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Students Become Train Enthusiasts

July 9, 2012

Hobo Railroad’s General Motors GP9 #1921 Former MBTA 1921, Burlington Northern 1921, (Great Northern 1921) Built in 1957.

In November of 2011, Shaun Hagan, Social Studies Teacher at Lin-Wood School in Lincoln, NH, brought his 8th Grade Class to the Hobo Railroad in New Hampshire to see and experience trains first hand.  They heard from Mike Goodin of the Hobo Railroad regarding trains, their operation, how they are used, etc.  At the same time, the class visited the Flying Yankee and were given a seminar on this particular unit.  Mr. Hagan highlighted trains and their development in the construction of the United States.

Mr. Hagan then asked his students to submit essays on what they had learned and their conception of trains.  The following excerpts are from four of his students.


“When Lincoln was settled it was split into two.  Henryville (which is now present day Lincoln), and Lincoln which is up by the Notch.  All the hotels like the Profile House would be up by the Notch.  The logging and timber industry would be in present day Lincoln town square.  Oxen or other animals would take awhile, but at the time it would get the job done.”

“Passenger trains like the Yankee would make travel faster.  The Yankee could go to Boston in about 1-2 hours, just like today.  Wagons would take much longer.  Other passenger trains would take longer than the Yankee but would still cut down the time compared to the wagons.  At a regular speed the Yankee could go about 75mph!”

“In Lincoln, other trains were used.  They were the logging trains.  The logging trains would take the wood that got cut and bring the wood to the mill.  Then at the mill they would be processed into different things.  Timber definitely grew in the north because of the trains.”

THE HISTORY OF TRAINS    By:  Kamryn Danley

“I know the title makes this report look really boring but please read on.  It may not be what it looks like.  Trains really helped the development of Lincoln.  I mean, I  owe a lot to trains.  If it weren’t for them, we would still be walking around or riding horses and in carriages.  I would go as far to say we wouldn’t have cars.  Furthermore, Lincoln would still be a small village with 12 families living in it.   And most of all I wouldn’t be living here.  Think about it.  You should be thankful too.”

“Trains were essential to the people of Lincoln.  First they brought in food.  Even if it wasn’t high quality, it was food.  Second they brought in supplies.  Toys, clothes, and tools were all shipped in by train.  This had complications.  If there was a flood or a white out, they had to wait until it cleared up to let the train through.  This was solved as the years went by.  The trains got better and better.  Not to mention snow houses, these helped both here and out west.”


“All throughout American History, trains have played a major role.  During the early Civil War reconstruction era all the way into the 1900’s trains transformed America.  They helped to expand into western territories, make day to day travel quicker and easier, and even help certain industries like timber, cattle, and mining grow.  Many cities were formed and changed for the better.  They were finally allowed to grow and create big business like mining and textile mills.  While most of the impact was positive for the United States, like anything there were some negatives.  The movement west interrupted Native Americans that had been living there for many generations.  This caused distress between natives and white settlers.  In this essay I will explain and prove to you how trains, like the Flying Yankee, changed America forever.”


“On May 10, 1869, Central Pacific and Union Pacific met at Promontory, Utah with their rail lines coming from different directions.  When their rail lines met, they formed the nation’s first Transcontinental Railroad.  The TCRR (Transcontinental Railroad) connected the East and the West. With the TCRR newly built, the West was settled and developed quickly.  Americans from the North and South all moved west because they wanted to build single-family farms and the American Government was giving pieces of western land to American people for free as long as they settled it for five years.  This law (the Homestead Act) was passed in 1862 and promised 160 acres.  The purpose was to settle the west and have poor easterners have a farm to work on.  Within 40 years, half a million people had set up farms in the West.  However the Homestead Act had its problems, too.”

“The trains improved quickly in the West with the TCRR being built.  The West was settled really fast with the TCRR cutting the West in half.  The new rail lines really affected the businesses along with companies in the whole nation.  The South during the Civil War and after the war (during reconstruction of the South) was affected greatly by the new trains that covered the now connected country.  Our region here in New Hampshire and New England was affected by the trains developing throughout the nation.  The Flying Yankee was a popular train in the early to mid 1900’s.  The trains in Lincoln, NH were the product of the West getting their rail lines.  The average person who lived in New Hampshire was affected by the trains greatly.  Trains are a huge part of our nation’s history and should never be forgotten.  “


New Hampshire currently owns 420 railroads
Train-cars would be named after hotels in order to keep our history alive
There are many different types of train-cars, including passenger and freight cars
The TCRR cost $50,000,000.00 to build which is equal to about $874,968,866.15 today”

For more information about the Hobo Railroad, visit 

For more information about the Flying Yankee Restoration, visit

It is a joy to share the history of trains and railroading with a youngsters.   The same spark that ignited in the Silver Hill Boys is now being lit in a new generation!

High Green!  Clear Tracks Ahead!


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