AMC's Hell on Wheels is an upcoming series created by Joe and Tony Gayton, centered around the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. Joe: "I think what a lot of people think of when they think about the Transcontinental Railroad is the contribution of the Chinese immigrants." "But, it’s just so American". So the show focuses on railroad construction from the East, and the Chinese laborers story? They "ended up getting excised". [more inside]
GM is struggling to survive, announcing today tens of thousands of layoffs and plant closings by next year, and eliminating the Pontiac Brand. Meanwhile just a few weeks ago, the president announced a high speed rail plan [pdf] between many major cities. An interesting turn of events since the documentary Taken For a Ride uses interviews and public records to argue that GM deliberately killed off transportation via rail.
The first National Train Day is this coming Saturday. There will be events all over, and concerts, special guests and lots of train related attractions in four main cities, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. The day is May 10th to commemorate May 10th, 1869 when the “golden spike” was driven into the final tie in Promontory Summit, Utah. It joined two major railways, ceremonially creating the nation’s first transcontinental railroad. Except that it really didn't. That did not actually happen until August 15th, 1870, near Strasburg, CO. Colorado State officials list it (pdf) as Comanche Crossing, saying "An unpretentious white monument marks the spot". The "drab concrete pylon" was moved from the actual site and now sits in Lions Park. Next to the monkey bars.
Dogcaught, a group blog about trains and the train experience. Some of the pictures are nice enough that they almost look tiltshifted. Others are beautiful and alluring. Hang around long enough and you might turn into a foamer. [more inside]