Legacy

The legacy of railroads continue to connect our communities and our nation
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Talkback:
How do rail-trails in your community help connect you to people, places, and events?

For more than 100 years, railroads were at the forefront of U.S. transportation. Today they thrive primarily in the background, focused on long-distance and high-volume freight business. This shift has concentrated more train traffic onto fewer lines, leading to the disuse and abandonment of many surplus routes. Some of these corridors have found new lives as trails.

Today, many rail-trails carry forward the legacies of the railroads that came before them. Restored depots, trestles, and rail cars—along with informational signage—often border trails to provide context. These tributes can introduce new audiences to railroad history and the industry’s profound impact on local and national progress. Repurposed as trails, railroads that no longer exist continue to connect us.

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Caption:
Elroy-Sparta State Trail, Rails-to-Trails Marathon (detail), October 2, 2022. Photograph by Hailey Paige

Exhibited by:

CRP&A

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