At sites from the eastern and western U.S., past and present, readers see giant double-headed Norfolk and Western steam locomotives moving Appalachian coal in Virginia; modern CSX diesels dragging unit coal trains over the well-groomed former Chesapeake & Ohio main line; BNSF’s SD70MACs with more than 100 hoppers in tow; Rio Grande locomotives snaking through the Rocky Mountains; and coal trains working full-throttle up Colorado’s Tennessee Pass, cresting the Continental Divide at 10,000 feet above sea level. Taking up topics ranging from the colorful but now-defunct “anthracite roads” of eastern Pennsylvania to today’s AC-traction diesels that work Wyoming’s thriving Powder River Basin, Solomon reveals how for 150 years the unique demands of coal—and America’s demand for coal—have prompted new railroad technologies.
Solomon also covers Alco electrics (built in partnership with GE), as well as the company’s successful and quirky diesel offerings, including the RS-2 and RS-3 road switchers, FA/FB road freight units, PA road passenger diesel, and the wares of Canadian affiliate Montreal Locomotive Works. Enlivened by numerous historical photographs, modern images, curious details, and firsthand accounts, this history is a complete, fascinating, and fitting tribute to a true icon of American railroading.
Illustrated with more than 400 historical and modern photographs and period advertisements, The Complete Book of North American Railroading takes readers back to the birth of the railroads, then travels through the “Golden Age” from 1900 to 1950 and on to the railways of our day. Locomotives, from steam to electric and diesel; passenger travel; freight operations; and infrastructure, including stations, bridges, depots, roundhouse, railyards, and signaling are all thoroughly examined and amply illustrated. Authors Kevin EuDaly and Mike Schafer delve into the history, the culture, and the technology of the railroads as they have carried travelers across the continent, brought goods to market, connected businesses in peacetime and war, and enriched the canon of American folklore and the quality of everyday life.