New research guides offer a wealth of information on railroad history

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Railroad enthusiasts and scholars will find much of interest in two new online research guides created by the University Libraries.

Railroad Research and Railroads in Pennsylvania detail Penn State’s print and online historical collections in this area, as well as other resources, including links to newspaper and image databases, and museum websites.

While Railroad Research offers a general focus on the history of railroads, the Railroads in Pennsylvania guide offers information on how to access materials specific to Pennsylvania. Highlights include a list of railroad maps available in Penn State’s Maps Library and a section on Regional and Speciality Railroads.

The guides were created after the libraries received numerous questions from patrons about railroad history. Some of the resources listed require a Penn State ID, others can be accessed by the public.

"Railroads played an outsized role in the nation's development and continue to fascinate many today," said librarian Eric Novotny, the subject specialist for history and the contact person for these guides. "I regularly receive inquiries from railroad researchers exploring diverse aspects of railroad history; from the engineering and technological advances, to labor and safety issues and the economic role of railroads."

"I was thrilled to join an exceptional team of librarians who collaborated on the guides to highlight some of the wonderful resources available at Penn State and beyond. We encourage scholars and enthusiasts to explore the site and invite suggestions for improving its value to the community of railroad researchers," he added. 

Novotny can be reached at or 814-865-1014.

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Last Updated June 17, 2014