Sunday, November 2, 2014


A few weeks ago I received an announcement from Wayne Cole that his newest Ghost Rails - Volume XI was finished and available for purchase.   Like Volume X this is another large hardbound box devoted mostly to the steel industry in the Shenango Valley.    I promptly ordered and received a copy last week.

If you aren't familiar with these books, Mr. Cole I believe self-publishes them.  Most are related to forgotten railroads, traction lines, and industry in western PA/easter OH.   Because they are self published I've heard some criticism on things like photo quality, organization and editing, and lack of maps and visual aids.  These are valid issues - Mr. Cole even goes so far as to acknowledge them.  In his preface he writes: "Volume 11 is complex and confusing in areas" and suggests having the content guide and a topo map handy while reading.   Despite this, these books have been my favorite steel industry related reading.  The books are full of photos and descriptions of processes and rail movements within the mills.   At a base level, this is what I personally want to know about the steel industry.   For example, the history of a certain mill, say a rolling mill is interesting - when it was built, who designed it,,...etc...  but I also want to know how the raw steel for that mill is delivered and handled, and how the rolled products are shipped and where too.  These books are full of this sort of info.  So far I've leafed through twice and read most of the captions and looked at the photos.  Like Volume X it will take me a month or two to really go through the book.  Well done again Mr. Cole.

Forthcoming Volumes are to cover Youngstown (XII) and Warren (XIV)

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