Posts Tagged ‘Railroad history books’

Grant Writes Book on Railroad Station Agents

October 20, 2022

Long-time Akron Railroad Club member H. Roger Grant has written a new book that focuses on the role of railroad station agents.

Published by Indiana University Press, the book, The Station Agent and the American Railroad Experience describes those agents as “unsung heroes of the golden age of rail.”

They worked during a time when nearly every community served by a railroad had a depot and an agent.

In his book, Grant describes the life and work of station agents and shows how as railroads changed their business practices those agents disappeared.

Grant writes that station agents were well regarded by the public and shippers alike.

“They met the public when they sold tickets, planned travel itineraries, and reported freight and express shipments,” Grant writes. “Additionally, their first-hand knowledge of Morse code made them the most informed in town. But as times changed, so did the role of, and the need for, the station agent.”

The 226-page book has 45 black and white illustrations and is set to be released in November. It will retail for $28.

Grant is the author of numerous books and articles about railroads and transportation, and is the Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professor of History at Clemson University.

W.Va. Railroads Author Dies at 95

September 21, 2022

The author of two books about West Virginia lumber railroads has died. Dr. Roy B. Clarkson, 95, died on Sept. 12.

The West Virginia native and former botanist and forest biologist at West Virginia University wrote Tumult on the Mountains, Lumbering in West Virginia – 1770-1920, and On Beyond Leatherbark: The Cass Saga.

The first of those books was published in 1964 and detailed the rise and fall of logging and lumbering operations, including the railroads that served those operations.

His second book was published in 1990 and focused the Cass region of West Virginia and its railroads.

IU Press Publishes Grant Book on Transportation

November 15, 2019

Indiana University Press has published Transportation and the American People by H. Roger Grant, a noted railroad and transportation historian.

Grant, a long-time member of the Akron Railroad Club and was once a professor of history at the University of Akron, writes in his latest book that transportation is the unsung hero in America’s story.

The book reviews various forms of transportation including stagecoaches, , waterways, canals, railways, buses, and airplanes.

Grant concludes not only did these modes of travel revolutionize the way that people got around, they also transformed the economic, political, and social aspects of everyday life.

Each of these modes has a chapter in the six-chapter hardback book.

A description of the book posted on the IU Press website said Grant’s book “tells the story of American transportation from its slow, uncomfortable, and often dangerous beginnings to the speed and comfort of travel today.

“Early advances like stagecoaches and canals allowed traders, business, and industry to expand across the nation, setting the stage for modern developments like transcontinental railways and buses that would forever reshape the continent.”

The book is said to be a compelling and thoroughly researched narrative of the social history of travel, shining a light on the role of transportation in shaping the country and on the people who helped build it.

Released on Oct. 1, the hardback book costs $40. A ebook edition is available from the publisher for $39.88.The ISBN is 978-0-253-04330-6

Grant is the Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professor of History at Clemson University.

His other books include Visionary Railroader, John W. Barriger III; Railroaders without Borders; and Railroads and the American People.

Akron Railroads is Released Today

October 31, 2016

Today is one of those landmark days in my life that I probably won’t remember, but it is important. My seventh published book, Akron Railroads, is being released today by Arcadia Publishing.

It is the second book of the same title that I’ve published with Arcadia and the identical names aside, they do not have quite the same focus.

book-coverMy first Akron Railroads, published in 2007, focused more on the overall history of railroads serving Akron, Ohio, thus having a broader focus in time. It was part of Arcadia’s Images of Rail series and featured black and white photographs.

The second Akron Railroads has a narrower focus of 1960 to present. Nearly all of the images in that book are in color.

I was able to receive an advance copy of the book about a month ago and was pleased with how it turned out. The quality of the printing is good and it has a glossy cover.

All of the photographs in this edition of Akron Railroads, were contributed by members of the Akron Railroad Club. Some of those members had contributed photographs that appeared in the first edition of Akron Railroads.

Here is the summary of the content of the second edition of Akron Railroads that I wrote that appears on the back cover:

“In the six decades preceding 1960, Akron’s network of railroads had been relatively stable. Then a series of mergers began that year, changing the face of the city’s railroad network. By the early 1970s, the industrial base-particularly the rubber industry-that had sustained the region’s economy was in decline, and the fortunes of the railroad industry fell with it.

“The self-described “rubber capital of the world” was hit hard, and the production of tires for the automotive industry all but disappeared. The 1960s also saw a precipitous decline in rail passenger service, with the last passenger trains discontinued in 1971. A restructuring of the railroad industry that began in the mid-1970s left the Akron region with three railroad companies. Some railroad lines were abandoned, while others saw the scope of their operations changed or reduced. Today’s rail network in Akron may be slimmer, but the railroads are financially healthy and continue to play a major role in meeting the region’s transportation needs.

