SOURCE: The Baffler
"Amtrak Joe" Leaves Rail Workers in the Dust
by Kim Kelly
Why did the "most pro-union president" in modern times push through a negotiated settlement rejected by the majority of railroad union members, and what would Eugene Debs think?
SOURCE: New York Magazine
Railway Companies Aren't Simply Being Stingy: Denying Sick Days is Central to their Business Model
The regime of Precision-Scheduled Railroading (PSR) has yielded immense profits but cannot accommodate unexpected worker absences. The current impasse is happening because executives and stockholders refuse to abandon the system.
An Open Letter from Historians In Support of Railway Workers
A group of historians hopes to persuade President Biden and Labor Secretary Martin Walsh to uphold railroad workers' right to strike and to intervene in negotiations to help secure a contract with sick day provisions.
SOURCE: Los Angeles Times
Once More, Railroad Workers are Taking the Lead for American Labor
by Nelson Lichtenstein
Railroad companies' profits hinge on inhumane scheduling practices—cutting the workforce to the bone and squeezing everything possible out of those who remain—that will soon be part of every industry if workers aren't able to fight back.
What Casey Jones Tells Us about the Past and Present of America's Railroad Workers
by Scott Huffard
Although it's difficult to separate fact from fiction around his life, the famed railroad engineer had something in common with today's rail workers: being stretched to the limits of health and safety by companies' pursuit of profit.
Not All Roads Lead to Kashmir
by Andrew Howard
A recent tragedy on a historically contentious railway route shows that decisions about infrastructure development are made with symbolic and emotional considerations as well as pragmatic ones.
How Wood Helped America Become Great – But Mislay its Sense of History
by Roland Ennos
Industrializing America's infrastructure was much more likely than Europe's to be made of wood. This accident of nature and geography helped drive rapid expansion, but today means much of the 19th century built environment of the United States has vanished.
SOURCE: The Bitter Southerner
Somebody Died, Babe: A Musical Coverup of Racism, Violence & Greed
by Kevin Kehrberg & Jeffrey A. Keith
The song "Swannanoa Tunnel" has been changed through generations of recordings by white musicians, concealing its origins as a song sung by Black convict-lease laborers who were forced to work in deadly conditions, often as punishment for minor crimes (or no crimes at all).
When the President’s Son-In-Law Truly Was a Great Success
by Gail Radford
Treasury Secretary William McAdoo was a presidential son-in-law whose knowledge, experience, and belief in the role of government made him an effective public servant.
SOURCE: NBC News
Descendants of Chinese railroad workers share their hope for the recognition of their ancestors' labor
The Chinese railroad workers who helped connect the country.
Richard White: Elon Musk's Hyperloop's $6 billion price tag "just pie in the sky"
Elon Musk, a serial entrepreneur who was a co-founder of PayPal and the electric car company Tesla Motors, sent people in California into a tizzy on Monday when he released a white paper outlining a hypothetical high-speed transportation system called the Hyperloop.There were a number of curious questions about the Hyperloop, which Mr. Musk’s white paper claims will be able to travel at up to 800 miles an hour and transport people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes. While physicists agree that technically, on paper, this is possible, economists seem to agree that technically, on paper, the price tag of $6 billion is impossible.
SOURCE: Clemson News
Clemson's Roger Grant receives book award
CLEMSON — Clemson University history professor Roger Grant is the bronze winner of ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year Award for history. He won the accolade for his book "Railroads and the American People," a social history of the impact of railroads on American life, published in 2012 by Indiana University Press.“How the railroad has affected people has long intrigued me,” said Grant. “This book has allowed me the opportunity to explore that fascinating relationship.”The ForeWord Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards is judged by a select group of librarians and booksellers from around the country. There were 1,300 entries from more than 600 publishers and 248 winners were selected from 62 categories. Grant was the bronze winner in the genre of history....
SOURCE: Special to HNN
Murray Polner: Review of Sam Roberts's "Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America" (Grand Central Publishing, 2013)
Murray Polner is a regular book reviewer for HNN.Compared to shabby and uninspiring Penn Station, Manhattan’s other train station on the west side of Manhattan, the latest version of Grand Central Terminal in chic East Midtown Manhattan, which includes Madison and Park Avenues and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, is a stunning work of architectural genius. New York Times reporter Sam Roberts’s Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America is beautifully illustrated with a very readable text, an appropriate acknowledgment of the hundredth anniversary of the station’s past and present.
The World's Train Station: Grand Central
Grand Central Terminal at night. Credit: Wiki Commons.
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