Archives On The Air 88: Warm Night In A Cold Train—James L. Ehernberger Western Railroad Collection

Nov 19, 2018

Getting stuck in the middle of a trip is not fun. But imagine being a passenger on the number four train from Laramie to Cheyenne in 1883 when the snow stopped it dead—for twenty-two hours.

It was early February and freezing cold, a recipe for disaster.

But the passengers stayed calm and made it into a positive experience. The passengers lit fires in the train’s stoves. They kept warm despite the forty-below temperatures outside.

The group passed the time telling stories and cracking jokes. Families shared packed coffee and food. Train workers shared sardines and crackers. Everyone slept comfortably that night.

The train finished its journey to Cheyenne two days later. The passengers had lost travel time, but gained new friends.

For more stories from railroad history, check out the James Ehernberger Western Railroad collection at UW’s American Heritage Center.