Railfan for Life: The Photography of Hal Carstens - Softcover Edition

Railfan for Life: The Photography of Hal Carstens
Railfan for Life: The Photography of Hal Carstens
Item# 023-2-soft

About this item

Available now! Also available in hardcover!

The photography of Hal Carstens in full color!

Railfan For Life is a journey across the American railroading landscape (with brief visits to Europe) through the lens of Hal Carstens. He was able to turn his lifetime passion for trains into a career, first joining Railroad Model Craftsman and later launching Railfan & Railroad, growing the company as a major publisher of exciting hobby books and magazines. In this volume, you’ll enjoy more than 100 pages of color photos selected by our editors spanning Hal’s trackside adventures from the last sixty years. From coast to coast, from steam to diesel (and trolleys, too), from main lines to short lines and everything in between!

Hal Carstens: Railfan for Life

 Posed in front of the Lehigh & Hudson River caboose are friends Jim Boyd, Wayne Daniels, Bob Mohowski, Jerry Dziedzic, Tony Koester, and Hal Carstens; in front are Jay Diamond and John L. Treen. Warwick, New York, December 1971.

From coast to coast

Hal Carstens traveled extensively as he represented his company to the hobby industry. Whether it was for the National Model Railroad Association, the National Railway Historical Society, the Model Railroad Industry Association, or any one of the many organizations Hal supported, his camera always went with him. From the south end of Florida to the California coast, Hal documented the rail scene in its two major transitions — from steam to diesel and from numerous scattered Class 1’s to large merged companies.

Hal Carstens: Railfan for Life

Burlington Northern's Interbay Yard, Seattle, Washington, 1972.

The Golden Age of Steam

In a time when many photographers stuck with black and white, Hal branched out and experimented with color. He was able to capture many steam operations in their waning years, in vibrant full color. Thanks to these early forays into color, Hal provides us with a dramatic look back at the Golden Age of steam railroading in America. When mainline steam vanished from American rails, Hal could be found trackside as some engines found their second wind in the excursion era.

Hal Carstens: Railfan for Life

Norfolk & Western Y6a No. 2165 approaching Roanoke, Virginia, mid-1950s.

Traction and trolleys, too!

From city streetcar lines, to regional interurban systems and everything in between, Hal Carstens was there to ride and photograph them. During his frequent railfan trips he was able to document many of America’s remaining lines. Some lines like the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee, Philadelphia & Western or the Washington D.C. and Baltimore city lines were captured as they neared the end of their service lives. Others like San Francisco’s historic cable cars and
New Orleans’ St. Charles Line streetcars were photographed going about their daily business that has continued to the present time with little interruption.

Hal Carstens: Railfan for Life

Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee "Silverliner" No. 738 at Harrison Street Shops, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1960.

Available now! Also available in hardcover!

This wonderful collection of photography, selected by the editors and staff of Carstens Publications, will be available for purchase later this summer. 128 pages, softbound.

About Hal Carstens: Born in Fort Lee, New Jersey in 1925, Hal Carstens turned his life-long interest in railroading into a career when he joined the staff of Railroad Model Craftsman in 1952. He was later promoted to Editor and Vice President in 1954. Upon the retirement of Charles A. Penn, Hal became President in 1962. In 1974, he launched the quarterly Railfan Magazine, which became Railfan & Railroad Magazine in 1979. Hal passed away unexpectedly in 2009, but left behind a rich collection of photography for future generations to learn from and enjoy.

Railfan for Life: The Photography of Hal Carstens

Table of Contents

Introduction, with Foreword by Phyllis Carstens, v

Hal's Backyard, 1

Chicagoland, 19

Mainlines East to West, 31

Traction Action, 59

Narrow Gauge, 73

Short Lines, 85

Travels Abroad, 93

Steam, and Again, 101

Index, 119