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Railroads Today -- A Virtual Trip in a Changing World 

Norfolk Southern.Railroads helped build America.  They profoundly influenced westward growth, political decisions, economic advancement, and the lives of everyday Americans.  They helped win wars and brought engineering and architectural marvels to our countryside and cities. Yet history is not over -- it is still being made.

The face of American railroading today is not the nostalgic tale of whistles echoing across the valley, nor townspeople hanging around small town depots, awaiting the 5:15. Just as America has changed, so has railroading.

Despite a period following the end of Railroading's Golden Era, when service abandonments and bankruptcies were all too common, our railroads today are in a period of growth, consolidation and renewed efficiency.  Not without growing pains, yet a fascinating story that will occupy future history books. You may even know some changes that have occurred after this was written!

Here are some of the pictures of Railroads Today, three at each of nine stops. The stops are:

Modern Is the Word
Passenger Services
Passenger Service Advancement
A Trip on Amtrak
Regional Commuter Services
But Where Are the Freight Trains?
What they Carry
Freight Railroads Serving America
The Engine that Drives America

This train makes all stops.  Enjoy the trip!

First Stop: Modern Is The Word

Locomotive Training Simulator

Yes, engineers today are trained on simulators. Computers are found throughout locomotives and are the nerves of the railroad. Railroads have always used technology, and were in the forefront of radio systems. Today even satellites and a host of remote sensors are involved. Running a railroad today is a high-tech challenge.

Federal deregulation under the "Staggers Act" of 1980 allowed freight railroads to become more efficient.

CSX Dispatch Center

Trains can be controlled from hundreds of miles away through electronic control of signals, switches and other equipment. Seen here is a major dispatch center. Persons working for railroads today must often possess white-collar skills of the type required by other modern businesses.
CSX  Worker Women are playing a growing role in this traditionally male industry. Ability is increasingly what counts today as railroads pursue best business practices. Can you guess what she's holding?

It may take 30 years or longer for a locomotive introduced in service to find  its way to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.  We can't wait that long  to tell the story of America's railroads;  part of our ongoing mission  is to monitor current events.  If we don't have a new locomotive to show,  we use media such as, in this case, a virtual trip.

The Railroads Today section was assisted by the cooperation of a number of railroad authorities, including Amtrak, Norfolk Southern and CSX. Please note that these pictures are copyrighted and  may not be copied without permission of the owner.

At the bottom of each page, click to move to the next stop on your trip: Next Stop  (8 more)

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