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Bob Lettenberger

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…

The Art of Locomotive Design and Color

Today, when asked what a train looks like, most would likely answer with the description of a large, powerful, and blocky diesel locomotives, while others might describe a large, black steam locomotive. Go back 50 – or even 150 years – and that image would dramatically change. When railroads expanded beyond the English coal mines…

All Aboard! Next Stop – The White House

a vintage photo of a group of people posing for the camera

June 6, 1833—President Andrew Jackson, (of twenty-dollar bill fame) boards a Baltimore & Ohio Railroad train in Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland. He is off for a 14-mile leisure trip to Baltimore. His trip also marks the first time the President of the United States rode a train. In this election year that finds candidates jetting to…

Tidbits from the Dining Car

The Dining Car Is Open In the beginning of railroads, distances were short, locomotives were feeble; There was no such thing as a dining car. Travelers brought their own provisions or ate quickly at station restaurants during extended train stops. In the 1850s, some small Eastern roads were reported to have installed food counters in…

Beyond Your Diner Plate

The Pullman porter has helped you aboard one of the Union Pacific’s famous “City of … trains” —the City of Los Angeles— and shown you to your roomette in the sleeping car Pacific Shores, the second to last car in the train. Your personal items arranged in your roomette and decide to wander to the…

Hibernian Railroads: A Little Green Trivia

As we prepare to mark this year’s edition of that most joyous day when we all discover just a wee bit of our heritage hails from the Emerald Isle, allow me to provide you with a few new bits of trivia to toss about over your pints. My Irish friends, take the word of Bobby…