Railroads-A History in Photographs is a history of American and Canadian railroads from the Civil War through the 20th Century using 500 pictures and captions to the pictures. The histories of these two countries are intertwined. The United States and Canada grew from agricultural societies to manufacturing and economic powerhouses. The pictures include steam, diesel and electric railroad passenger and freight trains. It includes chapters about the people working on the railroad, stations and the rebirth of the railroad in the 20th Century. The building of the Canadian transcontinental railroad brought the east and west Provinces together as one nation. The building of US transcontinental railroad also brought the west and east coasts and the Midwest together as one country.
The book starts with railroad art work. Before the development of photography, artwork promoted the new trains that were conquering the frontiers and line drawings illustrated the early locomotives. Chapter 1 covers the history of the United States and Canadian of railroad going west. Early photography captures the development of the railroads and the civil war devastation. Chapter 2 covers steam freight trains and chapter 3 covers steam passenger trains. Chapter 4 covers the architecture of railroad stations. Chapter 5 covers the super steam trains developed to pull heavier and heavier loads of freight and passengers. Chapter 6 covers the diesel freight trains. Chapter 7 covers the diesel passenger trains. Pictures show the development of the diesel engine from the one car “doodlebugs”, to the Unitrans such as the Zephyr and to the super diesel electric locomotives. Chapter 7 illustrates working on the railroads. There are pictures of steam engine maintenance and track maintenance vehicles and equipment. There are pictures of what the conductors wear on passenger trains and what a telegraph office looked like. Chapter 9 is all about electric trains. The trains that run on overhead catenary. Chapter 10, the last chapter discusses the rebirth of the railroading.