Ian wilson, canadian branchline and our readers

We invite you to take a trip to the past

Ian Wilson (through his Canadian Branchline brand) tells the story of steam railway operations in the province of Ontario (and now expanding to Quebec and the Maritime Provinces) during the 1950s.

Don’t just learn about the steam railway era of the 1950s

Go there and see for yourself! Open one of Ian Wilson’s books and take a trip to the past—and make your own discoveries and memories in the process. Take the journey, savour the adventure—see, experience, discover things impossible to witness in the present day.  By turning the clock back, visiting a moment in time, you are free from the constraints of “reality”. Engage your imagination!

You enjoy a personal trip to the past, with all its discoveries, through the pages of Ian Wilson’s books

It’s all about the moment—say at 12:10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 23, 1957 when Canadian Pacific Ten Wheeler 1004 crosses the CNR diamond at Harriston Junction.

Through the pages of Ian Wilson’s books depicting steam railway operations, you will escape the present world, and all its difficulties, to the strong, robust, traditional Canada of the 1950s.

Lose yourself in a story, a blissful trance, of a personal visit to the past

See the action unfolding in your mind’s eye like a motion picture on a big screen. When your delightful escape is over (until you reach for one of the books again!), you’ll say to yourself, ‘It feels as if I have been there!’

Physical print books—as opposed to eBooks or low-resolution digital images shared on a myriad of social media websites—are permanent

You can hold them in your hands. And, given the scarcity of Ian Wilson’s out-of-print titles, they are sound investments. Your books are packaged with the utmost care and we personally strive to maintain a long and healthy relationship with you as a reader—on a firstname basis!

Make no mistake—the superior quality books we produce in short print runs carry a shelf price indicative of the care that goes into producing them

If you shop for books on price alone, head to your nearest mass-market online retailer or chain bookstore. We are proud to say that we print and bind our books at carefully-selected Ontario suppliers (with whom we have worked for decades), not offshore like most other publishers.

Ian Wilson’s books are for those readers with the ability to concentrate and imagine—for those are the traits a blissful journey to the past demands!

Nowadays, Ian Wilson is one of the few book authors/publishers producing new, original content on Canadian steam railway operations—a last refuge for those who value a fine tradition

We know of no other author who presents readers with the nuts-and-bolts of how steam era railways actually ran. Otherwise, how can you forge a dynamic picture of that wonderful age in your imagination?

With the railway steam age receding decades into the past—close to an entire human lifetime now—the lasting record of that era in Ontario (and east) now lies on the printed pages of Ian Wilson’s books. And who’s to say what the reality is anymore—is the reality a world beyond your comprehension or the world depicted in Speed Graphics and Steam 1957!?

Ian grew up in nearby Barrie and stoked his fascination for Ontario’s pre-1960 steam railway era through boyhood encounters with CNR excursion engines 6167 and 6218. He graduated from Queen’s University with a degree in civil engineering. Ian began his publishing career with Steam at Allandale in 1998.

Canadian Branchline

Ian Wilson began his Canadian Branchline brand in 1997 while researching his first book, entitled Steam at Allandale.

Canadian Branchline denotes a collection of books dedicated to telling the story of the 1950s railway steam era in Ontario (and now expanding to include Quebec and the Maritime Provinces). Through a unique narrative style combined with photographs and illustrations, the books put the reader back in time, in the moment, so that he experiences the late steam era firsthand.

Think of your author, Ian Wilson, as your Canadian Branchline tour guide, your conductor, your director, for a trip back in time to the 1950s steam era on Ontario railways.

Our Invitation to You

There are no other books (or media) that depict 1950s Canadian steam railway operations as effectively as those written and produced by Ian Wilson and Canadian Branchline. Would you like to enjoy that journey, or would you prefer to stay on the sidelines?

Our Readers

Although a few select retailers carry our books, we make the vast majority of our sales direct to our readers. Since 1997, we have cultivated a community around those readers, whom we originally called Branchliners. That name evokes the strong branchline theme that runs through all Ian Wilson’s books.

We issue email broadcasts usually every week or two. During online launches, these updates are more frequent (daily or more often) for a few days. Please subscribe to our email list (find the sign-up box on any page on this site), as we frequently table exclusive offers to subscribers only.


Attention Legacy Builers!

I’m opening up a few free introductory conversations for people who wish to learn about how to write their own in book, or have that story written for them.

Let’s hop on a 15- to 20-minute Zoom call so I can get to know you and to see if I can be of service to you. Click on this calendar link, select a day and time in the near future, and we’ll take it from there: