Books on railroads in American history, old railroad books, steam train books, railway history. Modern books and vintage RR operations books, & RR maps collection, all free online.
Railroad Books – Collection – Books on Railroads in American History
About 2,400 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Railroads”. Be patient as the page loads. Some books: A Social History of Mexico’s Railroads, Railroads in the African American Experience, Trains: the history of railroads, Virginia Railroads in the Civil War, Pictorial History of North American Railroads, The Men Who Built the Railroads, Model Trains: railroads in the making, History of the Western Railroads, A History of Railroads in Michigan, Historical Atlas of American Railroads, Train-Watcher’s Guide to North American Railroads, The Iron Horse and the Windy City, many more. Free railroad books online
About 400 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Railroad Travel. Includes fiction. Some books: Baedeker’s Rail Guide to Europe, Exploring America by Rail, Trans-Canada Rail Guide, On the Rails around Britain & Ireland, Japan by Rail, Train Journeys of the World, Amtraking: a guide to enjoyable train travel, A Rail Journey Around Australia, North American Train Attractions for Kids of All Ages, Railroads and the American People, many more. Free railroad books online.
Railroad History Books – Collection – Books on Railroads in History
About 170 free books about railroad history. Titles include: Super Steam Locomotives, Historical Atlas of World Railroads, World of Trains, Railways Past Present and Future, History of Trains, Fifty Railways that Changed the Course of History, more.
Collection – UK Railways History Books – Railroads in History Books
A free online collection compiled by a researcher at HathiTrust, who noted that these books are “likely to be of interest to those doing research into UK railways”. Nearly all were published from the 1830s to the 1860s. Vintage railroad books.
Collection – Historic Railroad Periodicals – Old Railroad Books
This free online collection at HathiTrust contains numerous issues from a variety of railroad periodicals as well as government reports, books, and other publications. Vintage railroad books.
Rules Governing Employees of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Co. – Old Railroad Books
in Effect January 1, 1899. Issued in Accordance with the Recommendation of the American Railway Association
Richmond, VA: Mitchell & Hotchkiss 1907
Rules and Regulations for Conductors and Motormen – Old Railroad Books
Western Ohio Railway Co. 1905
Standard Train Rule Examination – Old Railroad Books
For the use of Trainmasters, and other examining officers, in the examination of Trainmen, Enginemen, Towermen and Telegraph Operators
Toledo: Collingwood 1914
9th edition. Contains 700 questions about rules, and the proper answers fully explained. Vintage railroad books.
Notes on Railroad Accidents – Books on Railroads in American History
Adams, Charles Francis Jr.
NY: Putnam’s Sons 1879
Chapter headings: 1. The Death of Mr. Huskisson, 2. The Angola and Shipton Accidents, 3. The Wollaston Accident, 4. Accidents and Conservatism, 5. Telescoping and the Miller Platform, 6. The Versailles Accident, 7. Telegraphic Collisions, 8. Oil-tank Accidents, 9. Draw-Bridge Disasters, 10. The Norwalk Accidents, 11. Bridge Accidents, 12. The Protection of Bridges, 13. Car-Couplings in Derailments, 14. The Revere Catastrophe, 15. Rear-end Collisions, 16. Novel Appliances, 17. The Automatic Electric Block System, 18. Interlocking, 19. The Westinghouse Brake, 20. The Battle of the Brakes, 21. The Railroad Journey Resulting in Death, 22. The Railroad Death-rate, 23. American as Compared with Foreign Railroad Accidents. Vintage railroad books.
See our page on the qualities of a good historian
The Story of the First Trans-continental Railroad … – Books on Railroads in American History
Bailey, William Francis, comp.
(title continued) ” …Its Projectors, Construction and History”
The story of the Union Pacific Railroad. Chapter headings are: 1. The Project and its Projectors, 2. The Proposition in Congress, 3. Mostly Financial, 4. Commencement of the Work, 5. Progress Made, 6. Indian Troubles during Construction, 7. The Builders, 8. Completion of the Line, 9. The Kansas Division (Kansas Pacific Ry), 10. The Denver-Cheyenne Line (Denver Pacific R.R.), 11. History of the Line since its Completion, 12. The Central Pacific Railroad, Appendix. Transcontinental Railroad was completed, what is Transcontinental Railroad.
Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad – Books on Railroads in American History
Bain, David Haward
After the Civil War, the building of the transcontinental railroad was the nineteenth century’s most transformative event. Beginning in 1842 with a visionary’s dream to span the continent with twin bands of iron, Empire Express captures three dramatic decades in which the United States effectively doubled in size, fought three wars, and began to discover a new national identity. From self–made entrepreneurs such as the Union Pacific’s Thomas Durant and era–defining figures such as President Lincoln to the thousands of laborers whose backbreaking work made the railroad possible, this extraordinary narrative summons an astonishing array of voices to give new dimension not only to this epic endeavor but also to the culture, political struggles, and social conflicts of an unforgettable period in American history. Transcontinental Railroad was completed, what is Transcontinental Railroad.
Experiments on Rail Roads, in England … – Railroads in History Books
Illustrative of the Safety, Economy and Speed, of Transportation, which this System, as now Improved, is Capable of Affording
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company
Baltimore: Wooddy 1829
Electric Railway Transportation – Books on Railroads in American History
Blake, Henry W. and Jackson, Walter
“Few, if any, of the many books on electric railways deal with the transportation methods and practices in such details as this one. Consequently, its field of interest extends beyond that of the engineers interested in the design of electric railway equipment to that of all engineers who have anything to do with electric railways.”
– Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Science and Useful Arts (1931). Vintage railroad books.
Hear that Lonesome Whistle Blow: Railroads in the West – Books on Railroads in American History
Brown, Dee A.
Holt, Rinehart and Winston 1977
Hear that Lonesome Whistle Blow unspools the history of the beginnings of the American railroad system. By the mid-nineteenth century, settlers in Missouri and California were separated by a vast landscape that dwarfed and isolated them, conquerable only by “the demonic power of the Iron Horse and its bands of iron track.” Although the building of the great railroad is commonly known as a story of romance, adventure, and progress, it also has a dark side, as profiteers decimated American Indian tribes, exploited workers, and destroyed ecosystems. Despite this, by the turn of the twentieth century, five major railroads would span the continent. This account vividly illustrates the railroad builders’ breathtaking skill, ambition, and ingenuity. . Brown compellingly tells a high-stakes tale, an exhilarating history that still holds lessons for today. First trains in U.S.
Student Course in Railroading – Old Railroad Books
Southern Pacific Company (Pacific System) 1914
Sections of the course are: General Course, Operation and Maintenance, Passenger and Freight Traffic, Accounting, General Information, Bibliography. Vintage railroad books.
History of the First Locomotives in America … – Books on Railroads in American History
From Original documents, and the testimony of Living Witnesses
Brown, William H.
NY Appleton 1874
When Railroads were New – Books on Railroads in American History
Carter, Charles Frederick
NY: Holt 1909
“Story of railroad beginnings in the United States, giving the genesis of the great lines and the development of the features that are now so familiar, and recalling the romance and vicissitudes of early railroad history.” -A.L.A.Catalog 1904-11
Chapter headings: 1. The Dawn of the Railroad Era, 2. America’s Pioneer Railroad, 3. Early Days on the Erie, 4. Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Railroad, 5. Genesis of the Vanderbilt System, 6. Incubator Railroads, 7. The First Transcontinental Railroad, 8. Through Tribulation by Rail, 9. Romance of a Great Railroad. Vintage railroad books.
Railroad Construction – Old Railroad Books
Crandall, Charles Lee and Barnes, Fred Asa
NY: McGraw-Hill 1913
Railway Organization and Working; A Series of Lectures delivered before the Railway Classes of the University of Chicago – Old Railroad Books
Dewnsnup, Ernest Ritson, ed.
Chicago: University of Chicago 1906
Lectures, all by different people, cover a wide variety of topics. Vintage railroad books.
How We Built the Union Pacific Railway – Books on Railroads in American History
Dodge, Grenville M. (Major General)
Washington: GPO 1910
The author was Chief Engineer, Union Pacific Railway, 1866-1870. Transcontinental Railroad was completed, what is Transcontinental Railroad. Vintage railroad books.
All Aboard! The Railroad in American Life – Books on Railroads in American History
Douglas, George H.
Paragon House 1992
America has grown up with the railroads. As they grew, so did the country. From an agrarian land of isolated communities, the railroads linked the vast distances and ushered in the industrial transformation. All Aboard! relates a social history of the railroad.
From the pioneering efforts of the first steam engines to the magnificent iron horses of the gilded age, the railroad played a decisive role in the settlement and civilization of the West, the Civil War, suburbanization, the creation of a national economy, and even the standardization of time zones. The railroad was also America’s first big business and had its seamier side. Railroads in history books.
Freight Terminals and Trains – Old Railroad Books
Droege, John A.
Subtitle: “Including a revision of “Yards and Terminals”.
“A clear and comprehensive presentation based on experience, from the viewpoint of officers and constructional engineers.”
– A.L.A. Catalog (1926). Railroads in history books.
Passenger Terminals and Trains – Old Railroad Books
Droege, John A.
“A somewhat technical work describing various types of way stations and terminals for passenger use, with train operation, baggage and other service.” – A.L.A. Catalog (1926). Railroads in history books.
Locomotive Catechism – Old Railroad Books
Subtitle: “A complete treatise on the locomotive, containing 1,600 questions and their answers, covering the design, construction, repair and running of all kinds of locomotive, being intended as examination questions for engineers, firemen, and all other railroad men.”. Old steam power engineering book, locomotives book. Railroads in history books, steam train books.
Railroad Transportation, its History and its Laws – Books on Railroads in American History
Hadley, Arthur T.
Thorough exhaustive discussion. – A.L.A.Catalog 1904. Railroads in history books.
Efficient Railway Operation – Steam Train Books
Haines, Henry Stevens
NY: Macmillan 1919
Chapter headings: 1. Evolution of the Railway, 2. Railway Efficiency, 3. Motive Power, 4. Rolling Stock, 5. Roadway. Part I: Substructure, Part II: Superstructure, 6. Traffic, 7. Transportation, 8. War Time, 9. Operation, Appendices, Bibliography, List of Railroads and Railways. Railway history books.
Electric Railway Engineering – Steam Train Books
Harding, C. Francis and Ewing, Dressel D
“Designed as a college text and as an electrical railway instruction and reference book. Authors are  respectively professor, electrical engineering and professor, electric railway engineering, Purdue University.”
– Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Science and Useful Arts (1931). Railroads in history books.
Letters from an Old Railway Official … – Steam Train Books
To his Son, A Division Superintendent
Hine, Charles DeLano
Chicago: Railway Age 1904
Read magazines online free PDF here at Century Past
Boys’ Book of Railways – Books on Railroads in American History
Howden, Joseph Russell
“Comprehensive survey of railway history and management, treating passenger and freight matters in separate sections. illustrations cover the whole range of rolling stock, from famous American “fliers” to a Chinese coal-car. Though written for older boys, of equal interest to men.” – A.L.A.Catalog 1904-11. Railroads in history books.
American Railway Transportation – Steam Train Books
Johnson, Emory B.
Describes existing system, discussing questions of ownership, management, monopoly and competition, rates, fares, relations with state, etc. Bibliographic references. – A.L.A.Catalog 1904. Railroads in history books.
Practical Treatise on Railways, explaining their Construction and Management… – Railroads in History Books
With numerous woodcuts and ten plates: being the article “Railways” in the seventh edition of the Encylopedia Britannica
LeCount, Peter (Lieut.)
Edinburgh: Black. 1839
This book is about trains and all aspects of railroad operations in Britain rather than America, but is a useful guide to railroad operations as they were in the 1830s. Chapter headings are: -Preliminary observations – arrangements before commencing the works., -Preparation of working drawings, and specifications for contracts., -Mails, carriages, waggons, horse-boxes, etc., -Buildings at stations, and apparatus., -Duties of Engine-men, and necessary regulations along the line., -Description of engines, and methods of working them., -Annual expenses of railways., -Great western railway reports., -System of direction and management., -History of locomotive engines., -Explanation of the plates., -List of railways, when Act was passed, and amount of money raised, or authorized to be raised. Railroads in history books.
Railroad Freight Transportation – Steam Train Books
Loree, Leonor Fresnel
“Deals with all phases of loading, distribution of cars, movement of engines and trains and handling of men as related to transportation.”
– A.L.A. Catalog (1926). Railroads in history books.
The Working of the Railroads – Vintage Railroad Books
McPherson, Logan G.
