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Southern Pacific's Shasta Division

Over a Century of Railroading in the Shadow of Mt. Shasta

by John R. Signor


Shasta jacket

Among the most scenic and also the most challenging segments of the Southern Pacific was the Shasta Division, connecting California's Central Valley to southern Oregon, both on the Siskiyou Line via Ashland and the Cascade Line via Klamath Falls, all routed through the central point of Dunsmuir. Traffic between Portland, California and the East traveled over this line.

This new book by John R. Signor, a noted SP authority, covers the construction, operations and history of this line, from its beginnings in the 19th century, to the end of the Southern Pacific in 1996. A rich trove of rare and historic photos enhances the history, while dramatic images highlight more recent operations.

Signor's previous book on this topic, entitled Rails in the Shadow of Mt. Shasta, was first published in 1982, and has long been out of print. Since that time, he has gathered substantial amounts of additional infomation and photographs, so much so, that a mere revision of the 1982 version could not have encompassed the material in hand. Accordingly, an entirely new book has been prepared, with new page layouts and a revised and expanded text, and a great many new photos. The new book is 70 pages longer, contains well over 50% more black-and-white photos (now totaling 568 photos), and 24 completely redone maps. It also features 39 color images, none of which were in the older book.

In keeping with the tradition of Signor's books, numerous maps, timetables and railroad graphics enrich and inform the text. A considerable number of photos from the files of the Southern Pacific are included, along with the work of many outstanding amateur photographers. A new jacket painting by Signor completes the new book.

Author Signor is well known for eight previous books on Western railroad subjects, and this latest effort will only add to his fine reputation. Once again, a strong contribution to the history of the SP and of the West has been accomplished. Enthusiasts of those subjects will find this a superb book.


"Signature Press has done it again... This book is a great addition to the history of the Southern Pacific...like all the Signature Press books I have seen, it is excellently printed and bound. The photo reproduction is very nice, and the new color photographs are a welcome addition to the book. I know it will find a welcome place on my bookshelves, as it likely will on any Southern Pacific fan's." (full text of review available)

-- Jeff Saxton, Model Railroad News

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


Shasta award

Winner of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association Award for "Best Western History" book for the year 2000.


Particulars: Southern Pacific's Shasta Division,by John R. Signor
Price: $65     Size: 352 pages, 8.5" x 11"; 622 photos (54 in color); 24 maps, and graphics, bibliography, index
ISBN: 1-930013-02-7     Publication date: May 1, 2000
Distribution: Western Star Distributors, Lompoc, CA; or direct from publisher.