Local author documents history of locomotive

Elby Adamson

By A Contributor

Manhattan native Tom Lee has produced another spectacular book for rail fans that will appeal to general readers as well.

Union Pacific’s M-10000 is meticulously researched and carefully crafted.

These qualities have made Tom Lee’s books must reads for railroad fans and those who want to know how the development of railroads intersected with the history of certain geographic areas.

The historic aspects in the development of the Streamliner make this book of interest to a broader audience.

The Streamliner brought excitement and positive publicity to passenger service at a time when rail passenger service was in decline.

It also gave the country in the depths of the Great Depression hope of a brighter future.

Photographs in the book show the enormous crowds that gathered to see M-10000 on its carefully planned tours around the U.S.

The author grew up next to the Union Pacific mainline in Manhattan.

He was four months old when his parents took him with them to see the M-10000.

This book has a personal feel to it not just because of Lee’s own interest in railroads but because he incorporates correspondence of Union Pacific officials regarding the Streamliner and its significance to the railroad.

The inside looks as railroad operations add a very human dimension to the history being presented.

The Union Pacific took a bold approach to business with the introduction of the Streamliner considering the economic climate of the times and the decline that had occurred in passenger use of the rails.

The train proved a public relations bonanza for Union Pacific. 

Nearly 1,200,000 people visited the train during its tour to the west coast and back to Chicago where it was placed on display for a while at the Chicago World’s Fair the theme of which was “The Century of Progress.”

After the 13,000 tour ended, the train made daily runs from Kansas City to Salina until 1941 when it was melted down to provide aluminum for the war effort.

The author has woven a well-researched history of the M-10000 into a narrative that captures a slice of history that will engage many readers.

It should be noted that the M-10000, like other Union Pacific Streamliners, was named for its westward destination and so it became “The City of Salina.” This is a book with several ties to Kansas.

Elby Adamson is a resident of Clay Center.

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