Friday, August 19, 2016

Looking for Tiny Trains and Loving it: In Search of the Narrow Gauge (1996)

     Bob Wetham. In Search of the Narrow Gauge (1996) When Wetham’s father was posted to Peru in the 1970s he developed a love of trains and narrow gauge ones in particular. In this collection of reminiscences and photographs he tells of several of his journeys, most of them in South America. He really did go out of his way to see and ride the last narrow gauge trains. A few of the lines have become tourist lines, but most have long since gone.
     The book focuses on the journeys, not the technical details of the lines. Wetham spent a very cold night in Patagonia, and years later returned on a guided tour. He risked permanent disappearance in Africa, and endured surveillance by police and army in other parts of the world. He comes across as a nice guy who’s happy to share his passion for trains. Oddly, it’s a page turner, I think because he tells things as they happened. The photos are well printed, too, I wish there were more of them. But in the pre-digital photography and printing age, pictures and printing were more expensive than they are now, a bare quarter century later. Recommended for anyone who likes trains and travel. **½

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