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Freight Car Friday – NS 49

It’s always nice to end the year’s train of freight cars with a caboose. Norfolk Southern 49 is no longer just an ordinary caboose but belongs to the railroads research department. Loaded with a variety of instruments, this car can be used to test train and track conditions.

It started life as a caboose for the Norfolk and Western. As cabooses were retired from active service in the 1980s, this car found new life. Interestingly, cabooses are still a regular sight on the rails here in Roanoke on several local freights – but none quite as fancy as this.

In addition to this caboose, the Norfolk Southern research department has several converted passenger cars and even rebuilt locomotives.

Together, this older equipment helps keep Norfolk Southern on the cutting edge of today’s railroading.

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Freight Car Friday – NS 49

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The Berkshire – Model Trains

The Berkshire evolved directly from the Mikado. In fact the first was built from one for the New York Central. While the design came relatively late, its track record is stellar.

The locomotives were arguably some of the best freight steam locomotives ever designed. First tested on the Berkshire Mountain grades of the Boston and Albany, the locomotives eventually found good homes on both mountainous and relatively flat-running railroads. In fact, the class excelled and hauling fast-freight trains along tight schedules on busy mainlines.

The largest roster of 2-8-4s actually belonged to the Soviet Union which also used the engines in passenger service. But perhaps the best known, and some would argue best looking, belonged to the Nickel Plate and Pere Marquette. Several of these engines survive today, with two currently in operating condition.

Today’s excursion engines benefit from the remarkably short careers of these impressive machines. They are perhaps the best example of the ultimate success of the diesel locomotive. Often the locomotives were retired after only a few decades of work – replaced by the much more efficient diesel.

For modelers, there is no question that a Berkshire is a great locomotive choice if you see your railroad as offering the most modern of power and best fast-freight service available. Modeled in just about every scale, the most commonly reproduced prototypes are those that can still be found running today. Learn more about these impressive machines in this new locomotive profile 1 .

References ^ locomotive profile (modeltrains.about.com)

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Exports to Europe Decline

US companies looking to expand can increase either domestic sales or increase sales abroad. However, companies that are looking to Europe to increase sales will be disappointed at the latest figures from European Union (EU). Imports into the EuroZone fell in May, as consumers are still wary of overspending and imports from the US fell by seven percent.

In the seventeen EU countries that make up the EuroZone, the trade surplus was over 15 billion Euros ($19.8 billion). Germany, France, Spain and Italy all saw their imports fall between one and six percent. For European companies the figures were optimistic.

Despite relatively flat export 2 figures, exports to the US increased by two percent as American consumers begin to increase their spending. For US companies there is little that can be done to increase exports 3 to Europe until consumer spending rises. Concentrating on other foreign markets such as Latin America and Asia may yield better results.

Follow me on Twitter 4 1 References ^ EuroZone (en.wikipedia.org) ^ export (logistics.about.com) ^ exports (logistics.about.com) ^ Follow me on Twitter (twitter.com)

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Exports to Europe Decline

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