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      Golden Spike Ceremony at Promontory Point, Utah on 10 May 1869      

here on page three:

transcontinental railroads

railroad moguls

railroad recordings

back on page two:

top of page
railroad history
railroad pioneers
narrow-gauge RRs
historic RR lines

back on page one:
top of page
railroad links
railroad museums
Class I railroads
Class II railroads
shortline railroads
trolleys & light rail

The  Transcontinental  Railroads

The First Transcontinental Railroad was ordered by President Lincoln; the Central Pacific from the west
joined the Union Pacific from the east at a Golden Spike Ceremony
at Promontory Summit in Utah Territory on 10 May 1869.
'The First Transcontinental Railroad' entry at Wikipedia

The silver spike ceremony joining the Second Transcontinental Railroad – Southern Pacific from the
west, AT&SF from the east – took place on 8 March 1881 in Deming, New Mexico Territory.

The third major Transcontinental Railroad, the Northern Pacific Railway, was completed
on 8 September 1883 with the ceremonial gold spike driven at Gold Creek, Montana Territory.

Canada's transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway was completed on 7 November 1885
at a 'last spike' ceremony at Craigellachie, British Columbia.
Canadian Pacific Railway entry at Wikipedia

History Central pages
Golden Spike National Historic Site at Promontory Summit, Utah
May 10th is National Train Day in USA [est. 2008]
world railroad history timeline at Pacific Southwest Railway Museum
Central Pacific Railroad Across Nevada - historic comparisons, 1868 & 1997

"When I think how the railroad has been pushed through this unwatered wilderness and haunt of savage tribes; how at each stage of the construction roaring, impromptu cities, full of gold and lust and death, sprang up and then died away again, and are now but wayside stations in the desert; how in these uncouth places Chinese pirates worked side by side with border ruffians and broken men from Europe, gambling, drinking, quarreling, and murdering like wolves; and then when I go on to remember that all this epical turmoil was conducted by gentlemen in frock-coats, with a view to nothing more extraordinary than a fortune and a subsequent visit to Paris – it seems to me as if this railway were the one typical achievement of the age in which we live, as if it brought together into one plot all the ends of the world and all the degrees of social rank, and offered to some great writer the busiest, the most extended, and the most varied subject for an enduring literary work.
If it be romance, if it be contrast, if it be heroism that we require, what was Troy to this?"

—  Robert Louis Stevenson [1850-94], in "Across The Plains" [1892]

Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow book by Dee Brown  "Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow: Railroads In The West - The Epic Story of The Transcontinetal Railroads" [1977] by Dee Brown
Kindle Edition from Open Road [10/2012] for $10.09
Henry Holt 7½x5 pb [8/2002] out of print/used
Henry Holt 8¼x5½ pb [9/2001] out of print/used
Scribner's 9¼x6 pb [11/94] out of print/70+ used
Holt, Rhinehart & Winston hardcover [4/77] out of print/150+ used
American Experience Iron Road video from PBS  "American Experience: The Iron Road" [P.B.S./WGBH Nov 1991]
The building of the railroad between Sacramento, California and Omaha, Nebraska from 1862 to 1869, a feat of engineering and backbreaking labor that opened up the riches of the West and turned America's dream of Manifest Destiny into a reality. Produced & directed by Neil Goodwin; narrated by Lief Ancker
DVD/Blu-ray not available
WGBH Home Video color VHS [undated] for $7.99
PBS Home Video color VHS [3/2000] out of prodn/used
WGBH Home Video color VHS [1992] out of prodn/used
full credits at IMDb • P.B.S. official movie site
Iron Horses Across America / Transcontinental Railroad book edited by Jeanne Munn Bracken  
"Iron Horses Across America: The Transcontinental Railroad (Perspectives on History Series)" [1995] Edited by Jeanne Munn Bracken
Discovery Enterprises 7¼x5 pb [1995] for $7.16
Modern Marvels Transcontinental Railroad video from History Channel  "Modern Marvels: Transcontinental Railroad" [History Channel Jan 1995]
The transcontinental railroad project was unprecedented in both size and scope, from the time the first spike was driven into the ground to the modern rail transportation system as we know it today.
Narrated by Harlan Saperstein
A&E Home Video color DVD [12/2006] for $22.49
full credits at IMDb
Empire Express / Transcontinental Railroad book by David Haward Bain  "Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad" [1999]
by David Haward Bain