NY: Henry Holt 1907
Chapter headings are: 1. The Transportation Function, 2. Construction and Operation, 3. Traffic, 4. Accounting and Statistics, 5. Financial and Executive Administration, 6. Correlation, 7. Integration, 8. Relations to the Public and the State. Railroads in history books.
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Railroad Administration – Vintage Railroad Books
NY: Appleton 1910
Train Operation … – Vintage Railroad Books
A Treatise on Train Rules, train orders, change of time table, automatic block signals, interlocking, examination questions and answers
Rochester, NY: Brown 1916
Selected Articles on Government Ownership of Railroads – Books on Railroads in American History
Phelps, Edith M., comp.
H. W. Wilson 1914
In the first decades of the 20th century publisher H.W. Wilson produced many volumes in its Debaters’ Handbook Series on social and political issues that were under discussion at the time. Each book contains the full text of selected articles and documents representing opposing views on the issue, along with a substantial bibliography of books and articles. Railroads in history books.
Most of the books mentioned in these guides are likely to be freely available online. Search by title; first at the Internet Archive (archive.org), then at HathiTrust.org. Referenced magazine articles may also be available online at the same sites, with HathiTrust the preferred site for magazines.
Selected Articles on Government Ownership of Railroads Vol II – Railroads in History Books
Phelps, Edith M., comp.
H. W. Wilson 1919
See the description under the first volume with this title, above. Railroads in history books.
Every Boy’s Book of Railways and Steamships – Railroads in History Books
London: Religious Tract Society 1911
Collection of Railroad Timetables – Vintage Railroad Books
Rails and Trails.com
Various publishers and years of publication
“Trains were governed by timetables. Public timetables listed passenger train schedules. Employee timetables had detailed information necessary to operate a train on that section of railroad.”
– Rails and Trails.com
This “Rails and Trails” webpage has links to a number of timetables in each of these categories. Descriptions are quoted from the webpage.
– Employee Timetables
“Detailed information needed to work on a division of the railroad.”
– Public Timetables
“Schedules of passenger trains, usually for the complete system. Often includes map, ticket prices, travel and railroad information.” Railroads in history books.
Collection of Track Charts and Diagrams – Vintage Railroad Books
Rails and Trails.com
Various publishers and years of publication
“Railroads published track charts and diagrams showing track details including stations, switches, crossings, bridges, tunnels, signals, elevation and curvature. These are helpful in understanding and modeling specific railroad lines.” – Rails and Trails.com
This webpage has links to numerous examples of diagrams in each of these categories. Descriptions are quoted from the webpage.
– Straight Line Track Diagrams – Grade Profiles The railroad as the engineer sees it. Often includes bridges, sidings, stations, grades and curvature. Sometimes includes maintenance and signaling information, orientation map of areas covered.”
– Side Track Charts/Diagrams “Covered areas with sidings in greater detail. Often labeled with their use, construction and abandonment dates.”
– Locomotive, Car and Building Diagrams
– Property/Valuation Maps
“Very detailed drawings of the railroad, buildings and property. Often submitted to the Interstate Commerce Commission for valuation or notification/approval of changes.”
– Documents Describing Diagrams
– Links to other websites with extensive online diagrams
The Railway Builders: A Chronicle of Overland Highways – Railway History Books
Skelton, Oscar D.
Toronto: Glasgow, Brook 1920
Chapter headings: 1. The Coming of the Railway, 2. Early Travel in Canada, 3. The call for the Railway, 4. The Canadian Beginnings, 5. The Grand Trunk Era, 6. The Intercolonial, 7. The Canadian Pacific – Beginnings, 8. Building the Canadian Pacific , 9. The Era of Amalgamation, 10. The Canadian Northern, 11. The Expansion of the Grand Trunk, 12. Sundry Developments, 13. Some General Questions, Bibliographical Note. First Trains in U.S.
The Strategy of Great Railroads – Railway History Books
Spearman, Frank H.
Scribner’s Sons 1906
“A volume illustrating the field of railroad competition. The various subjects treated are the Vanderbilt lines, the Pennsylvania system, the Harriman lines, the Hill lines, the fight for Pittsburg, the Gould lines, the Rock island system, the Atchison, the big Granger lines (St. Paul and Northwestern), the rebuilding of an American railroad, the first trans-continental railroad, the early days in railroading. – Bookman.
