Iron Horses: America's Race to Bring the Railroads West
A vivid account of the origins of the transcontinental railroad -- available for the first time in trade paperback -- by the author of the bestselling The Admirals: "Borneman is masterly at writing seamless narrative." -- Douglas Brinkley, author of The Wilderness Warrior
After the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869, the rest of the United States was up for grabs, and the race was on. The prize: a better, shorter, less snowy route through the American Southwest, linking Los Angeles to Chicago. In IRON HORSES, Borneman recounts the rivalries, contested routes, political posturing, and business dealings that unfolded as an increasing number of lines pushed their way across the country.
Borneman brings to life the legendary robber barons behind it all and also captures the herculean efforts required to construct these roads -- the laborers who did the back-breaking work, the brakemen who ran atop moving cars, the tracklayers crushed and killed by runaway trains. From backroom deals in Washington, DC, to armed robberies of trains in the wild deserts, from cattle cars to streamliners and Super Chiefs, all the great incidents and innovations of a mighty American era are made vivid in IRON HORSES.
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35th parallel Albuquerque American Angeles Arizona Atchison Atlantic and Pacific Big Four bridge build built Cajon Pass California Southern Cañon City Central Pacific Chicago Collis Colorado River Company completed construction Creek crews Crocker to Huntington Deming Denver and Rio east eastern Edward Payson Ripley engineer Evans Fe’s Fred Harvey freight Frémont Frisco grade Gunnison Harriman Holliday Huntington Huntington Papers Jay Gould Kansas City Kansas Pacific land grant later Leadville locomotive main line Mexican Mexico miles of track Morley Mountains narrow gauge Pacific Railroad Palmer Collection Paso passenger president Pueblo railhead rails Railway Raton Pass reported rightofway Rio Grande’s Ripley road Rockies Rosecrans Royal Gorge San Diego San Francisco Santa Fe Scott South Park Southern Pacific Southern Pacific’s Southwest standard gauge survey Texas and Pacific Topeka and Santa town traffic train transcontinental railroad Tucson Tunnel Union Pacific Valley Western William Barstow Strong William Jackson Palmer Yuma