Saturday, October 30, 2010

Time for Transcription

My fingers are flyin'. OK, maybe that's a bit of an overstatement. In one hour the other night, I was able to fly through two months of 1982 consists, and get them typed into spreadsheet format. I'm making a point of proofreading each page after transcription, to make sure there are no transcription errors from my original notes. Accuracy is important.

Yahoogroups are humming with discussion of LRC-hauled VIA trains of the eighties. These unique locomotives were used in many services, especially just before the F40's arrived. I've got these consists in my notes, and I'd like to share them with potential readers. They'll help settle a lot of unanswered questions, such as did VIA ever run such-and-such equipment together, and can these be realistically modelled on a model railway layout? I call these fantasy consists, and yes they existed and thus can be modelled if desired.

I'd like to finish this book early in 2011, marking the 35th anniversary of VIA. Highball.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Printer and Pages

I met Tuesday night with Bryan, of Allan Graphics here in Kingston. Allan Graphics website.

Bryan will be doing the setup for the book. He knows his way around printing, graphics, fonts and all things book-related. That's good, because I know very little, so I'll be relying on Bryan's years of expertise. In return, he has jokingly assured me he doesn't want to proofread all my content. It seemed prudent to meet before starting the transcription of my consists.

Speaking of content, Bryan's thought on page count was...more. More pages. That means possibly increasing from my initial projection of 50 pages to 60 or 70. So those are my new projections, not promises. I'll have to see how much from each era I'll be presenting to my readers. I took a run through 1976 consists tonight, complete with business cars and open-platform Bedford. Then on to 1986, with lots of overnight Cavalier consists, the variety of which was amazing.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

F is for Format, F is for F-Unit

Before this project gets too far out of the station, it's time to invest some time thinking about readability. This book is going to be data-dense. You want consists and train detail, you're gonna get it. But it's gotta be readable. Nobody should have to break out a magnifying glass, and the book shouldn't be so big that a cart is needed to move it.

At this point, I'm getting two months worth of consists on one page. At that rate, ten years of VIA is sixty pages. More years will mean more pages. One thing is for sure, it'll be packed as full of consists as I can get it. There will be some text to break things up visually. I'll be thinking about column breaks, bullets, shading, font size, all that nuts-and-bolts stuff that separate a readable book from Excedrin headache number 37.

But oh, those 1981 Canadian consists are AWESOME! Highball.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Clear Track Ahead

Just like the Canadian crossing miles of Saskatchewan prairie, the track looks clear ahead. Offers of assistance, expressions of support, and a generally increasing level of interest appear as this project hurtles along.

One thing is clear: VIAphiles, as I'm calling those who share my interest in VIA Rail, represent all eras of VIA. This is something I'll bring to the book. It's not enough to proclaim, "These were the trains of the glory years of VIA...", because this is a question of perception. It seems fair to include all parts of VIA's sometimes tumultuous past, from its inception to the present.

Thanks to all who've expressed interest in this project, along with their unique viewpoints.

Just today I've put together my first draft page. Highball.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Initial indications of interest inundate my inbox

My inbox is brimming with expressions of interest in my new VIA Rail book. I am obviously in good company with some dedicated VIAphiles, including the sterling members of the VIASIG Yahoogroup. Thanks to all who responded in this initial wave from Canada, the U.S and internationally. You are confirming my hunch that it's time for such a project, and you're convincing me to commit my time and resources to its completion. I've thought of getting this information into useable format for my personal use for years now, but I'm increasingly realizing there is an audience, albeit a niche audience, who share my enthusiasm.

As I mentioned in my initial post, the scope/content is something I'm trying to come to grips with. I certainly won't be skimping on the detail. It's all there already. I'll include interesting consists, including the Cavaliers, Royal train and those krazy and kooky consists of VIA's colourful "circus train" era. I'm still interested in which eras interest you. I'm also still interested in ideas on price point. What's it worth to you as a potential reader? Email me at mile179kingstonATyahooDOTca with your idea, in confidence.

Here's one facet of the detailed consists I want to share. For one summer month in the early 1980's, I have 15 consists ready to go listing Canadian consists operating in the Corridor. Absolutely amazing consist combinations and passenger permutations!

Make this blog your one source of information on this project. I'll be posting progress and describing developments as the project rolls on.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

A New Book on track: Consists from VIA's early years

Do you remember the consists of the early VIA years? I do. I have thousands of them. I'd like to share them with like-minded fans of VIA Rail.

I'm planning a new book, unlike any other book written on VIA Rail until now. Here are some some working titles:

-1000 VIA Consists
-VIA Rail Consists...the Early Years
-Trackside with VIA Rail
-VIA Rail 1976-1986

Who will be buying this new book?

-VIA fans
-modellers with an interest in prototypical VIA consists, especially those with fleets of fine Rapido Trains passenger equipment
-photographers who need to know what cars were on that train they photographed in let's say, 1984
-transportation historians
-locomotive and rolling stock enthusiasts
-railfans looking to fill a gap in their book collection

What will this new book look like?

-professionally-printed and perfect-bound 8x11-inch format on 70-lb stock, readable print with clean and neat design
-intense data: time/date/direction, consists including motive power and cars
-consists from across Canada
-special interest areas: Montreal-Toronto on CN's Kingston Subdivision, VIA's Canadian and Super Continental, conventional, RDC and Turbo corridor consists.

There's never been a book like this before. It'll be affordable, unlike many books aimed at the railfan market today.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this project. What would you like to see on its pages? What might you use it for? Would you buy it? How much should the purchase price be?

Leave a comment below, no registration required, or email me at mile179kingstonATyahooDOTca. Stay tuned for more as I begin work on this project.