For those readers who are interested in first hand accounts of the culture, life, and times of railroaders working, and living in a very busy mountain railroad town at the apex of the steam era as it started to wind down, I commend Bob Church's new book on Dunsmuir and Dick Murdock's Steam in the Canyon. It already has been (and still is) a page-turner for me, and I am not really an SP fan! The plethora (a Lot!) of well-reproduced photographs, old, new, familiar, and never-before-published depict for the reader a panoply of details of just how the SP handled the heavy traffic up grade through town (the hardest pull beginning at the edge of town); and how they stabled and cared for all the steam engines that were required to do so.
An extra special treat (actually pretty common to almost all of Bob's books) is the careful informative captioning, which all by itself could carry the book, if need be. In this, IMHO, Bob is the master.
I am in a year long effort to build, detail, and finish a steam engine terminal, and the photos alone also are now helping me understand more fully many more of the typical arcane features and detailing of these industrial complexes.
This book rivals another great book of the steam era, one that has received much less press because of the death of its author: Ed deRouen's The Pennsy in Chicago (Pixels Press). This book is an absolute class act, and is the role model for how a book on urban railroading should be written. It too was a page turner, it was so interesting.
And, of course, both of these books are supportive of Steam Era Freight Cars in all of their glory, the former is how they were moved over the mountains, and the latter in the details of exactly how, where, and with routing they were picked up and delivered.
Disclosure: Bob Church is my best friend (aside from my wife!), and in this regard I rarely comment. However, the above thoughts just come spilling out.
Denny S. Anspach MD