Book Review
Diesel Locomotives Guide
Guide to North American Diesel Locomotives
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Guide to North American Diesel Locomotives is a reference book from Kalmbach Publishing LTD. The book is written by prolific railway author Jeff Wilson, with content filling over 300 full format pages. As Kalmbach tells us:
    Jeff Wilson's new book, Guide to North American Diesel Locomotives, offers more than 300 pages of detailed information on diesel locomotives produced in North America from the 1930s to today. An essential guide for model railroaders and train enthusiasts, this comprehensive reference book includes:

    All-time rosters for more than 100 major railroads in the U.S. and Canada through the 1970s.
    Spotting features on all major locomotive types produced.
    Characteristics and operation of diesel locomotives.
    New and updated material (text, charts and, photos).
    400 color/black&white photos
    And much more!

    Guide to North American Diesel Locomotives is an important reference for railfans and model railroaders alike.

Modelers and historians of the diesel era should find this book an excellent resource. It is a great companion to the Kalmbach book Guide to North American Steam Locomotives, Revised Edition, linked below.

Guide to North American Diesel Locomotives consists of 13 chapters and subsections:
    1. Diesel locomotive history
    2. How diesel locomotives work
    3. Details and options
    4. Locomotive types
    5. EMD diesels
    6. General Electric diesels
    7. Alco diesels
    8. Baldwin and Lima diesels
    9. Fairbanks-Morse diesels
    10. Rebuilds, slugs, and hydraulics
    Appendix: List of railroad abbreviations

Mr. Wilson's book is well organized and easy to follow. He describes the content thusly:
    This book offers a summary of standard-gauge, heavy-duty diesel-electric models built by major manufacturers for use in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Builders covered include EMD, GE, Alco, Baldwin, Fairbanks-Morse, and Lima, along with their Canadian subsidiaries. It does not include small industrial switchers, electric locomotives, locomotives built for export, turbine locomotives, or experimental locomotives (or some locomotives where only a few were built).

    Chapters 5 through 9 provide a model-by-model listing for each manufacturer, with basic spotting and identification features and information for each type.

    Summaries for each locomotive type list the major buyers for each model. If space allows, all initial buyers are included; some include as-delivered road numbers (secondary owners are not included). Tables in each of these chapters provide the total number built for each locomotive type, timelines of the period each was built (black lines), with an estimation of the years they remained in service (shaded gray lines). Use these as general guides, as with the thousands of locomotives built (and later rebuilt) it's impossible to verify the exact dates that all samples of a certain model are out of service.

    Chapter 11 includes diesel rosters for more than 120 individual railroads, including road numbers (and changes) and dates built...

He further explains that even railways that no longer exist are mentioned next to summaries of current Class-1 railroads.

Each locomotive type receives a concise review of its history and technical abilities. Details and options is an especially interesting chapter for modelers. It identifies horns, whistles, headlights; cabs, noses, and roof features; fuel and lubricant components; all of those hoses and connectors on the pilots; the pilots; access panels and ducting.

Those who are new to the subject are occasionally confused by he lingo. Locomotive types defines what makes a cab unit different from a switcher or hood unit, etc.

Each chapter about a specific locomotive builder presents each individual type of loco in its own call-out box. A photo is included and narrated with a brief description, followed by differences, internal and external. An extremely useful and informative format.

Rosters presents an individual railroad's stable of diesels with some or all of these:
    Reporting Marks
    Road numbers (original, renumberings)
    Quantity purchased
    Dates built

Again, very useful.

That content is supported by and excellent gallery of graphics.

Photographs, Tables, Graphics
Kalmbach has one of the - if not THE - largest collection of railroad photography. Kalmbach is very generous with their images to support the text. I did not find a single loco listed that does not have a good, clear quality photo to support the text. Many of the photos are in color.

As mentioned previously, each locomotive is showcased in a call out box listing a brief history and spotting features.

This book also features tables for each type of locomotive, numbers built, years built, and a shaded extension estimating the numbers and time frame they served. These tables are very useful.

Guide to North American Diesel Locomotives is another excellent reference book from Kalmbach. Who can benefit by having this in their library? Model railroaders looking to create a most authentic model railroad will find this book valuable as a reference to select the most appropriate models for an era and railroad. They can also learn a lot for super-detailing. Artists can use if for the same purpose as modelers although for 2D creations. Historians can use the content for research.

The content is excellent with a concise yet detailed text supported by hundreds of photographs and graphics.

I did not find any typos or errors in the narrative. There is nothing meaningful to complain about.

Modelers, artists and historians of the diesel era should find this book an excellent resource. Highly recommended.

Please remember to mention to Kalmbach and retailers that you saw this book here - on RailRoad Modeling.
Highs: Concise yet detailed text supported by hundreds of photographs and graphics.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: Modelers, artists and historians of the diesel era should find this book an excellent resource. Highly recommended.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 01303
  Related Link: Guide to North American Steam Locomotives, Revised
  PUBLISHED: Mar 11, 2018
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Kalmbach Publishing Co.!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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