From the first, U.S. railroads have carried coal from mines to docks, steel mills, and power plants across the country. In this authoritative book spanning the whole of that history, from the mid-nineteenth century to present, noted rail author Brian Solomon explores the railroads and hardware that have transported the fossil fuels that made America work. Brilliant period and contemporary photographs convey the drama of the enterprise: the very longâ€”and very heavyâ€”trains powering up mountain grades and thundering across barren prairies. 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; BNSFâ€™s SD70MACs with more than 100 hoppers in tow; Rio Grande locomotives snaking through the Rocky Mountains; and coal trains working full-throttle up Coloradoâ€™s Tennessee Pass, cresting the Continental Divide at 10,000 feet above sea level. Taking up topics ranging from the colorful but now-defunct â€œanthracite roadsâ€? of eastern Pennsylvania to todayâ€™s AC-traction diesels that work Wyomingâ€™s thriving Powder River Basin, Solomon reveals how for 150 years the unique demands of coalâ€”and Americaâ€™s demand for coalâ€”have prompted new railroad technologies.
About the author
Brian Solomon is one of todayâ€™s most accomplished railway historians. He has authored more than 30 books about railroads and motive power, and his writing and photography have been featured in Trains, Railway Age, Passenger Train Journal, and RailNews. Solomon divides his time between Massachusetts and Ireland. Patrick Yough has worked as an environmental consultant in the utility industry since 1990. His photography and writing have been featured in Trains and CTC Board, and he contributed to the Voyageur Press titles Conrail and Railroads of Pennsylvania. Patrick resides in Williamsville, New York.
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