Current News from GP Cox

Pacific Paratrooper

Personal Note  Pacific Paratrooper and GP Cox will be offline while the computer is in for maintenance.  Hopefully I will be able to pop in now and again on a friend’s laptop, but during my absence, I wish you all (even those abroad) a fun and safe (and spooky) Halloween.

Did I scare you?

In the meantime, I leave you this very interesting video and hope you find it interesting and informative.  Thank you all for having always been here for me !!

The 5th Air Force, under Gen. George Kenney, in New Guinea 1942-1944


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Private rail car travel will accompany some Amtrak runs

Private rail car operators plan to tag along shortly after Amtrak resumes service to and from Roanoke next week.

Private rail cars, which offer what’s billed as a premium rail travel experience, will be hitched to Amtrak trains for special outings. Two operators currently offer the excursions in restored passenger cars of yesteryear, one as a fundraiser for the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

Amtrak has scheduled service to and from Roanoke beginning Tuesday, offering hundreds of daily seats with leg room, Wi-Fi and access to a food and beverage car. There is a four-piece luggage allowance and the option to bring a cat or small dog for a nominal fee.

Private rail car travel is a second option that has received less attention than Amtrak’s return, which will result from a private-public partnership and nearly $100 million investment of taxpayer money. Private rail cars do not operate on a schedule as Amtrak does, nor travel as often. But when put into service in response to passenger demand, they go anywhere Amtrak goes hitched to the rear of the standard train.

Private rail car travel is available to individuals or groups. Options are endless as private rail car operators say they can create a unique experience. Name your destination and “we’re [able] to put something together for you,” said Chuck Akers, who co-owns a restored Pullman car built in 1923. He is in business as the Roanoke-based Virginia Rail Investment Corp. with partner Chuck Jensen and has sold out trips from Roanoke to Washington, D.C., Nov. 4 and 5, he said.

The Pullman car seats 20 people in the day and sleeps 10 during overnight travel. It has a kitchen and the company will provide food and a chef or allow groups to bring and cook their own food. Information is available at

The car reserved for the transportation museum trips is a Moonlight Dome belonging to the Cincinnati Railway Co. based in Ohio.

The Moonlight Dome, which seats 24 in a luxury setting, will travel to Roanoke from Washington, and vice versa, on various dates between Nov. 10 and 13. Tickets cost $225 each way, which includes food and beverages. From each ticket, $16.11 will go to the upkeep of the museum’s 611 steam engine, said Shayne Dwyer, museum spokesman. Further details are available at

Perhaps it is time for the “Girl Of The Century” to return?

Check it out on our 20th Century WebSite

Officials: Hyperloop is real, and it’s coming to Maryland


A high-speed trip in less than 30 minutes from Baltimore to New York might sound great, but can it really happen?

Sitting in highway traffic is a commuter’s worst nightmare, but a vehicle that can move large numbers of people at high speed is something The Boring Co. said it can do. Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn said it’s real and it’s coming to Maryland.

The company is planning to develop a hyperloop, with the first pieces of it starting in Maryland. It’s privately funded, so no money comes from the state. However, the state has given its blessing.

“We are permitting it, so they have access to (Route) 295 in which they a putting tunnels deep below the roadway. (There) should be no impact on anyone, including our roads,” Rahn said.

The Boring Company’s website said a large network of tunnels many levels deep would fix congestion in any city. A hyperloop would enable rapid transit across densely populated regions, enabling travel from New York to Washington, D.C., in less than 30 minutes.

Gov. Larry Hogan and Boring Co. executives toured the area Thursday.

“I think it’s coming to Maryland, and it’s going to go from Baltimore to Washington, so get ready,” Hogan said.

“It is at a location northeast of the interchange of Maryland 175 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway,” Rahn said.

Brightline’s $600 million of bonds approved by Florida Development Finance Corp.

Brightline has been issued $600 million in tax-free bonds to pay for Phase 1 of its passenger railroad — between Miami and West Palm Beach — according to the Florida Development Finance Corp.

The finance corporation, which will issue the bonds, made its decision at a board meeting Friday. It’s the second time the agency has issued bonds to the Miami-to-Orlando railroad.

In 2015, the finance corporation issued Brightline $1.75 billion of private-activity bonds, but the company failed to sell them, and last year canceled that request.

Instead, Brightline said, it would seek the tax-exempt financing in two phases. It immediately requested $600 million for Phase 1 and said it likely would separately request $1.15 billion for Phase 2, between West Palm Beach and Orlando, said former All Aboard Florida and Brightline President Michael Reininger.

Bill Spivey, executive director of the state agency, said issuing bonds to All Aboard Florida is in line with the finance corporation’s mission “to promote the financing of projects for Florida business activities between the public and private sectors.”

Brightline first sought private-activity bonds in 2014 as a supplement or replacement to its original financing plan: a loan from the Federal Railroad Administration.

Citizen opposition group CARE FL on Monday criticized All Aboard Florida’s plan to use government-backed financing.

