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    The St. Nicholas Mountain Bookstore features books about the Great Northern Railway and other related subjects. Your purchases through our bookstore help raise funds for the restoration of St. Nicholas Mountain



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All Aboard for Glacier: The Great Northern Railway and Glacier National Park

Carol W. Guthrie, 2004


    The main line of the Great Northern Railway stretched from St. Paul, Minnesota to Seattle, Washington through the prairies and plains of North Dakota and Montana, over the rugged Rocky Mountains, and through the splendid canyons of the Cascades to the Pacific. But it was the sixty-mile stretch of rail from east of the Rockies through Montana's Marias Pass and along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River - bordering the grandeur and breathtaking scenery of what would become Glacier National Park - that lured people from all over the world to the conductor's call for "all aboard". Glacier National Park and the Great Northern Railway became synonymous in the early 20th century. Original photographs, posters, menus, postcards, and other rare materials support this fascinating pictorial history of the creation and promotion of the park by Great Northern as railroad barons raced west and competed for precious territory to expand their empires.




Burlington Route Streamlined Observation Cars - Burlington Signature Cars

Jonathan J. Boyle, Sr., 2005


    In 80 pages, with scores of photos and drawings, author Jonathan Boyle, Sr., chronicles the life of Burlington's premier cars of the streamlined era, the observation cars that brought up the rear of the great trains and carried their names - the "signature" cars of the fleet.


This book includes several previously unreleased photos of St. Nicholas Mountain in use on the CB&Q. These color photos feature both exterior and interior views.


Conquest And Catastrophe: The Triumph And Tragedy Of The Great Northern Railway Through Stevens Pass

T. Gary Sherman, 2004


    It is fair to say that the arrival of the Great Northern Railroad to Seattle and Puget Sound in 1893 remains the most historically economic event in the Pacific Northwest. James J. Hill’s relentless ambition to tap the resources of the Northwestern United States and then the Orient. He put the great engineer, John F. Stevens in charge of finding a pass through the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. This crossing would cause Jim Hill and the Great Northern to continually experience difficulties that cost the railroad unknown fortunes in man-made and natural disasters. Accidents and disasters that would finally culminate in the worst avalanche disaster in this country’s history. The Wellington Avalanche is described in this book in the most detailed manner ever published. However, an aspect never before examined, is the story of the Japanese laborer who worked on the Great Northern. It is a sad story in railroad history. It is the story of a number of outstanding businessmen who enhanced their fortune and power by the illegal importation and exploitation of thousands of Japanese. Ruby El Hult, author of "Northwest Disaster" says "Gary's book is a scholarly and well documented story of both the best and the worst of how the northwest grew from struggling logging communities, to diverse cities of aerospace, high technology, and important international port cities."


Great Northern Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment

David H. Hickcox, 1995


    This book looks at the Empire Builder in its glory days with specialized cars representing the ultimate in passenger equipment and the other more mundane passenger equipment of the GN which, if not as spectacular, went about the business of meeting the needs of the railroad and its customers. Freight equipment is organized by type of car. Maintenance-of-way and other equipment in company service and cabooses, which gave the Great Northern much of its unique personality, are covered as well. We have tried to provide a representation of the GN's equipment during the age of color photography, providing grist for the historian and detail for the modeler. While every type of car, especially specialized equipment, may not be covered, this volume provides a good view of what the Great Northern looked like behind the locomotives. Join us trackside for a journey through time on the Great Northern.


Great Northern Color Pictorial - Volume 2 - Division Assignment - Pictorial, Second Generation Diesels, The Big Sky Blue Era

Joseph W. Shine, 1992


    This book features GN's second generation diesel locomotives in both Omaha orange and Pullman green as well as the modern Big Sky Blue paint schemes. Sky Blue first generation units are also included. There is an all-time roster of every locomotive painted Sky Blue with both GN and BN numbers listed. Also featured is GN motive power operations on foreign roads and pictorial assignment rosters of all six divisions.




