There are a lot of stories surrounding America’s railroad system. As a matter of fact, a touring musical theatre is based on the early steam engine and today’s diesel-powered trains. Through the musical’s songs and the actor’s performance, the audience will be brought on board the iron horse while enjoying bits of history and geography.

Undoubtedly, trains had a tremendous effect in communities surrounding miles-long train tracks. More than the economic gains and/or losses, the railroads touched a lot of lives. These stories are narrated and shared even hundreds of years later. One of which is the story of Kate Shelley of Moingona, Iowa. Thanks to her, at least 200 people were saved from what would have been a horrendous train tragedy.

An hour before midnight, Shelley heard the crash of Honey Creek Bridge. Knowing that a passenger train will reach the creek before the witching hour, she went out to let someone know about what happened, despite the torrential rains and violent winds. She even had to go on all fours for her to cross a bridge. Due to her bold and selfless act, a lot of people helped her financially. The bridge where it all happened was also named after Shelley (Kate Shelley Bridge), a year after her demise.

Getting Back on Track

Just like a derailed train, we have come across obstacles that greatly affect us, to the point of losing our sense of direction and identity. This being said, there will always be people who will help us get on our feet and get us back on track. The American railways also had the same story.

During the 1970s, the American railway system was on the brink of totally falling apart. There were new ways of transporting people and commodity with the construction and development of the country’s interstate highways and thoroughfares. Because of onerous new directives that make it almost impossible to retrench workers and cease operations on unprofitable routes, a major part of the industry became insolvent and went under.

It was only during the 1980 when the railroad industry started to get back on track, Through the Staggers Act and the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act, railroad companies had more liberty to implement cost-cutting measures.

Before today’s railroads became what they are, they went through a lot of ups and downs. There is something rousing about revisiting the rich history of railways in the country and retelling the great stories forged by trains and tracks.