Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Consists!

'Tis the season...to travel! Here are some selected early VIA-era consists from my books on VIA Rail, from a post on my Canadian railway blog, Trackside Treasure. Christmas Consists 1976-1985

Merry Christmas and Happy 2014!

(VIA 1413 Brian Schuff photo at Winnipeg)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

500th Copy Celebration!

Thanks for celebrating 500 copies of Trackside with VIA - The First 35 Years with me! I'm happy to report that several VIA fans will be receiving copies of my books for Christmas. I've sent out orders this week to western, central and eastern Canada. Only Santa knows the details! 

As I mentioned in the previous post, two lucky orders for all three books would receive one free. All to celebrate the unbelievable 500th copy of my first book going to VIA fans around the world.

Brian Trafford of Ottawa was the first to contact me, and he has received a complimentary copy of Trackside with VIA - The First 35 Years with his order. Richard Brown of Dartmouth was next, and he will be receiving a complimentary copy of Trackside with VIA - Cross-Canada Compendium Consist Companion with his order. 

Thanks to Brian, Richard and all of you for making this an amazing couple of years!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Free Copy, Anyone?

To celebrate the impending sale of the 500th copy of my first book, Trackside with VIA - The First 35 Years I'm giving away two free copies of my books. It's close - we're at 498! Frankly, as I've stated here before, I wondered if I'd sell more than 10 copies. There are more VIAphiles that I'd imagined, and the reach of the internet has proven to be incredible and international. It's been two and-a-half years, two books followed the first, and it all seems like just yesterday! 

Once this is posted, be the first to order a copy of all three of my books. You will receive your copy of Trackside with VIA - The First 35 Years absolutely free - that's a $25 value! The second to order a copy of all three of my books will receive Trackside with VIA - Cross-Canada Compenium Consist Companion absolutely free - that's a $10 value!

Operators are standing by. You'll need to e-mail me at mile179kingstonATyahooDOTca with your impending order intentions; then I'll make sure your copy is free.

This is one small way I can say 'thank you' to all those who have supported my books. 
(First big shipment going out on May 30, 2011 - photo below).
Here's another - Thank you!


Monday, October 7, 2013

One Year On

One year ago, I excitedly published drafts of my second and third books on VIA Rail on this blog. Re-reading those posts, I can easily recall the feeling of anticipation. A few days later, I had boxes of books here to send to fans of VIA Rail all over the world. It was great to be able to share information and photos with those who were as interested in Canadian rail passenger history as I was!

One year on, I'm taking stock of this New VIA Rail Book Blog, and what the future holds for it. It has served a vital purpose, allowing me to share what I was doing as well as preserving it for my own use and recollection. Whether it was creating the books, preparing them for publication and publicizing them afterwards, I was very fortunate to be able to share the process with anyone who was interested in this little corner of cyberspace.

And one year on, I still enjoy looking through these books, hoping to learn something new and using them for reference, as I trust you are too!


VIA 6566 comes out of the setting sun at Portage la Prairie, MB in 1984.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Here Comes The Sun

I can't believe it's happened...another new book on VIA Rail! This one is from Morning Sun Books, and is written by Kevin J. Holland. Entitled VIA in Color - The First 25 Years 1976-2001, this profusely illustrated volume covers VIA's history in photos up to the advent of this millennium. This shows that there is still huge interest in all of VIA's eras, including books (clockwise from top left above) by Messrs. Gagnon, Shron, Holland and Nelligan.

In his Canadian Railway Observations review of my second book, reviewer Michael Berry presaged this in the following comment:

"If you are mostly just interested in full colour photo books a la Morning Sun Books, this is not for you." 

That's exactly it! The fact that there is the breadth and depth of interest in VIA Rail makes room for both types of books. Or, as book contributor (to Kevin's and my books) Jakob Mueller appraised Kevin's book:

"If you have any of Eric Gagnon's books, get this book. Conversely, if you get this book and want to learn more about the equipment you are seeing, get Eric's books."

I picked a copy today from Dave Cool of Brighton's Canadian Express Line. It is a beautifully-illustrated book. We all need more VIA Rail, and I'm glad that Kevin has devoted his book to covering the early, most diverse era of VIA's history. My books go into the detail I'll find pictured inside his book...rosters, unbelievably varied consists, history, photos, data, motive power rebuilds, equipment disposition, and first-hand observations of what it was like to ride VIA and watch it from trackside, throughout its interesting history.

Kevin's book is available now retailing for $59.95. My Compendium including delivery is $30, with ordering information for my books on this blog, and a printable order form at upper right.

