Railroad Stories: Passenger Train Travel Top Form of Transportation

Main form of transportation during World War II was passenger train travel.

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During World War II, my sister and I worked in Chicago at a defense factory that made walkie-talkies for the service. We lived on a farm 200 miles south of Chicago, so passenger train travel was a must for us.

The Illinois Central Railroad had a passenger train that left the South Chicago station each night and went through our hometown. Once or twice a month, on Friday night, we rode the train home. It stopped in every town, big or small, to pick up or let off passengers. If we were lucky, we each got a seat to ourselves.

We would stop in Champaign, IlL, and the conductor would get off and have breakfast. While we waited, vendors would get on the train to sell coffee, milk, doughnuts and wonderful ham sandwiches. It was 8:30 a.m. by the time we finally got to our hometown. Then we had a mile walk to our parents' house.

I have good memories of our train trips home. Now, the trains go a lot faster and make fewer stops. My grandfather and my uncle both worked for the railroad, which will always be a part of my life.

Lavona Jones
Edgewood, Ill.

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.