Twilight of the Great Trains, expanded edition

Twilight of the Great Trains, expanded edition

Frailey, Fred W.
Distribution: World
Publication date: 08/30/2010
Format: Hardback 21 color illus., 126 b&w illus., 41 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-35477-8
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In the years following World War II, a potent combination of new prosperity, a renewed love affair with the automobile, improved highways, and the availability of commercial air travel contributed to the dwindling number of rail travelers. By the 1960s, rail passenger service had become an endangered species in an unfriendly environment. Fred W. Frailey recounts the demise of the pre-Amtrak passenger train in Twilight of the Great Trains. Drawing upon a lifetime of experience as a reporter and editor, Frailey uncovers the reasons behind the disappearance of these great trains and explains how 11 railroad systems withstood or welcomed, fought or embraced the inevitable decline of their passenger services. Stimulating and informative, this book offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most challenging eras in American railroad history.

Author Bio

Fred W. Frailey is author of Southern Pacific's Blue Streak Merchandise; Rolling Thunder; and Zephyrs, Chiefs & Other Orphans.


I consider this book to be the best documentation of the variety of ways the selected railroads dealt with the passenger train 'problem' in the decade leading up to the creation of Amtrak.Fred Frailey has done an excellent job. Of all the books about the 'last years' of rail travel, Frailey's by far the best.Fred Frailey is by far one of the best writers in the railroad book business.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The View from 1960
What Passenger Problem? Kanas City Southern
All Hail The "City of Everywhere": Union Pacific
Spoiler: Southern Pacific
The True Believers: Santa Fe
Katy Did: Missouri-Kansas-Texas
Missouri Pacific's Mr. Clean: Missouri Pacific
Zephyrs agaist a Head Wind: Burlington / Northern Pacific / Great Northern
Southern's Hospitality: Southern Railway
Most Likely to Succeed: Atlantic Coast Line / Seaboard Air Line
Chessie's Last Stand: Baltimore & Ohio / Chesapeake & Ohio
Twilight Limiteds: New York Central / Pennsylvania / New Haven
America's Main Street: Illinois Central
The End (And the New Beginning): Amtrak