"Off The Shelf"

 CRO Book/DVD Reviews By: Michael Berry

Michael Berry is our CRO Production Assistant, and is a voracious collector of railway books.  Beginning this month, his "Off The Shelf" column will review books and DVDs that he feels are pertinent and would appeal to CRO readers. 


We invite you to contact Michael directly with questions, and with any new publications or DVD’s that would be of interest to our CRO readers for “Off the Shelf”.  Contact:  <mberry7@videotron.ca>


This Month's Feature:

“Canadian National Railways Diesel Locomotives Volume One” by Kevin J. Holland and Ken Goslett is a must have for any CN railfan and for anyone interested in learning about the history of how and when CN dieselized, going back to its first railcars and experimental diesels in the 1920s and 1930s. The second volume is expected in Spring 2013, though the release date for the first volume was pushed back by about 6-7 months, so this must be treated as an approximate date. This book is divided into six chapters and covers all diesels purchased by CN up until 1960, with the exception of most roadswitchers (i.e. SW1200RS’, GP9’s, etc.), which are covered in the upcoming second volume. Photographs are in both colour and black and white, with approximately 70% of the photos being in black and white. Most are detailed roster shots, which makes this book a great addition for those modelling CN in its early diesel phase, as well there are colour photos showing the evolution and variations of paint schemes. Some steam locomotives are seen alongside diesels. This books makes a great companion piece to the unfortunately out of print book “Canadian Pacific Diesel Locomotives” written by Murray W.  Dean and David B. Hanna and published by Railfare in 1981, which has a wealth of details on CP’s dieselization.

Among the interesting facts that one learns from this book:

  •  Pioneering CN diesel #9000 was fitted with a 1350 horsepower EMD 567A engine in 1943

  • On top of running AlCO PA’s as demonstrators, CN had also considered purchasing E8’s

  • CN had hoped MLW could build 70-ton locomotives for their PEI dieselization program. MLW said they had no space to construct them and the contract went to GE

  • CN at one point considered replacing steam engines with gas-turbine locomotives

  • CLC’s diesels were not only unreliable and more expensive to run than the competition, but in bidding they were also more expensive per unit than competing GMD and MLW cab units most of the time.

The book is extremely detailed and well annotated, with numerous footnotes ending each chapter. The renumbering and reclassing of the CN diesels treated in this book is detailed. I can say that I am eagerly anticipating the second volume.

 For future review suggestions or comments … Email me at:

  Michael Berry mberry7@ videotron .ca


“The Canadian Pacific Railway: The E&N Steam Years 1905-1949” by Robert D Turner and the late Don MacLachlan went to press on Monday July 23rd. The proofs have been corrected and the printer says it will be done by August 31, then shipped to Sono Nis Press in Winlaw BC, so it ought to start appearing in retail outlets by mid-September. It's over 300 pages, in the same format as Turner's Boundary book. Hard cover will sell for $CA 49.95 and softbound for ten dollars less.     A second book, “The Canadian Pacific Railway: The E&N Diesel Years” is hoped to follow next spring. It will be about 275 pages, pricing same as the Steam book and mostly color, where the steam book is black and white with about ten color shots.     Finally, MacLachlan's 1986 volume "The Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway: The Dunsmuir Years" is being reprinted in softcover by SonoNis, should be out about the same time as the E&N steam book, and will retail for $CA 29.95.


COMING NEXT MONTH: Michael will review George Pitarys' book "Seasons Of Trains"




CRO is pleased to welcome Craig McDowell of MCM Rail Videos our new sponsor for the CRO monthly photo contest.  Craig will Judge all the photos entered each month and he alone will choose the winning entry which will be awarded the DVD of their choice.  The second and third place winners receive CLUB CRO V.I.P. access for 6 months.       

Sponsored by: MCM Rail Videos

October 2012 Photo Contest Subject:


Please send submissions to Graig at:  iloverailroads@me.com

DISCLAIMER: Please note that CRO (Canadian Railway Observations) does not condone , or advise anyone to trespass on Railway/Private property to obtain a picture in relation to the above subject.  CRO can not be held liable for anyone trespassing or being injured because of there actions.  Any pictures that appear to have been taken, and trespassing is suspected, will automatically be rejected. 


Photo submissions must have been taken by the contestant and taken no earlier that January 1st, 2012. Include full caption information including the railway, subject, location, date, and pertinent details of interest, like your camera model and setting.  A Maximum of 3 entries per contestant. 

 Deadline for Entries:

September 26th, 2012

 Send Your Entries to:

 We invite you to send us your “Tunnel” photos with a full caption, (date, location etc) and your name, email, and mailing address.

Please send submissions to:  iloverailroads@me.com  The winner will be announced October 1st, 2012.

Prizes:  LINK TO DVD PRIZES TO CHOOSE FROM - http://mcmrailvideos.com/videos.html


©CRO September 2012