Bill Bryson's At Home

At Home: A Short History of Private LifeAt Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my current companion in the car on audio book. My daughter, who is 19 and a huge history buff, thought it was going to be dreadful, but Bryson’s dry wit is keeping us both entertained. So far I am not loving it as much as I did “A Walk In The Woods” or “Notes From A Small Island”, but it is still excellent.

Trolleycars: A Photographic History

Trolleycars: Streetcars, Trams and Trolleys of North America : A Photographic HistoryTrolleycars: Streetcars, Trams and Trolleys of North America : A Photographic History by Frank Sullivan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A large softcover book, this would probably still fall in the “coffee table book” category. Its main draw is the large full cover photographs of still existing trolleys throughout the US and some elsewhere in the world. The accompanying descriptions tell a bit about the cars and where they were used, but not exhaustively technical in detail. Additionally, since the photos are primarily of extant trolleys, there are many more examples that aren’t covered because they no longer exist. That being said, this is a great book to browse through for the photos and simply marvel at the varieties.
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Carstens Traction Planbook

Traction PlanbookTraction Planbook by Harold H. Carstens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Very dated by now, but since most of these lines stopped running well before the book was published, that doesn’t matter so much. At least not for the prototype information. Of course since the book was published other scales, especially N, have gained steam (no pun intended (ok, maybe a little bit intentional)). So, for prototype and overview information it is great. And that is exactly what I was looking for. For the more modern information there are tons of websites and even newsgroups. I stil wish a large, modern, comprehensive guide could be published. But I know that would be a daunting and less that profitable task.

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Traction Guidebook for Model Railroaders

Traction Guidebook for Model RailroadersTraction Guidebook for Model Railroaders by Mike Schafer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is probably the definitive reference for traction, trolley, streetcar and interurban model railroaders. And yes, I know all those terms can refer to basically the same thing! Although a bit dated now, the diagrams are worth their weight in gold for the serious modeller. And the diagrams and track plans provide some great ideas. Would love to see an expanded and updated version of this sometime. Something that included N Scale and more of the options that are available now, including DCC.

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Traction Handbook for Model Railroads

Traction Handbook for Model RailroadsTraction Handbook for Model Railroads by Paul Mallery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An excellent book on trolleys and traction. A must have for the traction modeler. My only complaint is that the explanations and illustrations can be a bit hard too follow at times. The thing that would have actually improved this is white space. The book should have been a few pages longer – just to allow for some better spacing of the illustrations with the text. But overall excellent reference, and fantastic pictures.

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