SIDNEY – Local author Scott Trostel will release his 56th book called “The Great Miami River Valley Railroad Realignment Projects” on Aug. 31 and will be available to purchase at the Shelby County Historical Society. He will also be available that day from 6 to 8 p.m. for a book signing at the William A. Ross Jr. Historical Center at 201 N. Main Ave. in Sidney.
Trostel is a veteran railroad writer, with prior published works including “Henry Ford: When I Ran the Railroads,” “The Lima Route,” and “Bradford the Railroad Town: a Railroad Town History of Bradford Ohio.” He has also published other history books, like “Their Letters Home: A Snapshot of World War II” and “And Through the Black Night of Terror: the 1913 Flood in the Northern Miami Valley,” the latter of which is also available at the historical society for sale.
Trostel’s love for railroads started when he was a kid and was heightened by his experiences. He used to drive with his parents from Piqua – his hometown – to Sidney to see his grandparents, which took them under the Big Four Bridge.
“We’d come up to Sidney every couple of weeks to visit the grandparents and drove under the bridge several times. We used to go down to Roadside Park and have a family picnic, and in the fall the river would be pretty much dried up, and I would want to see a train going across the Big Four Bridge. I would wait out in the middle of the river – I must have been 11 or 12 years old – just to see the train going across the bridge,” Trostel said.
Another railroad opportunity arose for Trostel when he was young by following a railroad track inspector around. He also regularly rode trains out of Piqua and got to know the crew.
“I would ride the train from Piqua to Bradford. I knew the crew of the local train on the Pennsylvania railroad. They would tell me all these great stories,” Trostel said.
Eventually, Trostel started work in rail car repair and worked at Hobart Brothers in Troy for 11 years. While he was there, he produced a Hobart guide for rail car welding, which he considers to be his first book.
His recent book about railroad realignment took him two years to write and contains 89 pages with 115 pictures, nine maps, and four special illustrations. It is his first published book in four years due to some hardships in his life, like having a stroke and the passing of his wife. The drawings on the book’s cover are also his and are the first he’s done since the stroke.
Trostel might not have seen the light at the end of the tunnel after the stroke, but he is now back on track and busy doing what he loves. He was scheduled to speak about his book “The Lima Route” on Aug. 19 at the North American Transit Historical Meeting in downtown Dayton, and he is in the process of writing a new book about the history of Bellefontaine as a railroad town. He also does the soft cover binding for his books himself.
“I spent six weeks in the hospital, and they said you probably won’t walk again. Well, I have to use a cane but I’m walking and driving,” Trostel said in regard to the stroke. “I’ve come a long way. You can do it with drive and determination.”
To view and buy books from the Shelby County Historical Society, visit shelbycountyhistory.org/storefront/books1.htm.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.