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Transportation History


The Modern Diesel and Electric Reference

by (author) Greg McDonnell

Boston Mills Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2023
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2015
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2008
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2023
    List Price

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"This new oversize, full color book is the 'Diesel Spotter's Guide' on steroids. ... After you get Locomotives, you'll WANT to go out and see what's new!"
--Railfan and Railroad

"This is a field guide that is also elegant, so my advice is this: Buy two copies, and toss one in your car, and put the other one on your coffee table."

Locomotives is the definitive photographic reference for the North American rail fan. It covers all mainline locomotive models built for North American railroads from the mid-1970s onward. This revised and expanded edition includes data on all the new locomotive models built from 2007 to January 2023, including the latest Tier 4 freight locomotives and electric and diesel-electric passenger locomotives from Siemens. This latest edition also includes production model upgrades and "D.C. to A.C." modernizations by the major locomotive builders.

Containing 32 new pages, and over 300 photographs of more than 120 models, this remarkable large-format reference covers every major North American locomotive manufacturer as well as North American passenger locomotives imported from Europe. Greg McDonnell provides concise yet comprehensive information on each model, along with easy-to-read tables of production totals, build dates and mechanical specifications.

About the author

Greg McDonnell is the author of 10 books on a wide range of transportation subjects and a professional photojournalist for railroad publications in the United States and Canada. He received the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society's Fred A. and Jane R. Stindt Photography Award for significant contribution to the photographic interpretation of North America's railroading history. He lives in Cambridge, Ontario.

Greg McDonnell's profile page

Editorial Reviews

[Review of previous edition:] [This] latest edition is more comprehensive than the 2002 version and features electric engines for the first time. Also new is a larger format that makes the photos more enjoyable.

MTH Railroaders Club magazine

[Review of previous edition:] This new oversize, full color book is the "Diesel Spotter's Guide" on steroids. And it's badly needed.... Each model is described in detail, defining its features and production history. Excellent, large action and roster photos illustrate the subjects, and the full color reproduction is also excellent.... There is no better authority on modern power than Greg McDonnell, and this book is an absolute must for anyone who wants to go out and watch trains today. After you get "Locomotives," you'll WANT to go out and see what's new!"

Railfan and Railroad

[Review of previous edition:] A transportation photojournalist with 10 volumes under his belt, McDonnell chronicles new locomotive production where Louis Marre's 1995 "Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years" leaves off, and updates "The Field Guide to Modern Diesel Locomotives" (2002). He also broadens the conventional coverage by including electric passenger locomotives currently in service on the Northwest Corridor, but does not include the limited number of electric freight locomotives, none of which are operating in North America at the present. Stupendous color photographs, explanatory text, and graphic data are provided for each model.

SciTech Book News

[Review of previous edition:] Diesel spotting seemed to be a whole lot easier back in the mid-1960s when we were kids watching New York Central trains at Town Line in Dearborn.... Of course train watching at Town Line has changed rather dramatically since then and identifying diesels isn't as easy as it once was.... This up-to-date diesel and electric locomotive guide book picks up where Louis A. Marre's book, Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years, leaves off. With a few exceptions, all of the latest locomotive offerings that can be found operating in North America are covered in this information-packed volume by noted author Greg McDonnell.... Like the first Diesel Spotters Guide, this book is the best contemporary locomotive reference guide available from any source.

The Michigan Railfan Vol. 72 No. 1 Issue 696

[Review of previous edition:] After spending some time with this book, I've come to see the diesels sand electric locomotives in a different light.... Next time I am waiting at a railroad crossing, I'll be trying to determine if the locomotive is a Super 7B23 or a DASH 8-44CA. That should really impress my passengers!

Engineers and Engines

[Review of previous edition:] When it comes to North American locomotives, railroad photojournalist Greg McDonnell is probably the best person to help you tell an ES44AC from an SD70MAC or an SD40. This second edition includes all new locomotives built from 2007 right up to January 2015. With chapters for each manufacturer -- including EMD, GE and Alstom -- each type of loco is covered with build dates, production totals backed up by a very informative narrative. With more than 300 colour photos, the result is a definitive guide for those interested in North American railroading -- and at a bargain price. Christmas Gift Guide.

Railway Magazine

[Review of previous edition:] This is a field guide that is also elegant, so my advice is this: Buy two copies, and toss one in your car, and put the other on one your coffee table.


Other titles by Greg McDonnell