Learn more about the authors of your favorite South Platte Press books.
Bess Arnold is a freelance writer living in Cheyenne, Wyo. She received her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Wyoming as a nontraditional older student following a 20-year career with the Wyoming Education Association. Arnold's interest in railroad stories came about while visiting with retired railroaders. Arnold's books include Union Pacific: Crossing Sherman Hill and Other Stories and Union Pacific: Saving a Big Boy and Other Railroad Stories (published by South Platte Press) and Union Pacific Depot -- An Elegant Legacy to Cheyenne (co-authored with Jim Ehrenberger). She has had numerous articles published in regional books and magazines. She is a member of the Laramie County Historical Society, the Union Pacific Historical Society and the National Federation of Press Women.
Michael M. Bartels of Lincoln, Neb., is a transportation historian and writer. His earliest memory of the Missouri Pacific Railroad is of the Eaglet parked at the Lincoln depot. A ride was promised "some other time," but the colorful motor train gave way to a bus before then. He contributes articles to various rail-oriented publications. His South Platte Press books include Rock Island Town, Missouri Pacific: River and Prairie Rails, co-author of Chicago & North Western Cowboy Line and co-author of Ghost Railroads of Nebraska and Historic Railroads of Nebraska with James J. Reisdorff.
Robert P. Brittin, a native of Amherst, Mass., was employed by the Central Vermont Railway from March 1938 to August 1966 as an agent-operator at various stations along the south end of the CV line, and later as a CV dispatcher at New London, Connetticut. He concluded his career as a field inspector for the Interstate Commerce Commission, retiring in 1983 from that position in California. Brittin died in 1996.
Lee Berglund is a lifelong resident of Larned, Kan. In spite of having no family connections with railroading, he developed a childhood fascination for trains that continues to this day. Following a 1961-66 tour of duty in the Navy, Berglund attended Kansas State University and then returned to Larned. He was employed at a Great Bend truck dealership for more than 30 years. He has written many articles on both model and prototype railroad subjects. Many of his photographs have appeared in various railroad-oriented books. Berglund died in April 1999.
Robert Collins lives in Andover, Kan. From 1992 to 1995 he wrote and published a Touring Kansas Counties series of nine books covering the southeast area of the state. He is also a professional science fiction and fantasy writer, having more than 50 of his short stories appear in genre magazines. He also briefly served as editor and publisher of the sci-fi magazine Story Rules. He has had stories and articles published in various railroad, Old West and science fiction periodicals. He is also the author of a book on Kansas Civil War General James G. Blunt. His books for South Platte Press also include Arkansas Valley Interurban: The Electric Way, Kansas Pacific: An Illustrated History, Ghost Railroads of Kansas and Kansas Railroad Attractions.
Andy Cummings of Mora, Minn., grew up in Rochester and Pine Island, Minn. The DM&E took over his hometown railroad when he was 5 years old, and he grew up watching big lash-ups of SD9s and SD10s pulling grain across Minnesota. He holds a degree in mass communications from Minnesota State University Moorhead. His photos have appeared in Trains, CTC Board and Railfan.
Alfred J.J. Holck of San Rafael, Calif., grew up in Lincoln, Neb., where he acquired an interest in railroads, especially the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy. A 1951 graduate of the University of Nebraska, Alfred worked 37 years for the Chevron Corp. His book on the history of the Lincoln Division of the CB&Q, The Hub of Burlington Lines West, was published by South Platte Press in 1991.
Jerry Huddleston of Hampton, Minn, has been interested in railroads since his formative years in northern Illinois. He is a graduate of Winona State University, where he earned a degree in history. When he should have been studying, he sometimes watched DM&E "land barges" depart Winona and ascend Stockton Valley. He previously co-authored Chicago Great Western: Depots Along the Corn Belt Route.
Carla Johnson, a native of Laurel, Neb., received her bachelor's degree and her master's degree in history from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her interest in historic preservation was sparked while working for architectural firms in Lincoln and Omaha that focused on the practice. Two of the firms she worked for in Omaha were involved in the 1995 period renovation of the Durham Western Heritage Museum. Johnson and her husband, Ron, live in Denver.
Bill Kratville of Omaha, Neb., is a Union Pacific Railroad Museum employee and railroad equipment consultant. He has authored a number of books concerning UP motive power and historic passenger trains.
Stephen A. Lee of Cheyenne, Wyo., is a 22-year veteran of the railroad industry. He was born and raised virtually beside the Illinois Central tracks in Kentucky, and became an IC locomotive engineer after college. He left the IC in 1977 and went into management on the ill-fated Rock Island. Stephen then jumped to the Union Pacific at Cheyenne, where he is Manager-Train Operating Practices and also manager of UP's steam and historic diesel operations and shops.
Vernon F. Linnaus, a native of northeast Nebraska, spent most of his professional career as a department head and accounting teacher at Central Arizona College in Coolidge, Ariz. In retirement, he lives in Norfolk, Neb. Besides traveling and overseeing his family farm, he enjoys researching and writing on regional history.
I.E. Quastler has for 32 years taught and conducted research on transportation topics in the Department of Geography at San Diego State University. Prior to that, he was a graduate student at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where he earned his Ph.D. During his stay there he developed a special fascination for Kansas railroads, an interest that has led him to write a number of books and articles which include a scholarly book on the railroad history of Lawrence as well as his books for South Platte Press, which include Kansas Central Narrow Gauge, Missouri Pacific Northwest, Prairie Railroad Town, Prairie Railroad Town and Union Pacific West From Leavenworth. He lives in Coronado, Calif.
James J. Reisdorff is a native of David City, Neb. He is a 1978 graduate of Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., with a degree in journalism. Having done freelance newspaper writing for several years, he decided to establish South Platte Press in 1982 as an outlet for publishing railroad history of the Great Plains region. Although not from a railroad family himself, trains have always fascinated Reisdorff. He chose to apply his journalism skills towards making the extensive history of western railroads available to others (while learning more about the subject himself at the same time). He lives in David City with his wife and co-publisher, Sharon.
Lloyd E. Stagner of Newton, Kan., was a 37-year career Santa Fe Railway employee who, following retirement in 1979, wrote extensively about U.S. steam motive power for books and magazines. During the twilight years of Illinois Central steam, he made several trips to southern Illinois and Paducah, Ky., home of IC's steam shops, to observe and photograph this epoch. Lloyd's books for South Platte Press include Union Pacific Motive Power In Transition 1936-1960, Rio Grande Steam Finale, Katy Steam Finale, Illinois Central Steam Finale, Frisco Steam Finale, American Steam Finale, Missouri Pacific's Steam to Diesel Era: 1945-1955 and Lloyd Stagner's Union Pacific Steam Safari, 1954-1960. Stagner died Jan. 18, 2008.