One Hundred Years of American Railroading – Books on Railroads in American History
Starr, John William Jr.
NY: Dodd, Mead 1928
The book consists mostly of brief histories of numerous railroad companies. First Trains in U.S.
The Transcontinental Railroad – Books on Railroads in American History
Completed in 1869, the transcontinental railroad fulfilled the long-held vision of a single transportation and trade route across the North American continent. Skilled engineers and laborers built the railroad, while devious speculators on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts maneuvered to profit by it. This book describes the design, financing, and construction of one of the largest engineering projects in history. Transcontinental Railroad was completed, what is Transcontinental Railroad.
Railway Track and Track Work – Railway History Books
Tratman, E. E. B.
Engineering news 1908
General principles with numerous details of material, appliances and work, and methods of practice, with drawings. Various subjects treated critically and descriptively. – A.L.A. Catalog 1904
The Story of the Railroad – Railway History Books
NY: Appleton 1906
Chapter headings: 1. The Origin of the Idea, 2. Early Explorations nd Surveys, 3. The Building of the Road, 4. The Tombs of the Trail Makers, 5. The Meeting of the Rails, 6. A Brush with the Sioux, 7. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, 8. The Seer of the Santa Fe, 9. Life in a Grading Camp, 10. Peopling the Great American Desert, 11. The Road Reaches the Rockies, 12. The Invasion of New Mexico, 13. The Grand Canon War, 14. Incidents of the Early Days, 15. The Denver and Rio Grande, 16. The Northern Pacific, 17. The Canadian Pacific, 18. Road Making in Mexico, 19. The Opening of Oklahoma, 20. The Railroad Engineer, 21. At the Front, 22. The Railroad and the People, 23. The Beginnings of the Express Business, 24. The West To-day. Transcontinental Railroad was completed, what is Transcontinental Railroad, First Trains in U.S.
Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America – Books on Railroads in American History
This original, deeply researched history shows the transcontinentals to be pivotal actors in the making of modern America. But the triumphal myths of the golden spike, robber barons larger than life, and an innovative capitalism all die here. Instead we have a new vision of the Gilded Age, often darkly funny, that shows history to be rooted in failure as well as success.
A Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize: “A powerful book, crowded with telling details and shrewd observations.” —Michael Kazin, New York Times Book Review. Transcontinental Railroad was completed, what is Transcontinental Railroad.
A Brief Review of Railroad History from the Earliest Period to the Year 1894 – Railroads in History Books
Wilson, William Hasell
Philadelphia: Allen, Lane & Scott 1895
The Economics of Railroad Construction – Vintage Railroad Books
Webb, Walter Loring
NY: Wiley 1906
Chapter headings: Part I: Financial and Legal Elements of the Problem, 1. Railroad Statistics, 2. The Organization of Railroads, 3. Capitalization, 4. The Valuation of Railway Property, 5. Estimation of Volume of Traffic
Part II: Operating Elements of the Problem, 6. Operating Expenses, 7. Motive Power, 8. Economics of Car Construction, 9. Track Economics, 10. Train Resistance, 11. Momentum Grades
Part III: Physical Elements of the Problem, 12. Distance, 13. Curvature, 14. Minor Grades, 15. Ruling Grades, 16. Pusher Grades, 17. Balancing Grades for Unequal Traffic
How to be a First Class Trainmaster – Vintage Railroad Books
Three prize articles and selections from fifteen competitors’ articles on the employment, instructions and discipline of men and the other duties of a first class trainmaster
Wildman, C. B. et al.
NY: Railroad Age Gazette 1909
Collection of 51 maps by various publishers showing railroad networks in the U.S., created from the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries. Collection hosted by Yale University Library. Railroad maps of USA.
Collection of 26 historic maps of railroad networks in Canada by various publishers, mostly created in the late 19th and very early 20th centuries. Collection hosted by Yale University Library.
Railroad Maps of the Western United States – Railroad Maps of USA
Online collection of 32 maps showing railway networks in the western U.S., from various publishers. Maps were created from the middle of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th centuries. Collection hosted by Yale University Library. Railroad maps of USA.
A collection of 623 maps that show “internal improvements” during the 19th Century around the U.S. At least 560 of the maps show railroads. Various publishers. Collection hosted by the U.S. Library of Congress. Railroad maps of USA.