“Only a handful of books in the field of railroad history have become the standard reference work in a particular area. . . . To those select volumes should be added American Narrow Gauge Railroads. . . . This is an excellent work, and the author and publisher both deserve accolades.”—Railroad History
“Every so often, a book is published that deserves to be called a landmark. . . . American Narrow Gauge Railroads is probably the first of such caliber for the ‘90s.”—Railfan and Railroad
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The definitive work on the narrow-gauge common carrier railroads of the United States. It does not cover the use of narrow-gauge railroads for industrial purposes, although roads that offered even a minimal degree of common carriage are included.Hilton is an economist by profession, and his hard-headed analysis of the narrow-gauge phenomenon is a cutting one, demonstrating how poor an economic prospect most narrow-gauge lines were even when they were constructed. This is not a book to indulge one's nostalgia! The book is divided into two major parts. The first covers the narrow-gauge movement in general terms, from its genesis and philosophy, its overall history, and its technology and equipment. The second goes state-by-state gazetteer-style, covering every common-carrier narrow-gauge railroad with at least a small writeup, while the more important railroads get perhaps a few pages of coverage. Of railroads that were only common-carrier roads for a short time, most of the coverage is for that period.This is an excellent overall, overview work on narrow-gauge roads; it will not give enough information on individual roads to satisfy the enthusiast of those roads, but that's not it's intended purpose.