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Welcome to the blog of Ian Wilson, author of the award-winning Canadian Branchline series, the King's Highways & Steam Trains series, and the Angus Wolfe adventures series.

Speed Graphics and Steam 1957! arrives from the bindery

May 11, 2018

Yesterday—Thursday, May 10, 2018—we picked up the shipment of Speed Graphics and Steam 1957! from Beck Bindery in Campbellford. That entailed renting a U-Haul 26-foot truck for the six-hour round trip.

It had been eight years since I made the drive to Campbellford for the last railway hardcover (Steam Memories of Lindsay). This time, my sons Duncan (pictured) and Spencer rode in the cab too (“seats three”, although the middle place is a jump seat).

True to their word, the folks at Beck Bindery had the lot of books packed in cartons, stacked on four skids, and shrink-wrapped.

That’s John Beck wheeling the skids onto the rental truck while we watch.

It was a quick turnaround at the bindery, as usual—in and out in a week.

Campbellford, where Beck Bindery is located, is on the Trent-Severn Waterway. It’s also the former location of the CNR’s Campbellford Subdivision, between Lindsay and Belleville. These abutments once conveyed an industrial spur across the Trent.

Back at the house with the truckload of books, I bypassed the stairs for trundling cartons into the basement by removing the window panes and screens.

The last time we unloaded four skids of hardcover books—at 40 lbs. per carton—it was a bunch of middle-aged guys, me included, doing the work. This time, I hired my teenaged sons and two of their friends.

The teenagers did the same work in about 1/3 the time the old guys took—and that was when the old guys were eight years younger than they are now!

Here’s Duncan stacking the cartons in an interlocked pile in our basement, after receiving them through the window opening.

There’s the unloading gang with the aforementioned old guy, yours truly.

And here I am with my wife Mary-Jo holding the book many of your will see for the first time tomorrow when we launch Speed Graphics and Steam 1957! at the Toronto Railway Museum!

Launch event details

To recap our exciting launch event, hosted by our good friends, here are the details:

What—launch of Speed Graphics and Steam 1957!

When—Saturday, May 12, 2018 from noon until 3 p.m.

Where—Toronto Railway Museum (former CPR John Street roundhouse, beside the CN Tower)

Who—Ian Wilson and family, the museum staff and volunteers—and you!


Given the weather forecast, in all likelihood I will be inside the roundhouse at a table in Stall 17. For details on location and other accoutrements, please visit the Museum's website at:

Book distribution at launch

To recap some other information, we’ll bring along as many books as we can manage for purposes of distributing to pre-buyers. Also, we’ll have a number on hand for anyone who wishes to purpose a copy directly from us. My wife Mary-Jo will tick your name off (or add your name to) our list as you pick up your book(s). Son Spencer will dig out whichever books you have pre-purchased or wish to buy (we’ll have a limited number of earlier titles on hand too). Son Duncan will hand over an envelope of goodies to go with your new book(s). And, of course, I will sign your books.

If any friends wish you to pick up books on their behalf, that’s okay—give us their name(s) when you show up at the table. For anyone not picking up books this Saturday, distribution of the others will commence by mail on Monday, May 14.

Pictures, please!

I have a request to make of Branchliners attending the event tomorrow—would you kindly take a few pictures of the book signing and such? None of us at the table will have much chance to do that. And kindly forward a couple of your pictures by email (responding to this one will be fine) and I’ll try to include them in a report on the book launch which we’ll broadcast Sunday.

Ordering Speed Graphics and Steam 1957! online

If you won’t be attending the launch, you can still order a book directly from our website at


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