Armed man from St. Charles arrested after stopping Amtrak train in Nebraska

St Louis Today

OXFORD, Neb. • An armed man got into a locomotive on an Amtrak train passing through southwest Nebraska early Saturday and pulled the emergency brake while about 175 passengers were on board, authorities say.

Deputies from Furnas and Harlan counties responded to the incident in Oxford around 1:54 a.m. after being alerted that the eastbound California Zephyr was in emergency response mode, Furnas County Sheriff Kurt Kapperman said in a news release.

Amtrak staff detained Taylor M. Wilson, 25, of St. Charles, Mo., and turned him over to the Furnas County Sheriff’s Department, the release said.

Kapperman’s deputies found a loaded Smith and Wesson .38-caliber revolver on Wilson’s waistband and a speed loader for the weapon in his pocket. They also seized two bags containing three more speed loaders, a box of ammo for the revolver, a knife, tin snips, scissors and a ventilation mask, Kapperman said.

Wilson was traveling from Sacramento, Calif., to St. Louis, and somehow got into the second locomotive and stopped the train using the emergency brake, the release said.

It’s believed Amtrak engineers in control of the train were in the first locomotive, which was at the front of the train and can’t be accessed from the second locomotive directly behind it.

Deputies arrested Wilson on suspicion of felony criminal mischief and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony.

He was being held at the Furnas County jail on $25,000 bond.

Kapperman didn’t say how Wilson got the gun on board — whether he carried it on himself or retrieved it from a checked bag.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said that detail was unclear and that the exact circumstances are under investigation.
Amtrak only allows firearms in checked baggage, and only if they are unloaded. However, train passengers aren’t required to undergo the level of screening required of airline passengers. The difference reflects the vastness of Amtrak’s rail system and the “‘open’ and therefore porous transportation environment” it operates within, the company says on its website.

Wilson had a Missouri-issued conceal-carry permit in his wallet, a Furnas County deputy wrote in court documents.

Saturday’s incident delayed the train by a little more than an hour, Magliari said.

The eastbound train departed the Sacramento area Thursday morning, with its expected arrival in Chicago on Saturday afternoon. From Chicago, Amtrak trains connect to the St. Louis area.

Lakeville Anniversary

See the full story on CNE’s Connecticut Connection


October 28, 1965, is the 50th anniversary of the last train run on the former CNE/New Haven Railroad between Canaan & Lakeville CT.  It started at the historic Canaan Railroad Station, crossed two rivers (Blackberry & Housatonic), went between the two Twin Lakes, through the towns of Taconic & Salisbury & ended in Lakeville, a distance of 8 miles.  Was active for nearly 100 years & survived previous petitions for abandonment. the trestle in Lakeville over Route 41 was removed in 1950.  Housatonic RR removed the diamond at Canaan about 3 or 4 years ago. the only two businesses serviced before the abandonment in 1965 were Tri State (not sure of the last name) in Salisbury & the Community Service in Lakeville.

LakevilleLakevilleStationLakeville Station

(all photos courtesy of Hopewell Junction Restoration Project

LakevilleSalisburyStationWestSalisbury Station

LakevilleTaconicStationCloseTaconic Station

LakevilleTwinLakesCausewayTwin Lakes Causeway

LakevilleTwinLakesStationTwin Lakes Station

See more pictures of this old railroad

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A Lunch Date With Zombies

Vampire Maman

A Lunch Date With Zombies

Fridays are usually my lunch hunt date. I switched things up this week and took Cody, my young “Vampire in Training” out with me on Monday.

Lunch dates are fun ways for Vampires to hunt right out in the open. They involve fun, flirting, a bit of seduction and just enough blood to get you going for the weekend ahead. And regular humans never even suspect. They just leave the situation feeling warm and fuzzy, a little tired, and they think they’ve, well, you know.

Cody and I had arranged to meet an old friend of mine at my office with an associate of his. They were Lobbyist for the farming industry (after all we’re in the State Capitol and in the largest agricultural state).  Mike and Melissa. I’m in public relations and do work for them from time to time.

Cody is shy by nature…

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Our Opinion: Bold proposals could change state’s industry, transportation

Missouri officials’ enthusiasm about the prospect of becoming Amazon’s second headquarters has rubbed off on us.

Both St. Louis and Kansas City submitted proposals by the Thursday deadline to win the competition to be Amazon’s second headquarters, or HQ2.

In perhaps an uncommon move, the state submitted its own proposal designed to support the state’s two largest cities in their economic development quest.

“Amazon is a company full of people who turn big ideas into reality,” Governor Eric Greitens said. “My team fully and equally supported the proposals submitted by our major metropolitan areas, Kansas City and St. Louis. We challenge Amazon to envision what it could achieve by partnering with us to unleash the combined strength of the entire state. We’d love to work with Amazon to build their new home here in Missouri.”

In our increasingly global and ever-shifting economy, Missouri must be nimble in its ability to adapt. As technology progresses, industries change. As old revenue models become less profitable, the doors open on new ones.