Highball, Kevin!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


I was trackside in Brockville at the end of August. Not a big city. Not even a major VIA destination. But remarkable for another reason. Throughout VIA's history, Brockville has been an important operational point for the splitting of VIA trains heading east to both Montreal and Ottawa. When 6459 led VIA No 50 out of Brockville, it had just split from 6417's VIA No 52, just east of Brockville station.

Book contributor Gary Hadfield supplied an excellent, detailed account for Trackside with VIA: Cross-Canada Compendium of Brockville operations. Trains also combined here from Montreal and Ottawa. I then wrote an entire section entitled Switching En Route, in which I discussed VIA's operational changes as it moved from CN and CP performing switching at Brockville, Winnipeg, Sudbury and other locations from splitting and combining its own trains. It's this kind of operational detail that is of value for those of us interested in modelling VIA and its history.
Just for fun, above are two images of train splitting operations in Brockville: 1980's and 2013.


Sunday, August 25, 2013


In January I posted 85 Uses. In 85 days post-publication, I listed ways in which my books had served modellers and rail enthusiasts. Here's another one: in an online discussion about weird and wacky VIA consists (of which there were many, and still are!) this week, my Compendium's triVIA mention of VIA HEP EGU (ex-baggage cars) came up. These cars were used to provide heat to LRC cars between the Toronto Maintenance Centre and Union Station.

Another gratifying example of the usefulness of these books! Now the modeller involved in the online discussion can haul LRC cars without an HEP-equipped locomotive. This kind of validation is always nice to see!


(VIA EGU 15301 brings up the markers on Amtrak Superliner test consist in 1984 - Brian Schuff photo)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ex-CP Smooth-Sides

VIA's ex-CP smooth-side coaches and baggage cars are one of my favourite early-VIA era subjects. I wanted to learn more about them, and I included what I learned in my second book. Of course, there's always more to learn, and this past week I was able to participate in a discussion of these cars. Specifically, were they in VIA service and did they receive a VIA paint scheme? Answers: Yes, and No.

Contributor Bruce Chapman was kind enough to contribute some fantastic photos for my book, showing some of the ex-CP baggage cars languishing at Montreal's Glen Yard. Notice how the maroon stripe below the windows (and letterboard at roofline) bled through the CP Rail silver paint, which was in turn covering the CPR maroon. While theoretically on VIA's roster, photos like the one above show us that these cars rarely if ever turned a wheel in VIA service. I included paint information, disposition and a roster in my book.

Wouldn't these cars have looked good with a blue VIA letterboard and yellow VIA logo? Unfortunately, due to their lack of mechanical capability with the rest of VIA's fleet, as well as other factors, they were early departees from the VIA roster, finding homes on regional railways and other new owners.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Roll the Presses again

There's never a bad time to send a good email. In this case, it's to Bryan over at Allan Graphics, asking him to 'roll the presses' once again.  (Bryan knows I like using that saying, archaic though it may be in the digital age.)

My copies of Trackside with VIA: Cross-Canada Compendium have dwindled to the point where I need more.  This part of early summer has been filling my inbox with inquiries about more book orders.  I'm pleased that the interest is continuing, and yes, I have copies available.

A couple of sharp-eyed readers have pointed out errata that I'll be correcting in this new printing.  In a book of this size, it's a good sign that there are only a few revisions to make, all in the name of accuracy!


(Photo: Strobe light-equipped GM plus MLW power congregate at Spadina in June, 1980.)

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Thanks to the Seaway Valley Model RailRoaders for their hospitality, friendliness and interest in my presentation last Saturday.  We had some fun with triVIA questions, had an informal dialogue (VIAlogue?) about subjects like: what else we'd like to call the Renaissance scheme, just what colour is that, and  interest from club members and spouses regarding self-publishing.  

As I said in my presentation, one positive outcome of creating a book is meeting people you wouldn't have met otherwise, plus the opportunity to learn and share knowledge.  This kind gift from the club is not what I normally think of as a club car, but it certainly is one:
Thanks again to Gary and the seaway crew!
(Brockville VIA station top photo, looking east. The site of much to-ing and fro-ing in the early VIA era)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Let's Talk VIA!

Next Saturday I'll be attending the annual banquet of the Seaway Valley Model Railroaders in beautiful Morrisburg, Ontario. I've been asked to speak at the group's annual banquet about my VIA Rail books, plus some of VIA's history and modelling challenges.  

One message I'll be sending loud and clear is that this is a golden age for those who model the Canadian passenger railway scene, particularly VIA Rail.  Never has there been such an abundance of high-quality locomotives, rolling stock, books and information to assist the modeller.

