Here is your one-stop shop for learning about all of the newest additions or changes happening at Listed below is every page that is either new or which was updated within the last few days. Simply click on the link "Continue Reading..." under each heading to visit the page in question. With new articles added on a regular basis be sure and either check back here often or subscribe to the website's RSS feed to keep up with the latest.

Mar 23, 2017

The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad

The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad was a strong Midwest line for many years until after WWII. A botched merger hurt the company as did a strike in the 1970s. It was liquidated in 1980.

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Mar 22, 2017

The Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railroad

The Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railroad was a high-speed interurban connecting Chicago with the Fox River communities. Today, much of the Roarin' Elgin is abandoned.

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Mar 17, 2017

Book Reviews

Read railroad book reviews here. Many of the titles highlighted have helped in some way with the research and writing of this website.

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Mar 14, 2017

Tourist Railroads

Whether you are interested in riding tourist railroads or finding out more about a particular one, all of that can be found here.

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Mar 13, 2017

Railroad Museums, Preserving the Past

Find out about all of the many railroad museums that operate around the country, which work to keep alive our nation's history with trains.

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Mar 12, 2017


About American Rails and how the website was created. A lot of work but also a lot of fun!

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Mar 11, 2017 Resources

This website would not have been possible without the help of several friends and numerous books. All of the help and resources used in creating is listed here.

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Mar 11, 2017

Stories and Accounts

Railroad stories are what bring to the light the personal and human side of the industry often unknown to outsiders. If you have one to share please contact me!

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Mar 10, 2017

Railroad Jobs Guide

A career in the railroad industry is not for everyone, especially field work. Find out more about railroad jobs here and the many different positions available.

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Mar 09, 2017

High Iron To Fairbanks, By Evan McKinney

High Iron To Fairbanks is a novel by Evan McKinney highlighting construction of the Alaska Railroad. While the characters are fictional the historic events are accurate.

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Mar 09, 2017

Passenger Train Cars, "Varnish"

Covered here are brief overviews of many types of passenger train cars, or "varnish," and what led to their development as rail travel improved over time.

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Mar 04, 2017

Railroad Freight Cars

If you would like to learn more about the many different types of freight cars, their histories, and how they are employed on today's railroads most are featured here.

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Mar 03, 2017

The States

A history of the states and their relationship with railroad operations over the centures.

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Feb 26, 2017

Electric Locomotives

While electric locomotives never truly caught on in America they are by far the most efficient type of motive power. Learn about most of the models manufactured here.

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Feb 25, 2017

Diesel Locomotives

Read about the history of diesel locomotives, how they function and operate, and the dozens of different models built by the five major manufacturers dating back to the 1930s.

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Feb 24, 2017

Steam Locomotives

The classic iron horse, steam locomotives are legendary machines that still hold awe over the general public today. Learn about the history of steam and the many types of wheel arrangements.

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Feb 19, 2017

Railroad Infrastructure, Keeping Trains Moving

Were you ever curious about the many types of railroad structures and signs that line railroad tracks? You can learn about them all, and much more, from this page.

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Feb 19, 2017

Railroad Maintenance

There are numerous types of railroad maintenance equipment which keep railroads operating efficiently. You can learn about most of them here.

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Feb 14, 2017

Shortlines, Class III Railroads

A close-up look at several Class III railroads, or "short lines." These systems are in vastly greater numbers today as Class Is continue to shed superflous trackage.

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Feb 14, 2017

Regionals, Class II Railroads

Class II railroads, also referred to as regionals, are the second-largest such companies within the industry. The information here covers most of these lines.

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Feb 12, 2017

Class I Railroads

In railroad jargon, Class I railroads refer to the largest companies in the industry and all seven in North America are highlighted here.

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Feb 11, 2017

Railroad/Train Stations And Depots

This page offers a general history of railroad/train stations and many well known structures like Pennsylvania Station. Also, learn about surviving depots still standing all around the country.

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Feb 10, 2017

Commuter Trains And Light Rail Transit

Here you can learn more about many of the commuter trains and agencies that operate around the country, from Metra to Caltrain.

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Feb 08, 2017

Travel By Train

Travel by train today in the United States is far different than the romantic era of private operations prior to 1971. Learn more about how to ride the rails today.

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Feb 07, 2017

Railroads In The Civil War

Railroads in the Civil War were critical to both sides during the conflict. Learn how new technologies were developed and expansion continued afterward.

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Feb 07, 2017

The Railroad Tycoons

The railroad tycoons, barons who laid the foundation of the railroad industry during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Read about several of them here.

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Feb 06, 2017

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, our nation's first common-carrier was one of the three major eastern trunk lines but also the weakest. Today, much of the system remains in use by CSX Transportation.

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Feb 06, 2017

Streamliners, The Classic Passenger Train

Read about many of the most well known streamliners here and why the period of the 1930s to 1960s is often considered the "Silver Age" of rail travel.

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Feb 05, 2017

Trolleys, Interurbans, And Traction

A look at the history of trolleys and interurbans in America from state operations to notable car builders and specific companies like the North Shore Line and Pacific Electric.

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Feb 04, 2017

Famous Railroad Landmarks

If you have ever wondered about some of the most well known railroad landmarks around the country you can read about them here.

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