Castlemoyle Books

Waiting for the Light

Category: Transportation: Trains

Author: Nils Huxtable

Copyright/published Year: 2018 by Steamscenes

ISBN: 9787926865652

Binding: hardcover

For some, the "romance" of railroading died with the demise of the Rio Grande Zephyr, the sole remaining streamliner in the U.S. Domes flashing in Utah's desert sun as white-jacketed waiters in the dining car set the tables, the RGZ symbolized the end of an era.

After decades of partial de-regulation following passage of the Staggers Rail Act in October, 1980-and the rationalization and modernization it fostered-railroading has been transformed. Today's "freeways for freight" excel at hauling bulk commodities such as coal, oil, ore, potash and grain, as well as intermodal traffic, automobiles, chemicals and aggregates.

Competition from the trucking industry and the relentless pursuit of profit leave little room for nostalgia: steam excursions just get in the way.

Because of "merger mania" and abandonments, railroads have lost color and variety, older railfans claim-with some justification. Indeed, of the 36 emblems decorating the cover of the 1980 Handy Rand-McNally Railroad Atlas, a mere handful survive. Great names like the Ann Arbor, Bangor & Aroostook, Boston & Maine, Chicago & North Western, Delaware & Hudson, the Frisco, Illinois Central, the Katy, Maine Central, The Milwaukee Road, the Missabe, Missouri Pacific, Rio Grande, Rock Island, Santa Fe, Soo Line, Southern Railway, Southern Pacific and Western Pacific have passed from the scene. Even so, the fascination with trains endures.

Born in Wales in 1948, the author emigrated to the U.S. nine years later. Leaving behind a British Railways network served by more than 15,000 coal-fired steam locomotives, he fed an appetite for trains with a diet of Daylights and other Southern Pacific streamliners. Sadly, he had arrived in California too late to witness the last stand of those cab-forwards, 2-10-2s and 4-8-4s.

Aided by income from part-time jobs and abetted by indulgent parents, he began spending summers in Britain and Continental Europe. But steam operations there were declining as fast as long-distance passenger service in the U.S. And since-at the time-an Argus C3 was merely an adjunct to riding steam-hauled trains, why bother to imitate what other, more experienced "globally-minded" photographers like Mike Eagleson, Harold Edmonson and Victor Hand were doing better? He had only to buy their books.

It was Japan that finally opened the author's eyes to the attractions of steam in settings other than stations and roundhouses. A Pentax K1000 purchased in Kyoto resulted in some acceptable images, encouraging further efforts.

The Sacramento Railfair of 1981 re-kindled the author's interest in North American railroading. The mainline steam revival of that decade supplied subject matter-a restored GS-4 4-8-4, for example-he could only daydream about during childhood train-watching sessions at Glendale.

That steam is still a priority will be all too evident in these pages. At the same time, those legions of lookalike diesels don't look quite so awful, given a scenic setting and the "right" lighting. In the end, no stark photographic statement can capture the thrill of the quest and the quiet enjoyment of simply "being there."

224 pages, approx 11.5" wide by 11" tall.

This is a used book.

Additional condition description

2018 large book with full color photographs, shrink wrapped, mailed in a box.

Quantity currently in Stock: 2

Categories: -6990-6996-7000-3450-6550-


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