I'm proud to be able to be part of this.  I'm looking forward to meeting the group and their spouses, to a great time together over dinner and a fun, informal presentation, including a triVIA challenge!

Thanks, Gary for inviting me.  I'm really looking forward to the trip and the possibility of seeing a few ships (oh, and trains) on the drive down from Kingston!
Eastbound VIA behind FPA4 6778 at Brockville, Ontario's VIA station in 1986 (above) D.J. Gagnon photo.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

CRM Reviews my Latest Books

Canadian Railway Modeller magazine features a review of my Cross-Canada Compendium and Consist Companion volumes in the Canadian Book Reviews in the latest issue (T19T1):

"If you have an interest in anything and everything VIA, you're not alone - Eric Gagnon shares your passion! This book, along with its follow-up, Consist Companion, is the second and third published by Eric; the first, was reviewed in T18T2 of this magazine.

Cross-Canada Compendium reveals the history of VIA Rail Canada beginning with its conception in 1976 and up to the present day.  Well-illustrated, with period photographs depicting the early equipment from Canadian National and Canadian Pacific that was in service when the stand-alone Canadian passenger rail line was conceived, the book follows the development of both the material and political aspects of the company.  It shows how, in a relatively short time, VIA overcame many obstacles - most of which are discussed in the book under their own separate headings.

The author's research and understanding of how VIA has matured to what it is today stands out in the writing  and additional information such as graphs and tables of information regarding equipment numbers and types.  There is also an array of colour and black & white photographs throughout the book, along with its colour covers.

The 48-page Consist Companion accompanying the Compendium is similar to the author's first book: it is a listing of consists from western, corridor and eastern VIA passenger trains, and includes some pre-VIA and non-VIA trains such as those from Amtrak that ran in Canada, along with the Rocky Mountaineer - all valuable information for those interested in recent passenger operations in Canada."

"Overall, these two new books are very valuable reference guides."

Thanks to Morgan, John and Russell at CRM for reviewing my book.  As a charter subscriber to CRM, I find something interesting in every issue -  among prototype and model topics!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hi Ho CRO!

Welcome Canadian Railway Observations readers!

Recently, I worked with Will and Nathan at CRO to advertise my three books on VIA Rail on their monthly online newsletter.  To me, it's one of the the best online newsletters out there, and likely the best one on Canadian railways.  It's great to have CRO spreading the word about my books.

If you're on CRO's main page or VIA Rail page, you'll see the eye-catching banner ad, which will take you to this blog for ordering information.  Be sure to check out the blog sidebar links to find out more about my books. Email me with any questions you might have.

If you're at all interested in VIA Rail's interesting history, you won't be disappointed.

Photo on the Prairies...VIA 6420-6453 by VIA engineer Chris Diddy.  Thanks, Chris!


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Under the Trainshed

While riding VIA Rail on a Kingston-Toronto round trip this week, I found myself under the Toronto Union trainshed. Old habits and old obsessions die hard.  Notepad in hand, I scrawled locomotive and car numbers  from my train and trains on adjacent tracks. Having done this every time I'm in Toronto Union, Winnipeg Union or Gare Centrale, it's just something I do. 

What for? Why? Is anyone interested in this information? Experience has shown that the answer to that question is...yes!  Who knew that all that pencil-pushing and notepad-scrawling would fill my first book's pages? And would fuel my second and third books on VIA Rail? Sometimes there was so much to scrawl in the notepad that it populated pages willy-nilly. But those numbers mean something.  They mean history. VIA history. Don't think VIA had history?  You'd be wrong, and there are those who are interested and even rabid about it.
Whether it is the 1985 Canadian behind ex-CN FP9 6542 (top) or a CN Turbo on its inaugural run (above) it's always interesting...under the trainshed.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

George Clooney. Turbo.

This past weekend it was show time at Kingston's 24th annual Rail O Rama.  I was staffing the Trackside with VIA table.  (No sir, I do not work for VIA).  Sales of my VIA Rail books were very successful, both to dealers and interested individuals. I was able to answer questions about my books, provide some information about VIA and Kingston's rail scene, and generally talk trains all day for two days in a row!  What this humble scribe would describe as a pretty good gig!  Some interesting folks and customers stopped by:

Jakob Mueller - the reason these books happened.  Jakob was keen to learn about my early-VIA era observations for analysis.  It was great to finally meet Jakob and talk about VIA's past and future.  The word 'contributor' does not do Jakob justice.  He is an uberVIAphile.

