Last Train to Texas

Last Train to Texas

My Railroad Odyssey
Fred W. Frailey
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/04/2020
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-04524-9
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Midnight train rides, head-on freight collisions—there is never a dull moment when it comes to trains. Take a look at America's biggest railroads and meet the thunderous personalities who operate them.

In Last Train to Texas, author Fred W. Frailey examines the workings behind the railroad industry and captures incredible true stories along the way. Discover how men like William "Pisser Bill" F. Thompson swerve from financial ruin, bad merger deals, and cutthroat competition, all while racking up enough notoriety to inspire a poem titled "Ode to a Jerk." Bold, savvy, and ready for a friendly brawl, the only thing louder and more thrilling than these men are the trains that they handle. Come along with Frailey as he travels the world, one railroad at a time. Whether it's riding the Canadian Pacific Railway through a blizzard, witnessing a container train burglary in the Abo Canyon, or commemorating a poem to Limerick Junction in Dublin, Ireland, Frailey's journeys are rife with excitement and the occasional mishap.

Filled with humorous anecdotes and thoughtful insights into the railroading industry, Last Train to Texas is an adventure in every sense of the word.

Author Bio

Journalist Fred Frailey has written for Trains magazine for more than 40 years. He has authored five other railroad books, including Twilight of the Great Trains, Southern Pacific's Blue Streak Merchandise, and Rolling Thunder (with Gary Benson).



Fred Frailey has produced a marvelous collection of railroad stories, all told by a true train buff in a unique style that describes railroading perfectly. Whether a trip through the snow on the Canadian Pacific, or watching Amtrak's Eddie DeBasky dispatch trains in and out of Manhattan at rush hour or taking a ride on the Florida East Coast's 101, Frailey captures it all.


 (Rush Loving, author of The Well-Dressed Hobo)


Fred Frailey has spent his entire career dissecting the business side of railroading and this volume contains his most insightful works about what makes American railroads tick. In short, it's a retrospective on the industry in the last forty years.


 (Thomas Hoback, Founder, President and CEO, Indiana Rail Road (Retired))

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Thomas G. Hoback

Part I: Running the Railroads

1. President Carter to the Rescue

2. The Man You Never Wanted to Cross

3. Watch Rob Run

4. Thinking Outside the Container

5. The World According to Mcclellan

6. The Saga of 'Pisser Bill'

7. A Man in Full

8. Mike Haverty's Long Shadow

9. How to Go Boots Up in Railroading

10. The Battles of Powder River

11. When Lou Menk Saved a Zephyr

12. Inside the Mind of Michael Ward

13. The Legacy of Hunter Harrison

14. A Battle for Supremacy in the West

Part II: Travels around Trains

15. The Cocoon of a Long-Distance Train

16. No Place for Man or Beast . . . or Train

17. The Ladies from Cork Are Aghast

18. Crossing the Country in a Blur

19. Ode to a Coach Yard

20. By Train to the End of the Earth

21. Pencil-Whipping Train 101

22. I Plead the Fifth

23. My Prestigious Experience

24. The Late, Late Train

25. The Train to Cordoba

26. You Gotta Love the Soo Line

27. New York City, Then

28. New York City, Now

29. Best Little Railroad in Effingham

30. Last Train to Texas

31. Railroading in a Fiery Furnace

32. Night Train to Nowhere

Part III: Kicking the Train Down the Tracks

33. Miss Katy's Funny Pieces of Paper

34. Moments I'd Rather Forget

35. The Timeless Clovis Sub

36. What's the Matter with Florida?

37. The Brain Drain

38. A Little Drawbridge that Couldn't

39. That Commodore Vanderbilt Feeling

40. The Ageless World of Stan Kistler

41. Saturday Night Fever

42. Who Really Saved Illinois Central

43. Why You May Yet Read by Candlelight

44. 14th Street at Night

45. The Wreck of Old 54

46. The Mother of All Traffic Jams