The book retails for $22.95 and is available from

‘Akron Railroads’ to be Released on Oct. 31

September 22, 2016


A Halloween release date (Oct. 31, 2016) has been set for Akron Railroad, the book written by Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders that describes the history of the railroads of Akron between 1960 and the present.

The book is being published by Arcadia Publishing as part of its Images of Modern America series.

Nearly all of the images in the book are in color and were contributed by ARRC members.

The cover image shows a meet in Peninsula between Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 Berkshire-type locomotive No. 765 and a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train with CVSR No. 800, the Baltimore & Ohio tribute locomotive.

The book has 96 pages and 171 photographs, including the cover image and four smaller photographs on the back cover.

The book is organized by historical eras. One chapter is devoted to the CVSR.

Among the railroads portrayed in Akron Railroads are the B&O; Pennsylvania; Erie; Erie Lackawanna; Akron, Canton & Youngstown; Akron Barberton Belt; Norfolk & Western; Penn Central; Conrail; Wheeling & Lake Erie; Norfolk Southern; CSX; Amtrak; Akron Barberton Cluster Railway; and a few industrial operations in Akron.

ARRC members who contributed photographs to the book include Roger Durfee, Paul Woording, Marty Surdyk, Jim Mastromatteo, Richard Antibus, Peter Bowler, Edward Ribinskas, Robert Farkas and John Beach. Some photographs are included that were made by the late William Surdyk.

The retail price of the book is $22.95. Ordering information is available at the Arcadia website at

The book is intended to complement the book Akron Railroads that was published by Arcadia in 2007 and also written by Sanders.

The first Akron Railroads was focused on the history of the development of the railroads of Akron and the immediate surrounding areas.

All of the images in that 197-page book, which was part of Arcadia’s Images of Rail series, were printed in black and white.

There is some overlap between the two books in terms of coverage of modern railroad operations.

In choosing photographs for the second Akron Railroads title, Sanders said that he sought to portray the diversity of motive power liveries and models used by railroads between 1960 and the present. He also strove to provide a diversity of locations to show railroad operations.

The book opens with a few images from the 1950s to establish the transition between steam and diesel motive power. These include images of B&O steam locomotives made by William Surdyk.

A preview of Akron Railroads is available at the website of Google books and can be reached through the link provided below. id=O4XiDAAAQBAJ&dq=akron+railroads&source=gbs_navlinks_s

John Beach Book on the History of the Black Mountain Railway Published by Tar Heel Press

June 13, 2016

Black Mountain Railway

Tar Heel Press has published a book on the Black Mountain Railway written by Akron Railroad Club member John E. Beach.

Titled The Black Mountain Railway, the hardcover book is 200 pages and contains 250 black and white, and color photographs along with maps and locomotive rosters. It retails for $55.

Ordering information is available at:

The 25-mile Black Mountain served the forests of western North Carolina between 1910 and 1955.

It was one of three railroads that operated between Pensacola, North Carolina, and a connection with the Clinchfield Railroad at Kona, North Carolina.

Aside from the Black Mountain, the other railroads included the Yancey Railroad and the Toe River Railroad. All three are covered in detail in John’s book.

Although abandoned in 1955, the former Black River became the Yancey and provided service through 1982.

For a short time, an operator sought to provide excursion service before the last rails of the Black Mountain were picked up.

John spent 35 years researching the histories of these railroads and relied on interviews, documents and newspaper articles for his information.

He first encountered the Black River in 1952 when it ran with steam locomotives. By then, operations had been cut back to Burnsville, North Carolina.

John discovered a small operation with a down home country charm and he began collecting and making photographs of the Black Mountain and exploring the right of way. Work on writing the book, though, didn’t begin until 1982.

In about two weeks, John will be traveling to North Carolina to do book signings at a train show in Charlotte and at a model railroad club in Spruce Pine.

ARRC President Craig Sanders served as a reviewer for the manuscript.

Grant’s Latest Book Studies Henry Posner III’s Intertional International Railroad Network

November 18, 2015

H. Roger Grant recently published a look at the railroad empire of Henry Posner III.

Grant’s book, Railroaders without Borders: A History of the Railroad Development Corporation, was published on Grant coverOct. 19 by Indiana University Press.

A promotion for the book on the publisher’s website describes RDC as an investment and management company that has demonstrated that it is possible to have a conscience as well as earn a profit in today’s railroad industry.

With ventures on four continents, RDC has created a record of long-term commitments, respect for local cultures and protection of the public interest.

Grant’s study of RDC looks at its business operation and its triumphs and disappointments.

The book is 256 pages and comes with 64 black and white illustrations and nine maps.

The book can be ordered from IU Press and sells for $45. The ISBN number is 978-0-253-01798-7.

Grant is the Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professor of history at Clemson University where he has taught since 1996. He has written or edited 31 books, most of which examine railroad history.

