Remember Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed? Well, if you're too young to, or you don't like sappy (yet meaningful) Christmas movies...the movie centres on George Bailey and his Christmastime misadventures. He wonders, what if I'd never existed? Is there a silver lining to this life? Deeply philosophical to be sure, I'm relating this story to my second and third VIA books. What if these books had never been published? Of course there is still a body of work out there in print and online about VIA Rail Canada. But it's a Miss America swimsuit competition-thin body, not at all what I'd call VIAluptuous!
Since I published my two recent VIA books, it's been cool to see how the books are being used. As I've mentioned before, I don't expect people to read their copies cover-to-cover, though apparently some have, and that's great! I do anticipate the books being used as a comparative reference source, or as I term it, a way to settle friendly arguments. Here are just a few examples dug out of my Inbox as related to me by book customers of ways they've found the books useful since their release, about 85 days ago:
- a reminder of a first transcontinental trip on VIA Rail behind F-units in 1986
- a pleasant reminder of railfanning trips with my son
- several copies given as Christmas presents (fortuitous timing of the release, eh?)
- sharp-eyed reader noticing a captioning error, to be corrected in next printing
- modelling southwestern Ontario in the 1970's-1980's
- Park car backup lights, white and red
- finding 1970's Super Continental consists
- ex-CP 2700-series baggage cars taken on VIA's roster and their use
- modelling VIA CC&F dinette cars
- 1980's disposition of Canadian Flyer cars
- further suggestions for future book projects!
- researching VIA's unique E-unit operations and timeline
- RDC, E- and F-unit paint scheme research
- recollections of forgotten mish-mash VIA consists from the 1980's
- shortcomings of the ex-CN Tempo equipment
- VIA's three rebuilt ex-CP F9B's (watch for an upcoming Trackside Treasure blog post)
- ex-CN FPA4's and other MLW/Bombardier locomotives
- VIA/CN paint scheme, applied to what equipment and when
- use of ex-CN diners and ex-CP diners on the Canadian in the late 1980's
- the Canadian in 1984...and Rapido Trains' VIA Canadian set
- mixing of GMD and MLW units in the Corridor in the 1970's
- should we spell it Via or VIA?
OK, so that's only 22 uses, but I'm sure there are at least 63 others I haven't heard about, but you get the idea! Thanks to each and every customer - may these books help you in the above, and other heretofore-unencountered ways in the days and weeks ahead.
Top photo: Wrecked 6124 at Winnipeg, bottom photo the Canadian wends its way round Lake Superior, 1985.
[And every time an F-unit bell rings, does an angel get its wings, Zuzu? (trivia-style movie quotation reference)]