As many have no doubt noticed, new Kalmbach books from author Tony Koester come along pretty regularly. This is not an accident, as Tony is under contract to produce these books at an agreed-upon interval. But with his authorial skills and generally outstanding photo selection, they tend to be excellent books, regardless of the subject of any individual one.
The newest is about engine terminals. and it is indeed as good as we would expect. I show the cover below, identified as part of the series, “Layout Design and Planning,” and indeed, the book is packed with ideas for how to arrange the necessary facilities for model engine terminals.
A modeler may think, “I already know what engine terminal(s) I need,” and probably he or she already has a good idea of what should be included. But there are a great many details in this subject, and a book like this can help ensure that nothing essential is omitted. And of course you may get ideas for how to model particular details.
The book covers its subjects in nine chapters. from initial chapters about fuels and roundhouses, to chapters about mainline servicing, diesel houses and car barns, and what’s called “the short, the narrow and the regional,” referring of course to the facilities of smaller and financially strapped railroads. Concluding chapters describe how power was fitted to assignments, how engine servicing gives rise to model layout jobs, and finally a nice pair of examples in which prototype facilities are adopted to model use. A concluding photo gallery adds still more information.
In most books, I find at least one photo that really jumps out at me (not always for the reason intended by the author). Sometimes it’s just an image I like. But when these favorite images suggest something I can benefit by doing, or change something I already do, they are doubly valuable, In this book, one of the prototype engine terminal shots caught my eye, not for its intended meaning, but for something included in the photo (photo by Chris Guss). It’s the Lake State Railway in Saginaw, Michigan.
The reason I like this? Note the weeds growing around the edge of the turntable pit, and the scattered grass or weeds growing around the garden tracks. (You can click on the photo to enlarge it if you wish.) This looks so good, that it cries out to be modeled, and any modeler would envy the look, yet it would be very easy to do. You just have to notice this detail in the photo, and realize you could do it too. When a book gives you, not just one, but several such inspiring images, it is worth far more than its mere purchase price.
As you can tell, I have enjoyed reading, and even more being inspired by, this book. Like practically all of Tony K’s books, it’s excellent value, and I recommend it highly.