Great Northern Railway Historical Society

Create a Reference Sheet

The GNRHS wants YOU! That's right, the Society needs writers and researchers willing to accurately research GN-related topics. Please take a moment to read through the following. We hope you will consider becoming a Reference Sheet author!

The GNRHS encourages its members, indeed all authors, to contribute to The Goat. Each article of information you provide tells us just a little bit more about the Great Northern. Working together, we can keep its memory alive today and for future generations. If you have knowledge you’d like to share, please contact us. Research is mostly up to the individual but we have extensive information in our Archives to assist you. In addition, we have editors, photo specialists, proof readers and researchers eager to help. The Authors Guidelines below will help get you started. Although the process may seem daunting, it actually goes quite smoothly. Give it a try! Who knows, you may become famous!

About Reference Sheets

Reference Sheets are usually the result of someone’s curiosity or keen interest in a facet of Great Northern history, structures, equipment, right of way, locomotives, etc. They are well researched, edited, reviewed and documented.

A brief summary or outline of the subject you intend to research is a good place to begin. A complete list of past Reference Sheets is available for your review. Please contact our Reference Sheet Editor to get started. He will discuss the topic with you, indicate its potential, and encourage you in your research.

Before research and writing begin, text (e.g. Microsoft - Word is preferred) and photo (e.g. 300dpi if scanning) guidelines should be discussed with our Photo and Layout Editor. As you write, you will then know how to present your Reference Sheet for publication. You can also check in with the Photo and Layour Editor during the writing process.

There are several resources today that can help you research your topic. An extensive list of GN resources is available. The GN corporate records at the Minnesota Historical Society are a key source: and enter Great Northern in the search box. Also try the GNRHS Archives online at

Please feel free to email our Archives Team for further help, or to arrange visits to the Archives' two physical locations at St. Paul, MN (Jackson Street Roundhouse) and Burien, WA (Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive). The Archives email address is staffed by multiple people. For urgent matters, you may call Stu Holmquist at (612) 751-2343 or John Thomas at (651) 249-6456. We encourage you NOT to limit yourself to online sources. The physical archives at MNHS and GNRHS and other libraries contain literally millions of documents and tens of thousands of photos, blueprints, maps, etc, only a fraction of which have been scanned.

The author must acknowledge referenced sources (text, photos, charts, maps, etc.) through footnotes and/or a bibliography. If permissions are necessary, GNRHS editors can help you obtain them. Please keep master back-up discs of all text, photos, diagrams and research information you submit. If an article needs a more formal review, the GNRHS has several knowledgeable members who can help provide feedback.

The art of editing a Reference Sheet is a partnership between the author and Reference Sheet Coordinator. They thoroughly discuss the copy, photos, diagrams, etc. to arrive at a Reference Sheet that is interesting to the membership and fully accurate. In all cases, the decision of our expert editors will be final. Once the text is approved, several editors will review it for basics: punctuation, spelling, grammar, and readability. Here is also an opportunity for the author and Reference Sheet Coordinator to make final changes. The Layout Editor then formats text, photos and diagrams for printing. The author also receives a final proof for last minute changes which, we hope, will be minimal. A final proof for spelling, punctuation, etc. is also made by editors. The Reference Sheet is then approved by the Managing Editor for publication.

Publishing Rights

Reference Sheets, Modelers’ Pages and Goat contents are copyrighted by GNRHS. All or parts of these publications may not be reprinted without written permission of the Managing Editor. Original photos, diagrams, drawings, maps, charts, etc. are returned to the author after publication. Since the GNRHS is a non-profit volunteer organization, authors and contributors are not compensated for their work.


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