Four Ways West Publications is owned and operated by Joseph W. Shine. The company was formed in 1986 to self-publish railroad books based on Southern Pacific passenger trains and operations.
The initial title, “Southern Pacific Passenger Trains—Night Trains of the Coast Route” was co-authored with Dennis Ryan. During the 1920s and 1930s, SP advertised “Four Wonderful Ways West”, referring to the railroad’s four major passenger routes to the western U.S.—thus the name of the company, Four Ways West.
During this same time there were very interesting merger negotiations taking place between the Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe railroads, which if the merger was consummated, would have brought these two giant roads together as the SPSF. Having a lifelong interest in railroading, Joe wanted to pursue publication of SPSF Annuals, also beginning in 1986. An SPSF title was readied and about to be published when the nearly unthinkable happened, the ICC disallowed the merger. Hurriedly, some wording needed to changed from “the new railroad” to “if the merger had transpired” and “SPSF Motive Power-1986” was then published. In as much as the merger did not transpire, separate SP and Santa Fe annuals were brought out during 1987 and 1988. With the coming of a new decade, two titles were published; “SP into the ‘90s” and “BN into the ‘90s”.
Following the success of these titles, Joe became interested in pursuing the publication of books featuring Class 1 railroads which have passed into history via merger. This began with several titles on Pacific Northwest roads, i.e. the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific railroads.
Interested authors approached Joe concerning the publication of books they had written and he then became an author/publisher. The rest is history. More than one-hundred titles later, Four Ways West publishes titles on American railroads both in vivid color and historic sharp black and white.