New Year, New (& Improved) Canadian Trackside Guide

So one of the most useful tools if you are a railfan in Canada and spend any time out chasing/waiting/watching trains, the Canadian Trackside Guide. This annual publication, now in its 39th year is both an incredible tool, and an incredible record of the changes in the railways of Canada. I use it as a source of information for where I am out looking to know where I should hear automatic radio equipment communicating, for what trains I might expect to come by and what their numbers are, and for “ticking”, or marking which locomotives or other equipment I have seen in any given period. I say period, as ordinarily I have bought one about every 5 years, and for some reason, I got rid of my older ones. I currently have a 2015, 2020 and a brand new 2021. With 2020 bringing a year where about the only thing I could do to get out of the house was go railfanning (nice easy social distancing activity), my 2020 guide got a workout, and so I did buy a 2021 version, and I’m glad I did.

Brand new 2021 Trackside Guide and my 2020 edition. The 2021 hasn’t been flagged yet with stickies to easily find the most frequently used pages.

The format and appearance of the guide hasn’t really changed that much over the years, at least not before the 2021 guide. I opened it up and quite literally went “wow” out loud. This years guide, has had some subtle, but really nice improvements made to it. The font is slightly larger and clearer, and in the roster guide sections, there is shading blocks to help break up listings and make it easier to use. These for me are small, but really nice formatting improvements that will help me see and find things as I am out railfanning in 2021 and into the future. I don’t know if I will buy the guide again in 2022, that’s a future decision,

A couple of samples of the 2020 vs the 2021 guide, the slightly larger clearer font and shading are really appreciated by me.

The Canadian Trackside Guide is published by the Bytown Railway Society in Ottawa. As of the date of my posting this, they still have copies left, but if you are in Canada, your local model railroad store probably has some, and I know a lot of museums do. The Toronto Railway Museum has both 2020 and 2021 versions available through the museum store.

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