A blog from Classic Trains columnist Kevin P. Keefe

Great (railroad) things under the tree

Posted one year ago by Kevin Keefe
Tony Jaroch was a railroader right out of central casting. Outwardly gruff, he had enough of a twinkle in his eye that you knew it’d be OK to talk to him, especially if you were just a high school kid with innocent questions. I got to know Tony around 1968, on long summer afternoons when I wasn’t stocking grocery-store shelves. To this day I don’t know what his job title was — superintendent? trainmaster? agent? — but he ruled the roost from a tiny office across the...

Railroad books you can curl up with

Posted one year ago by Kevin Keefe
I suppose the first impulse in picking up a railroad book is to look at the pictures. For most of us, I’m guessing, the fundamental appeal of railroading is visual, and so I frequently find myself passing the time with yet another glance through a Richard Steinheimer book or a favorite title from Morning Sun. What can be more fun than that? But some books transcend the visual. Too often, railroad writing is merely loaded with facts and figures, research and analysis. Yet there are some wr...

Forward-thinking Jim McClellan always looked back

Posted one year ago by Kevin Keefe
The encomiums that have poured from various quarters since the death of Jim McClellan are proof that we lost someone extraordinary on October 14. We’ve seen a lot of railroading’s giants pass in recent years, but I can’t recall anyone who triggered the kind of deep, emotional response accorded Jim. The basic facts of Jim’s incredible life are impressive enough. One of railroading’s great true believers, he managed to have a critical role in most of the sweeping cha...


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