Anne Here. Riding the rails is one of my all time favorite ways to travel. How many readers have taken the train while traveling? For me, it reminds me of a period of time in our country when the world was opened and connected. I've taken the train to the Oregon coast, east to Lancaster, PA, and north to Wisconsin. In Europe, I rode the train across East Germany to Berlin in 1988.
But in the days before the train industry crashed, as America was settled, goods were transported increasingly to unreached areas through main rail arteries that fed smaller communities and incredible numbers of short tracks. The debut story I have coming out this summer evolves around a resort community in northern Michigan. The trains that fed the region were better than the roads for decades. Those who visited northern Michigan's lake shores for vacation often came by train or steamers.
With the view of Lake Michigan on one side and cottages on the other side, it was the perfect family vacation! Many families spent the entire summer there.
This beautiful cottage in Bay View, Michigan faces over Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan. This summer as my parents and I visited for part of my book research, we could imagine the big swath of grass in front of those white chairs was the old abandoned railway bed from the older picture above.
As roads improved after the turn of the century and the investment in train travel fell, many tracks were closed. I recall this set of old Pullman cars situated north of Bay View in Crooked Lake--we stopped to take a few pictures. I wanted so badly to climb inside!!
In fiction writing, we often talk about inanimate objects becoming a character in the story. An example is when the weather acts as a character, such as man vs. the weather. Or when the mountains take on a persona. In my story, I like to imagine that the trains are a character that sets the tone of the times. Each of our stories will show the chasm between the social classes of the Gilded Age. Maybe I'll need to write another story set only on the train!
Does anyone have train trips on their bucket lists? I want to ride to Seattle again someday. And I'd love to ride the Orient Express one day in Europe. Look at these pics of the OE! Luxury on wheels...
What's on your train bucket list?
Share if you've ridden the rails for a trip--and where?
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Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots.Nurse Practitioner by day.Wife, mother, writer by night.Coffee drinker--any time.
Find me at: www.anneloveauthor.com