Great Northern Pictorial - Volume 3 - Rocky's Clean Window Trains

John F. Strauss, Jr., 1993


    The Great Northern Railway was somewhat tardy in joining the Streamlined Era, but when it did so in 1947, it became an aggressive participant with enthusiasm. Within a short 10 year period, 1947-1956, the Great Northern had completely modernized, streamlined, and domed its main line passenger trains. The material presented in this book covers the pre-streamlined era on the GN (heavyweight cars and steam), the post-war streamlined equipment, the 1951 'surprise' of all-new equipment ordered for The Empire Builder, and the era of domed equipment. Included are many color and B&W photographs, consists, schedules, diagrams, advertising illustrations and more.


Great Northern Pictorial - Volume 4 - Rocky's Northwest Postman and New Companions

John F. Strauss, Jr., 1994


    Continuing John F. Strauss, Jr.'s colorful coverage of Great Northern passenger trains and operations this book features the pre-streamlined era trains, the mail trains, the short haul streamliners, the semi-streamliners and the workhorses. These trains include - The Fast Mail, Winnipeg Limited, Red River Limited, Oriental Limited, Alexandrian, Gopher and Badger Express, Night Express, Cascadian, The American and Canadian, International Limited, The Coast Pool Trains, branch line locals and mixed trains and much more. Also included is a list of 1947 - 1970 Streamlined Era Passenger Trains and Streamlined Era Passenger Car Roster.


Great Northern Pictorial - Volume 5 - Rocky's Robe of Many Colors

John F. Strauss, Jr., 1998


    In the third book in this series, John F. Strauss covers Great Northern's passenger operations during its last decade. A period of major downsizing but maintaining a well run passenger operation worthy of the Great Northern name.









Great Northern Empire Builders

Bill Yenne, 2005


    Named for renowned entrepreneur James J. Hill, founder of the Great Northern Railway, the incomparable Empire Builder was launched in 1929 by legendary CEO Ralph Budd. Powered by steam until 1947, the Empire Builder charged into the diesel era at full-bore with streamlined EMD E7As trailing Pullman cars from St. Paul to Spokane and generating millions for the railroad. This authoritative and richly illustrated history covers the Empire Builders through their 1970s demise. Included here are the trains, their various forms of motive power and rolling stock, and their services. A wealth of black and white archival images and period color photography depict the Empire Builders along one of the nations most scenic routes. Also shown are uniforms, dinnerware, terminals and stations, interior views of Pullman and dome cars, period advertisements, and route maps.

Great Northern Equipment Color Pictorial -  Book Two - Freight Cars

Scott R. Thompson, 1996


    The significant theme that resonates throughout this volume is the diversity of car types that were once owned by the railroad. A number of car types that are depicted in this book were at the time considered "specialized" cars. Specialized cars were usually dedicated to hauling a specific type's of commodity or product. Appendices at the end of the book document technical data.





The Great Northern in Minnesota - The Foundations of an Empire

John C. Luecke, 1997


    This book covers the history of the road from the first shovel full of dirt to the Burlington Northern merger in 1970. More than 300 pages, 275 photographs and over a dozen maps tell the story of the Great Northern in Minnesota. From the very first railroad trip in Minnesota on the St. Paul & Pacific to the sleek luxury of the Empire Builder, from the tiny wooden roundhouses of the 1860s to the massive monuments to locomotive maintenance of the turn of the century, from the William Crooks to Hustle Muscle, it's all part of this history of the Great Northern Railway in Minnesota and the founding of James J. Hill's Empire.


Great Northern - Lines East - Second Edition

Patrick C. Dorin with Richard W. Hendrickson and Staffan Ehnbom, 2001


    Lines East is the story of the eastern divisions of the Great Northern, and presents detailed and dramatic accounts of operations over these lines, particularly dealing with the last forty years before the merger into Burlington Northern. A wide variety of traffic was carried on Lines East, an intense passenger service of both local and long-distance trains, and also considerable freight. Part of the story of this traffic lies in the modernization of the railroad, first with heavy steam locomotives and then with diesels. Well-know author Patrick Dorin vividly describes Lines East territory, assisted by experts Richard Hendrickson and Stefan Ehnbom in a new and informative freight car chapter. This edition is substantially improved and enlarged from the first edition of 1989. With its companion volume, Lines West by Charles R. Wood, Lines East presents a detailed account of a vital part of one of America's most fascinating roads, the Great Northern Railway.


