft American flags. Shortly after 3:30 p.m., the funeral train glided onto the Texas A&M
campus, where several hundred spectators who had waited in the rain for hours cheered. Floor-to-
ceiling windows in one of the rail cars allowed people on both sides to view the coffin inside. As a
university band played, the coffin was lowered from the train by an honour guard of pallbearers, carried
past Bush family members and placed into a waiting hearse.
The train itself was unveiled in 2005. Mr. and Mrs. Bush toured it at an event held at Texas A&M, posing
for pictures in which they peeked out of the window of the cab, above the side emblazoned with “4141.”
Inside the cab, Union Pacific officials explained to Mr. Bush how the train operated. It was at that point
that President Bush said, ‘Can I take this for a drive? Can I run it?’ He was allowed to climb into the
engineer’s seat, got a brief tutorial, then for about two short miles, he took his funeral train out for a
The Union Pacific train carrying former President George H.W. Bush’s casket to College Station, Tex., where he was laid to rest.
 Uzbekistan – New line opens
A new 33 kilometre line has opened from Urgench to the ancient city of Khiva. Train 56 runs four times
a week week from Tashkent.