Thursday, August 28, 2008

The American Railroad - Working for the Nation by Joe Welsh

I promised myself that I will review this fantastic book once I finished reading. And, so I did. In my opinion, this soft cover book is a must-have for any American railroad enthusiast such as myself.

Joe did a great job compiling this book with photos from the foregone era of the American railroad. He presented this history and evolution of various aspects of the railroad in an interesting manner that will keep you glued for more ... and say "I didn't know that". From the arrival of the first locomotive on the US shore to the men and women whom made the American railroad what it was and is today, each chapter tells the beginning, the happening and the demise of each facet of the railroad - the railroad itself, the locomotives, the equipment and rolling stocks, the stations, uniforms and the people behind the scene.

After reading this book, you will have a good appreciation of the rich heritage of the American railroad and for those in America, a legacy to be preserved.

I am looking forward to visit US in not to distance future. May my dream comes true.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Model Railroad Resources

Today, I received 3 new books - Realistic Model Railroad Operation, Building Model Railroad and Passenger Equipment & Operation - from Kalmbach which I ordered 2 months ago. These 3 books were replacements as the first set did not reach me after one month. Thanks to Laurie from Kalmbach for her speedy reply and promise to send me the replacements.

Left to Right: N-Scale Railroading, Building Model Railroad, DCC Projects
& Applications, Passenger Equipment & Operation, Realistic Model Railroad
Operation and Track Planning for Realistic Operation

These add to my collection of 3 other books. I must say that I enjoy going through the first 3 books - N-scale Railroading, Track Planning for Realistic Operation and DCC Projects and Applications. In addition, I read and reread the Model Railroader magazines and special issues of "How to Build".

You can find a list of railroad resources that I have at the side bar.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

And Then, There Was Sante Fe and Southern Pacific .....

Some of the forumers in gave some useful information on the region that I am modelling. I also noticed in my research that Santa Fe (ATSF/SF) and Southern Pacific (SP) used to own the lines in South Texas. Apparently, the present BNSF Galveston subdivision was owned by Santa Fe while UP Glidden and UP Galveston by Southern Pacific. Besides having BNSF and UP paint schemes in the locomotives and rolling stock, I can add Santa Fe and Southern Pacific too.

Furthermore, the trackside equipment, depots and other railroad structures will have both SF and SP flavour. I am beginning to like what I am modelling now, even more.

Sometime back, I was reading about Class 1 railroads and found David Hall's YouTube on How The West Was Lost. It was about the merger of railroads into UP and BNSF. I dugged further and came out with these two maps.

I have the above maps in PDF version. Email me if you want a copy as I can't uploaded into this blog.

I know there are other railroads I have not traced back or those taken over by Canadian Pacific (CP) and Canadian National (CN). I will do more once I have the free time.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Good News, Bad News

Which one do you want first - good or bad? Okay, let's start with the bad one. Easier to swallow the bitter pill and then take the sweet honey.

My layout investment going to increase at least by 20%, if not 50%. That's the bad news.

The good news is the priced real estate I told you about is now MINE, all MINE! Back to drawing board again. I intend to keep most of the track plans as blogged earlier. I pretty much like the concept and the track arrangement. I now need to decide how to length the run to the other side of the room, again an around the wall concept and connect to "Galveston". Looks like a duckunder is necessary.

Anyway, looks like Tower 17 junction has to relocate more westward to accomodate a longer BNSF Galveston run as well as UP Glidden to "invisible" Houston.

Putting on my thinking cap again. If you have good suggestions, I welcome them.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Books on North American Railroad

I was at The Curve Borders this morning and just casually walked to the Hobbies/Special Interests section. They had a section on Transportations. Usually you will find books about automobile, airplane, ships, etc. Very rare you will find books about trains. Lady luck was at my side this morning. I found 4 books in North American railroads. Wow! What a bonus.

I sat down on the floor and flipped through each of there. One particular book caught my attention which I would never expect it to be there at all.

This is a coffee table book on BNSF and traced its history back to pre-merger days. It's 290 pages thick but I am sure it is a good reading material. I flipped through some chapters and I am already excited to delve deeper. I hope to find something about the Galveston line.

The other 3 books are interesting too. Here are what I bought.

I have not gone through all of them so I can't give you my review. I will start a collection of railroad books and looking forward to buy a few more especially about Southern Pacific, which owns most of the lines in Texas (SP merged into UP in 1996) and Union Pacific.

It's about time for me to catch up with some reading. My investment today, priceless. For those interested, check out Don't let the URL deceive you.

Book Reviews: (All reviews are based on this blogger's opinions)
Rail Power by Steve Barry
It took less than 24 hours to finish this book (okay, that 24 hours include sleep, bath and other personal and work activities). Then again, this book is full of color photos and captions accompanying each of the photos. For those who love the various shots of the "lost" American railroad, this is a good book. The book starts with Steam locos followed by Electric and Diesel (-Electric). While I am not an expert in American railroad, this book has taught me the various steam loco wheel arrangements from American 4-4-0 to Challenger 4-6-6-4. What's obviously missing from the Steam category is UP Big Boy 4-8-8-4. Now, how you can NOT include the icon of American steam loco? This I will leave to Steve and the publisher to answer.

Overall, this is a handy book to have and a good pictorial reference of the good old steam-electric-diesel era of the grand American railroads.

The American Railroad - Working for the Nation by Joe Welsh
See my comments in later blog.