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“Rail Remembrances: The Train in Folk Memory and Imagination”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF



If you’ve ever heard the whistle of a fast freight train beating out a beautiful tune,

If you’ve ever seen the cold on the railroad tracks shining in the silvery moon,

If you’ve ever felt a locomotive shake the ground then I know you don’t need to be told,

Why I’m goin’ down to the railroad tracks to watch them lonesome boxcars roll.

Butch Hancock, “Boxcars”

Without question, the coming of the railroads was one of the most revolutionarily transformative events in the history of the United

States and the American people. Seen as a prerequisite to both the conquest of the Far West and the realization of the national goal of industrialization, privately owned and operated railroad companies received financial subsidization from government at all levels in the form of land grants, loans, and tax incentives. The faster, cheaper, and more reliable transportation the railroads represented resulted in the subjugation of the Native American, the settlement of the Great

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Medium 9781855209718

Chapter 5 - Rear Axle Propeller Shaft

PR Pub PR Pub Brooklands Books ePub
Medium 9780253347572

8 “That Telephone Man”

RushJr. Loving Indiana University Press ePub

Stuart Saunders’s lobbying of the board was paying off, and he soon had the votes he needed to oust Alfred Perlman. Unwittingly Perlman had helped by insisting that the road’s Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, shops build more new cars, and with dollars growing increasingly scarce, this and the constant rise in costs were making the directors additionally skeptical of Perlman’s judgment. So Saunders stepped up his still highly secret search for a new president.

After several months, Saunders heard of a possible candidate through one of David Bevan’s friends. Although Bevan was not directly involved in the search, he obviously knew—probably through an ally of Mellon—what was going on. For Bevan, Saunders’s quiet quest was an opportunity to gain more power for himself and possibly unseat Saunders, too, so he slipped his own chess piece onto the board.

Saunders was about to set off on one of his periodic trips to Europe in late June 1969 when Bevan told him he was quitting and presented him with the letter of resignation. Saunders realized this could perturb Mellon and create a boardroom confrontation. He also knew the timing was awful, because he needed Bevan’s banking connections to keep Penn Central supplied with capital. He therefore tried to placate Bevan with a salary increase, urging him to hold off and telling him of his plan to get rid of Perlman. At one point Bevan said he couldn’t take the pressure anymore and had to get out, that he needed a good night’s sleep for a change, and Saunders quickly quipped back, suggesting he take sleeping pills. Saunders’s humor annoyed Bevan, but finally he did agree to hold off quitting, and to make Bevan feel involved in the overthrow of Perlman, Saunders asked him to give advice on presidential candidates. And he promised that, once Perlman was kicked upstairs, Bevan would regain his old seat on the board.

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4 - Streetcars: That Most Democratic Conveyance

John H.Jr. White Indiana University Press ePub

That Most Democratic Conveyance

THE OMNIBUS PROVIDED ADEQUATE PUBLIC TRANSIT IN MOST cities by the middle of the nineteenth century. Yet transit operations, especially in the larger urban centers, were looking for ways to increase vehicle capacity and lower operating costs. The solution was the streetcar. It was a very low-tech scheme that used old and familiar methods. The track plan was the old-fashioned strap-iron rail scheme that performed poorly on steam-powered lines but was sufficient for small, light city cars. Its big advantage was cheapness. The cars were undersized and devoid of heating or power brakes. The driver's right arm powered the brake lever. Lighting was minimal, with one small oil lamp at each end of the car. The motive power was the horse, a creature enslaved for drayage since the beginning of civilization. They were a serviceable, if unenthusiastic, street motor but were costly and inefficient. Horses were expensive to buy, capable of working only a few hours a day, and subject to illness. They were always hungry. They also presented a health hazard to all city dwellers, because the street was their toilet. Because thousands of horses were needed to power the cars, the pavement was always covered in urine and feces. Labor costs were high as well. It took a two-man crew to operate each car; one managed the horses and the hand brake while the second looked after the passengers and collected the fares. This rudimentary form of transit was clearly hard on both man and beast.

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Medium 9781855209657

Chapter 1 Engine

Greg Hudock Brooklands Books ePub

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