Terror Of Trains

It was once as big as fear of flying, and it helped show the way to psychotherapy and the modern treatment of traumatic stress

When four airplanes crashed in acts of terrorism on September 11, 2001, killing thousands of Americans, many of the millions who watched the horror on television made a secret vow: I am not going to step onto an airplane again. They knew this decision was irrational, and ultimately untenable, but it seemed the one small thing that a terrorized populace could do. We could opt out of the technological sophistication that had made such wholesale slaughter of innocents possible.

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The Case Of The Vanishing Locomotive

. . . and the birth of the railroad revolution in America. A mystery solved.


The transportation revolution of nineteenth-century America, and the opening of its interior heartland; the advent of large corporate enterprise, and the growing power of the profit motive; the building of the earliest railway systems, and the arrival from England of two steam locomotives, the first ever seen in the Western Hemisphere; the initial success of one of these, and its enormous fame thereafter; the unknown fate of the other, followed by its virtual disappearance from the historical record . . . Read more »

The Power Of Live Steam

They are thirty years gone from our main lines, but all across the country steam locomotives are pulling trainloads of passengers into the past. A lifelong studenj of the great age of American railroadj reveals some of the most impressive.


Until 1955 steam locomotives were the dominant form of power on American railways. They pulled the fast passenger trains and the plodding freights. Their rapid replacement by the colorless but efficient diesel-electrics was very poss, iprecedented in technological history, where major shifts tend to be gradual because of capital costs. But the steamers disappeared from main-line railroads in just five years. Read more »

The Lady Brakemen

Consigned to the Pennsylvania Railroad’s “Garbage Run,” they fought their own war on the home front, and they helped shape a victory as surely as their brothers and husbands did overseas

All the new lady brakemen on the Pennsylvania Railroad were put to work on what was officially known as the Jersey Coast Extra List. The crew dispatchers referred to it as the Women’s List, and the male brakemen, who had been consigned to it before the women were hired, called it the Garbage Run. It was also known as the meat—as opposed to the gravy, the cushy sit-down jobs on the main line Washington Express, which paid three times as much for about one-tenth the work.Read more »

City Station

ONCE THE VERY HEART of downtown St. Louis, Union Station has come through hard times to celebrate its one hundredth birthday—and even though the trains don’t pull in here anymore, it’s still an urban draw


The country’s largest railroad station as well as once one of the busiest will turn one hundred on September 4, and preceding the anniversary will come a summer’s worth of celebrations.Read more »