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TS18: Red, white, and blue railroading

Written by: Gary Dolzall

The Fourth of July gives us reason to celebrate American railroading, Train Simulator-style!

As the United States celebrates Independence Day and the anniversary of adoption of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1776, it is fitting here at Dovetail Live to also celebrate railroading’s grand role in the development of the nation.

It was barely a half-century after the United States was born that the country’s first common-carrier railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio, was chartered in 1827. And less than a century after the birth of the U. S., the country was linked by rail, from ocean to ocean, by the transcontinental railroad and the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869.

With the coming of the twentieth century, every corner of America was linked by more than a quarter-million route miles of steel rails and the railroads were a part of the fabric of America. Although the U. S. route system has been rationalized since those halcyon days of steam power and famed passenger trains, arguably the railroad industry plays as critical role in America as it ever has, representing a $60 billion industry that employs more than 220,000 workers, generates close to 2 million ton-miles of freight haulage annually, and serves an increasingly vital role in providing intercity and commuter passenger conveyances.

Thanks to Train Simulator, we can all experience and enjoy the drama and diversity of American railroading, of railroading’s dynamic present and compelling past, and of U. S. railroading from coast-to-coast. In honor of America’s birthday, let’s take a look at red, white, and blue railroading, Train Simulator style! – Gary Dolzall

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In a dramatic scene symbolic of America railroading’s captivating present and rich history, a state-of-the-art Amtrak ACS-64 “City Sprinter” leads a Northeast Regional train across New York City’s historic Hell Gate Bridge on Train Simulator’s popular NEC: New York – New Haven route. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.

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Two eras of railroading on Train Simulator’s classic New York-Philadelphia Northeast Corridor route come to life as classic Pennsylvania GG1 4929 departs bustling New York Penn Station (above), while America’s fastest train, the Amtrak Acela, glides across the Schuylkill River at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (below). The Amtrak Acela and Pennsy GG1 are available as DLC.

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On Train Simulator’s North Jersey Coast & Morristown Lines route, a venerable set of NJ Transit Arrow III EMUs (available as DLC) make their station stop at classic Newark Broad Street Station. The route features more than 100 miles of busy commuter railroading on NJ Transit’s North Jersey Coast Line and Morristown Line.

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Busy freight and passenger railroading can be found on Train Simulator’s Miami – West Palm Beach route. A pair of powerful CSX General Electric AC6000CWs (available as DLC), lead a GE Dash 8-40CW and tonnage north near Fort Lauderdale (above), while at Cypress Creek Amtrak GE P42DCs power the stylish Silver Star on a pleasant south Florida evening.

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The historic Baltimore & Ohio and challenging, hard-nosed 1960s coal-country railroading comes to life on the Train Simulator Kingwood Branch route. Deep in the Appalachians at Bird’s Creek, West Virginia, a trio of B&O Electro-Motive GP9s lug black diamonds from Mine #4.

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Washington, D.C., is of course the capital of the United States, but it is Chicago, Illinois that has long been known as “America’s railroad capital.” With the inspiring skyline of Chicago’s Loop district in the background, Amtrak’s Carl Sandburg makes its departure from the Windy City on The Racetrack: Chicago – Aurora route. Providing the power is a distinctive Amtrak General Electric Dash 8-32BWH (available as DLC).

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Crossing the great American West brings forth all the drama and challenges of big-time, mainline railroading, witness a duo of Denver & Rio Grande Western EMD SD40T-2s lugging tonnage upgrade from Helper, Utah on Train Simulator’s scenic and rugged Soldier Summit route (above). Train Simulator’s newly released Salt Lake City Route Extension expands the Soldier Summit experience west to Salt Lake City, where Amtrak’s California Zephyr boards passengers at D&RGW’s classic station (below).

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Recapturing the grand era of post-World War II streamliners in America, one of the nation’s moved beloved trains, the California Zephyr (also known as the “Silver Lady”) crosses Spanish Creek Trestle at Keddie, California on Train Simulator’s Feather River Canyon route. The Western Pacific FP7 California Zephyr DLC includes train sets for the California Zephyr and D&RGW’s Rio Grande Zephyr, including Western Pacific FP7 and Rio Grande F9 diesels.

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Train Simulator’s Sacramento Northern: Suisun Bay – San Francisco route is a remarkable time machine that takes you back to the captivating and unique 1930s era of interurban America. A train of classic SN interurbans has crossed Suisun Bay on the diminutive ferry Ramon and will soon be headed west across scenic Contra Costa Country, bound for bustling San Francisco.

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Today’s San Francisco Bay Area railroading awaits on the Train Simulator Peninsula Corridor: San Francisco – San Jose route and the recently released Peninsula route Gilroy Extension, which offers the remarkable diversity of bustling San Francisco urban Caltrain commuter railroading (above) and Union Pacific freight duty on the rural Hollister Branch (below).

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What better way to conclude this celebration of American railroading than with the historic locomotives that met on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Point -- Central Pacific 4-4-0 No. 60, the “Jupiter,” and Union Pacific No. 119, both of which are available for Train Simulator service.

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