Great Northern - Lines West - Revised Edition

Charles R. Wood, 1998


    The book tells the story of the Great Northern Railway, concentrating on its western half, the Lines West, which conquered both the Rocky and Cascade Mountains. From its earliest beginnings in 1857, to the completion of the line to the Pacific Coast in 1893, to the modernization of the railroad, first with heavy steam locomotives and then with diesels, and to the merger into Burlington Northern in 1970, the sweep of this great history is here. Noted Northwest railroad historian Charles R. Wood has combined extensive research and a superb collection of photographs to produce an outstanding history of this noteworthy railroad.


The Great Northern Railway - A History

Ralph W. Hidy, Muriel E. Hidy, Roy V. Scott and Don L. Hofsommer, 2004


    In the sprawling Northwest, from the upper Mississippi River valley to Puget Sound, no railroad shaped the landscape and society like the Great Northern Railway Company. This is the complete history of that enterprise, from 1856, when the first charter was granted, through the era of James J. Hill - known as the Empire Builder - to its maturation and eventual merger in 1970, when the eight-thousand-mile Great Northern was incorporated into the massive Burlington Northern. The Great Northern Railway highlights the changes brought on by economic, political, social, and technological advances, including world wars, increased competition from other modes of transportation, and tighter government restrictions. The first part of the book (1856–1916) examines the railway’s early strategies and philosophy, relations with employees, and vigorous campaigns to develop the service area. The second part of the history (1916–1970) offers an assessment of a dramatic period of transition for the railroad—international conflicts, the Great Depression, the rise of motor vehicles, increasing labor costs, and stronger unions. Illustrated with more than two hundred maps, period photographs, and drawings, the volume also includes appendixes listing the original track-laying history, track removals, ruling grades on main freight routes, and main line ruling grades from Minneapolis to Seattle.


The Great Northern Railway - A Pictorial Study

Charles & Dorothy Wood, 1979


    Off all America's transcontinental railroads, none was more colorful then the Great Northern. Today, more than eight years after its merger into the sprawling Burlington Northern system, the "Big G" is still fondly remembered by railfans and model builders alike...and there is much to remember! The Steam Locomotives with their green jacketed boilers, the huge "Goat" heralds that adorned tender sides and rolling stock, the bright vermillion cabooses and the beautiful orange and green paint scheme that typified the streamline era are just a few of the GN's never-to-be-forgotten trademarks. The Great Northern was the brain child of James J. Hill, a man considered to be the arch-typical railroad tycoon of the late 19th century. Hill was a larger-than-life figure whose mere presence inspired respect, awe and fear! Even today, while viewing his photographs, one gets the impression that he's about to leap out of the picture and grab hold of the viewer. He tolerated nonsense from no one and pushed the railroad west against all odds...and without the benefit of government land grants. His dynamic energy helped the Great Northern grow through its difficult early years. Authors Charles & Dorothy Wood have tackled the writing of this book with the same determination and energy as its founder. Ever since the success of their early book on the road, "Lines West", the Woods have wanted to do an expanded version, one which would do further justice to this great railroad. Over seven years were spent in research and included trips to libraries, historical societies, interviewing former GN employees and current personnel of the BN, as well as corresponding with a large number of knowledgeable GN fans.


Great Northern Railway 1945-1970 Photo Archive - Volume 1

Byron D. Olson, 1996


    Ride the rails from the post-war years to the 1970 merger that created Burlington Northern. This exceptional photographic collection portrays passenger, freight, trucking, and Glacier Park hotel operations. Featured are the Great Northern shops, yards, port facilities, depots, operation centers and more - from the Midwest to the Northwest.







Great Northern Railway 1945-1970 Photo Archive - Volume 2

Byron D. Olson, 1998


    The Great Northern Railway prospered in post-WWII America, as its rail, trucking, and hotel operations thrived. In this nostalgic volume you'll find superb archive photographs of passenger and freight operations, engine terminals, ore docks, Great Northern shops, yards, depots, operations centers, and more from the Midwest to the Northwest.






