Railroad Stories: Remembers Living In Railroad Boxcar

Family once lived in railroad boxcar.

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My family once lived in a boxcar for nearly a year. My father worked for the railroad, and he was transferred to a very small town. The railroad company was supposed to have a house built for us when we arrived. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, so my parents, brother, sister and I lived in a boxcar until our house was done. Our boxcar sat on the "right-of-way" beside the tracks.

If we were outside playing when a train came by, we were taught to go back to the fence and hang on until it passed. In the winter, we sometimes woke up with a sifting of snow on our beds, as the boxcar was definitely not airtight.

Before the next winter, we moved into our new house. We all started school, but Dad didn't think we were getting a good enough education, so he asked to be transferred to a larger town, where he became a brakeman on a freight train.

Veda Christen
Waterloo, Iowa


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.