I love history. I love railroads. One of the reasons I love railroads is the role they played in the history, development and success of the United States. Without the railroads this country would never have become the super economy it is today. I think of the most important role played by the railroads was one of constructing the arteries throughout the nation that allowed our country to move commodities and people in large quantities to the vast undeveloped areas throughtout the west, southwest and northwest--to spur development and expansion in a much more efficient manner.
It was extremely hard working on the railroads. I admire those men who worked on the railroads (I'm not sure any women worked on the railroads in the 19th century, but if they did, I admire them also). It was dangerous, back-breaking, and offered very little reward. But men did it to eat and feed their families. I don't suspect the reward was much more than basic sustenance.
I grew up in a part of the country that was peppered with steel mills. My grandfather immigrated from Austria-Hungary and worked in a steel mill until the day he died. Working in a steel mill is similar to working on the railroad in its danger and required physical efforts. I am thankful for all of those men and women who worked endlessly to build the infrastructure of this country so all of us can enjoy what we have today.
The interstate highway system gradually took the place of the railways. As this country changed from primarily a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy the Internet is now taking over for the highway system. What will the future hold?