Railroad buff Elrond Lawrence long-gestating book about Route 66 and its historical relationship with Santa Fe/BNSF, “Route 66 Railway” (176 pages, $49.50, Los Angeles Historical Railroad Foundation) is now being shipped.
An article in the Salinas Californian, Lawrence tells about how and why the book came about:
“My goal was to recall the days when crossing the Southwest was an adventure,” Lawrence said. “I try to convey the mythic qualities of that road and the railroad, far from the bland interstates.”
Lawrence was a boy of 5 when he first saw the diners and mom-and-pop motels strung along Route 66.
His eyes widened as he gazed at Santa Fe Railway freight cars, their tops scraping a dry and darkening sky as they swayed into view.
A supple streamliner – perhaps it was the mythical Super Chief itself – flew by, clickity-clacking under a bright moon.
“My dad loved trains,” Lawrence said. “He’d take my mom and me on trips from our home in Fontana (outside Los Angeles) to Barstow.”
“Route 66 Railway” is published by the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation. The 176-page book contains about 250 photos, many of them shot by Lawrence.