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Book Review: Rails Around the GTA by Thomas Blampied

Click on each picture for a closer look!
Thomas Blampied first came to our attention when he offered us the use of a picture he took of the TRHA's Pyke Crane in action. I then became aware of his railway images at on the Internet. I was very impressed with the very professional quality of his photography. I then noticed that he had a link to a book that he self-published electronically on the Internet using an on-demand publishing service. This is an exciting new way for an author to publish a book without having to heavily invest up front in a large print run. Intrigued by the quality of the sample pages on the publishing website, I bought a copy online. This triggered the publishing service to use their automated computers to print a single copy and then mail it to me so that I received it a week or so after ordering it.
I followed up with Thomas for more information about the book and he advised me as follows:
"I actually started the project last year while I was studying in the United Kingdom. I found that there was a lack of books on GTA (Greater Toronto Area) railways (especially contemporary). I felt that it would be a good idea if there was a record for historians and enthusiasts to look back on in a few decades time. The photos themselves were taken over a period of about six years and the book itself took about one year from first draft to final publication in June 2009.
For me, the most interesting part is how the book's theme of change has been so apparent already. I look at my photos of the GO Bathurst Yard, the CP Oshawa Yard and even the GO yard at Whitby and changes are apparent even in my one year away! I wonder what other locations in the book might look like in the future?
It was a challenge to come up with favourite photos (most of the book is favourite photos and the first draft was double the size) so I have chosen a variety of shots showing historical events or interesting trains. I hope that you like them."
The book is a softcover 80 page book printed on very high quality paper and includes 86 colour photographs and 2 in black and white for dramatic effcet. Thomas has included textual introductions to each section and has extensively captioned each photogrpah to explain them. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it to others. While its cost may at first seem high at about $40.00 including shipping to Canada, one must remember that this is self-published using an on-demand publishing facility which is currently more expensive than a book printed in a large volume run. For the serious railfan, the cost is quite affordable to my mind.
Included here are a number of images from the book as follows (from the upper left):
  • Rail of the GTA - Book Cover
  • 1st Revenue Producing run of the new GO MP40 with EMD FP9 #560 along as insurance
  • New GO MPI MP40 #610 running through Whitby towarsd Oshawa
  • CN EMD GP9's #7082 and #4102 pulling a Scale Test Car at Whitby
  • ONR EMD GP38-2 #1805 pulling the Northlander into Union Station with a GO Bilevel car destined for the ONR paint shops
  • The TRHA Whitcomb #1 beside the John St. Roundhouse
You can view Thomas gallery of great railway imagesby clicking here. at To learn more about the book and view sample pages, click here.

Posting by Russ Milland; Images by Thomas Blampied

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