Modes of transportation change, too, and we’re due for a new one. The last big innovation in transportation was about a century ago when airplanes — and later, commercial airlines — were pioneered.

Missouri hopes to latch on to the next big thing in transportation: hyperloop. A private firm called Hyperloop One is pioneering a technology that propels pods through tubes using an engine and magnets to reach speeds of commercial planes.

Missouri is a finalist for the International Hyperloop One competition for a route that includes Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis.

The technology uses magnets to suspend the pods in the tubes in a vacuum, which allows for ultra-low aerodynamic drag. All that nerd talk boils down to one thing: You could get from Kansas City to St. Louis in 24 minutes.

This isn’t a pipe dream, so to speak. Investors have poured more than $200 million into the company, which is working aggressively to be in operation by 2021. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson recently teamed with Hyperloop One.

In the not-so-distant future, it’s conceivable Amazon could build HQ2 in Missouri, and use hyperloops to meet their goal of same-day deliveries.

We commend Greitens and the Department of Economic Development for actively supporting proposals to bring new economic development and innovation to the Show-Me State.

The MTA is completely out of touch

NY Post

On the MTA’s new subway trains, seats will be locked in the upright position during rush hours.

New York City’s subways are crumbling. Delays cost the city $389 million a year in lost wages and productivity, according to city Comptroller Scott Stringer. Police have quit arresting turnstile-jumpers and platform-urinators — although they found time in July to clear the homeless from a Brooklyn F train station so that limo-loving Mayor de Blasio, taking a photo-op ride, wouldn’t see them.

Yup, it’s a jungle down there — and on elevated lines too. Fortunately, the MTA will go to no end to make our daily schlep less stressful.

Each week, we may count on agency chairman Joe Lhota to announce a new advance in passenger hospitality.

The state-run MTA’s latest master stroke on behalf of the train-riding millions is to remove seats on the L, E and soon possibly other lines. Lucky “cattle car” passengers will find seats folded upright during rush hours to speed loading times and pack ’em in even tighter.

Sure, it might be a nuisance for the disabled. But no seats also means no more guilt about not giving them up to elderly and pregnant people, as those pesky announcements urge us to do “with a smile.”

The elderly and pregnant, meanwhile, can share in the thrill of grinding, upright bodies. “Make ’em stand” is just the thing for pervs to channel their inner Harvey Weinsteins. They may now practice inappropriate sexual contact without fear of being “reported to police or an MTA employee,” as the announcements urge.

And, in a bonus for everyone, seat-locking opens up extra elbow room for pole-spinning, high-kicking amateur acrobats and doo-wop groups warbling “Blue Moon” off-key for 90 minutes between Canarsie and Union Square.

Stalled subways might be costing companies and employees millions
Stalled subways might be costing companies and employees millions
Forgive the cheap jokes; in reality, the subway’s condition is anything but a laughing matter. Sure, the MTA can justifiably boast of completing the No. 7-line Hudson Yards extension and the 30-block-long “Second Avenue Subway,” which is more accurately a Second Avenue spur.

But as New York City’s population swelled from 1980’s 7.07 million to this year’s 8.54 million, all that extra wear-and-tear on top of decades of underfunded maintenance left the subway system, much of it 100 years old, scarcely capable of handling today’s weekday ridership. We’re up to 6 million uses daily — the highest level since 1948.

The subway barely managed to cope with the city’s growth for 20 years, but the streak’s really run out. As The Post reported this week, the city’s Independent Budget Office found that straphangers lost a total of 35,000 hours over the past year — 11,000 hours more than for the year 2012. Much worse than a mere inconvenience to ordinary citizens, the service tailspin will inevitably scare off companies that were thinking about moving here and threaten the entire economy.

As de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo bicker over whose job it is to pay for and fix problems such as breakdown-prone, 1932-vintage switching equipment, tracks and trains only decay further.

Nudged into action by public outrage, the MTA launched a $20 million, interim emergency plan in July to help move trains in and out of its 472 stations faster. It’s well-intentioned and might even help a little. But silly things like floor mats with arrows showing passengers which way to move only invite those bad jokes — and prove that MTA leaders are out of touch with actual riding conditions.

Inscrutable weekend “service advisories” are better for laughs than as useful guidance. Announcements urge us to put trash in “proper receptacles.” But — those MTA comedians! — there are no garbage cans along the entire three-block length of my Q-train platform, among many others.

And then there’s the new policy of “honest” explanations for delays. No more “we are being held momentarily by the train’s dispatcher” to excuse a 20-minute stall, the MTA promised. So how come I still hear the old lines all the time?

I actually prefer them to “honest” advisories like, “Service is delayed due to a stalled train at 63d Street” — which is loudly inflicted on my ears every 15 seconds like sleep-deprivation torture.

Lhota floated a proposal last summer to ban from the subway “inappropriate” foods like Chinese rice that supposedly could cause fires. He wisely dropped the idea.

After all, New Yorkers love to eat on their feet. Watch the closing cattle pens!