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Hot Spots Guidebook: Great Places to Watch Trains Paperback – July 3, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Still, IF you can see what is in here it does give an adequate to good descriptions of where to go to see trains. It also gives you an idea of what to look for and even tips about ticks if you are crossing through wooded areas to get your views. It would have been good to also mark on the maps with colored dots some of the best places to view the action. The inclusion of the local radio frequencies for scanners is a redeeming factor.
It's a very nice try and it's useful. But the presentation is hurt by the size and presentation factors.
This book is definitely a group effort, and a list of contributors is on page 3. Randy Rehberg is the editor and Jim Wrinn wrote the introduction. Bill Metzger gets most (but not all) of map credits. The maps are the most useful illustrations in a book like this one
The photographs came from the many contributors and they serve to illustrate the location being described. Most of the photos are excellent although this reviewer noticed that some, like the one at Muncie IN, suffer from poor light.
This book will appeal to a broad audience. Obviously, a serious railfan will keep a copy within reach for ad-hoc reference. Because the guidebook lists more than 180 train watching locations, it's a safe bet that just about every reader will find something new. Kalmbach will probably also sell plenty of these books to overseas railfans planning their first trip to the United States.
At the same time, this book is an obvious gift idea for a younger railfan who is just starting out. Several introductory sections, including Fred W. Frailey's "Six ways to be a Smarter Train Watcher" and Jeff Wilson's "Basics for Photographing Trains" are excellent for introducing new people into the hobby.
The train-watching locations are arranged alphabetically by state. Individual listings differ in the amount of detail provided. Certain locations, such as Kansas City Union Station don't come with a photo or map but a quick perusal of the text tells you all you need to know. These are referred to as "condensed listings" and might get fleshed out in future editions.
Other locations have more comprehensive listings including a map, photograph, radio frequencies, description of train activity and expanded text including things for normal people to do.
A review of a typical entry is useful. On pages 168-169 is the listing for Bound Brook NJ has two maps; one showing the station-area detail and the other going out about 6 miles to illustrate the greater Bound Brook area. The photo shows a CSX westbound heading into the setting sun and I don't think it would have come out as nice on film. One can quickly read the listing and quickly figure out what to do.
This book is a handy reference, to be consulted when planning a trip to a "new" state. The reader can quickly determine locations of interest and factor in side activities for the non-railfans in the group. It will pay off on family vacations by reducing time-wasting searches.