Railroad Stories: Riding the Rails Was Adventure

In the 1930s, riding the rails was an adventure to children.

| Good Old Days

  • Old train and depot
    Old steam trains and railroad depots are a thing of the past, but they will never be forgotten.

  • Old train and depot

We were to take a trip to California on the train! In the 1930s, riding the rails across the Unites States was as thrilling to children then as a voyage into outer space might be today. From our home in Detroit, we eagerly looked forward to this exciting adventure.

My older brother and I had just recovered from bouts of whooping cough, and our parents believed a visit to the sunny West Coast would work its magic on us. In addition, we would meet several relatives. Of course, we also had heard a lot about Hollywood and certainly hoped we would see some stars.

It was fun packing our suitcases and going down to the old Michigan Central Station in Detroit for our train trip to Chicago. Our papa had to stay home to work, but he was there to wave goodbye as we left with our mother and grandmother on the first leg of our journey.

Arriving in Chicago, we were shuttled clear across town from one huge railroad station to another even larger station, where cross-country train trips began.

We enjoyed sitting on benches in the huge waiting room, hearing trains being announced and watching passengers lining up and hurrying off to their trains.

Then the loud, squawky public address system announced our train, and it was time for us to board the Santa Fe Super Chief for our 40-hour, 2,000 plus-mile trip.

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