Archived News

Two in Trains. First, the April 2012 issue of Trains magazine, themed around the myths and legends of railroading, featured Karl Zimmermann's "Track 61. The Who's Who of Grand Central's Track 61: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Alco PA's, Andy Warhol, and More." In preparing this piece, Zimmermann dug deep to separate fact from fiction about this mysterious siding under New York City's famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. While debunking some intriguing and widely circulated misconceptions, the article unearths enough particulars to create an equally interesting story.

Two months later, the June 2012Trains carried Zimmermann's in-depth coverage of the Western New York & Pennsylvania, a regional line that has rejuvenated pieces of the old Erie Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad. Lending extra interest to the WNY&P is its all-Alco locomotive roster. These rare, throwback diesels are a magnet for train enthusiasts, as is the bucolic and often remote countryside through which they run.

Now available from Boyds Mills Press: The Stourbridge Lion, America's First Locomotive, a new book for young readers by Karl Zimmermann, with illustrations by Steven Walker. This is the first picture book on which Zimmermann has collaborated, though he has written (and illustrated with his own photographs) a quartet of books, also published by Boyds Mills, on transportation subjects and aimed at readers aged 9 and up. About the upcoming book, the publisher says: "On August 8, 1829, Honesdale, Pennsylvania, witnessed something never seen before in America: a steam locomotive running on rails. Some people thought the beast was doomed to failure. But despite their fears, the iron contraption chugged down the track, belching steam, marking the birth of the American railroad. The history of the Stourbridge Lion is the story of the real little engine that could."

On April 17, 2011, the Center for Railroad Photography and Art held its annual conference at Lake Forest College in Illinois. Called “Conversations About Photography,” it included presentations by a number of noted railroad photographers. As part of the program, Karl Zimmermann offered “Railway Traveler: f 8 and Be There,” in which he discussed how his interest in and pursuit of railroad photography has evolved over the decades.

Travel section trifecta. Published January 23, the annual cruise issue of the Los Angeles Times Travel Section featured three stories by Karl Zimmermann: "Cunard's old-school travel continues traditions on Queen Elizabeth," reflections on Cunard Line's uniqueness, reported from on board the ship as it crossed the North Atlantic to begin its first world cruise; "Cruising Asia's modern miracles and ancient wonders aboard the Ocean Princess"; and "New York's Erie Canal by boat," which recounts a leisurely July trek across the western end of the canal, a week of locks, bucolic scenery, and small-town America. These stories are available at and will remain in the on-line archives.

For thirty years Karl Zimmermann has been crossing to Martha's Vineyard on the ferries of the Steamship Authority. In "Final Chapter: The Islander and Other Bygone Ferries," in the August issue of Martha's Vineyard magazine, he recalls those he's known in service -- the Islander, the Naushon, the Uncatena, the Martha's Vineyard -- and others, like the Nobska, that he wishes he had. The story is part history, part appreciation, and part lament for our sad history of failing to save priceless maritime icons.

Now available from Indiana University Press: Little Trains to Faraway Places: Adventures on the World's Narrow-Gauge Railways. From the publisher: "Narrow-gauge railroading conjures images of marginal track, wooden coaches, and antique steam locomotives. Yet consider the extraordinarily glamorous and comfortable South African Blue Train and Australia's Queenslander as well as the electrified network of meter-gauge mountain railways in Switzerland that run with a precision similar to that of the country's famed timepieces. Often used to penetrate the most challenging and breathtaking terrain that larger trains are unable to reach, narrow-gauge railways offer even the most seasoned of travelers an experience to remember. Karl Zimmermann, railroad author and accomplished photographer, chronicles his journeys aboard these rarest of trains. Individual chapters weave history and travelogue, complemented by more than 100 color illustrations. The result is a spirited tribute to the world's most charismatic railways."

"Karl Zimmermann's observations will surely bring back memories to many readers, and his richly developed commentary on cultural and historical details will provide an exciting introduction for those who have never traveled to some of the faraway places described." —Parker Lamb, author of Evolution of the American Diesel Locomotive

A few years ago Karl Zimmermann "went to extremes" in Great Britain, traveling by train to the most distant four compass points on the island accessible by rail, and his chronicle of that journey appears as the "Web exclusive" story attached to the May issue of Trains magazine. Read the article here.

In December of 1957, when Karl Zimmermann was 14, he traveled by Pullman from New York City to Roanoke, Va., to photograph America's last great steam railroad, the Norfolk & Western. With him was Roger Cook, his friend and neighbor. Still close friends more than fifty years later and once again neighbors, Cook and Zimmermann recount that once-in-lifetime experience in the spring issue of Classic Trains.