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Thread: books question, "Jane's" etc.

  1. #1
    nr16020 Guest

    Default books question, "Jane's" etc.

    I have two questions; one about "Jane's World Railways" books and one about steam locomotive books.

    Could anyone tell me if "Jane's World Railways" books gives specs of locomotives, cars, etc.? I have not seen one yet, but was considering buying one. It is supposed to be superb regarding telling what railroad companies own what, but does the book have specs (horsepower, etc.) about individual locomotives and other equipment?

    A second question about books (or web sites)....
    I am trying to find one that has information about how a steam engine works. By this, I mean a book (or web site) that has cross-section views of the engine, boiler, firebox, and any other mechanical parts. I am looking for one that writes for an "advanced layman". That is, I don't want something that is as advanced as something for a mechanic or machinist, but something that is more advanced than a reader would get in most general steam locomotive books.

    In other words, I want to really KNOW how a steam locomotive works. When I drive the Train Simulator steam engines, I want to have a very precise idea of how the real ones work.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Columbus, Ohio

    Default RE: books question, "Jane's" etc.

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jun-24-02 AT 01:15AM (EDT)[/font][p]"Could anyone tell me if "Jane's World Railways" books gives specs of locomotives, cars, etc.? I have not seen one yet, but was considering buying one"

    Are you really willing to spend $600 to $1600? Anyway, more information available here:

    I believe you can find diagrams of the workings of steam engines on the web site "How Things Work."* Also you might want to look at

    Have you tries using a search engine? I know I have found many sites that detail the inner workings of locomotives.


    *Addendum: Sorry, that's "How Stuff Works" at:

  3. #3

    Default RE: books question, "Jane's" etc.

    Regarding Jane's:

    There is a fair amount of locomotive information but it is in the railway company section and therefore more concerned with giving a profile of the company's motive power than detailing the locomotives themselves. Here for example are the headings for the Alaska Railroad's table in the 2000-2001 edition:

    Wheel Arrangement
    Rated Power
    Max Speed
    Total Weight
    No in Service
    First Built (Rebuilt)
    Builders - Mechanical
    Builders - Engine
    Builders - Transmission

    Be warned that many railroads do not have any such table at all, and there is very little in the way of statistics for other types of rolling stock. If this is mainly what you're after then the books are probably not the most appropriate use of your resources.

    That said, I'm a huge fan of the books in terms of providing an international state-of-the-industry survey, and as I posted here some time ago, amazon currently has an excellent deal on the above edition: $120. You can also find old copies from the seventies and eighties on the web for under $30 if you work at it.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Carson City, Nevada, USA.

    Default RE: books question, "Jane's" etc.

    The book "Model Railroader Cyclopedia, Vol 1- Steam Locomotives" is an excellent resource on American steam for a number of reasons. It is an oversized volume measuring approximately 11"x 16". The first 25 pages are dedicated to a description of how steam operates, and an explanation of the various major parts of steam locomotives with drawings and photographs. This disertation is followed by approx 250 pages of photos and HO scale drawings of most of the steam locomotive types used in the United states making it an excellent resource for the modeler.

    Model Railroader Cyclopedia, Vol 1 - Steam Locomotives
    Edited by Linn H. Westcott
    Klambach Publishing Co.

    The book is available is soft cover from at

    (Klambach also publishes a companion volume, "Model Railroader Cyclopedia, Vol 2 - Dlesel Locomotives

    [Link Expired]

  5. #5
    nr16020 Guest

    Default RE: books question, "Jane's" etc.

    >[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jun-24-02
    >AT 01:15 AM (EDT)[/font]
    >Are you really willing to spend
    >$600 to $1600?

    Well, perhaps I am "giving it away" but...
    Does eBay ring a bell?

    >I believe you can find diagrams
    >of the workings of steam
    >engines on the web site
    >"How Things Work."*

    I tried them a couple of months ago. Actually that was the first place that I looked. They usually are very good in showing how things work, but they did very poorly with steam engines.

  6. #6
    nr16020 Guest

    Default RE: books question, "Jane's" etc.

    Thank you, lots, you guys!
    I appreciate your help.
    Everything considered, I think that the best source that I have found so far is this....
    I just located a book in the catalog "Historic Rail".
    It is titled, "How Steam Locomotives Really Work" by Semmens & Goldfinch.
    The description is this, "This book covers the design of locomotives, the many processes in the conversion of fuel to tractive effort, the dynamic characteristics of the locomotive as a vehicle, the braking equipment, and a host of other systems that make up a working locomotive. It also explains the reasons for running and maintenance practices. Finally, features that are unique to various parts of the world are also covered. 360 pages, 190 illustrations. $35"


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