"Who's on First" (again) at TRAINS

Discussion related to railroads/trains that show up in TV shows, commercials, movies, literature (books, poems and more), songs, the Internet, and more... Also includes discussion of well-known figures in the railroad industry or the rail enthusiast hobby.

Moderator: Aa3rt

Gilbert B Norman
Posts: 14267
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Chicago Sub; MP 18.71)

"Who's on First" (again) at TRAINS

Post by Gilbert B Norman »

Looks like TRAINS will soon have a new Editor. Mark W, Hemphill's resignation is reported in the August issue.

How many have they gone through since DPM stepped down during July 1987?

Well here is the all-time roster (source: research through my collection)

Nov 40-Jul 48 Abert C Kalmbach
Aug 48-Dec 52 Willard V. Anderson
Jan 53-Jul 87 David P Morgan
Aug 87Sep 92 J David Ingles
Oct 92-Dec 2K Kevin P Keefe
Jan 01-Aug 04 Mark w. Hemphill
Sep 04-xxx xx ????

In all honesty, that turnover has not been excessive. However, when one grew up with the words of DPM, and he was there for 34 years formulating the life-long interest in the industry that I have held, anyone else is going to be "short timer".

However, I must note and respect that we have Members here that were not even thought of when DPM stepped down, many others who did not know too much other than wail "mommy". Best advice, dig out your pre-1987 TRAINS and start reading the words of who, AFAIC, was the most influential exd expressive writer the railroad industry has ever had the privilege to enjoy.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Thu Jul 08, 2004 3:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Guest

TRAINS editorial merry-go-round

Post by Guest »

This is intriguing. The last guy, who replaced JDI, moved up on the masthead. Why did JDI step down? Why did George Drury leave?
TRAINS, incidently, is a little pricey. A year ago I subscribed for $29 and now they want me to renew for $42. I get FLYING magazine for $14 a year, a magazine that is the leader in its field like TRAINS, printed on similar paper with excellent color photography, fine columnists for all aspects of general aviation, lots of ads for videos and such. What's wrong with this picture? Circulation?

User avatar
2nd trick op
Posts: 1589
Joined: Mon May 31, 2004 7:40 pm
Location: Nescopeck, PA ..... NS Sunbury Line MP 715

Changes at TRAINS

Post by 2nd trick op »

TRAINS is not, of course, the magazine I remember growing up with c. 1956-1967, but this has to be attributed more to the publisher's recognition of the need to mature with the market. There are a lot more railfans out there, with more specialized and sophisticated tastes.

The TRAINS I recall form those years was a unique publication, a happy accidient. It went a cut above the simpler tastes and tackier advertising of Freeman Hubbard's RAILROAD. Each of its major staffers; Dave Morgan, Phil Hastings, Gil Reid and Rosemary Entringer, put his or her own stamp on their work.

In those days, I was a teenager who'd had only a brief glimpse of revenue-service steam in the late 50's. Things like the intricacies of valve gear or the sublteties of timetable & train-order dispatching were just getting interesting to me, and occasionally, I'd be missing some piece of information known to the initiated.

But no matter; that staff could write! Morgan and Hastings' series searching for the last of steam in the Indian Summer of 1956, a tasteful combination of artwork and the prose of Thomas Wolfe in 1963, Don Wood's memorable tribute to CNJ's last camelback, No 774, in 1971.

As the years passed, my knowledge grew and my tastes became more clearly defined. The hobby also grew, with more groups specifically attuned to one railroad, region or field of interest. And of course, time took its toll on that little fraternity to which I felt a bond.

I still read TRAINS, have acquired back copies as far back as 1949. Due to a limited budget, I'll often pass and pick it up at a railfan event later on. The feeling of kinship is no longer there, but I notice the staff taking pains to lay a firm groundwork for those new to the hobby, and I'll occasionally encounter an explanation for things previously not fully understood, like Santa Fe's double-track signalling rules some issues back.

