Rival Rails: The Race to Build America’s Greatest Transcontinental Railroad

We spent an evening hearing author, Walter Borneman discuss his book Rival Rails. He is a lawyer with an undergrad and graduate degree in History who researches the railroad.

C-SPAN was there to record the event. The audience was hard to decipher. Scott said he could tell there were a few railroaders there – they walked like their knees were all jacked up! -ha.

I think the majority of the crowd were Foamers (people who are obsessed with the railroad.)

Train transportation is a very romanticized era in American history, in my mind. Jumping a train and riding the rails…seems like an adventure of a lifetime! I was in 4th grade…Mrs. Adams class…when I learned the meaning of the word ‘hobo’. I have been one ever since. My mind is always wandering to new lands and new experiences. Given the resources, I think my location would change just as often. I’ve already begged SS to change railyards (he can go from here to Cheyenne, Wyoming) every couple of years and let’s live in different states toward the end of his career.

So it was interesting to hear more about the progression of the railroad over the years. It has had a momental impact (both positive and negative) on the expansion of our country.

The lecture was at the National Archives at KC building – just outside Kansas City’s beautiful Union Station. We walked around a little afterwards and took a few pictures.


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