James D. Porterfield

Books

The Railroad Tourist
Visit THE RAILROAD TOURIST, where the mission is simple: to provide you with a state-by-state directory to all the locations and activities in North America that capture, interpret, or offer participation in railroading past and present.

It is committed to enabling you to make railroad history a part of your travel plans, whether your trip is intended as a one-day outing or a longer-term journey.

The site is intended to make you to aware of and encourage you to enjoy a rich variety of opportunities. From excursion trains and railroad museums, to stations and other buildings enjoying restoration and reuse, former right-of-ways converted to rail-trails, and lodging and eating establishments that include passing trains as part of their decor, the locales you find here will testify to how important and widespread this industry was in our history.

Finally, the site is committed to the continuing, even expanded, efforts to preserve these historic sites for your own edification and enjoyment, as well as for that of future generations.

The Railroad Tourist is free. And the web site is just the hub. There is a link to a weekly blog - Journeys for a Railroad Tourist - created in cooperation with the travel division of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Look for a free quarterly newsletter coming later this year that will go in-depth on three topics of interest. Also planned are Facebook, Twitter and Flickr updates that offer suggestions, tips and comments about places to go and things to do to immerse yourself in the most important and colorful heavy industry in history.

Welcome aboard!



Dining by Rail
Serving up the rich and colorful history of dining in the "Golden Age" of American railroading, Dining by Rail tells the story of how railroads went from tolerating track-side vendors hawking soot-covered hotcakes, eggs soaked in lime water, and a gritty black syrup called coffee, to providing meals that won awards in international competition. With over 150 illustrations and more than 300 recipes from 48 railroad companies, here is a complete picture of this most important aspect American culinary and travel history. For more, including a free recipe and critical praise, simply click on the title, above in brown.


From the Dining Car
Talk about "high speed cuisine" for people on the go. Come inside the kitchens and dining rooms of today's great trains and rail cars, where top railroad chefs share their secrets for preparing meals that would be the envy of a conventional fine-dining restaurant with a kitchen two or three times the size. More than two hundred recipes, one hundred photographs, and dozens of anecdotes take you on board private luxury trains, dinner trains, private rail cars, today's passenger trains, and freight railroad business cars. For more, including a free recipe and critical reaction, click on the title above.

Harry Bedwell's The Boomer
The late Harry Bedwell was regarded by many as the best of a select number of rail fiction writers from an earlier era: those who worked for the railroad. Bedwell's only novel, The Boomer, published in 1942, portrays an elite fraternity of railroad men - those who were driven by one of the defining elements of the American character: a desire to wander. In Eddie Sand, Bedwell created a "boomer" (one who traveled the country making a living wherever he could find work) who was never content to sit behind a desk or undertake "the upkeep of a blonde." Instead, Eddie's courage, restlessness, and cunning led him to high adventure. In the telling of Sands' story, Bedwell reveals the behind-the-scenes struggles that were faced across all railroad systems to keep the trains running. For more, including samples of railroad jargon and reviewer comments, click on the title above.

Set Up Running
This unique and outstanding book came to my attention as a result of my work commenting on and reprinting classic railroad fiction in the no-longer-published magazine Vintage Rails. Fascinating for its insights into the daily routine of the men who moved trains when they were the means of transportation for all manner of goods and people, valuable for the glimpse it offers of home and family life in a railroad community, and important for the fact that it captures and presents the workings of the industry that built America, Set Up Running makes for remarkably compelling reading. Click on the title above to learn more.

Railfan & Railroad
A contemporary descendant of Railroad, Railroad Stories, and Railroad Man's Magazine, Railfan & Railroad is now in its 102nd year of publication. Through features, columns, and news departments, and with dozens of photographs, each issue details railroad practices, trends, and events for those with an interest in trains and train travel.

Selected Works

Web Site
A State-by-State Guide to Locations with a Connection to Railroad History, Travel and Preservation
Cookbooks
The History and the Recipes of America's Golden Age of Railroad Cuisine
The Recipes and Stories Behind Today's Greatest Rail Dining Experiences
Fiction
A Story of the Rails
Non-fiction
The Life of a Pennsylvania Railroad Engineman: 1904-1949
Magazines
A monthly magazine