Kevin Ingraham - Binghamton NY resident, former fireman and Ranger, and knowledgeable student and modeller of the Canadian rail scene. We agreed that Tim Hortons rules!

Tom Greenlaw - father of fellow VIA book author Christopher Greenlaw. We talked about that day in Portage la Prairie when father and under-the-weather sons photographed VIA's borrowed Amtrak Superliners.

Lesley Bernard - owner of ex-VIA E-series sleeper Equity located on Highway 7 in Actinolite. Only person I've ever met who owns a personal sleeping car, and has a cool dad named Julian.

Hughes Bonin - RMC professor and long-time Kingston rail enthusiast.  Turbo photo in Chris Greenlaw's book.

Liz Reid - Tim Reid's mom, bravely celebrating Tim's photographic and VIA-riding interests, sharing his photography with others.  Tim also had a photo featured in Chris' book.

Paul Hunter - Kingston rail enthusiast and CN modeller. Table full of beautifully-detailed and operating locomotives.

Dave Cool - from Canadian Express Line in Brighton.  Stocking and selling my VIA books and a ton of modelling products.

George Clooney and Stacy Keebler popped in looking fabulous as usual. Frankly, I just added that one to see if you were paying attention.

Many other rail enthusiasts and former railroaders in attendance, from Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and points in between. Various levels of knowledge and interest, but all welcome at the show and great to talk to. While I have no plans at present to attend other shows, the last two years at the Rail O Rama have been most enjoyable. Thanks to all for your purchases and our shared interests!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Show Time!

I'll be at the Kingston Rail O Rama next weekend, Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th.  If you're in Kingston, would like to pick up your copies of my Trackside with VIA series, or just stop by and say 'hi' and talk trains for awhile, please feel free!  I'll also have a few items of memorabilia and books for sale.
The Ambassador Hotel hosts the show and provides an ideal venue - large, carpeted ballroom, onsite restaurant, lodging and ample parking, and location, location, location...just a short distance from Kingston's VIA station.  Just to the left of the train shown above back in 1991! See you at the show!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rock. Paper. VIA.

Actually, scissors.  That's what I used to 'cut and paste' this article published in last Thursday's Kingston This Week. Katrina Geenevasen's writing added human interest, while Rob Mooy's photo puts me in one of my favourite places - trackside at Kingston's VIA station.  The paper has been doing a series on local authors and their books, and it was nice to be included in some great, and very creative company.

The article concludes with a nice tie-in to the Kingston Rail-O-Rama at the Ambassador Convention Centre and Resort on Princess Street on March 16 & 17, just a stone's mega-throw away from the station.  I'll be hosting a table there, with all three of my books available, my pen fired up for inscribing, and some other goodies for sale.

Hope to see you there,

Sunday, February 17, 2013

VIA + Bus = Book

I had a visitor from the east yesterday.  'X-CN Ken' Wadden,  former CN, VIA and AMT employee who wanted copies of my two recent VIA books. Ken is shown above on his second-last run in 2009.  We emailed back and forth, and from the discussion, I gathered that he rode VIA...a lot. I offered to deliver his copies to his train at Kingston's VIA station.  He said it was okay, he'd drop by my house.    He was looking forward to an adventure, having checked out Kingston Transit's online schedules.  Ken, you are The Intrepid Traveler!
Ken arrived on Saturday morning, we had a short chat and he picked up his books.  Gotta go - bus to catch! (While Kingston Transit is no longer operating GMC fishbowls, 7975 is shown at the PUC car barns on Counter Street, with Permanent Concrete in the background).  Both return-trip bus drivers were well-versed on the railway scene, and were also avid VIA riders.

Ken's suggestion, and I think it's a despicably daunting though tempting one, is based on his perusal of my books on the trip back to La Belle Province aboard VIA Nos 54/56.  Running 25 minutes late, that gave Ken some extra reading time, and he's suggesting a VIA Learning Centre in my basement, in an ex-Reading Crusader lounge car mockup no less.

Having clearly enjoyed his trip, this was yet another unusual and interesting method of delivery to a customer.  It's just another thing that makes the creation of these books so much fun. Merci bien et amusez-vous bien avec vos livres sur les trains, Ken!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to Write YOUR Book

All along, an important part of creating these books on VIA Rail has been to encourage you to write YOUR book.  Though most people I tell this to will immediately roll their eyes or shuffle their feet, it's completely within the realm of possibility.  If I can do it, YOU can do it too.  I'm writing this post as a suggested course of action, as inspiration, not as a how-to.  Having read several books on the topic of writing a book, I distilled some of their contents useful to my projects. (Top photo - VIA hogger Terry Brennan receives his VIA Rail book at Kingston's VIA station)

Headings are followed by bulleted points - these are things to consider.
Numbered points are steps I took in creating my books on VIA Rail.

