Along Different Lines: 70 Real Life Railway Stories by Geoff Body, Bill Parker

By Geoff Body, Bill Parker

Working a railway is a fancy enterprise. even if well-run it truly is there'll constantly be surprises, usually hilarious, often unforeseen, occasionally critical. right here railway pros keep in mind striking incidents from throughout their careers at the railways, lovingly compiled via specialist railwaymen and authors Geoff physique and invoice Parker. the incidents coated during this illustrated publication comprise such extraordinary 'everyday' occasions as dealing with hurricanes, rogue locomotives and runaway wagons, PR successes and differently, the Brighton Belle, Flying Scotsman and Mallard, education path capers, a wino invasion, trackside antics, the Eurostar backdrop, the delivery of a jail, and royal and different exact events. An stress-free glance again at existence at the railways.

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After all, I had two vague connections with the L & N: my mother's family came from just outside of Louisville and I had spent part of my childhood there. Moreover, Alexander had served a stint as vice president of the road. These projects overlapped and fed each other in important ways. The Richmond Terminal book appeared in 1970, the Alexander biography in 1971, and the Louisville & Nashville history in 1972. Suddenly I found myself at age 33 categorized as a specialist in railroad history: invited to review books on railroads and give papers on railroad history, consulted by other scholars working in the field, and solicited by rail buffs for information on subjects that utterly mystified me.

It was not only the excitement of strange cities that stirred them; it was the urge to seek new prospects, better lives than those at home. To many an ambitious farmboy the locomotive whistle wailing across the endless prairie was a call of destiny. It promised freedom, adventure, and new possibilities. Not all Americans saw the locomotive as a benign symbol. Some took a darker view, interpreting the engine of progress as an engine of Page 21 destruction that disrupted what sense of order there was in American life and warped social values by infecting men everywhere with a peculiarly virulent strain of restlessness and materialistic ambition.

By 1860 it had also become the greatest wheat depot in the world. The north-south journey from Chicago to Springfield (the state capital) had been shortened from a three-day ordeal by stagecoach to twelve hours by train. Chicago flourished because in the Old Northwest the railroad mania took the form of a virulent fever. Total trackage jumped from 1,300 miles in 1850 to 11,000 miles in 1860. The federal government extended its first land grant to help construct the Illinois Central, a rare north- Page 11 south line that paralleled the Mississippi River for the entire length of the state of Illinois.

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