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(erielack) "Trackside around the Pennsylvania Cement District" - a brief review

Hi folks,

This book, written by Mike Bednar and Ken Bealer and published by Morning Sun, arrived on my doorstep yesterday. Having seen the cover, which has a Lackawanna logo on it as well as a shot of a DL&W H16-44, I eagerly ripped it open.  I turned it to page 105, Chapter 9: "The DL&W - Erie Lackwanna" and started to leaf through it.

What was slightly disappointing is that for a railroad with a cover logo and photo, there just aren't that many photos (the section runs from page 105 to 115). The majority of the photos are from the EL era (many of the "DL&W" H16-44 shots have 1900-series EL numbers on them, too). But the stuff that IS there is pretty good, including a (small) color shot of a Lackawanna Mikado switching Nazareth Cement and a very nice full-page overview of the Bangor engine facility. The real "stunner" is the last shot in the section - a two-page spread of a Jerry Dziedzic photo of EL GP7 1246 and a string of Con Agra grain hoppers passing the Alpha Cement silos at Portland, PA.

OK, now that I've griped, I can tell you that any fan of Pennsylvania Cement should get this book. While the DL&W/EL section is small, the other sections make up for it - a lot of LV content, plus good coverage of the not-often-documented Ironton and Northampon & Bath. The L&NE section is pretty good, too (and even features Susquehanna Alcos and a caboose at Hainesburg, NJ). And there's a shot of DL&W FT 652 snuck into one of the earlier chapters on equipment simply because there's a great view of an L&NE "X-29" boxcar in black billboard paint in the same shot. There's also a Chuck Yungkurth shot of a DL&W drop-frame covered hopper in the same section and some LV cement canister gondolas. And the entire book is prefaced with a chapter on "Moving the Cement", which gives a good history of the equipment used.

The authors are truly knowledgable of operations in this area, and the text also makes this book a worthwhile purchase. Just don't expect there to be a ton of DL&W or EL stuff! It is a nice balance of all the railroads, however.

        - Paul

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