North American Locomotives: A Railroad By Railroad Photohistory is a book written by Brian Solomon and published by Voyageur Press in late 2012, which highlights the American railroad industry through photographs. The hardback cover is essentially a coffee-table title with large and detailed images (a Solomon trademark). However, in doing so it also provides a look at dozens of railroads from classic names like the Baltimore & Ohio and Santa Fe to today's systems such as Amtrak, CSX, BNSF Railway, and others. If you are looking for a piece to either display in your home, learn a little about many of the fallen flags, or just want a new railroad book that features fabulous photographs (which really are quite impressive) North American Locomotives is definitely one you will want in your collection.
One important point to note about North American Locomotives: while the book highlights 90 different current and fallen flag railroads it does not offer a historical overview of them such as with Mike Schafer's Classic American Railroads series. Instead, as Mr. Solomon's title suggests the pages look at the actual locomotives each company operated including steam, diesels, and even electrics. Most roads are only covered in a few pages especially smaller lines like the Lehigh & Hudson River, Virginian, Pittsburgh & West Virginia, and others. However, the author does spend more time on the larger systems such as the Pennsylvania, New York Central, and Milwaukee Road which operated all three types of motive power (in this case he tends to highlight the most well-known locomotives each company used).
The book begins with a lengthy, four page introduction which provides a historical overview of motive power. Naturally, it begins by looking at steam but very quickly Mr. Solomon talks about when railroads first experimented with other types, such as the electric during the late 19th century. Additionally, if you are unfamiliar with how steam locomotives are classified there is an inset article that covers the Whyte Notation, the common system for describing the motive power by wheel arrangement that was first developed by Frederick M. Whyte during the very early 20th century. The idea is quite simple: a locomotive's wheel base is broken down into three segments; the lead pilot, main drivers, and trailing axle. Depending on how many of each there were, sometimes none aside from the main drivers, would determine its arrangement. To learn more about the notation please visit the site's steam section.