A lavishly illustrated and researched book on Pennsylvania's first narrow-gauge railroads has been written by Mike Roth and Stanley T. White. They will meet rail fans and sign copies of “A Railroad For the Southern End” at Bookplace in Oxford on Aug. 21 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The 481-page book focuses on the rail lines, popularly called "The Little, Old & Slow" (the Lancaster, Oxford and Southern), and "The Peachy" (the Peachbottom Railroad). The two lines provided southern Lancaster and Chester counties with rail transport for the area's mineral, dairy and agricultural produce, connecting with the Oxford terminus of the Philadelphia & Baltimore Central Railroad and providing access to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Wilmington and other urban centers.

The book has decorative endpapers, high-quality coated paper and numerous illustrations, many in color. There are photos, maps and brief biographies, as well as local newspaper accounts of the planning, construction and operation of these two railroads. Every aspect of daily life along the rail lines is documented: Minor criminal acts, upsets and accidents, and even the discovery of two copperhead snakes ("Both [snakes] were killed, one measuring 30 inches in length,” the newspaper account notes.)

Railroad buffs, local historians, those who live in Lancaster and Chester counties – where many signs of the railroads still exist -- will enjoy this encyclopedic work.

Bookplace is at 2373 Baltimore Pike, Oxford. Call 717-951-6418 for more information.