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From Boxcars to Big Boy: The Story of Railroad Graffiti

During the first decades of the 20th century, the circus arrived in town aboard one of the most colorful trains traveling the rails. Brightly colored railcars carrying ornate wagons drew the attention of people along the tracks. The circus train was a sight to behold. Today, almost all the circus trains are gone. However, viewing…

Adventures of a Circus Clown

There is a good chance you’ve seen Jeff McMullen if you’ve ever attended an event at the National Railroad Museum. A magician, a clown, a consummate entertainer, McMullen has led a fascinating life.    At the age of 4 years old, he knew he wanted to become a clown. While most people outgrow their childhood…

Hell On Wheels: Fact vs. Fiction – Part 2

Thanks for catching up with us again along the line of the Transcontinental Railroad. Hell on Wheels has moved down the line a distance since we last visited, but we still have plenty of hair-raising, rough and tumble tales to share. The premise of our discussion is that the facts of historic events often get…

Hell on Wheels: Fact vs Fiction – Part 1

Television and movies have a way of telling a story that makes us feel like we are there and can relate to the characters on screen. While sometimes based upon true events, the motion picture industry takes a few liberties here and there for the sake of creating a good, watchable story. Take the television…

Transcontinental Railroad: Life After the Golden Spike

Corruption. Illness. Political intrigue. Insurmountable odds. It sounds like the makings for a great movie, but it wasn’t a movie. It is the history of the Transcontinental Railroad. With numerous stories of greed, bribery, corruption, and creative business practices, the history surrounding the building of the Transcontinental Railroad is one mired in controversy. Many doubted…

This Week in Railroad History: The Legend of Casey Jones

Everyone loves a good story, especially when they are true. But true tales sometimes morph overtime to make their characters seem larger than life. One simple act can have a profound effect on many people’s lives and turn an ordinary person into a legend. So, goes it with the following character. Most of us have…

Mother of Invention: Women Railroad Innovators

During a time when women didn’t “go into mathematics,” “weren’t into science”, there are many trailblazers who didn’t give in to the belief that women couldn’t do “those types of things.” Often overlooked, women in the railroad industry have made significant improvements in safety, mechanics, and design. Here are a few.  

Olive Dennis – Innovating the Passenger Experience

Jane Austin. Susan B. Anthony. Rosa Parks. All three of these women were pioneers. Austin was one of the first widely published female authors; Anthony led suffragettes fighting for the right to allow women to vote; And Parks is a female icon in the civil rights movement. One name not as well known in history…