Unlike many United States industries, railroads are intrinsically linked to American soil and particular regions. Yet few Americans pay attention to rail lines, even though millions of them live in an economy and culture ""waiting for the train."" In ""Train Time: Railroads and the Imminent Reshaping of the United States Landscape"", John R. Stilgoe picks up where his acclaimed work ""Metropolitan Corridor"" left off, carrying his ideas about the spatial consequences of railways up to the present moment. Arguing that the train is returning, ""an economic and cultural tsunami about to transform the United States,"" Stilgoe posits a future for railways as powerful shapers of American life. Divided into sections that focus on particular aspects of the impending impact of railroads on the landscape, ""Train Time"" moves seamlessly between historical and contemporary analysis. From his reading of what prompted investors to reorient their thinking about the railroad industry in the late 1970s, to his exploration of creative solutions to transportation problems and land-use planning and development in the present, Stilgoe expands our perspective of an industry normally associated with bad news. Urging us that ""the magic moment is now,"" he observes, ""Now a train is often only a whistle heard far off on a sleepless night. But romantic or foreboding or empowering, the whistle announces return and change to those who listen."" For scholars with an interest in American history in general and railroad and transit history in particular, as well as general readers concerned about the future of transportation in the United States, ""Train Time"" is an engaging look at the future of our railroads.
John R. Stilgoe, Robert and Lois Orchard Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, is the author of Outside Lies Magic, Lifeboat (Virginia), and Landscape and Images (Virginia).