There are only a handful of early, pre-1980 scenes in the book although for those who enjoy this era you will see scenes of bright and freshly painted Chessie System/Baltimore & Ohio GP40-2's, the last years of a dying Penn Central in Norfolk (Virginia), and Southern Geeps wearing the "Tuxedo" livery at Asheville, North Carolina. A selection of 1980 photos are also featured. For the most part, however, the book's photos date to the 1990s and early 2000s featuring locomotives still painted in the Rio Grande livery, the end of the Main Line Of Mid-America (Illinois Central), and the now-gone Wisconsin Central system (absorbed by Canadian National in 2001).
Please by aware that the book is your classic "coffee table" title. Aside from the introduction there are no long chapters of text or other written material, only page after page of crisp photography with brief captions describing each scene. If you enjoy books such as these then it is definitely a must for your collection. In total, there are nearly 200 pages of wonderful photography, which do not fit any particular criteria or topic since the book is sans chapters or categories. However, it roughly follows a chronological order; older scenes are generally featured early in the book with later photos (1990s and 2000s) presented later.
Overall, I found Rails Across North America a fascinating book with a fabulous collection of interesting liveries, operations, and classic railroads now fallen flags. Two of the more notable scenes for me, personally, included CSX GP38, #9666, painted in the road's short-lived maintenance-of-way orange and Burlington Northern's freedom locomotive it released during the Operation Desert Storm campaign. In the 1990s CSX painted a number of its aging Geeps and older General Electric units into a bright orange livery with black lettering. As someone who grew up along a CSX line I had the pleasure of seeing this units in operation on a regular basis and was always fascinated by their simple but eye-catching paint, which earned them the nickname "Pumpkins."
Normally, they would run short, or sometimes long-hood forward pulling a cut of ballast cars needed somewhere along the line. Unfortunately, the railroad did away with this livery after only a few years and by the early 2000s most had been returned to CSX's standard scheme. In addition to Union Pacific's camouflaged SD40-2 it released in 1991 (#3593) honoring employees in the first Iraq war mentioned above, you may not be aware that Burlington Northern did something similar. It repainted SD60M #1991 into a custom red, white, and blue livery that resembled the Bicentennial schemes of the 1970s. Adorned on the carbody was a bald eagle and BN logo with the words "Pulling For Freedom, Supporting Our Troops." Again, whether you are a modeler or simply like coffee table titles you will surely enjoy Rails Across North America.