Woooooh… Wooooh. The very sound of the Amtrak train horn is among the most evocative bits of Americana. It conjures up images of giant locomotives, ploughing their way across the country. With romantic names like “The Texas Eagle,” “The Silver Meteor,” “The City of New Orleans,” and my home for the next week, “The California Zephyr.” The train is America.
Because while the horse and covered wagon gave rise to the frontier spirit, it was the country’s railroad that propelled this vast nation into becoming an economic powerhouse. The West may have been won on horseback, but it was the train that carried the swathes of victors to those newly claimed lands. The railroads became the backbone of the country. Transporting labor from one side to the other and the goods they produced to the entire country.