In recent years, fewer and fewer original Railroad Stories have been
published. But there has been enough of an audience to make it
worthwhile for editors and publishers to create a number of good
anthologies of the old Railroad Stories
. These can be an excellent
way to sample a variety of authors at a reasonable cost.
Most of the original Railroad Stories were published first in
magazines. Some of these include: Harper's Weekly, Scientific
American, Leslie's Illustrated, American Magazine, Action Stories,
Short Stories, Argosy Magazine, Adventure Magazine, Saturday Evening
Post, as well as Railroad Man's Magazine, Railroad Stories, and
Railroad Magazine. I'm sure there were others, too.
Fiction in these magazines were usually short action-oriented
stories, although novels were sometimes serialized. The public had a
great interest in news, pictures, and information about the railroads
in the nineteenth, and early twentieth, centuries. Later, as this
interest waned in the general public, a growing audience of "railfans"
became the primary target of more specialized magazines.
Finding railroad stories in old magazines can be difficult. I
usually start with a reference I have found to a specific issue, and
begin looking on both auction and used book web sites. Many of these
sites allow you to search for an item, and if it's not available, to
enter your "wants." The site then sends you an email when a
seller lists a matching item.
Novels and histories of railroads were usually published in book
form, even those that had previously been serialized in magazines. And
authors also published collections of their own short stories in book
This site has lists
of books, categorized by fiction, fact, biography, and poetry .
The "Railroad in Literature" volume described on
the Donovan page,
is the best reference I know of, but it can be expensive.
I use the same web resources mentioned above for magazines, for
finding old books of railroad stories.
Other Web Sites
There are a number of web sites that have railroad stories, among
other things. The list varies, from time to time, so I just use a
search engine when I want to see what's out there. Google
seems to be about the best one right now.
New Sources (2007)
And now, there are a couple of relatively new web resources that
may be the most rewarding of all. These are http://www.archive.org
Both of these are building online collections of digitized books,
magazines, journals, etc.; as well as video and audio publications.
Just search either of these for "railroad stories," and you
will be amazed at the results; and most of these are free, just
download the files!
These collections are growing rapidly right now, since they have
access to libraries and other repositories of this previously
published material, and all that is required is to scan the material to
produce an online (digital) version. I plan to contribute to these
efforts, myself. I kind of like the idea of my whole collection being available for
everyone to enjoy! What about you?
© RailroadStories, 2002-2007.