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The Bloggery.

October 15, 2015

Product Review: Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette DVD Archive.

By: Andrew Brandon

The Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette recently released their entire series of publications from 1975 to 2014 in a DVD set. This set also includes the complete run of Finelines (1964 – 1975) and Slim Gauge News (1970 – 1974). This adds up to: 239 GAZETTE issues, 57 FINELINES issues, 18 SLIM GAUGE NEWS issues, a total of 25,220 pages; with 1,828 plans and scale drawings.

Gazette DVD Packaging
Collection Packaging

The discs are professionally packaged (we would expect nothing less from the Gazette!), installation instructions and other helpful information included on the pamphlet inside. These discs work on Windows and Mac operating systems and require installation. The viewing application is created in Adobe Air and quickly installed. The user interface of the viewer is tastefully designed and includes several handy sorting features. You can switch between thumbnail and list view, sort by date and filter by publication.

Viewing an issue is as easy as double clicking the cover from the application. You are presented with high resolution scans of every page (front and back covers included). These issues are complete, right down to the advertisements vintage advertisements. Early issues (from 1964 – 2003) are presented as page scans with searchable text. Later issues are conversions of the source files used in publishing and contain embedded fonts which are visually much sharper than the scans. At the bottom of the user interface is a collapsible menu that displays a thumbnail of each page. Additional tools like bookmarking, indexes and the ability to search by title, author and keywords make finding information easy.

User Interface
The User Interface

The application includes a couple options of note including the ability to disable the page flip animation and to fully install the files to your system (removing the need to take the DVDs off the shelf). I have made full use of this local storage option and now keep the entire set on my laptop for reference when I travel (this requires about 14GB of space). Printing articles and drawings is possible from the scans. The instruction/insert that comes with the provides tips on scaling the print output to match your preferred scale. You can even open issues directly with Acrobat Reader and they should be usable on your handheld devices (I have not tested this yet). My only complaint about the interface is the apparent lack of a true full screen mode. This can be easily remedied by opening each issue through Acrobat (or your preferred PDF viewer) directly.

As an avid collector of Gazette issues I am quite pleased with the quality of these digital editions. Having them on DVD has reduced the physical storage required to keep these as a reference. Except for a few issues, I’ve lightened my collection since this arrived. The ability to quickly browse and search through the entire run has made it an invaluable tool. I highly recommend this collection to the hobbyist and/or researcher as an essential research tool.

Price: $139.99
Available from Hayden Publishing

May 13, 2015

“Glenbrook” Steam Up Celebration

By: Andrew Brandon

Glenbrook Steam Up

On May 23rd the Nevada State Railroad Museum will be hosting a special event showcasing the first public steam even featuring Carson & Tahoe Lumber & Fluming #1 “Glenbrook”. Restoration of the “Glenbrook” back to an as-delivered 1875 appearance was a project spanning several decades involving careful research and hard work by NSRM volunteers. To celebrate the museum will have Virginia & Truckee Railroad #22 “Inyo” (Baldwin 1875), and #25 (Baldwin 1905) under steam and will be offering train rides throughout the day.

Members of the PacificNG team will be on hand to document the event and we will be posting photographs of the event here on the blog and forum. However we encourage you to come join us at the celebration May 23rd. Where else can you see two beautifully restored Baldwin locomotives from the 1870s under steam?

March 30, 2015

PacificNG in Washington D.C.

By: Andrew Brandon

Randy and I are over in Washington D.C. this week in search of information at the National Archives, Smithsonian and the Post Office archives. Among the items we’ve seen are countless trade catalogs relating to locomotives, industrial railroad equipment and details down to car springs. It will take some time to process this material, for now enjoy this sheet of postal rules for narrow gauge RPO cars.

Postal Mail Rules For Narrow Gauge RPO Cars

From the Smithsonian National Postal Museum library.

November 19, 2014

Oahu’s Narrow-Gauge Navy Rail, a book review

By: Randy Hees

I recently received a copy of a new book, Oahu’s Narrow-Gauge Navy Rail, authored by Jeff Livingston. This is one of the Arcadia Publishing “Images or Rail” books. Like other Arcadia books it is primarily a book of photographs. Unlike many other Arcadia books this is a very well researched and written work.

Jeff has divided the work into four chapters: Building a Shipyard; 1908-1920, Expansion; 1921-1940, World War II; 1941-1945, and The Postwar Period and the End; 1946-1970.

The work includes the construction and operation of the railroad system at the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor, as well as the associated shipyard and dry docks, coaling station, submarine base, as well as munitions facilities at Kuahua Island, West Loch and Laullualei. With the abandonment of the Oahu Railroad and Land Companies mainline in 1947, the Navy assumed ownership and operation of the line between Pearl Harbor, West Loch and Laulllualei, eventually reduced to just the 12 miles between West Loch and Laullualei. The Navy suspended railroad operations in 1972, with much of the remaining track, and some rolling stock being transferred to the Hawaiian Railroad Society, who continue to operate a museum and train ride in part using historic US Navy equipment from Ewa today.

Of particular interest is the significant if strange mix of rolling stock purchased by the Navy during the war. Cars from East Broad Top, The Pacific Coast, Nevada County Narrow Gauge, Colorado Southern ( via the RGS) and D&RGW all found their way to Hawaii.

Jeff Livingston, Oahu’s Narrow-Gauge Navy Rail, (Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina, 2014) ISBN987-1-4671-3197-1

Jeff is a retired Naval Officer, and the Historian for the Hawaiian Railroad Society where is the author of many of the Historian’s Pages, and the author of the pages on the Pearl Harbor’s railroads, Oahu Railroad & Land Company and the Koolau Railway on this site.