• by Tom Zoellner
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • 12 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Tom Zoellner loves trains with a ferocious passion. In his new audiobook he chronicles the innovation and sociological impact of the railway technology that changed the world, and could very well change it again. From the frigid Trans-Siberian Railroad to the antiquated Indian Railways to the futuristic maglev trains, Zoellner offers a stirring story of man's relationship with trains.
Zoellner examines both the mechanics of the rails and their engines and how they helped societies evolve. Not only do trains transport people and goods in an efficient manner, but they also reduce pollution and dependency upon oil. Zoellner also considers America's culture of ambivalence to mass transit, using the perpetually stalled line between Los Angeles and San Francisco as a case study in bureaucracy and public indifference.
Train presents both an entertaining history of railway travel around the world while offering a serious and impassioned case for the future of train travel.


What the Critics Say

"Tom Zoellner's writing is never less than engaging; in Train he has made himself a veritable Walt Whitman of rail travel." (Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The world history of trains up to the present

This was a great listen. The author starts out with the history of trains in England and moves on to take trains in India, China, Russia, Spain and yes even in America. All along the way he tells us why this is such a wonderful way to travel despite being slower than planes or buses at times. We learn that the federal government could have supported trains, but instead opted for roads, so now America is car dependent. We learn that Chicago was once the stop for pork and Texas the stop for beef. This hasn't changed much, since airline travel across the U.S. typically has us stopping in one of these cities before touching down where we intended to. I especially liked the part about India. A place where they have had a hard time maintaining the tracks, but the prices remain low and the system is still heavily used. Ghandi was one to complain about the industrial revolution and we come to realize that trains are still vital to today's movement of goods. People just don't seem to have the time to take a train. I always thought that technology would make life easier, but instead we are working more than ever. Maybe Ghandi was right and a return to a simpler life without so much virtual interference might benefit everyone including the planet itself. The reader was very enthusiastic and seemed very professional and it really was a great compliment to a story we should all understand. It was the first way that large numbers of people were moved from one place to another. It can help us understand what the future holds.
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- matthew

I have to review this

This is a terrific read. It blends history, technology, geography, and the author's own experiences. In other words it is perfect for a guy. But before anyone objects to my masculine bias, let me share that my wife also loved it.

The Audible description is most accurate. We learned a lot about the history of trains around the world. I even learned new things about Amtrak and I ride those trains a number of times each year.

A couple of observations; some transitions are abrupt and the story wanders at times like the tracks of some of the train routes. But there is so much to share that we were impressed with the author's ability to produce a generally cogent narrative.

It would be difficult for me to understand how any listener would not find value and entertainment in Train.
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- David

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-30-2014
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio