Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Here's the Proof

The LRC was in production for years. It wasn't until we saw the initial touring consist, pictured at Kingston (above) that we could believe it was finally complete, and about to debut.

I received a proof from my printer on Sunday. It wasn't until I saw the initial proof that I could believe it was almost complete, and about to be printed.

The proof was a full-colour illustrated cover, and several pages for my perusal. Bryan Babcock of Allan Graphics has done some very nice graphic design work. I shouldn't have been impressed, knowing he's good at what he does, but I was. Truly impressed.

I've heard a lot about this moment, when an author sees his work coming to fruition for the first time. Though only a partial proof, I shared that feeling. I'll be adding some more photos and making some minor revisions, but I already know this book is going to look good on my bookshelf. Or night table, railfanning bag, computer desk or other handy location. Maybe yours too.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Talisman

No, the talisman is not the biggest guy on a basketball team. It's from the Greek and refers to an amulet or other item that possesses magical powers. In my world, it refers to the memory stick I've been carrying around with me for the last 7 months. On this stick was the text and data for my new book.

On Tuesday, I visited Bryan, my graphic designer at Allan Graphics here in Kingston, where my book is about to be printed. He magically downloaded all the files from the memory stick, and returned it to me. That was it. I had my talisman, and although it still retained the files, they had gone on to be transmitted into something mysterious and as yet unseen.

OK, enough mysticism. This is where it gets good. Bryan is now working to get my jottings, which have been transcribed, checked, reformatted and rechecked, into book form, sandwiching them with titles, text, photos, tables, schedules and rosters. I'll let him work his magic. I predict (mystical background music here) a book of about one hundred pages.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gimme Two on the Trainline

The cab whistle's shrill "pheeeeep-pheeeeeep" sounds in the FPA4 cab as the conductor pulls twice on the trainline. The engineer reaches for the controls and he replies with two toots on the air horn. The train is about to leave the station.

The finality of departure, coupled with the anticipation of the journey are wrapped up in the sounds of air whistle, air horn, and engines throttling up.

Same goes for my book. Everything is in readiness. The text, data and photos have been selected, gathered and are ready for the next step in the journey. Supporting rosters, schedules, some historical notes and data. Lots of data. This step will involve transmission from computer files to paper. Finally. Highball!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


This picture encapsulates VIA's history: a telegraph pole dating back to the era when passenger service was a proud part of CN's operations and a P42DC - the most modern units in the modern VIA locomotive fleet.

As I enter the final stages of tying together the two ends of VIA's relatively short history, I'm struck by the stages of its evolution. Here are the working titles for chapters covering these eras:

1976-1981 Beginnings
1982-1986 Potpourri
1987-1990 New Power
1991-1995 End of Steam
1996-2000 Transition
2011-2011 Renaissance

Now, to select photos to accompany the text. Highball!