Trackside with VIA will appeal to those who have an interest in knowing exactly what VIA passenger trains consisted of between the years 1976-2011. The professionally-printed, soft-cover, 114-page book will be most valued by modellers who wish to match and operate accurate consists of VIA locomotives and passenger cars to a specific-era train. It is an excellent reference guide and detailed history of this specific aspect of Canadian passenger train history.
Eric Gagnon's book follows the real meat-and-potatoes, 35-year history of VIA passenger trains after the 1976 'merger'. He admits it is not a coffee table book nor a corporate history. The book serves its purpose with lists of train consists as recorded by the author over the 35-year period. It is broken down into 6 specific eras, listing train consists within that time frame and shows how VIA progressed to where it is today. The book covers are in colour and there is a limited selection of black and white locomotive and passenger car photographs throughout the book, along with a brief explanation of the era following. Also included is a complete roster of locomotive and passenger cars used by VIA from its beginning, along with corridor schedules, paint transition data that will be of interest to modellers, and a recommended reading section. The foreword is written by Jason Shron, president of Rapido Trains, a VIA enthusiast himself.
Thanks to Canadian Railway Modeller's editor Morgan Turney and reviewer Russell Morgan. CRM is in their 19th year providing interesting information to Canadian modellers, and has been instrumental in growing the Canadian market, now well-served by Canadian and American model railway manufacturers.