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Dust Bowl
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   Author  Topic: Dust Bowl  (Read 67 times)
Dean_Tower
TRAINing
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Dust Bowl
 
« on: Oct 19th, 2016, 5:06pm »
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Did any RR's run special trains of dust bowl refugees between Oklahoma and California?
If so, what lines? What equipment did they use? What routes? Are there any photos?
Thanks in advance!


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ClydeDET
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Re: Dust Bowl
 
« Reply #1 on: Oct 21st, 2016, 9:39pm »
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Never heard of it if they did. Thing is - the folks who were dusted out didn't have money to spend on rail transportation. If it was just them, maybe the train would have been cheaper than a car - but the rail price was all up front and the car could be run in increments and maybe a little money earned on the way. Or stolen, of course.
 
And the car could carry at least some possessions including tools and even, maybe, some treasured furnishings (surely you have seen the pictures of Okies on the way to the Golden West). Have to pay for that on the train and there is that no money thing.


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George_Harris
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Re: Dust Bowl
 
« Reply #2 on: Oct 21st, 2016, 11:03pm »
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Generally the okies that rode trains were on freights.  There were quite a few of these, but that was usually the man going by himself trying to find work of any kind to be able to send money home.
 
How did these people have cars do you ask?   Simple:  There was no such thing as payments for cars at that time.  If you bought a car it had to be cash on the barrel head.  Also, if you farmed, your income came once a year, so if decided to buy a car if you could at all it would be because you had the cash.  A car was much more important in rural areas than in cities.  There was no such thing as public transportation.  A car would be a huge step up from a wagon and mules, so it was far more of a priority than it would be in an urban area.  Plus, for longer trips for a family, it made trips possible that would have been prohibitively expensive by train.


« Last Edit: Oct 21st, 2016, 11:14pm by George_Harris » Logged
Norm_Anderson
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Posts: 1724
Re: Dust Bowl
 
« Reply #3 on: Oct 21st, 2016, 11:12pm »
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Dean_Tower, Welcome to the Forums!
 
I have to agree with Clyde and George that there probably was no concerted effort on the part of railroads to resettle migrants from the "Dust Bowl."  Though there was a considerable flow of migrants, each was an individual decision, made in varying degrees of desperation.
 
The one time the railroads took an active role in resettlement was in the case of "Immigrant Trains" across the northernmost Great Plains states in the very late 19th Century and into the very early 20th Century.  But this effort was more than just humanitarian philanthropy.  The immigrants in this case were being brought in to settle and populate previously unsettled territories, with the hope that these homesteaders would create farms and businesses and factories and would then become loyal railroad customers.  In other words, in this case the railroads were hoping for a return on their investment.  It wasn't really as Machiavellian as that sounds.  It was a symbiotic relationship that benefited both the railroads and the immigrants.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


« Last Edit: Oct 21st, 2016, 11:14pm by Norm_Anderson » Logged
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