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

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

by John R. Stilgoe
 

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Unlike many United States industries, railroads are intrinsically linked to American soil and particular regions. Yet few Americans pay attention to rail lines, even though millions of them live in an economy and culture "waiting for the train." In Train Time: Railroads and the Imminent Reshaping of the United States Landscape, John R. Stilgoe picks up where

Overview

Unlike many United States industries, railroads are intrinsically linked to American soil and particular regions. Yet few Americans pay attention to rail lines, even though millions of them live in an economy and culture "waiting for the train." In Train Time: Railroads and the Imminent Reshaping of the United States Landscape, John R. Stilgoe picks up where his acclaimed work Metropolitan Corridor left off, carrying his ideas about the spatial consequences of railways up to the present moment. 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.

Divided into sections that focus on particular aspects of the impending impact of railroads on the landscape, Train Time moves seamlessly between historical and contemporary analysis. From his reading of what prompted investors to reorient their thinking about the railroad industry in the late 1970s, to his exploration of creative solutions to transportation problems and land use planning and development in the present, Stilgoe expands our perspective of an industry normally associated with bad news. Urging us that "the magic moment is now," he observes, "Now a train is often only a whistle heard far off on a sleepless night. But romantic or foreboding or empowering, the whistle announces return and change to those who listen."

For scholars with an interest in American history in general and railroad and transit history in particular, as well as general readers concerned about the future of transportation in the United States, Train Time is an engaging look at the future of our railroads.

Editorial Reviews

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

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.

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."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813930503
Publisher:
University of Virginia Press
Publication date:
02/05/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

"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." -- Joseph Schwieterman, author of When the Railroad Leaves Town: American Communities in the Age of Rail Line Abandonment

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.

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).

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