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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Daniels Presents an Intriquing Presntation on Railroad History

Kevin Surbaugh

On a chilly November night, approximately twenty people showed up to hear Randolph "Rudy" Daniels.  As we mentioned in our previous article about Daniels, he is a retired college professor, who is employed part-time by the Iowa Humanities Council, to give talks around Iowa about railroads and railroad history.
Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
In the meeting room at the Baldwin City Library, Daniels began a slide show, showing several pictures from World War One. He showed one picture in particular,  that showed troops loading a train as they departed to go to war. The stark contrast of the picture is the amount of luggage that was stacked up to go onto the train with them.  Until late 1917, the U.S. Government allowed soldiers to bring their own luggage and many of them brought way to much.  Daniels relayed one story of a guy that even brought his canary with him.
Railroads, Daniels said, was required to buy new locomotives with interchangeable parts. All the locomotives inside the United States had U.S. on them, per government guidelines. The name of the railroad was painted in smaller above the big U.S. letters.
Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
 In France however, the name of the railroad was absent and the lettering was simply U.S.A.  Many of those trains tripped over real easy and had hand brakes to stop the train, which could only about seven full cars.
During hs slideshow, Daniels had pictures of then Secretary of the Navy, Theodore "Teddy" Rosevelt inspecting a switching station about twenty miles from the frontline in France.
During World War One America operated railroads on three contenients while during World War Two it was on four contenients. All these tracks and equipment was left behind after the war.  However, Daniels pointed out that all the trains were an intriqual part of the war effort on both sides to move troops and supplies.
Daniels signs a book for Rob Clark.
Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
After the presentation and a short question and answer period, there was a book signing.  Profits from the sale of Daniels books sold that night were given to the Baldwin City Library to support it's vital role in the community.

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