Map, static: Railroad Maps

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The teenagers riding the rails during the Great Depression accounted for 1/16 (250,000) of a jobless army that numbered four million. These itinerants crisscrossed the U.S. on the Pennsylvania, Atchison, Great Northern, Union Pacific, and Southern Pacific railroads, as well as other vast rail networks.

Railroad Map

In 1932, Southern Pacific agents ejected 683,457 trespassers from the company's trains. The price of trespassing on the rails was high: The Interstate Commerce Commission recorded 5,962 trespassers killed and injured in the first 10 months of 1932.

Section of the B&O Railroad

 

Southern Pacific Railroad

My American Experience

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What do the 1930s mean to you? We invite you to tell us your own stories — whether you lived through the tumultuous decade or learned about it from a relative, a book or a movie. Comment on the decade as a whole, or on any of our 1930s film subjects.