The History of Railroads

mm017Like so many kids, I loved trains growing up. I never minded waiting for a train when riding in a car, I couldn’t wait to ride the train at Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm when we went as a family. I loved taking my own kids to the see the large collection of trains at the Orange Empire Railway Museum. I lived most of my life in Southern California, so had plenty of access to museums and theme parks where trains were always a big part of the adventure. Of course, spectacular movie events featuring trains, chases, and explosions, along with, stories of the wild west; which, almost always involved a train so only added to my childhood love. In all honesty, my enjoyment at watching trains has not entirely faded away with adulthood. I am sure many of you feel the same way.

Of course, with maturity comes a desire for added knowledge and enlightenment, to fill in the gaps of reality where fantasy lets off. For this a little bit of real history helps satisfy the curiosity. You might, then, imagine my pleasure at finding and reading The History of Railroads from the publishers of History Magazine.

History Magazine editor Edward Zapletal summarizes this exciting volume as follows:

“Thanks to improvements made by James Wyatt in the 18th century, the steam engine, in its various forms, eventually became a catalyst for a revolution in industry and travel. The image of a belching and billowing multi-ton behemoth seems almost romantic to us today, but in its day, the steam locomotive was responsible for building nations and providing a means to move people as they had never been before. Once we had a taste of the rails, there was no turning back.

In this special issue, compiled by History Magazine regular author, David A. Norris, he takes us on a tour of some of the more notable railroads in [see the list below]…

We also look at railroad stations, luxurious Pullman cars, WWI trains, tales of train robbers, locomotive thefts, dogs riding the rails, mail trains and Civil War train travel.

In addition, David also sheds some light on railroad legends the Old 97 and Casey Jones, both made famous in story and song.”

This special edition reprint of some of History Magazine’s best articles on the history of railroads, cover topics including:

  • The Transcontinental Railroad
  • Travel on the Orient Express
  • The Great Locomotive Chase
  • The Canadian Pacific Railway
  • The Panama Railroad
  • Civil War Train Travel
  • World War 1 Trains
  • Train Robberies
  • Owney the Mail Dog
  • Casey Jones and Old ‘97
  • A Look at Pullman Cars
  • And More!


Get your own copy of The History of Railroads from Family Roots Publishing.

Full Contents

  • The Fabled Orient Express; Leaving platform two for adventure, glamour, and excitement
  • Linked by the Golden Spike; Building the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads
  • Scandal, Rebellion, Mountains & Muskeg; The Canadian Pacific Railroad overcame natural and man-made obstacles to cross North America
  • The 1855 Panama Railroad; The first transcontinental railroad built across North America
  • From Purgatory to Pampering: Pullman Cars; The quest for rail passenger comfort
  • Stamping, Sorting and Steam; Moving the mail by rail
  • From Grand Central to the Not-so-Grand; A panorama of two centuries of great changes in railroad history
  • Trench Railways of World War I; Miniature trains were a deadly serious business from 1914-1918
  • The Great Locomotive Chase; A look at the Andrews Raid of 1862
  • Owney the Mail Dog; The mascot of the mail trains
  • Robberies on the Rails! This newfangled transportation brought a new kind of crime to the late 19th and early 20th centuries
  • Casey Jones and Old 97; Popular songs turned two railroad disasters into American folk legends
  • Taking the Cars; the first large-scale use of railroads to transfer armies and military supplies in war

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.