"An excellent history of a short but vital Midwest railroad."--Mark Reutter, editor of "Railroad History"Reseña del editor:
The first railroad to connect the Mississippi River with the Great Lakes, the Chicago & Alton Railroad played a key role in the economic development of the Midwest. From humble beginnings in 1847 as transport for farm produce, it grew to link three key midwestern cities--Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City--and set the standard for efficient service and luxurious passenger travel. Such famous personages as Abraham Lincoln, Marshall Field, Timothy Blackstone, and Samuel Insull were associated with the Chicago & Alton. Lincoln had been among the first to buy stock in the company, and the Chicago & Alton carried his funeral train on the last leg of its journey to Springfield, Illinois. The introduction of George Pullman's first sleeping and dining cars enhanced the Chicago & Alton's reputation for elegant style and comfort. The company initiated a number of innovations in rail travel, including the installation of the first steel railroad bridge. It was also the first to bring streamliners and diesels into the highly competitive Chicago-St. Louis corridor. Events that shaped America, from the Civil War to World War II, impacted the Chicago & Alton. During the tumultuous years of its business expansion, frequent shifts of power threatened to destroy the railroad. Edward Harriman, for example, rebuilt and reequipped the Chicago & Alton only to lose it in one of his few mistakes. The federal government later seized control during one of the Chicago & Alton's weakest periods, but relinquished it after a devastating coal strike. Even criminal manipulations of the railroad's stock and bonds by a New york financier played a role in the company's turbulent history. Illustrated with eighty photographs, many of them never before published, "The Chicago & Alton Railroad" is the first complete history of one of America's most famous small railroads.
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