Great Northern Railway in the Pacific Northwest

Jeff Wilson, 2000


    Travel the Great Northern Railway through its operations in the Pacific Northwest. Large unpublished photos of trains pushing through rugged mountain passes and Big Sky scenery will take your breath away! Includes views of the Empire Builder, plus track map and schematics.






Great Northern Railway Ore Docks of Lake Superior Photo Archive

Douglass D. Addison, Sr., 2002


    The Great Northern Iron Ore Docks were the largest iron ore docks in the world. Now railfans and history buffs can see how these ore docks were constructed and operated through the historic photographs and illustrations in this book. Detailed photos show these fascinating docks in operation (trains loading ships) as well as accurate drawings made from original Great Northern blueprints; perfect for railroad modelers! The majority of the photos cover the 1920s-1970s, which includes the Golden Age of railroading. These docks and the stories they contain are a unique piece of Americana. The remaining docks are falling apart and partially stripped. But through this book, railfans, modelers and history buffs can continue to appreciate the Great Northern Iron Ore Docks.


Great Northern - Steam & Electric In Color

David H. Hickcox, 1999


    The development of the Great Northern's steam locomotives and the construction of the Cascade Tunnel and electrification of the GN's route through the Cascade Range are two subjects of special interest to Great Northern fans. This book provides a review of Great Northern's steam locomotives and electric operations during the age of the color photograph. Covering the years from 1949 to 1957, and focusing on the 1950's, a representative view of Great Northern's steam and electric operations before dieselization is provided.




James J. Hill and the Opening of the Northwest

Albro Martin, 1976


    James J. Hill (1838-1916), the Empire Builder, created a vast railroad network across the northwestern United States. In this splendid biography, Martin, the first researcher to have access to Hill's voluminous correspondence, richly portrays a man of many parts: an entrepreneur, a family man, a collector of notable French paintings, a promoter of scientific agriculture, and a booster for the Northwest.





Locomotives of the Upper Midwest - Photo Archive - Diesel Power in the 1960s & 1970s

Marvin Nielsen, 2004


    Marvin Nielsen presents a personal look at diesel locomotives at work in the Upper Midwest in the 1960s and 1970s with a hand-picked selection of his finest photographs. Featured are various makes and models of diesels used by the Great Northern, Soo Line, Chicago & North Western, Burlington Northern, Milwaukee Rood, Wisconsin Central, Green Bay & Western and other railroads operating in the Upper Midwest.




Profiting from the Plains

Claire Strom, 2003


    Profiting from the Plains looks at two inextricably linked historical movements in the United States: the westward expansion of the great Northern Railway and the agricultural development of the northern plains. Claire Strom explores the persistent, idiosyncratic attempts by the Great Northern to boost agricultural production along its rail routes from St. Paul to Seattle between 1878 and 1917. Lacking a federal land grant, the Great Northern could not make money through land sales like other railways. It had to rely on haulage to make a profit, and the greatest potential for increasing haulage lay in farming.


    The energetic and charismatic owner of the Great Northern Railway, James J. Hill, spearheaded most of the initiatives undertaken by his corporation to boost agricultural production. He tried, often unsuccessfully, to persuade farmers of the profitability of his methods, which were largely based on his personal farming experience. When Hill’s initial efforts to increase haulage failed, he shifted his focus to working with outside agencies and institutions, often providing them with the funding to pursue projects he hoped would profit his railroad. At the time, state and federal agencies were also promoting agricultural development through irrigation, conservation, and dryland farming, but their agendas often clashed with those of the Great Northern Railway. Because Hill failed to grasp the extent to which politicians’ goals differed from those of the railroad, his use of federal expertise to promote agricultural change often backfired. But despite these obstacles, the railroad magnate ironically remained among the last defenders of the small-scale farmer modeled on Jeffersonian idealism.


    This fascinating story of railroad politics and development ties into themes of corporate and federal sponsorship, which are increasingly recognized as fundamental to western history. As the first scholarly examination of James J. Hill’s agricultural enterprises, Profiting from the Plains makes an important contribution to the biography of the popular and controversial Hill, as well as to western and environmental history.


