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Train Time: Railroads and the Imminent Reshaping of the United States Landscape [NOOK Book]


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 ...

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

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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 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

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.

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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.


"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."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813930503
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 2/5/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • File size: 2 MB

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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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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