Railroad Stories: Riding the Rails Was Free

Because father worked for railroad, riding the rails was free for family.

| Good Old Days

My father worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad for more than 50 years, so while my sister and I were growing up, we had a pass for riding the rails on any of the trains.

When I was 14 and my sister was 12, we boarded the Doodlebug at Eureka, Kan., and went to Emporia, Kan. There, we transferred to another train that took us to Albuquerque, N.M.

Sometimes our family, excluding my father, who worked seven days a week, would get up at 4 a.m. and catch the milk train to Wichita. We'd arrive there at 7 a.m., and walk to Grandmother's house, where breakfast would be waiting for us. After spending the day, we'd catch the 6 p.m. train back home to Neal, Kan.

Years later, when I was in the service, stationed in Cleveland, Ohio, I'd leave on the 8 p.m. train for St. Louis. I'd have a layover there, and then transfer to the Missouri Pacific and arrive in El Dorado, Kan., the next morning, where my father would meet me.

Betty Whiteside
Potwin, Kansas

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. 

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