Western Iowa Tech Community College
Home Phone: (712) 276-3185
Cell Phone: (712) 490-4881
Rudolph Daniels is Assistant Dean, and retired Department Chair of Railroad Operations Technology and instructor of railroad history at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City, Iowa. He likes to travel throughout Iowa. Dr. Daniels has written the official history of United States railroads, Trains Across the Continent, which was written at the request of the railway industry, and he was contributing editor to the Railway Atlas of North America. He has recently finished Railroading on Three Continents, which is an account of United States railroad operations during World War I.
Trains Across Iowa
Rudy Daniels describes the past, present and future of the Hawkeye State’s railroads. The program explores Iowa’s unique position in the construction of the first transcontinental railroad and Iowa’s great contribution to railroad safety. The talk also describes the famous streamliners that rode Iowa’s rails. All aboard for an Iowa rail adventure!
Additional resources: Tales of the Rails (Video)
U.S. Railroad Operations During World War I
U.S. railroad history during World War I, in both its civilian and military aspects, is a fascinating and incredible story. Domestically, the federal government actually took over the Class I railroads until 1921. Overseas, the United States Army operated its own trains with American equipment in France. It constructed over 1,000 miles of standard gauge rail in France and hundreds of miles of narrow gauge to the trenches. The Army also sent soldiers to north Russia and to Siberia to operate and to protect American locomotives and freight cars. U.S. production of tracks and equipment was absolutely astounding not to mention the logistics of transporting locomotives and cars to three regions of the globe. It is a little-known fact that the U.S. railroad operations in France brought the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918!
United States Railroads during World War II
From 1941 through 1945, United States railroads were the "Lifeline of the Nation." The railroads bore the brunt of almost all travel. Over 80 percent of all travel was by railroad; the rest was by trolley, a few busses and roller skates. Bicycling was not possible, as there was no available rubber. Cars were only allowed 5 gallons of gasoline a week. At the same time, our railroaders operated trains in Europe during and after the War, and in Japan during and after the Armistice. American soldiers built the magnificent transportation system in France and Germany that we admire today.