My Life with Trains

My Life with Trains

Memoir of a Railroader
Jim McClellan
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/01/2019
Format: Paperback 257 color illus., 6 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-04495-2
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Named one of the “75 People You Should Know” by Trains Magazine, Jim McClellan was a railroading legend and one of the railroad industry’s titans. An iconic and innovative executive, McClellan participated in the creation of both Amtrak and Conrail and worked for the Norfolk Southern, the New York Central, US Railway Association, and the Federal Railroad Administration. My Life with Trains combines a world-class photographer’s love of railroading with the insights of a government and railroad official. The book provides a short historical overview of the changes in the industry, recounts McClellan’s experience at various railroads, and offers personal reflections on a lifetime of working with and chasing trains. Expertly detailed with over 250 stunning color photographs, My Life with Trains covers sixty years as observed by a legendary railroad strategist.

Author Bio

Jim McClellan was a veteran of the railroad industry.


"We’ve seen a lot of railroading’s giants pass in recent years, but I can’t recall anyone who triggered the kind of deep, emotional response accorded Jim. . . . We’ll learn more about him in May 2017 when Indiana University Press releases his book, My Life with Trains."


"The personal observations of a life-long railroader combined with dozens of color photographs make for great railfan reading."



Jim's recollection of events and the people—the human as well as organizational tensions—is well balanced and accurate. If you are interested in railroad economics and leadership issues, this book should be in your library. Jim McClellan's memoirs provide a series of valuable history lessons, not just for us older folks, but also for those who face the next 30 to 40 years of uncertainty and opportunity.




McClellan covers his wide-ranging professional life, copiously illustrated with his own color photos . . . often taken from his privileged perch in either the locomotive cab or from the rear vestibule. McClellan has left us a vivid memoir of a railroad life well lived.



"Jim McClellan has gathered up a treasure trove of inside stories and tells them with precision and gusto. This book should be required reading for anyone seriously interested in the "whos," "hows," and "whys" of recent railroad history."

 (Herb Harwood, author of The Railroad That Never Was: Vanderbilt, Morgan, and the South Pennsylvania Railroad)

"Jim McClellan dives into his treasure chest of reminisces and describes in rich detail an excellent and fresh view of American railroading during the last half of the 20th century. The book's real beauty is the air of innocence and charm that is created by McClellan's unvarnished view of events and the world in general. McClellan's photos are also exceptional and will serve as a handy guide for any rail buff or historian."

 (Rush Loving, Jr., author of The Well-Dressed Hobo: The Many Wondrous Adventures of a Man Who Loves Trains)

"Jim McClellan is one of the most widely known and respected railroaders of my generation and few have had more direct involvement in the major reorganization of the industry. McClellan's personal observations will be extremely useful for anyone who wonders how and why the railroad industry has made such a complete turnaround in the past 30-40 years. This book is an excellent read and a valuable research tool."

 (Tom Hoback)

"The shared experiences and observations of Jim McClellan from both a public and private sector perspective lend the reader an appreciation for the state of our interwoven freight and passenger systems. My Life with Trains capsulizes rail industry planning dynamics and the evolving accomplishments during an era of financial weakness to the emerging Renaissance."

 (Ronald L. Batory)

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Table of Contents

Part I. Railroads: 1950-2014
1. The Northeast
2. The Southeast
3. The Midwest
4. The West
5. Canada
Part II. Railroader
6. Look Ahead, Look South
7. Road of the Century
8. Creating Amtrak
9. Working at Amtrak
10. The Creation of Conrail
11. Look South, Again
12. The Quest for Conrail