This is a group review, rather than a stand-alone book review. It reflects my particular enthusiasm, and my search for quality publications. The enthusiasm? Trains and different aspects of railroading. As for the publisher—read on.
Morning Sun Books, the brainchild of Robert Yanosey, was founded in 1986. Yanosey left a career in railroad management in order to preserve what he saw as a vanishing part of American life: trains, railroad companies past and present, along with their unique depots, equipment, and operations. With a stable full of authors and photographers, Morning Sun provides a huge collection of books, chock-full of photographs, at least 99.9% of which are in color.
Now, I am not the only person in the world who is a railfan, and many libraries house dismal collections of books about trains. Therefore, in my time at Alpha Park, I have created a quality collection of railroad books, many of them published by Morning Sun. I usually choose books that survey the Midwest and/or Illinois in particular. Thus, at APL you will find Illinois Terminal in Color, Trackside around Granger Country 1952-1955, and multiple books about the Rock Island, whose “Rockets” used to deliver passengers to downtown Peoria, or whisk them away to Chicago. And then there’s Toledo, Peoria & Western in Color, co-authored by a resident of the library district. (See book jacket, above.)
If there is a railroad that has a particular following, I branch out. Consider Trackside on the Rock Island in Oklahoma 1959-1980. Yes, it’s Oklahoma, not Illinois, but many rail fans mourned the death of the Rock Island R.R., and remain Rock Island fans. So we allow Oklahoma a spot in our collection.
Lest anyone think I buy these books only for my enjoyment, Morning Sun titles have been checked out by many local folks, and sent via interlibrary loan to rail fans in other states. In other words—they’re a hit. I hope that all railroaders/railfans will take advantage of what the library has to offer. Feel free to make suggestions for future purchases, too!