Railroad Stories: Riding the Rails Experience

Recalls first experience riding the rails as a child.

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As a young child, living in a small Kansas town, my life was good. Then my father took a job with the Ford factory in Flint, Mich. After school let out for the summer, my mama, two sisters and I boarded the train in our small town and headed to Michigan for the summer. The trip took several days and nights. I remember eating oatmeal in the dining car and going over a huge bridge one night. My first experience riding the rails was nothing less than impressive!

Later, as a young woman, I became friends with another young woman who lived in my duplex. Her husband worked for the rail-road and was away quite often. Eventually, they were transferred to San Antonio, Texas, and I missed her very much.

I decided to visit her, and wound up on a train headed for Texas. The train was packed with servicemen. It was a long, hot trip, with the cinders coming in through the open windows, but I truly enjoyed San Antonio and the time I spent with my friend.

During World War II, I took a train to meet my future husband, who was coming home on a 30-day leave from the Navy. We had been engaged for a year, and during his leave, we were married. What an exciting train ride that was.

I am now living in Wichita, Kan., and I hope that Amtrak will come through our town. I would love to ride the rails again!

Virginia M. Moss
Wichita, Kan.


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.