In this lavish celebration of the glory and grandeur that are the great North American railroad, author Claude Wiatrowski examines the development of the industry with nearly 90 features covering more than three dozen railroads past and present, as well as dozens more subjects, including railroads in film and music, specialty railroads, life and travel on the rails, and much more.
Beginning with a few tentative steps in the 1820s and continuing through the robber barons, Depression, prosperity, and merger, right up to today’s rail renaissance, the railroad remains essential to North American industry and our everyday lives. Although the rich tapestry of iconic rail lines that once crisscrossed the continent has been merged, contracted, and otherwise cut down to more appropriate proportions, today’s rail industry continues the spirit of relentless technological innovation that has always been its hallmark, supported by seven robust “Class 1” railways, a host of thriving regional short lines, and renewed public interest in passenger transport.
Wiatrowski, a rail author and award-winning video producer, generously illustrates the text with an array of material, including vintage black-and-white and modern color photographs, period advertisements, maps, brochures, timetables, postcards, posters, menus, and other collectibles—nearly 600 pieces in all, many of them rarely seen! Also included are a list of Web resources and contact information for museums, preserved railways, and historic sites throughout the United States and Canada.
From the might of yesteryear’s rail empires to the railroad’s current roles, here is the fabulously colorful story of the industry that moved nations and stirs imaginations to this day.