Book Release: When Atlanta Took the Train
New Book Traces the History of Passenger Trains and the Stations that Served Them
David H. Steinberg and the Southeastern Railway Museum librarians have teamed up to tell the story of passenger travel through Atlanta long before the city became a major hub for air traffic. The 144-page book explores the stations, trains, and people who took the train from the beginnings of the railroad in the 1830s, through the Civil War, and into the twentieth century. As passenger rail travel reached its zenith, over 100 daily trains served Atlanta. Now, only two serve the city: Amtrak’s Crescent, northbound to New York and southbound to New Orleans.
“Our book looks at a time when riding the train was an event that people dressed in their best clothes for. A different time indeed to today’s casual dress,” says author Lloyd Neal.
The book also recalls train stations and small town depots within the metropolitan Atlanta area from past and present, including Peachtree Station, which celebrates its centennial anniversary on March 17, 2018. Peachtree Station was built as a suburban station, but it became the primary station for Atlanta when other downtown stations were closed. Peachtree Station hosts Amtrak today, but other local stations have not been so fortunate. Other major Atlanta depots covered in the book include the 1853 Depot of Civil War and Gone With the Wind fame, the 1871 Union Depot, the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia depot, the 1930 Union Station, and Terminal Station. The decline of passenger train travel saw two major downtown stations demolished in the early 1970s.
The text includes information about excursion trains in the 1970s and 1980s and also looks forward to a possible new depot for downtown Atlanta. Inside are approximately 200 photographs, maps, timetables, postcards, and other illustrations.
The book is available February 26 on Amazon and on the Arcadia website. The list price is $26.99. Lloyd Neal, one of the authors, will be giving presentations and book signings in the upcoming months, listed below. When Atlanta Took the Train will be available through the author for a limited time at these special events for a sale price of $20.75, plus Cobb or Gwinnett County sales taxes for an out-of-pocket cost of $22.00.
The Southeastern Railway Museum receives all royalties on the new book and also profits from all sales made through the Author Team and the Southeastern Railway Museum gift shop. Gift shop pricing may be higher. Four copies are on order by the Gwinnett Public Library.
Book sale dates by the author team:
March 17-18: Piedmont Division Train Show at the Cobb Galleria
April 7-8: Caboose Days at the Southeastern Railway Museum
TBA: Atlanta Chapter National Railway Historical Society meeting
The author team will accept cash, check, credit or debit cards for your purchase. At this time, there will be no mail orders through the author team – contact Lloyd Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
David H. Steinberg was a lifelong Chattanooga resident until family ties and age resulted in a move to New York City. He is an ardent rail fan. David developed an interest in the Atlanta train stations due to many trips through Atlanta by passenger train over the years. His interest was the spark needed to start this book. David is the author of Chattanooga’s Transportation Heritage. He also assisted other authors on the books Chattanooga’s Terminal Station and Nashville Streetcars and Interurban Railways.
The Southeastern Railway Museum staff:
Steve Storey is the Museum Librarian and worked on book layout and caption wording. Steve operates the website railga.com. He has extensive knowledge of railroad corporate histories and ownership of various rail lines within the state of Georgia.
Lloyd Neal is the Assistant Librarian and furnished photographs and caption wording. He called on several friends to add photographs for the book as well. Lloyd has been a model railroader and railfan since the late 1960’s. His camera was there for the changing Atlanta passenger train scene in the 1970s and 1980s.
Lloyd will be making presentations about the book and handling the book signings.
Preview of Lloyd Neal’s Presentation:
The “Railroad Gulch”, also known as just “The Gulch”, was the subject of a recent article in the AJC. Developers have begun conceptualizing the former site of the Terminal Station and Union Station tracks as a potential location for Amazon’s proposed second HQ, tossing away talk of a transit terminal. The Gulch today is a vast expanse of asphalt, weeds, and a few remaining tracks below the spaghetti of Atlanta’s historic viaducts. Will the city ever see this site return to rail?
- Parking lot looking north towards Phillips Arena and the Centennial Olympic Park Drive (formerly Techwood) viaduct. The parking lot once had the tracks for Terminal Station.
- Looking north along the Centennial Olympic Park Drive viaduct to Phillips Arena, downtown and the Gulch below where the north end tracks of Terminal Station were located.