To this happy place, Welcome!


I've always had a real interest in the creation and operation of railroads. At the moment, this interest comes in three flavors. First is the railroading of Walt Disney and his railroads both at his Carolwood Drive home and the parks. These stories occupy a fun and colorful place in Disney history. Second, being a native South Carolinian, the Charleston and Western Carolina Railway covered (and still does!) the state, from mountains to the sea. I'm really enjoying uncovering its past. Third, depots have always been a fascinating subject. Their place in American history, in American towns, and in many lives of many people is so colorful. Their heyday was of course the Gilded Age. I'm developing a travelogue of that time with a concentration on the railroads and depots of that age.

On Disney railroading, in 2007 I made the realization many works have been created about Walt Disney's Disneyland in California. There was very little information and history on Walt Disney World in Florida. Being on the East Coast, I decided to combine my Disney interests with my railroad interests with my art interests. The result is a series of books on the railroads at Walt's Florida vacationland, Walt Disney World. In Florida, there are four "steel wheel on steel rail" railroads. One has been closed for some time and has a very colorful history, the Fort Wilderness Railroad. The second is the horse-drawn streetcar on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. The third is the Walt Disney World Railroad circling the Magic Kingdom. The fourth is the Wildlife Express in Animal Kingdom. 

I live in Greenville, South Carolina, which combined with Spartanburg, formed the two upstate termini of the former Charleston and Western Carolina Railway. It was essentially a subsidiary of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Today most of the trackage is still operating under CSX. It has all of the history and charm of a small railroad, yet hailed a big operation.

I operate as the "Steel Wheel on Steel Rail Studio." This is my authorship logo for these works. There is no official company or studio; this is a "single guy" operation. I cover the whole process of creation, design, story development, typesetting, graphics, photography, and editing. What fun! I work with Lulu Press of Raleigh, NC and CreateSpace Press of Amazon for the actual printing. When you purchase a book, it is from one of these printers. I don't handle or process orders, shipping, etc.

My approach to these books is to combine learning with fun. As you journey through a book, it is a journey by the two of us. My writing style is story-telling and conversational. Some have said they don't like the "blog" style of writing, but my intent is to experience these stories together. I feel this writing style is my way to do this. I hope you enjoy these books and the journeys. I have tried to make them colorful and entertaining and full of photographs. I hope they do bring a smile to your day.

To the right is a photo of Steve DeGaetano at the New Hope Valley Railroad at Bonsal, North Carolina. I'm a member of this great operating museum along with Steve and, if you happen in Raleigh, do pay it a visit! It is a great place for fun and railroads. Steve is the authoritative author and historian on the Disneyland Railroad in California. If you don't have copies of his two books, you need to get them!

The photo below on the right is of my very big interest in live steam railroading. My Gauge-1 "Roy" is an Accucraft Ruby (modified). The photo was taken at a live steam gathering in Asheville, NC. The WDW RR tender  and cars (modified) are from the train set bought on Main Street U.S.A. in Florida! The car on the end is a scratchbuilt Denver and Rio Grande Western passenger car.

The photo on the left is of George Hulcher and me standing with the real "Roy!" George is a WDW RR conductor, and is a retired, award-winning television producer. George gets full credit for my approach and format with the Disney books. In the books, I explain...


Last Update: November 1, 2014
Please send any comments/questions/suggestions/contributions to dleaphart@steelwheelonsteelrail.com.  Thanks!

 

      


© 2014 David Leaphart. Please email if you have any questions or comments.

Walt Disney World®,  Disneyland®, Disneyland® Railroad, Fort Wilderness® Railroad, Main Street, U.S.A®, Magic Kingdom®, and Walt Disney World® Railroad are registered trademarks of the Walt Disney Company. 

I do not claim or imply any relationship with the Walt Disney Company. The Walt Disney Company does not sponsor or endorse the use of these trademarks. However,  the trademarks refer to physical places and objects. My literary works of history and commentary cannot readily refer to these physical places and objects without using the trademarks.