The notion of working on a railroad has always carried its share of romance, taking in everything from the dreams of small boys to legends like John Henry and Casey Jones. The reality is far more complicated and often, as this book amply demonstrates, more interesting. This richly illustrated volume takes us behind the scenes to show what goes into keeping a railroad running in our era of computer-aided 6,000-horsepower diesel locomotion. Author and photographer Brian Solomon explains who does what, and how, from dispatching and signaling to maintaining locomotives and driving trains. Everything it takes to keep a railroad running smoothly and safely-the daily decisions, the procedures that must be followed, the lowdown on track maintenance-comes clearly into view as Solomon gives readers both a seat in the locomotive and the dispatcher's view. Into this larger account he weaves anecdotes from railroad workers as well as the historical evolution of railway vocations, with descriptions of how each job has changed over time as well as marvelous archival imagery that illustrates these developments.
Brian Solomon is one of the top railroad authors and photographers working today. The author of more than 20 books, including the epic Burlington Northern Santa Fe (MBI, 2005), he splits his time between Monson, Massachusetts, and Dublin, Ireland.