A new book offers a look back at 75 years of railroad stories from America. Great American Railroad Stories (2014) contains articles originally published in Trains magazine, reaching back to the magazine’s launch in 1940.

Click to Enlarge / Image - kalmbachstore.com
Click to Enlarge / Image – kalmbachstore.com

At over 50 stories and almost 300 pages, Great American Railroad Stories offers the reader a glimpse into the era of steam trains, what it was like to ride on earlier passenger trains, as well the past work of railroad workers. A sample of article titles hints at a variety of intriguing reading:

“Overland Diary – 1869 / A schoolteacher crosses the West by train five months after Promontory”

“The Caboose / An old-timer’s tales about early and memorable cabooses”

“Goin’ Like 60! / Why traveling at 60mph means something”

In addition to the re-printed articles, Great American Railroad Stories also includes historical photos. Further information about the book can be found at Railroad Stories.

As a final note, as previous visitors to this site may have noticed, this writer is an advocate for passenger rail travel. The continued population growth in North America into the 21st century has resulted in increased traffic gridlock and automobile emissions, and train travel offers a way to avoid both. According to current statistics on Amtrak.com, train travel is over 30% more energy efficient than auto travel on a per-passenger-mile basis. Amtrak carried over 31 million passengers in 2012-2013 and it is the fastest growing form of transportation in the US.

Further, there is something quite civilized to speeding past a traffic jam in the comfort of your train car, with a beverage of choice in-hand, and the ability to read and work without stress. Perhaps Great American Railroad Stories, with its sharing of the excitement of past rail travel, will lead a reader to seek out his/her own train adventures today.

 (Copyright- Chad Beharriell)

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