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Alabama Railroads, Alabama Railroads, 0817308121, 0-8173-0812-1, 978-0-8173-0812-4, 9780817308124,

Alabama Railroads

Hardcover
1997. 328 pp.
978-0-8173-0812-4
Price:  $44.95 s

Alabama Railroads is the first extensive history of the state's railway system, from the chartering of the Tuscumbia Railway Company in January 1830, to the maturity of the system in the latter half of the 20th century, when Amtrak assumed control of the nation's passenger service.

Railroads built Alabama. Without them the state's vast natural resources could not have been developed. Scores of Alabama towns, including the city of Birmingham, owe their existence to the railroads. Moreover, Alabama legislators were instrumental in securing passage of momentous land grant legislation that brought the railroad—and settlers—to every section of the American frontier.

During the Civil War, the state's rail system was a primary objective of Union raiders, and an Alabama rail connection into Chattanooga proved to be a vital key to victory. After the war, the railroad shaped politics and economic development in the state. Indeed, most of the important events of the first 100 years of Alabama history were influenced in a significant manner by the railroad. Alabama Railroads chronicles these events—from land grant legislation and the strategic importance of Alabama's railroads in the Civil War to the founding of Birmingham and the development of the state's agricultural, mineral, and timber regions.

Wayne Cline traces the development of all the major lines as well as the most prominent short lines, from the day in 1832 when the first horse-drawn cars rolled over primitive tracks at Tuscumbia, to the night in 1971 at Sylacauga when the final operating order was issued for one of the 20th century's most famous streamliners. Along the way we meet the varied cast of colorful characters who pioneered the railway system that serves the state today. With more than 100 rare and vintage illustrations from the 19th and early 20th centuries, Alabama Railroads places Alabama's rail heritage in a national context and allows students of southern history as well as railroad enthusiasts to view this Deep South state from an entirely fresh perspective.


Wayne Cline earned a master's degree from The University of Alabama and has had a diversified career in business, government, and education.


"Thanks should be given to Cline by all railroad historians for this book. The reader will discover that Alabama has an important place in the development of America's railroad system."
—John W. Corns, President, Birmingham Railroad Heritage

"Cline's profusely illustrated Alabama Railroads fills an important gap in southern railway history. His survey of Alabama's railroad development will long serve as the standard work on the subject. It is an engaging read, full of southern entrepreneurs in pursuit of profits, their successes and failures in building major railways in the state and many minor ones as well, and an engaging tale of the birth of Birmingham's iron and steel industry."
—James A. Ward, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

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