Friday, January 29, 2016

Big Books!

When I purchased Greg McDonnell's Signatures in Steel, it was the biggest, most expensive and only coffee-table Canadian railway book I'd ever seen. And I had to have it. Covering multiple Canadian railways at locations from coast to coast, Signatures is THE seminal volume encapsulating Canadian railroading at its finest.

Arriving in today's mail was an inscribed image wrap cover copy of Raymond S Farand's Steel Passageways 'Up The Valley' - Trains of the Ottawa Valley Volume 2. This book is the biggest, most expensive and most interesting coffee-table book I've ever seen. It covers CN's operations in detail, featuring prototype paperwork, informative and detailed text, and photography from across several decades. Ray's Volume 1 covered CP, but I'm much more familiar with CN's Kingston Sub here, and in fact most of the trains that were running from Ottawa to North Bay ended up here after that line was removed.

Ray's Volume 2 includes many views of CN and VIA passenger trains through Ottawa, and I need to read up on his coverage and photos of VIA's short-lived use of the line through Ottawa to North Bay, before it moved to CP rails west of Ottawa. The photos, maps, text, editing and layout make this book a real page-turner with in-depth coverage along the line. Ray notes that many railroaders from the Ottawa area have given good feedback on his book - that has to be very satisfying after creating this historical record of this difficult, scenic and utterly Canadian trackage

And a huge teaser - Volume 3 just might cover VIA! Blurb periodically offers discount codes of up to 20% on direct online purchases. More information on the Blurb website and a free preview.

I can heartily recommend Ray's books.



  1. I've been pondering book #1 for a while now, but have been leery about the price. Now that it has the Eric Seal O' Approval, I'll have to scrounge around for some $$. Thanks Eric!

    1. Sounds good, Ian. The free preview really helps with the decision.

      Vol 2 has so much CN content that I can apply it to my Kingston Sub experience, even though the book doesn't directly pertain to this part of the system.

      I was lucky to have some $ to the purchase as a Christmas gift from someone special!

      I should add that I don't generally like dust jackets, and the option of an image wrap printed cover make this an easy one to take on and off the bookshelf!