Railway Preservation News

New Stephen King Book - "Charlie the Choo-Choo"
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Author:  Bobharbison [ Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:45 pm ]
Post subject:  New Stephen King Book - "Charlie the Choo-Choo"

There's a new Stephen King book due out soon. You are most likely thinking "That's nice Bob, but what does that have to do with RYPN?!?"

Well, it's a train book, called "Charlie the Choo-Choo", written by Stephen King and published under the pseudonym of Beryl Evans—a character in Stephen King’s novel, The Waste Lands, part of the Dark Tower series.

It appears to be a real kids book. Nobody dies in a massive train wreck, and none of the characters go on a killing spree. Instead, it follows the common theme of a character who is replaced by something new and better, only to come back later and save the day.

In this case the character is a steam locomotive named Charlie. The text says Charlie is a "402 Class Big Boy locomotive" but the illustrations make him look like a Crown 4-4-0 rather than one of UP's biggest engines.

He is well loved and does a good job, but he's eventually replaced with a new diesel and put out to pasture. He's stored in the enginehouse until (spoiler alert!) one day the diesel fails and they need a replacement. So, they do a quick form 4 and 1472 day rebuild... err, I mean the engine instantly is ready to go, just like any loco you find sitting in a barn, and it saves the day! They then retire to someplace like Disneyland and live happily ever after.

You can preview the book here:

OK, so it's not exactly an accurate representation of railroad preservation. At least the general theme is there, and it's a fun way to introduce a new generation to the idea.

Author:  Overmod [ Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Stephen King Book - "Charlie the Choo-Choo"

If you have read the Dark Tower series, the "Charlie the Choo-Choo" book itself is an important part of the story. (Which, itself, has a number of interesting excursions into counterfactuality intruding itself into individual worlds...)

Do the pictures of Charlie's face in this new 'edition' have the disturbing characteristic described in the Dark Tower story (and a couple of illustrations in the trade-press editions)? It is not a typical kid's book, and in fact (like roses, guns, and some other things) is a parable and metaphor far more than a thing.

I hate to say this needs to be moved to 'railfanning' but mythical literary preservation is not what most of the readers on the Interchange will want to read...

Author:  Bobharbison [ Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Stephen King Book - "Charlie the Choo-Choo"

I haven't seen the book, only the previews at the site I linked to. The face is indeed a bit creepy now that you mention it.

They mention the whole backstory thing here:
http://www.ew.com/article/2016/07/22/ch ... -comic-con

However, another article I read seems to imply the book will actually be published and offered for sale to the public. Is it real or is it just part of a promo? I'm not sure.

Author:  Charlie [ Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Stephen King Book - "Charlie the Choo-Choo"

Aw geez, not this again. I had enough grief as a kid with those stupid Good 'N Plenty commercials.

Author:  Bobharbison [ Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Stephen King Book - "Charlie the Choo-Choo"

Charlie, the engine is named Charlie and the Engineer is Bob. I think you and I need to figure out a way to play this to our advantage. Maybe we sell autographs or something? I even drive a train that looks an awfully lot like the one in the book, except for the somewhat scary face.

Author:  Overmod [ Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Stephen King Book - "Charlie the Choo-Choo"

Now that this is in Railfanning, as another 'Bob' I think we need to get in touch with the organization and point out that HIT Entertainment no longer has a monopoly on characters for massive sell-a-brations and personal appearances...

While this might be more the Anti-Thomas than an actually appealing Day Out with Blaine (you would likely not get a whole day out of it, and the part you got might have some admittedly brief but still unpleasant moments) we might remember that Michael Eisner thought he would make a killing out of Bazooka Joe after Disney canned him, and a group of folks took out a full-page ad in the New York Times crowing about how they commercialized poor little Strawberry Shortcake.

So, in a sort of refreshing way, we could come clean with a character that's all about push, shove, and chutzpah no matter what. And teach the kiddies that going to the gift shop is a good part of the experience, not just 'afterparty' stuff...

I say someone gets the licensing rights to make a Charlie face for one of the logical trains that could run a Day Out with Charlie, and start developing collateral for the big promotional push around the Dark Tower movie. There's gold in that thar publicity budget... and I can guarantee you that no one has tumbled to the incredible value inherent in full-size train operations even though the necessary examples are, shall we say, staring them in the face...

If I'd gone to Yale I'd be two hours into getting this started already.

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