Robert J. Church

RJC photo

Robert J. Church has established himself as an author and an authority on railroad subjects, especially Southern Pacific steam locomotives. A native of Sacramento, the city in which he now has his dental practice, he is a resident of nearby Wilton. The 4300 4-8-2's, currently in print from Signature Press, is the third book in a series of definitive accounts of different classes of Southern Pacific steam locomotives that Dr. Church has written. The first two books, Those Daylight 4-8- 4'sand Cab-Forward,were published a few years ago and are now out of print. He was also among three co-authors of the 1992 book Pacific Fruit Express,and also of its second edition. He was also one of three editors of Railroad History in Photographs. His newest book is the story of rescuing the stranded City of San Franciscoin 1952, entitled Snowbound Streamliner.

Dr. Church has long had an intense interest in the Southern Pacific His interest in railroads goes back to early childhood. With parents that allowed him to cultivate a model railroad hobby, the desire eventually developed to put the material he had collected into book form to share the information with others of similar interest.

He is a noted railroad historian, and has long been active in railroad historical and preservation groups. Among the historical societies in which he currently serves is the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, for which he is Chairman of the Pacific Coast Chapter and is also a member of the national Board of the R&LHS.

Along with these activities, he has devoted many volunteer hours with hands-on work helping restore historic steam locomotives. One of his proudest accomplishments was becoming a certified steam locomotive engineer on the Sacramento Southern tourist railroad out of Old Sacramento.Thus he has actually repaired and operated steam engines, the favorite subject of his writings.

With the completion of Snowbound Streamliner, Dr. Church wrote a fully revised and enlarged edition of Those Daylight 4-8-4's, and his latest work, Steam Days in Dunsmuir. His next project is to finish a history of SP's ten-coupled engines. Long-term plans include another book, SP's Harriman High Steppers--the 4-6-2 and 4-4-2 Classes.