Steam Days in Dunsmuir


Located deep in a canyon near the head of the Sacremento River, Dunsmuir was largely a railroad town, and the Division Point on Southern Pacific's Shasta Division on the Cascade Line - the main line between California and Oregon.

This book has Dunsmuir footplateman Dick Murdock's book 'Steam in the Canyon' at its heart, but his memoirs have been augmented by those of a number of others working out of Dunsmuir during the 1950's, mainly before the end of steam.

Given that the Shasta Division was 488 miles of up-and-down single track through deep canyons and rugged mountain territory, it was notoriously hard to work over, even with big Cab-Forwards and the larger non-articulateds.

As the track layout at Dunsmuir was long and narrow because of its location it is not really suitable for modelling, but individual items certainly are,and there a considerable number of photographs of the facilities, taken with modellers in mind.

I read this cover to cover, with considerable pleasure, both for the tales of mountain railroading in the 1950, and also the well captioned photographs, largely B&W. There must be over 450 of these.

264 page very well produced hardback

One of the young men enjoying themselves on footplates out of Dunsmuir, whose memoirs are included here, was Dan Olsen the founder of Catenary Video Productions, and these two of his films are devoted to the Shasta Route over its whole length: