History and railroads

Discussion related to railroads/trains that show up in TV shows, commercials, movies, literature (books, poems and more), songs, the Internet, and more... Also includes discussion of well-known figures in the railroad industry or the rail enthusiast hobby.

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History and railroads

Post by efin98 » Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:42 pm

I was watching The History Channel's "Wild West Tech" and in the episode devoted to the town of Deadwood there was a line by I believe Wild Bill Hickock(sp?): "a town is only young as long as it stays off the railroad" or something nearly identicle to that...

It seems to me that railroads back in the late 1800s used to be like they are today, looked down upon by the locals and underapreciated for their affect on the communities. Anyone else get that sense while seeing the railraods in similar shows or on scripted TV?

And note: the railroads are actually looked at fairly by the series, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if they were a favorite of the people on the series in that many shows feature trains at some point in their voiceovers and reenactments :-D

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Post by walt » Fri Mar 11, 2005 4:02 pm

One thing to remember about the late 19th Century--- This was the era of the "Robber Barons", and quite frankly, they were only interested in filling their personal coffers. Because of this, the railroads often spent as little as they could get away with on such things as safety equipment ( often refusing to adopt a number of the advances in rail technology such as the automatic coupler, the air- brake, block signalling, etc, long after that technology had proven itself to be viable), passenger comfort-- some luxury "name trains" notwithstanding etc. This created a significant amount of ill feeling toward the railroad companies ( and also led to what became over-regulation by government) which is what you're seeing reflected in some of the histories you're watching.
Please Move to the Rear and Speed Your Ride
( Philadelphia Transportation Company)


Post by efin98 » Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:30 pm

Well said Walt, well said.

While not a series about trains it's still good to know there is a series that protrays the railroad as accurately as possible. Worth a look if you don't mind history.

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