IntroductionGuide to North American Steam Locomotives, Revised Edition
from Kalmbach Publishing
is an amazing tome for fans, enthusiasts, historians and modelers of Twentieth Century steam locomotives.
This newly revamped book features every steam locomotive built in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada since 1900. This is an essential guide that should be in the library of every railfan! It includes:
• Comprehensive rosters for every railroad.
• Information and data railfans can’t find anywhere else.
• 420 photos and newly designed roster tables.
Twenty years ago when my railroad fascination was rekindled, I sought about my favorite railroads the very information now contained in this book; without a resource like this, it can be frustratingly difficult to locate. Happily, author George Drury has complied an immense amount of information presented through 336 pages. Hundreds of photographs and tables support the text. This softcover book measures 8.25 x 10.75 inches. Kalmbach's item number is 01302 while the ISBN is 9781627002592.
This book is new on the shelves having been released on New Year's Day, 2016.
While author GHeorge H. Drury compiled the book, much of the content is written by other well-known steam loco experts, including those who crewed steam locomotives in been-there-done-that revenue service.
Every steam locomotive of every major railroad since 1900? This book is so packed full of information that to even scratch the surface of content, this review could be so long so as to monopolize your time. I will try to relate what this book is about. One limiting factor of this book is that it focuses on Class I railroads.
Amazingly easy to read in spite of the technical nature of much of the text, Guide to North American Steam Locomotives, Revised Edition
is brought to us through eight sections and chapters:
How steam locomotives work
Wheel arrangements and types
United States Railroad Administration
Railroad-by-railroad listings (alphabetical)
How in depth is this book? The introduction presents an overview of these topics:
Locomotive development until 1900
Wide fireboxes and trailing trucks
Development from 1900 to 1918
Development after 1920
That's just a taste of what is within these pages.
Within that framework is an extensive description of steam locomotive technical components and equipment that is explained in a thorough yet clear manner. How steam locomotives work
and Wheel arrangements and types
are explained in a fashion useful for those new to the subject, yet enjoyable for folks like me, who have been studying steam locos in varying detail for years. The types are described with background, usage, and ultimate success and flaws. Each type ends with numbers built, railroad rostering the most, lightest or heaviest of type, and other trivia.
Railroads were often very individual in their specifications and design of motive power to suit their particular needs. What worked for railroads in eastern American mountainous regions did not always work for railroads surmounting western mountain ranges. Preferences led to home-built designs or specifications for commercial builders to particular needs. Yet the First World War saw many American railroads grind into gridlock and the subsequent takeover by the government. This resulted in the formation of a government intervention, as explained in United States Railroad Administration.
The USRA worked with the railroads' mechanical departments and created standard designs that proved to be incredibly effective and efficient. After the war and the end of USRA rule railroads went back to personalizing their motive power. The book does a remarkable job of relating that important history of North American steam design.
At one time there were dozens of commercial locomotive builders. Locomotive builders
explains the heritage of what became the main builders. Locomotive builders, too, had their distinct characteristics.
chronicles the motive power of literally scores of railroads. Some that I expected, i.e., KCM&O, the "Orient", do not rate a dedicated page but is folded into the major company which merged it. Brief histories of each railroad is given but the main focus is its need for the locomotive designs the mechanical department required. Each chapter discusses the railroad's freight locos and passenger types separately. Pusher and dual-service types are also discussed. Switchers and road locos, too. Engine successes, failures, rebuilds and experiments and proposals are recounted.
Throughout, references and further reading suggestions are annotated.
Guide to North American Steam Locomotives, Revised Edition
is a incredible exposition of information.
I only found a couple of pages without roster tables that do not have at least one photograph. The book is full of them - over 400. All are black-and-white. Many are in-action shots. Perhaps over a third are company and roster portraits. Considering the technical state-of-the-art of photography in the first quarter of the Twentieth Century, the quality is remarkable. In addition to portrait images, there are dozens of technical views, even those in roundhouses and engine erection shops. Most every image is an inspiration. The only drawback is that some photos are a small size, although that is not surprising.
Many side bars and text boxes highlight supplemental information. Historical societies are referenced, as well as roster sources.
Roster tables are included for each railroad. These list
Numbers (some with different numbering per dates)
Those photographs and graphics greatly supplement and enhance the text.
ConclusionGuide to North American Steam Locomotives, Revised Edition
is an extensive description of steam locomotive technical components and equipment that is explained in a thorough yet clear manner. Comprehensive rosters and photographs and graphics that greatly supplement and enhance the text. features an extensive description of steam locomotive technical components and equipment that is explained in a thorough yet clear manner. Comprehensive rosters and photographs and graphics that greatly supplement and enhance the text.
If I have any gripe - a minor and understandable one - is the size of some photos.
This book is an incredible exposition of information. It is a must-have for any steam locomotive enthusiast or student of a motive power in the steam era.
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