Book Review: Locomotives of Western Canada

The title of Mike Danneman’s new book, “Locomotives of Western Canada“, really caught my eye, since I live in western Canada!

I was initially disappointed when I realized that by “western” he really meant “Alberta and British Columbia”. That disappointment faded page by page as I enjoyed every gorgeous photo of trains in beautiful mountain scenes.

Despite the title containing “Locomotives”, this is not a book of roster photos of locomotives. The book shows trains rolling through mountain passes, across gorgeous reflecting lakes, and crossing mighty bridges.

If you know the area at all, either from visiting in person or by viewing others’ photos of AB and BC, you will recognize a lot of these locations. Popular and scenic locations like Morant’s Curve and Castle Mountain (CP), Brûlé Lake / Swan Landing (CN), and the CP Lethbridge viaduct are well represented.

One example photo, from Mike’s Flickr site:

VIA’s Canadian

Almost all of the photos are sunny day photos, well lit and often featuring interesting or unique consists. One small complaint I have is that a few of the early photos crop the mountain tops out of the photo; one example is at Morant’s Curve. I suspect this has to do with the format of the book, with two photos per page of a certain aspect ratio. Still, it’s a shame to not include the entire mountain.

Every photo has a detailed caption describing the location and often the locomotives themselves.

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Most of the locomotives that are featured in the book are main line locomotives, but the author made an effort to include a few smaller locomotives like GMD1s in Vancouver and Southern Railway MP15DC/SW900 locomotives. The vast majority of the photos are CN and CP trains but VIA Rail, Rocky Mountaineer and BC Rail are also represented along with SRY as mentioned above.

For such quality photos (and captions), I think the asking price is quite reasonable for a book like this. It’s a soft cover book in a smaller format than a Morning Sun style book, but that doesn’t detract from enjoying the photos at all.

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You can view some of Mike’s photos on his Flickr page.

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