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Train Time: Railroads and the Imminent Reshaping of the United States Landscape

Overview

Trains have a nostalgic connotation for most Americans, but John Stilgoe argues that we should be looking to rail lines as the path to our future, not just our past. Train Time picks up where his acclaimed work Metropolitan Corridor left off, carrying Stilgoe’s ideas about the spatial consequences of railways up to the present moment. With containers bringing the production of a global economy to our ports, the price of oil skyrocketing, and congestion and sprawl forcing many Americans to live far from work, ...

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Train Time: Railroads and the Imminent Reshaping of the United States Landscape

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Overview

Trains have a nostalgic connotation for most Americans, but John Stilgoe argues that we should be looking to rail lines as the path to our future, not just our past. Train Time picks up where his acclaimed work Metropolitan Corridor left off, carrying Stilgoe’s ideas about the spatial consequences of railways up to the present moment. With containers bringing the production of a global economy to our ports, the price of oil skyrocketing, and congestion and sprawl forcing many Americans to live far from work, trains offer an obvious alternative to a culture dependent on cars and long-haul trucking. Arguing that the train is returning, "an economic and cultural tsunami about to transform the United States," Stilgoe posits a future for railways as powerful shapers of American life.

For anyone looking for prescient analysis and compelling history of the American landscape and economy in general and railroad and transit history in particular, Train Time is an engaging look at the future of our railroads and of transportation and land development. For those familiar with John Stilgoe’s talent for seeing things that elude the rest of us, and delivering those observations in pithy asides about real estate, corporate culture, and other aspects of American life, this book will not disappoint.

University of Virginia Press

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Editorial Reviews

ForeWord

"Here is the answer to the problem of crumbling highways, collapsing bridges, competition between trucks and autos, congested routes, commuter time increases for those who use cars, and the accident deaths of thousands of motorists, passengers, and pedestrians: Bring back the railroads!

"Stilgoe... is an expert on this subject, having laid the groundwork for his ideas in Metropolitan Corridor: Railroads and the American Scene.... The author contends effectively that trains are indeed coming back, foretelling significant cultural change."

Joseph Schwieterman

Stilgoe takes us on a fun- and fact-filled journey to bustling cities and remote locales, encouraging us to look over the horizons to broaden our appreciation of railroads.

Library Journal

In his new book, Stilgoe (visual & environmental studies, Harvard; Landscape and Images) examines how railroads influence their physical and social environments. He speaks as a visionary for transportation change, offering numerous examples of how a resurgent rail system based on historical example could transform America. He cites a Massachusetts case where on a highway route recently plagued by standstill traffic jams, steam-powered passenger trains once traveled at 80 miles per hour and how a newly developed commuter rail service based on this historical precedent is now greatly cutting commute times. He cites other positive points about increased rail utilization, such as fuel savings, reduced freight costs, decreased road wear and repair, less parking congestion, and the opening of fast new connections between places. Stilgoe's lyrical descriptions of abandoned railroad right-of-ways and detailed research on historic train schedules will enthrall rail enthusiasts. Unfortunately, he concentrates more on describing his historical examples and less on laying out his conclusions. His work is nonetheless an insightful contribution for those researching transportation options and is recommended for larger public and all academic libraries with transportation collections.
—Lawrence R. Maxted

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813926681
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2007
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John R. Stilgoe, Robert and Lois Orchard Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, is the author of Metropolitan Corridor, Outside Lies Magic, Lifeboat (Virginia), and Landscape and Images (Virginia).

University of Virginia Press

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Table of Contents


Preface     ix
Acknowledgments     xv
Introduction     3
Whisper     25
Necklace     43
Sidetracked     65
Resort     87
Threshold     105
Express     127
Fast Freight     155
Bulk     177
Transfer     203
Overhead     227
Conclusion     253
Note on Sources and Names     263
Bibliography     265
Index     275
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Interviews & Essays

F07

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