Twilight of World Steam, The By Ron Ziel & Mike Eagleson Dust Jacket

Twilight of World Steam, The By Ron Ziel & Mike Eagleson Dust Jacket

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Twilight of World Steam, The By Ron Ziel & Mike Eagleson Dust Jacket
The Twilight of World Steam By Ron Ziel & Mike Eagleson Dust Jacket Copyright 1973 FIRST PRINTING  303 Pages
North American steam enthusiasts were both the luckiest and the unluckiest. The railroads of North America built and operated the largest and most awesome steam locomotives the world has ever seen, but North American railroads were also the first to succumb to the diesel locomotive. The economics of internal combustion made the quick elimination of steam a certainty and by 1960 the last fires had been dropped on the mainlines, except for occasional excursion trains.
Some railway enthusiasts found that the excitement of steam was not the only thing that had drawn them to trackside. The timeless spectacle of transportation was still interesting even with look-alike diesels at the head of every train. Some railfans even found that they could get excited about the new locomotives. Others could not; steam disappeared and they turned to other interests.
When the last smoke plume drifted skyward, many North American rail enthusiasts turned their attention overseas. Fast transport and a rising standard of living made it possible for railfanning to take on an international dimension. First it was Canada, Mexico and Central America, where steam operations lasted a few years longer than at home. Then the introduction of trans-Atlantic jet travel made Europe easily accessible and more and more Americans went to look at the graceful steamers of British Railways, their mechanically sophisticated cousins in France and the utilitarian machines of the Deutsche Bundesbahn.
But the diesels were making inroads all over the world. The intrepid steam fan attempted to stay one step ahead of the salesmen from General Motors and English Electric. The search spread to Africa, Australia, South America and Asia.
The North American steam locomotive had been exported to many parts of the world and in those countries where engines from Baldwin, American and the Montreal Locomotive Works were still running, the North American felt at home. The British, German, French and Japanese locomotive builders had also exported locomotives by the thousands, and the influences of the various schools of design had spread over the railway world like a patchwork quilt. To a North American eye, many of the foreign designs were hard to accept, but the universal excitement of steam, steel and loud stack talk came through in any language.
Often, the last steam operations in a particular country are in remote areas seldom visited by outsiders and the visiting photographer must overcome problems of transport, language, food supply, and accommodation that would have made Dr. Living stone think twice before leaving for Africa. The authors of The Twilight of World Steam have travelled to most of the fifty-five countries represented in the book to photograph trains and have drawn upon the collections of other hard-travelling photographers to fill in some of the countries which they could not visit themselves. The pictures tell the story of steam in its prime and of steam on its last legs.
Perhaps India will be the last country to operate steam; perhaps China. Just as twilight has already fallen on the steam locomotive in North America and many parts of Europe, within a few years it will most certainly fall on the rest of the world.

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