Kindle Edition from Penguin Books [2000 edition] for $16.14
Penguin Books 9¼x6¼ pb [9/2000] for $21.68
Viking Adult 9½x6½ hardcover [11/99] out of print/150+ used
American Experience Transcontinental Railroad video from PBS  "American Experience: Transcontinental Railroad" [P.B.S. Jan 2003]
A fascinating look at one of the most spectacular engineering feats of the 19th Century, as legions of tireless workers toiled for six years to realize the vision of imaginative engineers and shady entrepreneurs. Co-pro-duced, written & co-directed by Mark Zwonitzer: co-directed by Michael Chin; narrated by Michael Murphy
PBS Home Video color DVD [6/2006] for $22.49
PBS Home Video color VHS [2/2003] out of prodn/used
full credits at IMDb • PBS official movie site
'Promontory' documentary from P.B.S./KUED-TV  
"Promontory" documentary TV special [P.B.S./KUED-TV May 2002]
Topics Ent. hour-long color DVD [4/2010] for $14.95
bare credits at IMDb
Railroaded / The Transcontinentals book by Richard White  "Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and The Making of Modern America" [2011]
by Richard White

Kindle Edition from W.W. Norton & Co. [5/2011] for $9.99
W.W. Norton & Co. 8¼x5½ pb [4/2012] for $13.19
W.W. Norton & Co. 9¼x6½ hardcover [5/2011] for $21.01 out of print/used

L.M. Clement were also provided to the late Stephen Ambrose who used them extensively in his N.Y. Times best-selling book
"Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869"

The Central Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroads, orig 1963 Revised Edition by Lucius Beebe [1902-66]

U.S. & Canada  Railroad  Moguls  &  Executives

poster of statement 'I Am A Railroad Man' by Anonymous    'I Am A Railroad Man' by Anonymous
Not sure what to call this; it is not a pledge, not a manifesto,
maybe just a statement. Retail source for poster not found.
{ Click on image to read text in larger window. }

The Associates / Four Capitalists book by Richard Rayner   "The Associates: Four Capitalists Who Created California" [2007]
by Richard Rayner

Four middle-class merchants in Sacramento, California rose to become the force behind the Trans-continental Railroad and became wealthy beyond any measure, and committed secret crimes to sustain their power. Their names were Collis P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, and Mark Hopkins, and they were known as 'The Big Four' or 'The Associates'
Kindle Edition from W.W. Norton [1/2009] for $9.99
W.W. Norton pb [1/2009] for $12.83
W.W. Norton/Atlas 8¼x5¾ hardcover [2007] out of print/used

Rival Rails / Transcontinental Railroad book by Walter R. Borneman  "Rival Rails: The Race to Build America's Greatest Transcontinental Railroad" [2010]
by Walter R. Borneman

After the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in May 1869 (Golden Spike Ceremony at Promontory Point, Utah) the pressure to complete further transcontinental routes continued: Gen. William Jackson Palmer of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad developed routes across (and under) the Rocky Mountains (the First Transcontinental Railroad skipped Colorado Territory entirely); Collis P. Huntington of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific lines developed a route across the southwestern desert; and Edward Payson Ripley of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe developed a route from Kansas to the Pacific Ocean.
Random House 9½x6¼ hardcover [9/2010] for $21.70

