Latest McKay Book a Nice Trip Back in Time

The most recent installment in the Morning Sun Books Trackside series featuring the photography of the late Dave McKay is devoted to western Ohio. That’s true only if you take a map of Ohio and divide it into equal eastern and western halves.

McKay western Ohio cover copyMany of the images in Trackside Around Western Ohio 1965-1995 with Dave McKay were captured in Marion, which many in the Buckeye State would consider to be in central, not western Ohio. Likewise, many would not consider Mansfield, Crestline, Galion, Columbus or New London to be in western Ohio, either. Yet photographs taken in those places show up throughout this book.

Be that as it may, author Stephen M. Timko has done an admirable job of assembling images from McKay’s collection to show railroading in the western half of Ohio in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which is the dominant time frame covered in this work. All of the images are sharp, properly exposed and interesting to ponder. You can’t say that about every Morning Sun book. This book does well in reflecting the type of photographer that Dave was. And he was pretty good.

The book presents a nice range of images of fallen flags Erie Lackawanna, Penn Central, New York Central, Pennsylvania, Baltimore & Ohio and Chesapeake & Ohio. Modern day carriers CSX and Norfolk Southern get their due along with the late, great Conrail. There are images of such short line and regional carriers as the Ann Arbor, Detroit & Toledo Shore Line, and Toledo Terminal Railroad. The majority of the photographs, though, feature class 1 railroads.

If you like cab units, you will want to pick up this book. Dave photographed a generous array of such locomotives in the 1960s on freight and passenger trains. There are plenty of first- and second-generation diesels on display as well.

Beyond rolling stock, the book pays some tribute to stations and towers that are no more. In particular, the book shows how much the landscape has changed at Marion. Preservationists in that city, where four mainlines once intersected, have saved the union passenger station and AC tower, but much of what was once there is now gone.

This is the fourth Trackside title issued by Morning Sun that features the photography of McKay, who died in December 2004, and the third authored by Timko. The first title focused on the Cleveland region with the text and captions written by McKay himself. Timko wrote the second title, which examined Youngstown, and the third book, which had eastern Ohio as its focus.

This book follows the standard Morning Sun slide show in a book format. The text is minimal other than the captions. Timko makes the best of it to provide an overview of what railroads operated in the region, what traffic they carried and where their tracks ran. He does well in identifying locomotive models and giving a bit of history about select noteworthy units.

McKay, who served as president of the Akron Railroad Club for 12 years, was a prolific photographer and Morning Sun likely will issue additional Trackside books featuring his photographs. For those who knew Dave, reading this book is akin to spending a pleasant evening in his living room looking at slides from his vast collection. For others, it will be a journey back to an era of railroading that no longer exists. Oh, what some might give to be able to go back to those days. You can’t do that, but this book can take you there.

Trackside Around Western Ohio 1965-1995 With Dave McKay is available from book dealers and on line at the Morning Sun Web site at The cover price is $59.95.

Reviewed by Craig Sanders

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One Response to “Latest McKay Book a Nice Trip Back in Time”

  1. Steve Kelleher Says:

    The Historical Society is restoring the Erie Depot in Barberton. You should email us at and make a day trip out of visiting Barberton to see the Depot and have some good chicken dinners.

    Steve Kelleher
    President Barberton Historical Society

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