Book review: Canadian Pacific In Color Volume 2 Western Lines, by Bill Linley, Morning Sun Books, Scotch Plains, NJ, USA, 2011, 128 pp., $59.95

Morning Sun books are well known to railway enthusiasts. Their all-colour format of 200 or so photos have made them so popular that new ones appear at the rate of two per month. Among them are some good ones, some duds and a few that are truly exceptional. Bill Linley’s latest effort, “Canadian Pacific In Color Volume 2”, is among the select group of exceptional Morning Sun offerings.

Bill’s previous volume covered CPR steam and diesels in the maroon and gray as far west as the Lakehead. Volume 2 picks up there and continues to the West Coast. And what a ride it is! Nothing is overlooked as the reader travels from the elevators of Fort William to the forests of Vancouver Island. Selkirk steam locomotives share space with CLC diesels and tiger striped Budd cars. Steam fans will be delighted and diesel fans overwhelmed. Photos of freight and passenger cars, and their train consists, will intrigue modelers.

Many railway photo books on Western Canada concentrate on the mountains of British Columbia where the scenery is so spectacular that almost any shot is a good one. The Linley book gives equal coverage to all Western provinces and from the prairies come some of this reviewer’s favorite shots include a stunning pacing shot of G3g Pacific #2380 and an overhead view of Winnipeg Yard entitled “Not steamer in sight”. In the latter shot train #6 departs in 1958 behind a pair of MLW RS-10 diesels while seven other MLW products sit at the shop. The photo might well have been captioned “Not a GMD diesel in sight”. Incredible!

When the book’s coverage does reach the mountains of B.C. the photos are so unique and well chosen that the subjects frequently outshine the scenery. We see the Expo Limited in Revelstoke being pulled by three GP9’s or 2-8-0 #3734 at Brookmere switching log cars. Who would have thought that these images were waiting to be discovered in Canadian photo collections.

Each photo is accompanied by a detailed and authoritative caption that gives insight beyond the obvious. Train numbers and accurate dates are included whenever possible. Knowledge and education go hand-in-hand with the stunning colour images.

But what is most remarkable is the number of photographers who contributed to this collection. Undoubtedly, Bill Linley himself had enough material for a book but chose instead to crisscross the country finding the best from photographers both famous and less well known. Names such as Peter Cox, Bob Sandusky, Stan Smaill, Ken McCutcheon and Omer Lavallee will be familiar. Joining them are Clayton Jones, John Rushton, Keith Anderson, Ron Ritchie, Doug Phillips, Doug Wingfield and many others including this reviewer.

Bill Linley left no stone unturned in preparing this volume. Although the authors of Morning Sun books receive a small stipend for their work, in the case of “Canadian Pacific In Color Volume 2 Western Lines” Bill’s effort far exceeded the financial compensation he received from the publisher. From the exhaustive search for photographs and carefully researched captions to the touching dedication to his late wife Judy, Bill has made this book a labour of love. Thanks for the hard work, Bill. We’re all the better for it.

Ken Goslett