As not to become an unintended spoiler for the novel, I've confined my characters to those who begin the story with Alex.
Alex is the great grandson of Paul Kiefer who created the legendary Hudson locomotive - the Blue Goose. A combat veteran and former Army Ranger, he has a hard time shaking off his PTSD and the short temper that comes with it. Guilt haunts him from an estranged relationship with his parents whose suspicious deaths denied him any chance at reconciliation. A large man with a warrior's disposition, he is ill equipped to assume his family's legacy.
Frank Edwards was the best friend of Alex's father, and is a lover of old steam locomotives. An elder black man employed by the Forest Service, he keeps his background to himself, having not forgiven Alex for the way he mistreated his parents when they were alive. Going by the hobo handle of Snaps, he hides the kind of secrets that have long haunted the Kiefer family.
A tall dark woman with the personality to match, Chessie is the CEO of one of the nation's largest railways. She is also Alex's aunt through his mother Cassandra Hamilton. At least, so she claims. Despised by the Kiefer family, she is an unwelcome addition to Alex's troubles. Chessie is far more sinister than she seems, and with good reason. She will stop at nothing to halt the dreams of Alex's father, and is determined to save Alex from the Kiefer legacy no matter the cost. She is also known by a much darker name in Hobohemia - the Witch of the Rails.
One of the last steam children staying at the Baldwin Locomotive Works, Glory watches as her world fades around her, taking her friends with it. She is desperate to rekindle the romance and hope of steam locomotives in an industry increasingly turning away from the past.
The commander of a company of hobo knights, Buttons is known for his overcoat's oversized buttons and lengthy experience fighting yegg. The man looks a lot like a New England captain with his crusty disposition and beard. He is trying to stave off the Witch of the Rails, and becomes Alex's mentor in a world Alex didn't believe in.
Cecilia is the daughter of the current Captain of Industry in the Baldwin Locomotive Works. A slight nerdy sort of young woman, she is determined to save the crumbling industry but lacks both her father's support and a steam locomotive capable of recapturing the famly's former glory. Unlike her father, she is a true engineer, able to bring blue prints into shimmering substance.