Twilight of the Great Trains / Edition 2

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In the years following World War II, a potent combination of new prosperity, a renewed love affair with the automobile, improved highways, and the availability of commercial air travel contributed to the dwindling number of rail travelers. By the 1960s, rail passenger service had become an endangered species in an unfriendly environment. Fred W. Frailey recounts the demise of the pre-Amtrak passenger train in Twilight of the Great Trains. Drawing upon a lifetime of experience as a reporter and editor, Frailey uncovers the reasons behind the disappearance of these great trains and explains how 11 railroad systems withstood or welcomed, fought or embraced the inevitable decline of their passenger services. Stimulating and informative, this book offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most challenging eras in American railroad history.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

William D. Middleton

"Fred Frailey is by far one of the best writers in the railroad book business." —William D. Middleton, Jr., co-editor of The Encyclopedia of North American Railroads

Herbert H. Harwood

"Fred Frailey has done an excellent job. Of all the books about the 'last years' of rail travel, Frailey's by far the best." —Herbert H. Harwood, Jr., author of The New York, Westchester & Boston Railway

Bill Howes

"I consider this book to be the best documentation of the variety of ways the selected railroads dealt with the passenger train 'problem' in the decade leading up to the creation of Amtrak." —Bill Howes

S Gaugian

"In this thoroughly-researched volume, Fred Frailey features almost a dozen different railroads and the varying reaction of each company to the changes in transportation that threatened the passenger systems." —S Gaugian, Jan./Feb. 2011

From the Publisher

"More than ever, this new edition of veteran railroad journalist Fred Frailey's absorbing chronicle of the last days of the pre-Amtrak, private-sector passenger train is an essential part of the literature of the varnish.... Throughout, Frailey weaves the story with excellent photos, route diagrams, and his trademark irresistible prose." —Classic Trains,
Summer 2011

Classic Trains

"More than ever, this new edition of veteran railroad journalist Fred Frailey's absorbing chronicle of the last days of the pre-Amtrak, private-sector passenger train is an essential part of the literature of the varnish.... Throughout, Frailey weaves the story with excellent photos, route diagrams, and his trademark irresistible prose." —Classic Trains, Summer 2011

Railroad Model Craftsman

"This is an excellent and informative book covering a period of great change in railroading in America. If you are serious about railroad history, especially passenger trains, then Twilight of the Great Trains belongs in your library." —Railroad Model Craftsman, June, 2011

"An outstanding history of the decline and eventual end of private-sector rail passenger service in the United States... Well illustrated with black and white and some color photographs, along with detailed diagrams illustrating routes and consists of major trains, this is a well-written look at the passenger rail industry of the 1960s." —, July, 2011

The Michigan Railfan

"A beautiful collection of images from some of the best rail enthusiast photographers in North America accompany the well written and lively text material. Frailey concludes with an insightful chapter on the events leading up to the creation of Amtrak. This volume is strictly first rate and comes highly recommended." —The Michigan Railfan, September - October 2011

Examines the responses of 11 railroad systems to the decline in intercity rail passengers in the 1960s. The decisions of railroad executives to maintain or drop this or that particular service are examined. Evolving railroad networks are detailed and customer use is explored. 11x9". Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253354778
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 8/6/2010
  • Series: Railroads Past and Present Series
  • Edition description: expanded edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 823,661
  • Product dimensions: 11.30 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Fred W. Frailey is author of Southern Pacific's Blue Streak Merchandise; Rolling
Thunder; and Zephyrs, Chiefs & Other Orphans.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The View from 1960
What Passenger Problem? Kanas City
All Hail The "City of Everywhere": Union Pacific
Spoiler: Southern
The True Believers: Santa Fe
Katy Did:
Missouri Pacific's Mr. Clean: Missouri
Zephyrs agaist a Head Wind: Burlington / Northern Pacific / Great
Southern's Hospitality: Southern Railway
Most Likely to Succeed: Atlantic
Coast Line / Seaboard Air Line
Chessie's Last Stand: Baltimore & Ohio / Chesapeake
& Ohio
Twilight Limiteds: New York Central / Pennsylvania / New
America's Main Street: Illinois Central
The End (And the New Beginning):

Indiana University Press

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 4, 2010

    If you like railroads, don't miss this one

    Although the photo of my favorite train ever, the Southern Crescent, on the cover got my attention, it's what's inside this book that is absolutely fascinating- an "insider"'s analysis of how different railroads responded to the decline of passenger train travel. Full of facts, stories, charts (showing train consists, schedules, etc.) and more. I've read a ton of railroad-related books and this one is the best.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

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