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Southern Pacific's Coast Line Pictorial

by Anthony W. Thompson and John R. Signor


CL cover

Among the most scenic and storied parts of the far-flung Southern Pacific system was the Coast Line between San Francisco and Los Angeles. First completed in 1901, it was witness to every aspect of the evolution of the SP in the twentieth century. Large cities and small towns, rich agricultural fields and rugged mountain passes, and mile upon mile of line right along the shore of the Pacific Ocean, all typify this route. It was as characteristic and distinctive a portion of the SP as existed anywhere.

In 1995, a book about the Coast Line was published by John Signor. That work presented a broad account of history and development of the line, but inevitably much had to be omitted. The present volume enlarges and extends the story of this fascinating stretch of the SP

This volume is pictorial in nature, and nearly 600 photographs, 140 of them in color, and few ever published previously, enrich its pages. The book includes the work of many prominent photographers, but none is more eminent than Richard Steinheimer. Among the most respected American railroad photographers and particularly known for his superb images of the Southern Pacific, his 85 photographs of the Coast Line in this book form its visual heart.

This outstanding treatment is a welcome and very fitting addition to the history and lore of this part of the Southern Pacific, and indeed of the entire railroad. Anyone will value this book who is interested in the history of California and the West.

Comment by reviewer

"The book is a treasure trove. Other railroad publications seldom even come close to providing such detailed and comprehensive photo coverage of a single rail line, the territory it served, and the trains that ran there."

--Richard Hendrickson, Railroad Model Craftsman

Also available: Full reviews of this book as well as the Table of Contents of the book.


Particulars: Southern Pacific's Coast Line Pictorial, by Anthony W. Thompson and John R. Signor
List price: $65     Size: 304 pages, 8.5" x 11"; 10 maps, 582 photos, 140 in color
ISBN: 0-9633791-5-1     Publication date: October 1, 1999
Distribution: Western Star Distributors, Lompoc, CA; or direct from publisher.