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The Next Stop is Rangeley is a new in-depth historical perspective of the Phillips & Rangeley, Madrid and Eustis railroads. Many new sources on these three Maine narrow gauge railroads are used for the first time. Go to, where you can browse selected pages, take a P&R quiz, and see for yourself how this differs from anything else published over the last 30 years.


NEW PRODUCT NEWS AND REVIEWS BY OUR STAFF Book Reviews railroadbooksbizinch_railroadbooksbizinch.qxd 6/10/2014 1:00 PM

Making Connections — History of The Iron- ton Railroad by Richard Metro Bach; Outer Station Project/Rails-N-Shafts, 1335 Railroad Road, Dauberville PA 19533; 610-780-4640;; 248 pages, hard- bound, heavily illustrated with color and black & white photos; $64.95 with free shipping (USA). Most of the locals in my area only know the former Ironton Railroad as it stands in its current permu- tation — that being the heavily used Ironton biking and hiking trail. How few of them know just how vitally im- portant this railroad line was back in its International Service.

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heyday and what an entertaining history lies just below the surface. The Ironton was incorporated in March

1859, designed to run from the iron mines in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania (think “just north of Allentown”) to interchanges with both the Lehigh Valley and the Catasauqua & Fo- gelsville Railroad (a Reading precursor). Iron mining in this part of the country, you

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Grand Trunk Heritage


Journey with the legendary photographer Phil Hastings as he takes us trackside in New England to witness steam’s last holdout on the old Grand Trunk. Though steam had vanished from the rest of the Canadian National system, Hastings captured the end of an era in brilliant black and white photography.


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say? Yes indeed — some of the richest veins were right here in northeast Pennsylvania and the first furnaces were built in 1840 at Catasauqua. In fact, until the Panic of 1873, most of America’s ore came from the Ironton’s local area. Hard to believe, but even today the area is full of mine bores, mine shafts, and roads like “Minesite Road”. The Ironton soon had all the business it

could handle and went from being a scrap- py little startup to quite the big player in the local ore business. The next two decades were very busy and very profitable indeed. The Panic of 1873 turned everything on its head, and the next three decades saw the once-booming line go bust. Lightning did strike twice for the Ironton,

though. The up-and-coming cement industry helped revive the area at the turn of the cen- tury. Soon it became known as the “Cement Region” and rightfully so. Cement served to keep the Ironton busy for the next seven decades before the bottom fell out. Alas, the Ironton lasted just long enough to be merged into Conrail, and saw its last train in 1984. In reading this book, I found it hard to be-

lieve just how busy this railroad was back in the day. I’ve been living in the area for the past 15 years and have studied the area’s rail- roads for over 40 years, and yet I learned so much new information here. The author has a style that made me feel like I was learning about a parallel universe or something, one where ten miles of railroad track carried over a million tons of freight and crews worked three shifts, seven days a week. Now there’s nothing left at all, and my mind struggles to reconcile what was with what is. For example, in 1905 alone the Ironton

hauled 35,000 carloads. To go from 35,000 to zero in less than 80 years is quite a sto- ry to tell, and this book fills a major gap in understanding how railroads played such an important role in helping to develop a young America’s heavy industry.

Our book starts with the early history of

the iron industry, then takes us through the need for the railway to be built (ore wagons were busting up the boards on the wooden plank roads left, right, and center!). We are privy to the captains of local industry and their stumping up support for the line, the stocks being issued, and who was elected to serve on the board. Now this could be very dry reading, but it’s written in a “you are there” style that I found most enjoyable. We’re right there as the local ore industry

grew and the Ironton came to play such a vi- tal role. Year after year traffic grew, and the good times seemed like they’ll last forever. Alas, the Panic of 1873 came along and the

Ironton had to reinvent itself or die a hard death. Thankfully, the first shipment of Port- land cement in 1884 proved to be its savior. Our author takes us right through the rise of cement traffic and provides a really useful cadre of maps and photos that helps us place the railroad in context with the industries it served. The years went by and the Ironton contin-

ued to make money for its owners, albeit less and less as time went on. We are again “right there” as the long slow fade into the sunset happens, and the Ironton and the industries it formerly served start to disappear. The book ends with the railroad taking ev-

ery step it could to tie a knot and hang on, but to no avail. Merged into Conrail along with several other struggling railroads, the Iron- ton played out it’s last few years as nothing more than a weed-grown branch serving a few final shippers a week. By 1984 the line had seen its last train and

the rails came up in 1990. If it weren’t for the enormous popularity of the Ironton rail trail that followed, most people wouldn’t know anything about the Ironton and the indus- tries it served. I found this to be a very enjoyable and en- tertaining read and I’m willing to believe you will too. Between the sheer amount of traffic the Ironton carried, how well the author puts the railroad in context with the industries it served, and the plethora of maps and photo- graphs, this book is a sure winner. — FRANK GARON

New Haven Color Pictorial Volume 3: The East End by David W. Sweetland; Four Ways West Publications, 14618 Valley View Avenue, La Mirada CA 90638-4351; 714/521-4259;; 128 pages, hard- bound, heavily illustrated with color photos; $59.95 plus $7.00 shipping (USA). As big of a fan as I am of Morning Sun Books and their comprehensive li- brary of all-color railroad books, I do have to tell you that they are not the only publisher of these 128 page hardcover all-color extravaganzas that many of us have come to know and

love over the years. Four Ways West is another publisher I’d

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