  • Reflect on what your book will be.
  • Do an environmental scan.  Has this been done before?
  • If so, take a different approach
  • Are you actually going to finish this?
  • If so, decide on an approximate timeline
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Write for them, remembering you want readers to be able to read and understand your book
  • Don't be self-indulgent, but write for yourself, too.
  • Three C's: Commitment, continuity, confidence!
Define your scope:
1. What will you include, what will you not include?
2. What timeframe will you cover?
3. What is a comfortable balance of text and photos?
4. How many pages, what format will your book be?

Define your approach:
1. Lone-wolf or team approach?
2. If team approach, make contact with contributors
3. Always keep contributors informed of progress
4. Remember - you need them more than they need you
5. So, treat contributors responsibly and with care.
6. Don't be surprised if you need to modify your approach as the project evolves.

  • Do a little bit every day.  I repeat, every day!  If you do this, you will ensure completion
  • Write what you know, then expand on it as you learn more.
  • Constantly envision the finished product.
What worked for me:
1. Create feedstock file keeping your scope in mind: newsletters, magazines, online material
2. Use Post-it's or flags to mark pages.
3. Transcribe information in chronological information into notebooks
4. Include original source and that transcription is correct before moving on.
5. Organize information to find headings
6. Shake it out, filter it through
7. Broad headings: programs, locomotives, cars, disposition, operations
8. Organize information again - photocopy notebooks, cut and tape under headings
9. Write text under headings - sleep on it then reread/revise.
10. Print off drafts, keep in binder as mockup of book.

  • Select to support text
  • Match to headings for readability, unity, logical order
  • Avoid duplication, include as much variety as possible
(Photo above - Amtrak Superliner consist at Portage la Prairie, by contributor Brian Schuff)

  • Start a to-do list, what is still missing, what needs to be done?
  • Develop need-to-do's on Post-it notes
  • Feedstock file should be shrinking rapidly
1. Fact-check and triangulate facts as many times as possible.
2. Consult experts for specific critical information
3. Proofread and proofread again!
4. Send critical information to peer reviewers for typos, correctness of content, readability.
5. Submit to printer for proof copy.
6. Check proof copy. This may be the moment of greatest excitement you've envisioned.
7. Go to print.

At that point, it's time for the Highball! (Above photo - first printing of my Cross-Canada Compendium are delivered by Bryan Babcock...right to my door)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

85 Uses in 85 Days

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)]

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Little Photo...

In August  2011, CN Winnipeg engineer Mark Perry sent me the above photo by email. Being aware of my main blog Trackside Treasure and my interest in Manitoba railroading, Mark probably knew I'd like the photo.  It shows ex-CP 1413-1898 leading the Canadian - 11 ex-CN and ex-CP cars through Elie, Manitoba in November, 1980.  Taken by Lawrence Stuckey, Brian Schuff also of Winnipeg had added this print to his photo collection.  But Mark probably could not have predicted where the photo would lead. The following email exchange ensued:

Subject: Interesting #1 at Elie MB in the late 70's/early 80's
From the Brian Schuff collection, check out the units, an F and a E running elephant style!

That is one awesome photo, Mark.  Thanks for sharing.  Do you have an email contact for Brian, by any chance?

Brian is a dinosaur and does not have a computer, he either phones or snail mails it.....

Sounds like Brian's purchase of my VIA book, plus a conversation between you two ended up with Brian calling me tonight.  We had a great chat, and it sounds as if we were both photographing the same stuff 'back in the day'.  It also sounds as if Brian has a goal to get on the internet, and I joined you and the others who are encouraging him to try Yahoo, email, or whatever helps him connect with people like us who share his interests.  
[who's just been talking to someone who knows exactly what the significance of '8558' is]

Brian became one of my valued contributors, sharing many of his photos and those from his collection with me for my book project.  In fact, today I just finished scanning a few remaining prints for my collection, and will be dropping them in tomorrow's mail.  Another recent development involves Brian (described by his contemporary Mark as a dinosaur because he wasn't online at the time) joining us keyboard-enslaved hordes by getting online...soon.

You'll hear about it on Trackside Treasure when it happens, but be prepared to see lots of VIA material previously largely unseen.

But this initial photo launched a shipload of VIA-era photographs that added much to my second and third books.  Never underestimate the influence you can have on someone else, even through one seemingly insignificant email.