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The Station Agent and the American Railroad Experience
Published by: Indiana University Press
Before the widespread popularity of automobiles, buses, and trucks, freight and passenger trains bound the nation together. The Station Agent and the American Railroad Experience explores the role of local frontline workers that kept the country's vast rail network running.
Virtually every community with a railroad connection had a depot and an agent. These men and occasionally women became the official representatives of their companies and were highly respected. They met the public when they sold tickets, planned travel itineraries, and reported freight and express shipments. Additionally, their first-hand knowledge of Morse code made them the most informed in town. But as times changed, so did the role of, and the need for, the station agent.
Beautifully illustrated with dozens of vintage photographs, The Station Agent and the American Railroad Experience, brings back to life the day-to-day experience of the station agent and captures the evolution of railroad operations as technology advanced.
1. Formative Years
2. Maturity: Essentials
3. Maturity: Complexities
H. Roger Grant is author of numerous books on railroads and transportation, including Railroads and the American People (IUP), and A Mighty Fine Road (IUP). He is Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professor of History at Clemson University.
"Roger Grant deftly combines detailed historical research and highly engaging prose in a superb account of the lives and responsibilities of the station agents that were at the heart of every community in small-town America."~Albert J. Churella, Kennesaw State University
"Roger Grant has opened the arcane and little understood world of the railroad station agent (and telegrapher and operator) in this fine study of an integral part of railroad operations. Overshadowed by locomotive engineers and railroad conductors, the station agent was the "face" of the railroad in thousands of communities and Roger has done a terrific job of explaining their role in American railroading and how they kept trains moving."~Thomas G. Hoback, Founder, President and CEO, Indiana Rail Road (Retired)
"Numerous books have been written about railroad station architecture, but finally we have an excellent social history that focuses on the station agent, who even more than onboard passenger train crews represented the public face of the railroad. Another winner from Roger Grant."~Carlos A. Schwantes, St. Louis Mercantile Library Professor Emeritus
"For more than four decades H. Roger Grant has been a well known name among railroad historians, authoring many books on a variety of railroad subjects. Here, the author examines an era when the local station agent-operator played an important role in accommodating a railroad's freight and passenger customers as well as serving an important train control function."~David J Mrozek, Michigan Railfan