Railway Mileposts: British Columbia - Volume II: The Southern Routes From the Crowsnest to the Coquihalla. Including the Great Northern and Kettle Valley Routes

Roger G. Burrows, 1984


    From Crowsnest Pass in the Rockies to Coquihalla Pass in the Cascades; from diminutive mining railways to massive robot-powered unit trains, Railway Mileposts is the definitive reference to the fascinating routes across southern British Columbia. Across high bridges, through dark tunnels, into precipitous canyons, beside magnificent lakes, up steep grades and over awesome mountain passes, the text follows the present and the historical mileposts of British Columbia's most interesting railway region. Subdivision by subdivision, and mile by mile, the book accurately describes the remarkable engineering feats of yesterday and today.  Whether your journey is by auto, on foot, or into history this well-researched and amply illustrated volume will enhance the trip. It is a must for anyone interested in railways and the history of British Columbia.


The Saint Paul & Pacific Railroad: An Empire in the Making, 1862-1879
A. J. Veenendaal, 1999


    Founded in 1862 as a small carrier connecting St. Paul and Minneapolis with outlying towns, the SP&P became the nucleus of the vast rail system that would open the entire Northwest. When railroad tycoon James J. Hill took over the railroad in 1879, it was absorbed into lines that eventually, as the Great Northern Railway, reached the Pacific Ocean. Enhanced by rare photographs, The Saint Paul & Pacific Railroad will appeal to all who are interested in Minnesota, the Northwest, and the saga of railroading.



Sante Fe Railway's Streamlined Observation Cars
Jon Boyle, 2004


    This book has over 120 great illustrations and extensive text dealing with the observation cars on Santa F’s great high-class passenger trains in the streamlined lightweight car era. Those interested in the Santa Fe as well as passenger train fans in general will find this book fascinating. Exterior and interior photos from many sources including the AT&SF’s own photo collection, floor plans and diagrams give new insight into this important element of the line’s passenger operations. Modelers will also find the contents of this book useful in their pursuits. The observation was the “signature” equipment on each train, carrying the tail sign and offering the best accommodations to the first class passengers. Although representing only a small fraction of AT&SF’s huge fleet of cars the observation cars provided lounge space and were an expect aspect of any really first class name train in the era.


Steam Railroading - A View from the Roundhouse Window

Paul Wolfgram, 1993


    Railroading has always been part of author Paul Wolfgram's life. He was raised with the sound of a whistle in his ears and the smoke of a train on his horizon along the Great Northern Railway line near Niagara, North Dakota. He went to work for the railroad, first at the famous roundhouse in Grand Forks, then as a locomotive fireman and powerplant engineer. In this book, Wolfgram shares his love of the powerful steam locomotives as well as railroading itself. He explores the facilities, the engines and railroad operations, and recounts days both difficult and fun. For anyone who still remembers the echo of train whistles and smoke raising to the sky... this authentic and affectionate account is for you!


Trains of the Twin Ports - Photo Archive - Duluth-Superior in the 1950s

Marvin Nielsen, 1999


    The Twin Ports were served by many popular railroads such as Soo Line, Northern Pacific, Great Northern, Chicago & North Western and more. Includes photos of locos and trains that operated in the Twin Ports in the 1950s era.








Travel by Pullman: A Century of Service

Joe Welsh, Bill Howes, 2004


    Every evening for much of the twentieth century, 50,000 or more travelers snuggled under crisp Pullman linens, falling asleep in one state and awaking in another. This nostalgic look back at what was essentially a rolling hotel company contracted by the nation’s railroads to provide guest accommodations, covers every aspect of Pullman operations, from the emerging popularity of steam-powered rail travel in the early twentieth century to its diesel-powered zenith and its eventual nadir in the 1950s and 1960s. Pullman's entire complex network of employees and services is featured, from the ticket offices that manually handled millions of reservations each year to the six car shops spread across the nation to perform heavy maintenance and repairs, and all of Pullman's porters, mechanics, cleaners, electricians, cooks, barbers, shoeshiners, and more. Illustrated with both black-and-white and color period views depicting Pullman interiors and facilities, as well as memorabilia and sales literature.




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