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The cupola view

I like to think that I came by my love of railroads through blood. My mother’s grandfather was a conductor for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, helping to push the company’s holdings west. T.J. McGinty, an Irishman apparently from upstate New York, worked in Arizona and California, spending the 1890s-1910s at the railroad’s major West Coast switching yards in San Bernardino and Richmond.

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An event that has become a staple in the annual calendar of the non-club entity often called the Aikenback Live Steamers, the Annual Swiss Pioneer Hay Days hosted by the Amish community near New Holland, Pa., was held July 31-Aug 1, at Big Spruce Farm.

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Steam Scene

Pent-up steam demand was quite evident on Sunday, March 22, at the Finch Field House in Mount Pleasant, Mich. The Michigan Small-Scale Live Steamers had a banner turnout of 15 members – all rarin’ to go. With so many hands, track setup went fast and we were in good shape when organizers opened the doors to the public at 11 a.m.

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The cupola view

At some long-ago garage sale, I came across Trains magazine’s “The Historical Guide to North American Railroads,” a squat, thick book that listed pretty much any railroad on the continent that had shuttered since 1930.

My copy, the 1991 edition, was called the “third printing” of a 1985 first issuance and boasted that it was “updated,” with “50 new pages.” The previous owner(s) had well-thumbed this 8¼-inch by 53⁄8-inch (bound on the short side) tome; its 424 pages were discolored and dog-eared and the binding was broken in several places. I think I paid $1 for it.

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