He is a life member of the Akron Railroad Club and taught at the University of Akron between 1970 and 1996.

Author To Write About Cincinnati Car Builder

October 17, 2014

An Indiana writer has been awarded a railroad history fellowship to research a Cincinnati car builder.

William Benning Stewart of Greenwood, Ind., received $2,500 from the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society that he will use to write Queen City Carbuilder, a history of the Cincinnati Car Company.

The 250-300 page book will begin with an overview of Cincinnati’s rich social and economic history as a fertile setting for such an enterprise at the start of the 20th century.

The book will touch upon the founders who developed and operated the company from Philadelphia syndicate-affiliated traction magnates to trained engineers to skilled and unskilled laborers. It also will trace the development of each of the company’s product lines and depict them in their operating environments.

Awarded a $2,000 fellowship was Tony Reevy of Durham, N.C. He is developing a book titled The Railroad Photography of Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg.

Grant Publishes Book on LC&C Railroad

June 20, 2014

ARRC member H. Roger Grant has announced the completion of his latest book project, The Louisville, Cincinnati & Charleston Rail Road: Dreams of Linking North and South. It is available from the Indiana University Press.

Grant also has completed a book manuscript on the Railroad Development Corporation, owner of the Iowa Insterstate and involved in various foreign rail activities. This book, too, will be published by the Indiana University Press.

Finally, he is working on social history of American Interurbans, a companion work to his 2012 book, Railroads and the American People.


Sanders Publishes Book on Cleveland Railroads

February 12, 2014

Craig Sanders announced today the release of his book Cleveland Mainline Railroads, which was published by Arcadia Publishing.

The 128-page book will be released next week. It retails for $21.99 and can be ordered directly from Arcadia at

Cleveland Book CoverThe Akron Railroad Club, of which Sanders serves as president, will be ordering copies of Cleveland Mainline Railroads for sale to members and at various railroadiana shows.

The club will be selling the book at the Railfest 2014 train show at Lake Land Community College on March 15 and 16.

Sanders will also be attending a book signing at the Costco store in Avon (35804 Detroit Road) on March 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the Costco store in Strongsville on March 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cleveland Mainline Railroads provides an overview of the primary railroads that served Cleveland during much of the 20th century.

These were the New York Central, Baltimore & Ohio, Erie, Nickel Plate Road, Pennsylvania and the Wheeling & Lake Erie.

The book details when the predecessor companies of these railroads reached Cleveland and what freight and passenger markets that each railroad served.

By design, the book does not delve into switching roads and steel mill railroads, which Sanders said deserve a book of their own.

Most of the photographs came in Cleveland Mainline Railroads came from the Bruce Young collection housed in the Special Collections section of the Cleveland State University library.

The late Mr. Young collected railroad images from various sources in order to preserve a history of Cleveland area railroads.

Some images in Cleveland Mainline Railroads also came from the Wheeling & Lake Erie collection of the CSU Special Collections as well as the Cleveland Union Terminal collection. Many of the latter images were made by and/or donated by Herbert Harwood.

A few images in Cleveland Mainline Railroads were contributed by ARRC member Robert Farkas. These were taken in the 1960s and focused on the early Penn Central era when rolling stock and locomotives bearing NYC and PRR liveries was still commonplace.

The book has chapters devoted to each of the aforementioned railroads with the NYC chapter the longest due to its dominance of the Cleveland railroad scene. The second longest chapter is devoted to the Nickel Plate.

The bulk of the images in Cleveland Mainline Railroads show steam operations between the 1920s and the end of steam in the late 1950s. There are a few images that show railroad operations in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The diesel era is represented with images from the 1950s through the late 1960s, with a handful of images from the early 1970s.

Sanders said it was his intent in writing the book to focus primary on the railroad companies that existed through the 1960s. Hence, there is no chapter devoted specifically to Penn Central, which was formed by the 1968 merger of the NYC and PRR.

However, the chapters devoted to the PRR and NYC contain information and photographs about the early Penn Central era.

Likewise, the chapter on the Erie contains a focus on the Erie Lackawanna era, which began with the October 1960 merger of the Erie and Delaware, Lackawanna & Western railroads.

In researching the book, Sanders discovered some little noted railroad operations, one of which is featured on the book’s cover. That is the Euclid Railroad, which opened in 1884 and eventually became part of the Nickel Plate.

Cleveland Mainline Railroads is Sanders’ fourth book with Arcadia Publishing. His other titles include: Akron Railroads, Canton Area Railroads, and Mattoon and Charleston Area Railroads. Railroad history has been a lifelong interest of Sanders and he is a 25-year member of the National Railway Historical Society

He serves on the board of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts has been president of the Akron Railroad Club since December 2004. He is also a member of the Illinois Central Historical Society and the Illinois Central Railroad Heritage Association.