Errol Lincoln Uys
a writer's website
29 West 35th St
New York, NY 10001
TRAINS IN MOTION PICTURES
A Special Exhibition at the
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
May 16 through December 31, 2009
"From the first flickering shadows to contemporary Hollywood blockbusters, the exhibition shines the spotlight on trains and railroads brought to life via the big screen."
PA Route 741
Strasburg, PA 17579
"We thought it was the magic carpet...
"The end of the rainbow was always
"Most of all I remember the loneliness.
During the Great Depression, more than a quarter of a million teenagers left their homes and hopped freight trains looking for work or adventure. This is their story.
I first became interested in the boxcar boys and girls when I read Boy and Girl Tramps of America by Thomas Minehan, who rode the rails with the young nomads in summer 1932. I suggested to my son, Michael, a film maker, that the subject would make a powerful documentary. The suggestion led to the award-winning PBS "American Experience" film, Riding the Rails, made by Michael and his wife, Lexy Lovell.
In the book, I draw on 3,000 letters from former boxcar boys and girls sent to the documentary makers. I had access to 40 hours of filmed interviews with 20 men and women chosen as potential candidates for the film.
Many letters are handwritten, as from old friends sharing honest-to-God stories. Time and again, I held a letter in my hand and felt a connection to a lonely boy or girl standing beside the tracks 60 years ago. It left me with a deep sense of the inner strength and faith of ordinary Americans and their belief in this land.
Studs Terkel has said that the story of the boxcar boys and girls is "one of the vital, terribly neglected sagas of the Thirties. With today's homeless kids, it is a contemporary story of overwhelming importance."
The lessons learned by this "forgotten" generation of America's children who rode the rails in search of a better life are a powerful reminder of what might turn up around the next curve. They are an inspiration to all who share a nostalgia for the road and the freedoms sought there.
THE LIBRARY JOURNAL
Whether you're a "gaycat" (novice rider) or a "dingbat" (seasoned hobo), Riding the Rails is entertaining and inspiring, recapturing a time when the country was "dying by inches." -- Sunny Delaney, History Editor
KANSAS CITY STAR
A remarkable story
One of the most poignant memories of the wandering youth of the Great Depression
As gripping as it is well researched...
Riding the Rails sets out to tell about a few of the 250,000 teenagers who hopped freights and lived the hobo life in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash...paints a brisk, colorful, fast-paced portrait of lean times and high hopes.
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A WALK WITH THE GHOSTS OF
THE DEVIL'S RAILROAD
Errol Lincoln Uys