Saturday, January 14, 2017

Why a Book?

Commenting on his book The Revenge of Analog - Real Things and Why They Matter, author David Sax said that writing a book was "a terrible business idea. But you do it because you have an idea you want to solidify into something." Something more than a social media post. Having just received a finished copy of his book, which he cradled affectionately, he said, "I can literally rub my hand over my name. That's worth however many g**d*** years I put into this thing!"

Now that sounds like a book I'd like to read!


Saturday, January 7, 2017

This Bud's for You. This Book's for Me.

Is it self-serving and indulgent to say that this fourth book is for me? Yes. Because it's really for you. My first book: Trackside with VIA: The First 35 Years (above) compiled and organized all my 2,700+ VIA consists garnered trackside from 1976-2011. My second book: Trackside with VIA: Cross-Canada Compendium (below) is what others asked for. More of a national focus, more text, more photos, more colour - and it got so big it spawned my third book, the Consist Companion.
Yet this pending book's for me. It is VIA history, operations, consists, photos, data and text that matters to me. That interests you. That I want to share. It can still be national, text, photo, colour and all those good things. Yet it still explores those niche areas of VIA that no-one else writes about. That no-one else experienced and if they did, they didn't share it very widely. Who else would publish this material? And where else would you find it?

It's research. It's recollection. It's review. It's remembered.

It's for me. And it's for you. And it's coming down the track.
And I can't wait.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Easter 1982

Permit me a dipsy-doodle digression during my data digestion. How was it possible that I:
  • was trackside April 10, 11 and 12 in 1982 and not in high school?
  • was able to document the consist of the eastbound Corridor Canadian each of those days?
  • noted Club de la Garnison and three other cars each day?
  • am surprised my Dad noted each day's club as 'Garrison Club'?
  • that each consist is recorded in his handwriting?
  • that each consist includes the notation 'Eric Amherstview'?
  • that I have lost these consists until now?
  • that I have found them?
  • and I'm including them in my fourth book under the heading Discovered Consists?
Google tells me that those days were the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Easter weekend that year, that's how!

Once again, thanks Dad!

Monday, December 26, 2016


This is only a mock-up of a potential cover for my new book, coming spring 2017. The cover that my graphic designer Bryan will produce will look much more professional! However, I do want all books in this series on Canada's VIA Rail to have a family resemblance.

Highball into Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Houston...We Have a Title

Well, at least it's a working title. Trackside with VIA: Research and Recollections. Keeping the same prefix as the rest of the series, but the second part changes. Alliterative. Meaningful to me, because that is how I can classify just about everything that's going into this book. 

Research - done by me or my knowledgeable contributors. Summaries of data, delving into a bit of VIA history, finding a niche undiscovered. Not necessarily scientific research, but data-mining and presentation in useful form.

Recollections - this part is a little less clinical and a lot more personal. Trips and trains, trackside and on board. Things that are in my recall and that should be shared.

So there we have it. Research and Recollections! It somewhat rrrrrrrolls off the tongue.


Word written Excel accelerated

With many of my text pieces for my upcoming fourth book on VIA Rail now finished, it's time to turn my attention to data. Spreadsheets. Original and contributed. I need three facets working together to make my books a success: text (gotta have lots of good content), photos (a picture truly is worth a thousand words, though these will never be coffee-table books) and data (to substantiate the first two).

So now that words have been written in Word, it's time to compile data in a coherent, readable form. Rosters, paint schemes, refurbishing and first sightings will fill the spreadsheets with material that has not been shared before.

And then, the fun of sifting through photos to include will begin!
If I don't post again before, have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

35 Years in 3 Days

How is this possible, you ask? How can 35 years be covered in three days? Well, as part of the 'Recollections' piece of my fourth book on VIA Rail, I'm doing a deep recall of my trip aboard VIA in 1981. Interestingly, I travelled from Kingston to Winnipeg over CN lines on the Super Continental. All blue & yellow consist on a curve out of Capreol. Lookin' fine!

With a combination of a pre-written journal of subdivisions, mileages, schedule, dates and trains and good ole-fashioned pencil and paper note-taking, I'm reconstructing not only the trip west and then the trip east from Calgary through Winnipeg to Sudbury, Ottawa and Montreal aboard CP. Now I've finally transcribed it into a readable account. Travelling home from Montreal aboard exx-Reading Crusader coach 303? Amazing.

Spanning the decades resulted in three days' work. It was enjoyable entertainment. It was a remarkable reverie. It will be shared.


A 134-car CP grain train stabs the Super at West Tower on August 26, 1981. Someone was asking for photos of the former CP Express building. Here is one (top photo).