TRAINS was a classy starting point for a new railfan back then, and it's filling that role as well as ever.
What a revoltin' development this is! (William Bendix)

scottbot

Who's on first (again)

Post by scottbot »

While I agree that the David Morgan era was the best era for Trains magazine, I never was really able to warm to his writing style. Bert Pennypacker was my favorite author of that period.

Trains as of late has not been my favorite magazine. I feel that the magazine has become a little too dependent on photography, and less on text to get their point across. The articles are too short, the photos are too large, and they spend way too much time on Western railroads. I've always been amazed that they've never done an article on the Wisconsin and Southern, and the road goes through their hometown.

I picked up some older Trains Illustrated magazines recently at a garage sale, and was struck as to how similar it was to the current Trains magazine. Trains Illustrated was supposed to be a magazine emphasizing railroad photography, but it is no longer necessary, because Trains has become Trains Illustrated.

RailBus63
Posts: 1877
Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 1:48 pm

Post by RailBus63 »

I have to disagree with some of the criticism here. The lack of in-depth articles was prevalent in the 1990's, but Hemphill really did a nice job turning this around in recent years. During the past two years or so, Trains has featured a number of comprehensive articles that have taken a candid look at the industry.

My own personal biggest criticism of the magazine is Bob Johnston's coverage of Amtrak. He is very knowledgeable about passenger rail, but he comes across to me as too much of an apologist for Amtrak. We need a true journalist in the David Morgan mold to report on Amtrak, both the good and the bad.

JD

mc367
Posts: 195
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:39 pm
Location: Maine/Montana

Re: Who's on first (again)

Post by mc367 »

scottbot wrote:Trains as of late has not been my favorite magazine. I feel that the magazine has become a little too dependent on photography, and less on text to get their point across.

I picked up some older Trains Illustrated magazines recently at a garage sale, and was struck as to how similar it was to the current Trains magazine. Trains Illustrated was supposed to be a magazine emphasizing railroad photography, but it is no longer necessary, because Trains has become Trains Illustrated.
They say a photo is worth a thousand words, I’ve always thought that Trains Illustrated was a nice magazine, It just was a little ahead of its time.

-Justin

Sam Damon

Post by Sam Damon »

I'm not sure I like Trains these days.

But then the first issue I purchased was, IIRC, the January 1977 issue featuring the "Monsters of Mingo Junction" and Richard Steinheimer's Tehachapi Pass photographs. Small wonder the magazine mostly disappoints me these days.

Honest-to-gosh railroaders would not be caught dead with a copy of the magazine, even though it featured a monthly column "The Professional Iconoclast" and attempted to cover in an objective way the changes going on inside the RR industry. I learned quite a bit about railroads from Trains. When I look at a copy today, some of the magic is there, but most of it is gone.

Plus, Kalmbach wants $42/year for it. That's stiff. $5.95 or so at the newsstand? I had a bad dose of sticker shock. OTOH, people want paid for pictures, newsstands are disappearing, and there's that internet thing.

<sigh>

mxdata
Posts: 1648
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:30 pm

Post by mxdata »

The supply of in-depth articles depends on the availability and willingness of knowledgable authors to write them. Unfortunately the book, magazine and videotape markets have been inundated lately with a lot of material that probably could not have made it into print a few years back. This has driven down author payments for books in particular to a point where a good author can expect to recover very little of the costs for projects that require a lot of time and research. The present situation unfortunately favors the "mass production" writers of regurgitated pablum for the Christmas and "Coffee Table" book markets, who sometimes can't even "borrow" the information accurately from the works of more talented authors. When quality work brings in very little, and just ends up being endlessly recycled by people who can't even get the copied details right, there isn't much incentive for good authors to put a lot of time and effort into developing new projects. The exception of course is if the subject is something they personally feel strongly enough about getting into print that they are willing to absorb nearly all costs themselves.
"We Repair No Locomotive Before Its Time"

Return to “Books, Magazines, Music, TV, and Movies, and other Media”