The Railroad: The Life Story of a Technology

Front Cover
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005 - Technology & Engineering - 182 pages

Railroads altered the landscape of the United States. Within a few decades of the invention of the locomotive, railways stretched from coast to coast, enabling people and goods to travel far greater distances than ever before, completely altering our concept of time and space. And while railroads may seem like an old technology, they continue to be an essential means of transporting both good and people, and new technologies are making the railroads an increasingly relevant resource for the 21st century. This volume in the Greenwood Technographies series tells the life story of all aspects of railroad technology--everything from the structure of the track to communications to what powers the locomotive.

The Railroad: The Life Story of a Technology gives students and railroad enthusiasts plenty of information on the development of this popular technology:

; Chronicles the early years of the railroad, from early wooden tramways in Massachusetts, to the famous Tom Thumb

; Discusses the important technological failures, such as the narrow-gauge craze of the late nineteenth century with track widths as small as two feet.

; Covers all aspects of railroad technology -- everything from the structure of the track to communications to what powers the locomotive.

; Links the technology to broader social developments, such as the decline of the railroad in the mid-20th century to outmoded governmental and labor restrictions, and the current rise of railroad technology as a result of new managerial techniques.

The volume includes a timeline of important dates in railroad history, a glossary of important terms, and a selected bibliography of works appropriate for further research.


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2 Youth 18601880
3 Maturity 18801940
4 Old Age 19401970
5 Rebirth 1970Present
Steam Locomotive Types

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Page 14 - I do verily believe that the time will come when carriages propelled by steam will be in general use, as well for the transportation of passengers as goods, travelling at ihi rate of fifteen miles an hour, or 300 miles per day'.

About the author (2005)

H. Roger Grant is professor of history at Clemson University. He is a specialist in American transportation history. Some of his recent books include histories of the Erie Lackawanna, Chicago & North Western and Wabash railroads and he is completing a book-length study of the Georgia & Florida Railroad.

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