Archives On The Air 159: Wyoming's Railroad Age—James L. Ehernberger Western Railroad Collection

May 23, 2019

Railroads have been a vital part of Wyoming's commerce and culture.

For example, in the late 1800s a new railroad was built between Newcastle and Sheridan. People thought it would only be profitable for moving cows. But towns along the railroad grew as access became easier.

W.S. Kimball wrote that railroads in Wyoming paid little attention to passengers. When there were passengers they paid in cash. And the conductors would pocket it. Kimball remembered that if you had an official ticket the conductor acted insulted.

Railroad work was dangerous. Kimball wrote about a rainstorm that washed away newly built supports in a ravine. A train drove over the unsupported tracks and a car full of railroad workers plummeted and died.

Explore more railroad history in the James Ehernberger collection at UW's American Heritage Center.