Current Projects May 2021

I thought it might be time for an update on some projects I’ve been working on. This is a way for me to be accountable to myself and also to convince myself that I actually accomplished something since my last update in late November.


In late November I had every intention of writing a third book in the “Come Railfan With Me” series. I still do… but I didn’t finish writing the book. I have an outline and I’ve gathered some materials but it’s nowhere near complete.

I also intended to write a grain elevator book. I didn’t write one, but I ended up editing one! I was asked to edit this upcoming book and that took a lot of my time through year end and beyond. It was an interesting and rewarding process and I really enjoyed it. Getting paid for my work was great, too! I’ll write more about that book as it comes closer to the release date.


Probably should've shaved
Probably should’ve shaved

The excellent CN Lines magazine recently published one of my articles, on CN’s automated rail inspection portals. I was pleased that one of my photos made the cover! You can subscribe by becoming a member of the Canadian National Railways Historical Association. This was my first article in CN Lines. I believe a couple of my photos will be in an upcoming article.

I’ve submitted two articles to a major US rail magazine but they appear to have disappeared into the void. I’ll have to follow up. It’s a bit frustrating.

Other Writing

I’ve written a few more small articles for Transport Action Canada. We’re building out the Prairie site to try to increase our presence in the west. TAC has always had a strong Ontario and Quebec presence, and Transport Action Atlantic has been fantastic for many years.

Your Railway Pictures

Early this year, I assumed responsibility for maintaining Your Railway Pictures, a site built by John MacDonald more than a decade ago. John wanted someone else to take over the maintenance of the site, so I volunteered and it’s now under the umbrella of sites that I maintain.

I’ve converted some pages to WordPress but many are original HTML pages, some built in Microsoft FrontPage, I believe. It definitely has that “early web” look.

I have no intention of extending the site – and John was OK with that – but I do intend to convert the remainder to WordPress at some point. For now, it runs, and that’s OK.


In late November I was scanning grain elevator photos by Donald Hamilton. I’m sorry to say that I haven’t completed that process yet.

On the plus side, I have acquired a new-to-me Epson Perfection V600 scanner, a higher end photo / slide / negative scanner that is considerably better than the one I was using. It’s a great scanner but definitely not cheap. I watched Kijiji patiently for months before one came up for sale here in Winnipeg for a good price.

It works really well for film and slides. It’s fast – considerably faster than the previous scanner I was using – and scans at a very high resolution. You still need to clean up slides to remove dust and hair, despite their Digital ICE technology. I haven’t found it really useful so I usually don’t use it.

I’ve used it to scan the pile of slides and negatives I’ve purchased from eBay and now it’s ready to scan the remainder of the Hamilton collection!

A scanned slide – photographer unknown.

One thing I am not doing is scanning old employee timetables. I’ve had a few requests to scan entire timetables and I’ve had to decline. I’m well aware that my free time is limited and I don’t wish to spend it scanning timetables. I’m happy to scan a page or two but not 50 or 60.

So that’s what’s on my plate these days.

Just One More Thing

I encourage you to visit the VIA Historical Association, an organization dedicated to preserving the history of VIA Rail Canada. The VHA has inherited a collection of rolling stock from Rapido Trains, including EDMUNDSTON, VIA 6917, and a group of RDCs.

The VHA intends to acquire more rolling stock to represent the history of VIA Rail. More importantly, we plan to share this rolling stock in exhibitions and excursions in the next few years.

You can donate to help the cause, and subscribe to the newsletter.

4 thoughts on “Current Projects May 2021”

  1. Love the drone photo (I assume it is with a drone), of the level crossing. So often I forget to take photos of the ordinary things that make up railroading!

  2. Steve – Enjoyed your recent article in CN lines – Lent my issue to Ed Bowes and he was really surprised – Glad you have lots of train action to chase – None here in the Atlantic like it used to be – Just a bus or two – No Via trains – A few CN freights to St. John and Halifax
    and that’s about it ! – Have a great day !

    Best regards

    • Hi Richard, thanks for the kind words. Nice to hear about Ed!

      I agree there’s not a lot of train action in the Maritimes. Hopefully the Ocean will return this fall as promised.


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