Wall Street’s Great Railroad War book by Larry Haeg  "Harriman vs. Hill: Wall Street’s Great Railroad War" [2013] by Larry Haeg
In May 1901, James J. Hill (of the Great Northern RR) and E.H. Harriman (of the Union Pacific RR and the Southern Pacific RR) became rivals for the stock of the Northern Pacific RR; the ensuing contest brought trustbuster Theodore Roosevelt, Wall Street tycoon J.P. Morgan, Big Steel and Big Oil, and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. into the conflict.
Kindle Edition from Univ Minnesota Press [10/2013] for $16.49
Univ Minnesota Press 9x6 hardcover [10/2013] for $22.19

M.N. (Mathias Nace) Forney [1835-1908]


E.H. Harriman []
"E.H. Harriman: Railroad Czar" [] by George Frost Kennan /1893122719/
"The Life and Legend of E. H. Harriman" [] by Maury Klein /0807825174/


restaurant tycoon Fred Harvey [1835-1901]
at 'Readers of The Purple Sage' Western Bookstore


James Jerome Hill [1838-1916]
James J. Hill House

Little Journeys / James J. Hill book by Elbert Hubbard  "James J. Hill (Little Journeys To The Homes of Great Business Men Series)" [1909] by Elbert Hubbard [1856-1915]
Kessinger Publng 9x7½ pb [9/2010] for $11.48
Roycrofters pb [1909] out of print/scarce
Kessinger Publng 9¾x7 hardcover [9/2010] for $22.28

"The Life of James J. Hill (Authorized)" [] by Joseph Gilpin Pyle


Collis P. Huntington []
"The Great Persuader" [] by David Lavender(Author)
A major biography of the greatest of all the railroad moguls


Spirit of America Bookstore's
Colorado railroad tycoon David H. Moffat [1839-1911] Page


railroad tycoon George M. Pullman [1831-97]
George Pullman is credited with the creation of the first modern, comfortable, sleeping car for railroad travel in 1858. His Pullman Company became an empire that during its peak in the 1930s was responsible for the construction, ownership, & operation of a fleet of over eight-thousand sleeper, parlor, club, and cafe railroad cars. The Pullman Company was said to have operated the largest hotel in the world, with upwards of 100,000 beds occupied on a given night. Pullman's well deserved slogan was "Travel and Sleep in Pullman Safety and Comfort." Due to a Supreme Court consent decree in 1948, Pullman transferred ownership of the railcars to the operating railroads, while keeping the manufacturing and service divisions. The Pullman Company itself ceased operating sleeping cars on December 31, 1968; successor company Pullman, Inc. continued to construct freight and passenger cars until it was sold to Bombardier Corporation of Canada 2001.
George Pullman entry at Wikipedia • Pullman Company entry at Wikipedia

Spirit of America Bookstore's
railroad tycoon George Pullman [1831-97] Page


Sen. William Sharon [1821-86]
co-founder of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad
Infamous King of The Comstock / William Sharon book by Michael J. Makley  
"The Infamous King of The Comstock: William Sharon and The
Gilded Age In The West" biography [2006] by Michael J. Makley

Univ Nevada Press 9x6 pb [3/2009] for $18.27
Univ Nevada Press 9x6 hardcover [1/2006] for $32.18

'Commodore' Cornelius Vanderbilt [1794-1877]


The railway safety air brake was invented in 1869 by George Westinghouse, Jr. [1846-1914]

Railroad  Recordings

"Life's Railway To Heaven (Life Is Like A Mountain Railroad)" gospel song [©1890] by Charles D. Tillman & M.E. Abbey
song entry at Wikipedia • text & music audio
1959 Patsy Cline solo version with footage of squeaky-whistle 4-8-2 French steam locomotive 241P17
watch video [2:59] at YouTube
1959 Patsy Cline duet with Willie Nelson, with video from the back of an Amtrak train near Chicago
watch video [3:00] at YouTube
1959 Patsy Cline duet with Willie Nelson, with slideshow of American, British & other trains
watch video [3:14] at YouTube


