Cool books on western shortlines

I have been enjoying some great books from an author that was new to me, Jeff Moore.  Jeff, so far, has written on western shortlines primarily in California and Oregon.


The above book caught my eye on Amazon so I thought I’d try it.  It just so happened at the same time, B. Smith, suggested that I might like Jeff’s book on lumber short lines in California.


I highly recommend both books.  Jeff hits just the right amount of history and descriptions of operations to make the reader feel a connection to each of the short lines featured. The photos are very supportive of the text and help the reader visualize each of the operations. The photos and text work well together to help me improve the accuracy of my efforts to capture western railroading in 1981.  I am beginning to incorporate some new thinking on the “college” shortline on my layout.


Image used with permission. –©Jeff Moore

Jeff includes maps for the lines discussed and photos to help you visualize the operations. Mind you, there are not mainly photographic books.  The format of the two above paperback books is about 7 by 9 inches.  However, photos are used very skillfully to reinforce the informative text.


Image used with permission. –©Jeff Moore

The thing that is a little different about these books is that you learn a little history of each of the lines and a fair amount of the traffic history, which is really great for modelers.

Jeff’s writing style is perfect to make the reading enjoyable and informative.   The photos really help, but with Jeff’s style, these are not dry historical texts.  He offers just the right amount of history, discussion of more contemporary operations, maps and images.

If you like western shortline prototype operations, I recommend both of these books. Though most of the lines have ceased operations, a few of them still operate.

Jeff has written other books on the subject.

And he has just published a larger format book entitled, the McCloud River Railroads.   The book description offers that features “385 photographs, many in color and published for the first time, and 41 maps and drawings. Maps were drawn by John R. Signor. Size 8.5 x 11, 385 photos; 41 maps & drawings.mccloud-cover-small


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