Iron Trails Of North America, 1978-2008
In Iron Trails Of North America, 1978-2008 by author Robert W.
Burns you will see a classic assortment of railroads from the early
Conrail era to today's BNSF Railway system and everything in between.
In particular, if you are not interested in much reading then you will
especially enjoy the book because it is filled end to end with color
photography! Of course, main line railroads are not the only subject
featured by Mr. Burns. Other topics covered include tourist railroads
such as Cass Scenic, the defunct Knox & Kane, large steam
locomotives once used on excursions, and remnants of notable fallen
flags. While there is not a lot of writing presented the title is
nonetheless broken down amongst several different chapters, which
mention what railroad or subject will be featured. Not only are the
images featured excellent but also, once again, Schiffer Publishing does
a magnificent job in highlighting them through a hardcover book with
large and vivid photography.
|Burlington Northern GP38-2 #2154 and GP38 #2158 sit outside the shops in Portland, Oregon with SW1000 #428 on June 20, 1993.|
Iron Trails Of North America, 1978-2008
begins with a preface where the author offers insight into how he
became interested in railroads in the first place. He also briefly
describes his family's history with the industry, although this did not
necessarily influence his interest in trains. In the following
introduction you will read about a brief history of the railroads
followed by its resurgence in
recent years. As Mr. Burns explains much of this recovery has been the
result of two primary factors: first, the 1980 Staggers Act greatly
deregulated the industry by allowing railroads to more easily abandon or
sell unprofitable lines along with setting freight trains; and second,
the efficiency of scale provided cannot be beat among any other mode of
transportation (along with being more environmentally friendly).
Beginning in chapter one you will see photos of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and its predecessors. To begin,
Mr. Burns provides a brief history of the BNSF from the roads which
make up the Class I to its present day operations. As you might expect
the images presented include shots of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa
Fe in California and the Burlington Northern in Montana. The author
also offers views of the early BNSF era from 1995 through 2000, which
includes its first paint schemes. Moving into chapter two you will head
back east and look at the Norfolk Southern and Conrail era. Once again
a brief history of both lines is offered, particularly Conrail.
Perhaps the most fascinating pictures
in this section are that of Conrail's early years with former Erie
Lackawanna and Penn Central units still in their original paint.
|Santa Fe GP60 #4031 runs light with a quartet of other power, including a pair of B units, at Cajon Pass in California on the afternoon of October 19, 1992.|
An important point to note is that with all of Mr. Burns' photos he offers wonderfully detailed captions. For instance, in one photo
depicting Alco RS3s in Conrail paint the author speaks of the upgrades
these units received during their final years of service and how the new
conglomerate was interested in selling or scrapping these not as
reliable (or worn out) units as soon as possible (remember that in the
late 1970s and early 1980s Conrail was still seeing annual deficits and
was trying almost anything to return
to a level of profitability, which would not occur until the mid
1980s). There are a few Norfolk & Western units seen in this
chapter although it mostly focuses on Conrail at various stages of
operations until its takeover by CSX Transportation and NS in 1999.
In chapter three an overview of CSX Transportation is
presented. Most of the predecessor images of Chessie System and the
Baltimore & Ohio are centered around western Pennsylvania prior to
those lines being either sold or abandoned. During chapter four you
will see the mighty Union Pacific with most photos taken
in the far west in either California, Nevada or Wyoming. Additionally,
the UP itself is almost universally presented with just a few scenes of
predecessors like the Rio Grande and North Western (Chicago & North
Western). In chapter five Iron Trails Of North America, 1978-2008 changes course a bit and looks at one of our most popular
tourist railroads, Cass Scenic in West Virginia. If you want to see
geared steam locomotives in service Cass is the place to be and Mr.
Burns presents most of the fleet currently in service.
During chapter six you will head west to see the popular
excursion trains of the Rocky Mountains such as the Cumbres & Toltec
Scenic and Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge. Chapter eight is
entitled "Here And There" and as it suggests provides a general
cornucopia of scenes from around the country and even railroads in
Australia. The rest of the
book, so as to not simply repeat what has already been stated above,
looks at more tourist lines, small shortlines, and remnants of fallen
flags no longer in operation. Finally, in chapter fourteen the author
again provides a mixture of photographs from Conrail to the Knox &
|Chesapeake & Ohio GP7s #5896 and #5848, both sporting the simplified "blue dip" livery that became quite common on C&O and B&O equipment at that time, lay over at the yard in Richmond, Virginia between assignments on November 29, 1970.|
Overall, Iron Trails Of North America, 1978-2008 should appeal to
almost any railfan or simply anyone interested in trains. Since the
earliest images date only to the late 1970s you will not be able to see
many of the classic lines that were already gone by then such as the
Pennsylvania, New York Central, Burlington, and others there are still
plenty of fallen flags presented like those mentioned above.
Additionally, the book offers a nice blend of both steam and diesel
locomotives in action, all of which are in color. If you're interested
in perhaps purchasing Mr. Burns' book please visit the link below which will take you to ordering information through Amazon.com, the trusted online shopping network.