Mon Jan 6th, 2014 at 05:17:31 PM EST
It's been a while since I posted anything, here is a quick link to the most recent summary of books I read. As before, (+) indicates a particularly good or (-) not so much book.
There may be some train blogging, of the model variety, in the future.
Mon Oct 22nd, 2012 at 01:13:26 AM EST
A quick look at some recent developments in Passenger Rail.
Sun Jul 1st, 2012 at 05:02:48 PM EST
The Fifty Book Challenge is still going strong, and a number of the new members are well past their annual targets already. There's still a possibility of making the half century by year's end. The links at the dates point to the reviews posted at the Challenge. Some books are particularly good (+) and others, particularly bad (-).
Sat Apr 14th, 2012 at 09:31:55 PM EST
The Fifty Book Challenge has welcomed a goodly number of new members, and some of them have been ambitious at getting their fifty books for 2012 read in the first quarter. I continue to play along, and there's a realistic hope of fifty by the end of the year, but if not, well, that's a mountain I've already climbed. Herewith the first quarter summary, with links to detailed reports at the Challenge. Some books are particularly good (+), others particularly bad (-).
Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 10:43:25 PM EST
The Fifty Book Challenge, which started as a temporary community, has continued in operation and Live Journal highlighted it for 2011. An encouraging cohort of new members has begun posting.
(Note to European Tribune members: the Fifty Book Challenge is a Live Journal community. It is not a book club, where the members agree on the fifty books to read, and the Challenge is for fun rather than for bragging rights.)
Sun Nov 27th, 2011 at 11:06:56 PM EST
The Amtrak timetable that took effect November 14, 1971, was the first effort by the carrier to put its own image into place. There were two earlier timetables, a very rare May 1, 1971 edition, and a somewhat more readily obtained July 15 version. Both were produced by the National Railway Publishing Company, producer of The Official Guide of the Railways, and they had that Official Guide look to them. Many of the contracting railroads published timetables for their services. In the case of Seaboard Coast Line, only a disclaimer "Operated for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation" recognized that there was a new operator of the trains.
That November 14 timetable began with the "Northeast Quick Reference Schedules" in a read-across format typical of airline schedules of the era. Then came the "National Quick Reference Schedules" in the airline format, with the city where a change of train took place. At the time, the carrier only listed same-day connections, thus Pittsburgh to Seattle or Los Angeles to Miami were not options. (Only later did Amtrak make a virtue out of necessity and suggest that cross-country travelers take a day to explore Chicago or Kansas City or New Orleans.) The standard read down - read up timetables were still present, relegated to the rear of the timetable.
Sun Oct 9th, 2011 at 06:09:10 PM EST
Lots of opportunities to play outside during the second half of the summer, and then comes football, and some unexpected developments in the pennant races, and the Fifty Book Challenge gets crowded out. In this shortish third quarter report, the links go to the review at the Challenge.
Sun Sep 18th, 2011 at 06:58:59 PM EST
In the early days of Amtrak, the agency simply wrote checks to support passenger train operation, but otherwise it was still very much business as usual. These images, from 120-size slides, show the carrier in Chicago in late July or early August of 1971.
Thu Jul 7th, 2011 at 02:21:56 PM EST
The summer session is a good time to make some headway toward meeting the Fifty Book Challenge. In the second quarter report, the links go to the review at the Challenge. Some books are particularly good (+); others particularly bad (-).
Sun May 1st, 2011 at 10:56:30 AM EST
Amtrak began operations on Saturday, May 1, 1971, with an early promotional slogan of "Tracks Are Back." Congress created the carrier as a quasi-public, for-profit corporation to relieve the railroads of passenger service losses that had already led to the Penn Central bankruptcy.
Sun Apr 17th, 2011 at 12:43:02 AM EST
There's been little time to post lately, and griping about the workload doesn't make for interesting posting. Work does progress on the Fifty Book Challenge, with the first quarter report ready for filing.
Fri Dec 31st, 2010 at 09:53:08 PM EST
I've been participating in the Fifty Book Challenge since the beginning of 2005. That early spring arm injury set me back some, but a summer train trip gave me an opportunity to catch up on some reading, and the year-end office closure allowed time to catch up on posting the reviews. Here's the fourth quarter report for 2010. Please follow the link for the date the report was posted to read the diary entry, or book review, at Fifty Book Challenge. I evaluated some books as particularly good (+) or particularly bad (-).
Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 12:22:04 PM EST
Never mind the recession, the fiscal unsustainability of the social democracies, or rehabilitation of a broken arm. Summer is a good season to ride trains (the other good seasons are autumn, winter, and spring) which for this summer meant a swing around the western United States on Amtrak's Empire Builder, Chicago to Vancouver, Washington in late June; the Cascades Talgo and Coast Starlight, Vancouver to Sacramento; the Capitol Corridor (perhaps the best example of relatively inexpensive yet successful regional rail in North America) Sacramento to Santa Clara; and the Capitol Corridor and California Zephyr, Santa Clara to Chicago, over the Independence Day weekend.
Links to detailed, illustrated reports of sections of the journey below the fold.
Sat Jan 2nd, 2010 at 12:21:13 AM EST
In 2005, I was foolish enough to essay a compilation of all fifty books for that year's Fifty Book Challenge. That was task enough that commencing in 2006 and continuing in 2007 and 2008 I attempted to publish a quarterly progress report (the links point to the previous links for those years).
Wed Oct 7th, 2009 at 12:04:26 AM EST
The third quarter report on Fifty Book Challenge progress suggests the possibility of meeting the quota for 2009.
A comment to a previous diary entry suggested posting a diary for each book. Please follow the link for the date the report was posted to read the diary entry, or book review, on my web log.
Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 10:15:43 PM EST
Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Wed Dec 31st, 2008 at 09:19:06 PM EST
The 2008 Fifty Book Challenge is done.
The bookworm has 51 segments this year.
The details are here.
Wed Oct 8th, 2008 at 11:45:28 PM EST
The third quarter features substantial progress toward the 2008 Fifty Book Challenge. There are enough books finished or close to finished to make the goal feasible, although with a presidential campaign and a major macroeconomic event in progress, there's a challenge making the time to finish the reviews.
The first and second quarter reports are also available.
Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 11:59:48 PM EST
It's possible that the 2008 Fifty Book Challenge will reach that target.
Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 12:50:12 AM EST
The first quarter offered tornadoes in January, enough snow to cleanse the atmosphere of dust, a winter that still isn't done, and Cruel February.