Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Back to the Beginning!

As I noted in my previous post, all my books on VIA Rail are always in stock. It is a pleasure dealing with a local printer, Allan Graphics. Very responsive, with timing and quality very customer-focused and convenient.

Now that my graphic designer Bryan Babcock (and I) joined the ranks of the retired, I can no longer rely on to-the-door delivery. So upon returning from a western trip aboard VIA Rail, it was back to business and back to see Gloria Allan to pick up two more boxes of books. In this case, the first two that began this publishing odyssey in 2011 and 2012.

It's still a thrilling feeling to see one's work in print. But even moreso, to be able to put research, photos, data and more into the hands of VIA modellers and enthusiasts.

Returning home, the day's mail included an order for all books for a customer in Montreal, QC. That's where I began this odyssey called life back in 1964, so it really was back to the beginning of it all, geographically speaking. 

All books, always in stock!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

In Print, In Stock!

I'm pleased to say that not a week goes by that I'm not still talking to someone about my four books on VIA Rail. They're all still in print. No small feat, considering the first was published in 2011!

Moving on to Manitoba and Saskatchewan for my next two books, I'll leave this VIA post here for awhile. 

Somebody's bound to see it!


Saturday, April 21, 2018

New Book Review in CRM!

The March-April 2018 issue of Canadian Railway Modeller magazine arrived this week. It includes a review of Trackside with VIA - Research and Recollections. Though it's been a year since my latest book was released, it takes time for a review to percolate through the writing, editing and publication steps and schedules. 

In a letter-to-the-editor reply, the editor writes, " is amazing that we are still able to put out a print copy magazine."In this day and age of social media. I share his amazement that VIAphiles and rail enthusiasts of all stripes are interested in books printed on actual paper. Well, when you do research, such as paint schemes, refurbishing dates and wraps, it sits quite nicely on the shelf in book form. Ready for when you need it.

To those who may read this review and heed its clarion call to learn more about VIA, I say, "All aboard! En voiture!" and most importantly, welcome aboard.

Thanks to CRM editor Morgan Turney and reviewer Russell Morgan.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Two by Two...

I'm looking forward to gathering with the ARK! The Associated Railroaders of Kingston, next Tuesday night at Denny's. I'll be speaking on a favourite topic - platform scenes at Kingston's VIA station. My talk will include earlier stations, trips made from the station platform, books on the platform, and of course trains throughout VIA's various eras. 

You just know VIA had to figure in there somewhere.

I'll also be mentioning my upcoming two-volume series of books: Trains and Grains!


Saturday, February 10, 2018

1,215 Copies Sold!

This week I sent the last two remaining copies of the first print run of Trackside with VIA: Research and Recollections east and west, to Montreal and Alberta respectively. Don't worry, my printer will be getting an order for more. Printed locally, I'm always able to keep copies of all four books on VIA Rail in stock.

But with this last sale, I ran the numbers (see left sidebar for each volume's sales) and they total 1,215 copies of these four books that have found their way to store shelves, bookshelves and the hands of eager modellers and VIA Rail enthusiasts. Thank you for your support.

This winter and spring I'm working on a new book project. While it takes a slightly different tack, or track, it still includes VIA Rail and will focus on trainwatching in Canada's railfan capital, Portage la Prairie, MB. The project is called Trains & Grains - a two-volume set due out this spring.

CP Rail Action Red 1409 leads VIA's only roadswitcher, 8558 and CP GP-9 8519 into "Portage" on the Canadian on August 22, 1979. And you are there!


Friday, December 15, 2017

Now THAT'S a Christmas card!

"With every Christmas card I write..." crooned Bing Crosby in that festive chestnut 'White Christmas'. Well, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish a Merry Christmas to everyone who joined me in celebrating the fortieth anniversary of VIA by supporting my Trackside with VIA series, especially this year's Research and Recollections!

Greetings of the season to Lance Gleich for this Happy Holidays card that arrived today with his book order. Lance captions his photo, "VIA Rail Canada P42DC 900 wore the special wrap for Canada's Sesquicentennial as it departed Montreal, Quebec at Wellington Tower with Corridor train No 669 on an icy April 3, 2017"

This card is mantle-approved and Santa-approved. 
Thanks, Lance!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Honoured, Chris...

Fellow blogger Chris Mears posted his impressions about my books on VIA Rail, going waaay back to Trackside with VIA - The First 35 Years. It was December, 2011 when Chris first sent me an email about some of the discoveries he made, "Good evening Eric. I was leafing through Trackside With VIA when I discovered some really great GO consists. The first ones I saw were toward the back of the book and I'll admit that quoting the cliché of "Christmas morning excitement" is akin to what I felt as I headed to the section on the '76-'81 consists." 

I share that excitement, Chris! It, and responses like this one from good folks like you, are what make this journey so interesting, so rewarding and so enjoyable. 

Here is Chris' post from his Prince Street Terminal blog:

I remember reading my copy of Eric Gagnon’s first book on VIA Rail in a hotel room in the early morning hours of the day in the company of a friendly mug of hotel coffee, quietly as the sun rose and privately while the city considered how it might start its day. The book had arrived just in time to tag along on a road trip and I remember vividly how exciting it was to leaf through page-after-page of train consist data. I love exploring data. Any data. On the surface “the data” can sound like such a dry and uninteresting commodity yet it comes alive once you spend some time getting to know it. 

The more patiently you listen, the more passionate that once emotionless voice becomes as it rises to tell its story like the breathe that effortlessly becomes a opera. I remember how exciting it was to pick a particular car number and then search through the book to see how often it would appear on that particular train or if it ever appeared on another service. With each reading and then re-reading, I’d discover some new treasure like the many special consists Eric included – who knew that tucked neatly into the pages of a book dedicated to VIA Rail trains I’d find consists belonging to commuter train consists from Montreal or Toronto?!

In the years since that first book was released Eric has continued to tell this story. Where the first book was dedicated entirely to sharing Eric’s listings of train consists the follow-up books have so beautifully built on each preceding volume’s work and each time, contributing once more voice telling the story of VIA Rail’s operations through the eyes of the railfan. And it’s not just Eric, it’s amazing how the books have become a party attended by all the cool kids from the VIA Rail(fan) community.

This spring and purely by chance I found myself in a familiar place. The room changed but the hotel and the city? All old friends together again. With another mug of Cambridge Suites’ finest hotel room coffee in hand I was ready to attend the first pages of Eric’s most recent book. These books work so very well together and many times I find myself pausing so I can excitedly cross-reference an observation from one against a line from the other book. Just as Eric’s inclusion of the commuter train consists felt like a personal treat, this latest book’s chapter on VIA Rail yard operations feels especially special – thank you.

The books represent a truly rich collection of information published on the railway and I consider owning copies, a fortunate privilege. Just as the joy of travel by train is often described as one experienced as much in the destination as in the experience of the travel itself, these books are not simply something to own and have read but to read, to study, and to indulge in.

Thank you for investing in these, Eric, and making them available for us to enjoy. Like watching a trip unfold through the windows of a train car, I’m looking ahead hoping to catch a glimpse of what’s to come.


Here is Chris' original post. I'm grateful to Chris for the top photo of VIA 6905 at Montreal with the Renaissance demo cars, which appeared in my second book.

Highball, Chris!