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Reading The Rails

amtrak - photo by Flickr user pferriolaDid you know that Amtrak, the United States' passenger railroad service, officially launched on May 1, 1971?

There's no better time than summer to travel by train, and you can start your journey right here in Norman at our historic train depot, where Amtrak's Heartland Flyer passes through every single day.

Pioneer Library System has lots of great books about trains, stations, and railway journeys, as well as guides to help you plan a great train trip of your own!

USA By Rail: The Bradt Travel Guide by John Pitt

Fully updated to take into account route and timetable changes, this is the only book available specifically designed for US train travel. Less expensive than flying and more comfortable than the bus, the train keeps you relaxed and in touch with an ever-changing landscape as the world becomes a framed but moving picture.



cover - Ghost Train To The Eastern StarGhost Train To The Eastern Star: On The Tracks Of The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

Thirty years after the epic journey chronicled in his classic work The Great Railway Bazaar, the world’s most acclaimed travel writer re-creates his 25,000-mile journey through eastern Europe, central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, China, Japan, and Siberia. Half a lifetime ago, Paul Theroux virtually invented the modern travel narrative by recounting his grand tour by train through Asia. In the three decades since, the world he recorded in that book has undergone phenomenal change; no one is better able to capture the texture, sights, smells, and sounds of that changing landscape than Theroux.



cover - All Aboard: The Complete North American Travel Guide

All Aboard: The Complete North American Travel Guide by Jim Loomis

In this broad and basic guide, Loomis, a veteran rail travel writer, covers routes in the US, Canada, and even briefly touches upon Mexico; includes information on room/seat options, reserving space, general cost, tipping and such train specifics as crew, equipment, operation, track signals and signs.



cover - Waiting On A Train - The Embattled Future Of Passenger Rail Service

Waiting On A Train: The Embattled Future Of Passenger Rail Service by James McCommons

McCommons sets out to rectify American ignorance of passenger trains by describing his rail travels around the United States in 2008. He writes of the people he meets, the scenery, the long decline in American rail travel, and its emerging renaissance, interweaving discussions he has had with dozens of the leading minds on American passenger rail service.



cover - America's Great Railway StationsAmerica's Great Railroad Stations by Roger Straus

For much of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the railroad station or depot was the communal hub of every American town that could boast of train service. Most of these buildings were architectural gems, and while many are still in service, certain others now house museums, banks, restaurants, and more. Award-winning photographer Roger Straus III and two lifelong railroad buffs, Ed Breslin and Hugh Van Dusen, join forces to tell the astonishing story of these enduring structures and the important role they still play in the country's landscape.



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