Railroads: Toward a Broader Gauge

Few U.S. railroads have as colorful a history as the 111-year-old Illinois Central, whose 6,466 miles of track run like steel spines down mid-America from Chicago to the Gulf Coast. Young Abe Lincoln was a lawyer for the I.C. for seven years. Civil War generals such as the Union's George B. McClellan and the Confederacy's P.G.T. Beauregard were once officials of the line. The real-life Casey Jones was an I.C. engineer at the turn of the century: "Casey's daughter fell on her knees / 'Mama, mama how can it be / Papa...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!