Railroad Stories: Railroad Towns Grew and Prospered Because of Trains

Railroad towns, such as Cedar Rapids, Iowa, grew because of the train industry.


| Good Old Days


Railroad towns, such as Cedar Rapids, Iowa, grew and prospered because of trains. Now, motorists sit and fume while long freight trains lumber through the heart of downtown. Occasionally, the city council huffs and puffs with indignation. Policemen ticket trainmen for overlong halts on crossings. Then normality returns. The latest attempt to make lemonade out of a lemon has been to plant flower beds along the tracks.

Freight trains were the ride of choice for unemployed men who were looking for work during the Great Depression. They frequently dropped from the train - or were thrown off and asked townspeople for handouts of food or money.

I like to watch the passing freights and dream of far-away places with strange-sounding names. I am old enough to remember when any conveyance, aside from a horse and buggy, was a breathtaking adventure. Trains were the stuff of fantasy.

The plush seats seemed to me to be the epitome of opulence. They marched, two by two, down each side of the aisle. I was fascinated by the fact a seat could be reversed to provide a cozy nook for four. Even a small child or two could be accommodated.



The Mark Twain Zephyr ran between Burlington, Iowa, and St. Louis. The glass-enclosed dome car was introduced in the 1930s, and it gave one the feeling of being a Rockefeller to ride there at no additional cost. One had a panoramic view of the countryside.

No one that I knew ate in the dining car. It was considered too expensive. If one began a lengthy trip, it was with a well-stocked food basket that was expected to suffice until one's destination was reached. Sandwiches, fried chicken, deviled eggs, cookies and fruit were staples. Beverages depended upon vendors who boarded the train at stops.







mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE









Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at Grit.com — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265