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Magazine Review: “The Railroad Press” Spring 2008

May 3, 2008

As a first-time subscriber to “The Railroad Press” (TRP for short) I was very impressed. Having some degree of bias from being an off-and-on subscriber to TRAINS since I was 5, and actually accidentally meeting Jim Wrinn (Head of TRAINS) informally by hearing a steam locomotive whistle at an odd time of day and running down to the tracks to see what was going on, and ended up meeting him, and his family. However, that story is for another time though.

OVERVIEW:

TRP is the Railfanning Magazine of Railfanning Magazines. It has an attractive layout, full color throughout, unless the photo was purposely taken in black and white, and THE BEST CAPTIONS I’ve ever read in any magazine. It usually describes EXACTLY where the photo was taken, anything unusual in 3 block radius of the photograph, the locomotive type, any remarkable rolling stock, the camera settings, and almost what the engineer in the cab had for breakfast. The Writing is technical when necessary, personable, well-written, verbose on occasion, but in a positive way. Good editing keeps typos from occurring. A healthy mix of personal expirence, concise historical pieces, and solid phototographic advice really make this an excellent periodical. The only drawback is that this is a QUARTERLY magazine.

For you technical buffs, the paper is beautiful, slick photo paper. The Captions are written in BOLD Helvetica  and the “meat” of the article is written in what looks like TImes new roman, or a similar serif typeface for easy reading. The photos are CLEAR! The ppi of the photographs is well above most magazines I’ve come across.  

 

My, not-so-clear photograph of the Spring 2008 cover:

As a first time subscriber, I was please to find all sorts of goodies inside, also very well done. A couple of post cards inside were certianly a nice touch!

 

 

Notice the Full-Page color photo of an SP auto train heading over Emigrant Gap. (Even the inside cover photo shown here, along with the top and bottom cover photos have an entire PARAGRAPH of description.)

Article Review:

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TOP ARTICLEs

Northeast Corridor:

Wow! How about a cover story that is 30 that’s right THIRTY pages long! Excellent photos, some very exceptional photography. Great information, it completely filled me in on how the NE corridor was run since the early 1980’s, from the End of the E44’s and GG1’s to the Acela. Alot of information about specific areas, and interesting tidbits of information fill out the rest of the article.

Tugs, Carfloats, and Ferries (From Detroit to Winsor.)

Very interesting subject about something I personally hadn’t seen before or known about. Very good  historical vignette fom the 1970’s-1990. Kind of dry writing, but the stunning photos and technical information gathered from the author more than made up for it.

Reading & Northern’s Cinder Block (An Ex-SP SD45 finds a new home)

A personable article about the flash-in-the-pan life of an old 20 cylinder SD45 that found a new home, crew, and paint job before, four yea later dying of a turbo failure and scrapped for parts. Friendly employee- style article, it was written almost as if the author and I were talking face to face at a diner in Pennsylvania. 

Demonstrating the ALCO DL-640 (the pitifully unsucessful RS-27) 

A GREAT article, written my favorite “Veteran Hogger” style of writing, like the TRAINS articles about the crews on the N&W on the end of steam, that kind of article. Detailed, but not pedantic, official, yet relaxed, funny, honest, and down-to-earth writing style about a subject only the author himself could write due to it being from experience.

In addition to the main articles, the little segments are amusing. they have a section called “ALCo Watch” tracking the goings on of a die-hard fleet of mostly M-420’s soldiering on on North-American railroads. I’d imagine that that the article has gotten considerably shorter in the last 20 years.

The finally. the EOT (*last page) offers a humorous photograph.

Honestly, there wasn’t a bad article in here, and I must admit, looking at the contents when I first got this magazine, I wasn’t immediately interested in any of the articles, ( wanted the Techapi Issue, but I accidentally ordered the incorrect starting issue (of Which you have a choice!) but the great photos, excellent writing and good magazine layout REALLY made me pick it up again, and read it COVER to COVER in a day, it was THAT GOOD. 🙂

If you’d like to check out TRP, go to www.alco628.com

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