Saturday, April 30, 2011

Book Review: North American Railroad Bridges

North American Railroad Bridges by Brian Solomon
I stumbled across the book North American Railroad Bridges in Winnipeg's Millennium Library a while ago. The author (Brian Solomon) writes about the various types of railway bridges that were built in North America in great detail. He clearly has a lot of engineering knowledge of the bridge types and communicates that knowledge in a clear, easy to read way. Numerous excellent photographs accompany the text.

I have one major criticism of this book. It is titled wrong. It should really be titled North American Railroad Bridges. There are only two photographs of railroad bridges in Canada (the Pratt bridge at Beoloeil, Quebec and the former Halifax & Southwestern Railway bridge at Martins River, NS) and no photographs of any bridges in Mexico. There is practically no discussion in the text of bridges in Canada, not even of the impressive spans in Lethbridge, AB or over the Little Salmon River in New Brunswick. Calling it "North American" is really a reach.

Don't let that stop you from reading the book. It is a "good read" and really helped me understand the history and construction of railway bridges, something I had not really understood before. Now I have a shot at telling the difference between a Pratt and a Warren truss bridge (hint: Pratt bridges have an X in the middle and Warren bridges look like a W from the side).

Buy North American Railroad Bridges.

Below, a 6-span Pennsylvania? truss bridge over the Miramichi River in New Brunswick. Photo by David Morris.
VIA 6432 at Nelson Junction, by David Morris

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