A Railfan's Memoir
Charles B. McCreary with John W. Sachse
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Charles B. McCreary attended Carthage College and then medical school at the University of Minnesota. He and his wife, also a physician, did medical work in India for five years. Returning to Minnesota Chuck worked in public health for several years, then spent seventeen years in family practice in North Minneapolis. Having retired in 1993, he has now given up the double life he once led, caught between medicine and trains. Now he concentrates on trains. He lives in Minneapolis with most of his five children and thirteen grandchildren nearby. He is presently rewriting his novel about India, which includes several fine scenes on the Southern Railway of India. His favorite locomotive is the FA/FB four-unit diesel freight engine built between 1946 and 1959 by Alco.

Ever since his early teens, in the mid-1940s, John W. Sachse has been a dedicated railfan, model railroader, and photographer. After four years in the U.S. Navy, in 1957 he attended the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee and then went to work as a professional photographer. His sixty-plus photos in this book - taken between 1946 and 1950 - proclaim his early passion for trains and photography. John flourishes in the snow and cold weather of eastern Wisconsin, and it shows in his fine winter photos on the C&NW and Milwaukee Road. He and his wife, Mary, live in Sheboygan, and their four children and four grandchildren also live in Wisconsin. Over the years John has closely followed the changing rail scene, especially on the former routes of the Peninsula 400 and the Chippewa-Hiawatha through Sheboygan County, and on the Soo Line, now part of the Canadian National, running through nearby Fond du Lac. Nowadays his favorite locomotive is the GP40 built between 1965 and 1971 by EMD.

COME JOIN TWO TEENAGE RAILFANS at track-side with their cameras - John at age fifteen and Chuck at fourteen - as they start out in 1946 searching for train pictures, an adventure that will last until 1957. From their hometown in Sheboygan they move on to Milwaukee, then to Plymouth and Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, the land of the Chippewa-Hiawatha. By 1948, traveling by train, they reach Chicago and Northern Indiana - the most railroad-rich lands on earth - including Whiting, Hammond, Hartsdale, and Griffith, where the two of them photograph a dazzling array of trains. Many are powered by new, first-generation diesels but also, surprisingly, for the next several years, the friends still find steam power in Chicagoland. Riding with Chuck's dad in the 1940 Ford V8, the intrepid railfans make a memorable trip across Wisconsin by way of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin Dells, and La Crosse to St. Paul and Minneapolis, and also get lots of good photos of the Chippewa-Hiawatha.

Between 1947 and 1950 Chuck makes four trips to his family's ancestral homes in Western Pennsylvania - Greenville and Greensburg. On the Pennsy he photographs steam engines, including K4s, T1s, Texas-types, Decapods, and Mikados, as well as first-generation diesels. The steamers and diesels work fast passenger trains and heavy freights up and down the Pennsy roller coaster, climbing to the Radebaugh Tunnel, then racing downhill through Greensburg, then climbing Carney Hill.

Railfans take note! There are 401 train photos ( including 227 steam engines and 165 first-generation diesels) with ample captions and text. Photos include the C&NW, Milwaukee Road, CB&Q, Soo Line, NP, GN, PRR, NYC, Erie, B&LE and 24 other lines. Locations are Eastern Wisconsin (including Milwaukee), Chicago, Western Pennsylvania and the Twin Cities.

The book is 12" x 9", 440 pages, Duotone, Hardcover.

To Order Book Please Contact:

Charles McCreary Publishing
3748 Harriet Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55409
phone: (612) 827-1587
price: $63.50 plus $6.00 shipping
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This is the photographic odyssey of two railfan friends - a nostalgic tour of the rapidly changing landscape of the 1940s and 1950s, principally in the Upper Midwest but with an important excursion to Western Pennsylvania . . . delightful . . . a gem.
Don L. Hofsommer, railroad historian and author, is Professor of History at St. Cloud State University. His recent books are Minneapolis and the Age of Railways and Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway, a Photographic History
Charles B. McCreary and John W. Sachse have favored historians and railroad enthusiasts alike with a wonderful account of their lifelong passion for railroads. The book is a wonderful blend of the shared adventures and background history the authors experienced while recording vivid images of the passing of the final heyday of railroading in the Midwest. It is a treasure trove of railroad photography, history, and a superb snapshot of the times.
John C. Luecke, St. Paul-based author, has published, at latest count, ten books on Minnesota railroad history, including The Northern Pacific in Minnesota and The Great Northern in Minnesota
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