Great American Train Songs album on CD  "Great American Train Songs" [1993]
C.M.H. Records audio CD [3/95] 20 tracks - out of prodn/used
artists include: Merle Travis & Mac Weisman; Mac Weisman (4); Merle Travis (2); Grandpa Jones (2); Benny Martin (2); Osborne Bros. & Mac Weisman; Donna Stoneman; Lester Flatt & The Nashville Grass; Tommy Faile; Dick & Jaquie Schuyler; Joe Maphis; Carl Story - and others
Thunder on the Steel audio CD  "Thunder On The Steel" [1995] Recorded by Edward Hollcraft
Con Brio Recordings audio CD [6/2001] 21 tracks for $12.48
Trackside recordings, as well as in-cab recordings of diesel & steam
locomotives (including Shay #14)
Between The Rails, America's Train Songs album on CD  "Between The Rails: America's Train Songs" [1996]
G.N.P./Crescendo audio CD [2/96] 18 tracks - out of prodn/used
artists include: Steven Beasley; Johnny Cash ('Blue Train'); Don Edwards; Merle Haggard; Johnny Horton; Howlin' Wolf; Waylon Jennings; Little Milton; Blind Willie McTell; Roger Miller ('Engine Engine #9'); Junior Parker; Jimmie Rodgers ('Train Whistle Blues'); Billy Strange (2); Hank Williams ('Lonesome Whistle'); Glenn Yarbrough & The Limeliters ('City Of New Orleans') — and others
The Great Machines - Poems and Songs book edited by Robert Hedin   "The Great Machines: Poems and Songs of The American Railroad" [1996]
Edited by Robert Hedin

Univ Iowa Press 9x5½ pb [5/96] for $24.00
contributors include Raymond Carver, E.E. Cummings, James Dickey, Emily Dickinson, Allen Ginsberg, editor Hedin, Langston Hughes (4), Blind Lemon Jefferson, folksinger Leadbelly (2), Denise Levertov, Vachel Lindsay, Archibald MacLeish (3), Bill Monroe, Sylvia Plath, Ishmael Reed, Carl Sandburg (3), Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, David Wojahn (3) — and many others
All Aboard! railroad songs album by John Denver  "All Aboard!" [8/1997] by John Denver
Sony Wonder music CD [8/97] 15 tracks - out of prodn/many used
John Denver's 24th & last album; songs include "City of New Orleans"; "Daddy, What's A Train?"; "Freight Train Boogie"; "I've Been Working On The Railroad"; "Jenny Dreamed of Trains"; "Jessie Dreamed of Trains"; "The Last Hobo"; "Last Train Done Gone Down"; "Lining Track"; "The Little Engine That Could"; "Old Train"; "On The Atchison, Topeka and The Santa Fe"; "People Get Ready"; "Steel Rails"; and "Waiting For A Train" • album entry at Wikipedia

Classic Railroad Songs / Rounder Series  "Classic Railroad Songs" (Rounder Series)
Volume 1 Steel Rails: Rounder audio CD [3/97] for $15.28
Volume 2 Mystery Train: Rounder audio CD [3/97] for $14.99
Volume 3 Night Train: Rounder audio CD [10/98] for $15.28
Volume 4 Freight Train Blues: Rounder audio CD [6/2000] for $14.99
Train 45, Early 1900s: Rounder audio CD [10/98] for $14.99

Classic American Train Songs  "25 Classic Train Songs" [2003]
Rural Rhythm audio CD [5/2003] 25 tracks - out of prodn/used
songs include: Blue Railroad Train; Bringing In The Georgia Mail; Bye Bye Black Smoke Choo Choo; Casey Jones; East Bound Train; Engine No. 9; Freight Train Blues; Ghost Train; In The Pines; Jesse James; K.C. Whistle; Kansas City Railroad Blues; Lightning Express; New River Train; 900 Miles; Nine Pound Hammer; Streamlined Cannonball; Train 45; Wabash Cannonball; Waiting For A Train; Wreck of The Old '97 - and others

