Review: The Railroad Photography of Jerry A. Pinkepank, Book 1

I was delighted to read Jerry Pinkepank’s latest book, “The Railroad Photography of Jerry A. Pinkepank, Book 1: New England & Atlantic Canada 1962-1982”.

This hardcover book is the latest of several of Jerry’s books published by Morning Sun Books. Sadly, it might be the last as Morning Sun is ceasing publication of new physical books this year.

Regardless, this book is fantastic and I highly recommend it for any fan of eastern Canadian railways or New England railroads.

I received an author’s copy of the book. Jerry reached out to a myself and a few other people for details on railway operations and geography in Atlantic Canada. He was very concerned with getting the details right and I supplied him with some track profile charts and some other information from my web site.

His research shows in the extensive captions and citations accompanying his photos and diagrams. I thought it was especially interesting that he included many sketches of track diagrams from the period when he was railfanning. It’s clear that he was a very organized railfan back then from the excellent “success ratio” of photographing every little rail operation in Atlantic Canada during his visits.

There are many excellent photos in the book. I must say that some photos are a bit grainy, and a few have blown out skies, something I think I can attribute to the camera equipment he had at the time and often challenging conditions. For example, he travelled across Newfoundland in September 1974 and photographed practically everything, clearly with less than optimal lighting conditions. I’ll take a not quite perfect photograph of operating narrow gauge trains any day, especially since you cannot retake those photographs today.

The book starts with a “behind the scenes” view of the Quebec, North Shore & Labrador railway in 1973. Jerry was working with Burlington Northern and was sent to the QNS&L to help analyze some recent derailments, so he was able to capture some unique scenes and share them with us.

In September 1974 he traveled extensively through Atlantic Canada, traveling from Montreal to Saint John on the CPR’s “Atlantic Limited”. He photographed all over Nova Scotia, visiting CN, CP, Devco, then traveling to Newfoundland to photograph CN as well as the small industrial railways there. Next was Prince Edward Island and CN, then all through New Brunswick to see CP, CN and even the Consolidated Bathurst switcher.

Part 2 covers Maine, with extensive coverage of the Bangor & Aroostook and the Maine Central in the 1960s and 1970s. So many F units!

Part 3 features several railways in New Hampshire & Vermont, including the Maine Central, Boston & Maine, Canadian Pacific, the Central Vermont and the Vermont Railway. Very colourful!

I loved this book for the Atlantic Canadian content but I also appreciated learning more about New England railroading in the 1960s and 1970s. Jerry includes many maps and brings the reader up to date with who runs on the rails today, and if the locations even have rails in the present time.

You can order this book direct from Morning Sun, from Canadian Express Line, and probably from your local hobby shop.

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