Tales of the Rails on spoken word audio CD   "Tales of The Rails, Volume 1" [2006] Read by Charles Minx
five stories from the November 1909 issue of Railroad Man's Magazine
CD Baby spoken word CD [1/2006] for $19.57
"Tales of The Rails, Volume 2" [2006] Read by Charles Minx
five stories from the February 1911 issue of Railroad Man's Magazine
spoken word CD [1/2006] not found on Amazon {2016}

Classic Railroad Songs From Smithsonian Folkways  "Classic Railroad Songs From Smithsonian Folkways" [2006]
Smithsonian Folkways audio CD [1/2006] 29 tracks for $17.97
artists include: Lead Belly (3); Elizabeth Cotten; Woody Guthrie & Cisco Houston (2); Haywire Mac; L.M. Hilton; Cisco Houston; Iron Mountain String Band; Furry Lewis; Brownie McGhee; John D. Mounce; The New Lost City Ramblers (2); Walt Robertson; Mike Seeger; Pete Seeger; Rosalie Sorrels (2); Pop Stoneman; Vernon Sutphin; Henry Grady Terrell; The Virginia Mountain Boys; Annie Watson; Doc Watson (2) – and others
Train Sounds of The 40s & 50s album on CD  "Train Sounds of The 40s & 50s: Steam Locomotives Original Recordings" [2009]
Recorded by Harold Spicer

SpicerPro audio CD [2009] for $14.99 + s/h via third party
72-minutes of recordings made around the Baltimore area, featuring Baltimore & Ohio, New York Central, Pennsylvania, and Western Maryland locomotives speeding past
SpicerPro sound & photo website, based in Maryland
Steam Locomotive Rail Sounds recordings on CD & MP-3  "Steam Locomotive Rail Sounds" on audio CD & MP-3 [2009]
Essential Media Group audio CD [10/2009] for $12.98
Essential Media Group MP-3 recordings download [8/2009] for $8.99
35 minutes of digitally-remastered recordings of steam locomotives of the Southern Pacific RR and the Santa Fe RR in Southern California
Sherlock Holmes Rediscovered Railway Mysteries read by Benedict Cumberbatch on CD  "Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Sherlock Holmes' Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories" [2010] Written by John Taylor, 'inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle'
B.B.C. Books UNABR audio CD [8/2015] for $22.95
AudioGO audio CD [1/2011] 2 disks - out of prodn/used
AudioGO audio CD [1/2011] 2 disks - out of prodn/used
AudioGO audio CD [2010] out of prodn/used
Four original short stories read by Cumberbatch on B.B.C. Radio: "An Inscrutable Masquerade", "The Conundrum of Coach 13", "The Trinity Vicarage Larceny", and "The 10:59 Assassin"; not sure which is which, but detective Sherlock Holmes experiments with the science of ballistics, locates some missing gold bullion, investigates the theft of a large amount of money, and solves the baffling mystery of the Stovey murder; details of the 'other stories' not found

Spirit of America Bookstore's American Railroads Pages

on page one:  top of page • links • museums • Class I railroads • Class II railroads • shortline railroads

on page two:  top of page • games • Railroad History • Narrow Gauge • Historic Rail Lines •

here on page three:  top of page • Transcontinental Railroads • Railroad Moguls • Railroad Recordings

Spirit of America Bookstore's 'Railroads in Fiction' Pages
Spirit of America Bookstore's Railroads in Fiction - Books For Young Railfans Page

Spirit of America Bookstore's 'Non-Fiction Books About Railroads' Pages

Spirit of America Bookstore's Railroad Film Festival Pages

America's Shortline Railroads Page

Spirit of America Bookstore's Scale Model & Toy Trains Page

G.E. Nordell's California Travel / Railroads Links Page
G.E. Nordell's Colorado Travel / Railroads Links Pages
G.E. Nordell's Nevada Travel / Railroads Links Page
G.E. Nordell's New Mexico Travel / Railroads Links Page
G.E. Nordell's Utah Travel / Railroads Links Page

G.E. Nordell's Travel U.S.A. / Railroad Museums Page

Online sales in association with  browse books on railroads at Amazon

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