2024 Meetings

David Alff

June 7, 2024

Four-track catenary construction on the New York–Washington line of the Pennsylvania Railroad Photo from General Electric (Hrsg.): The Pennsylvania Railroad Electrification. Schenectady NY, S. 9–10
The Northeast Corridor: The Trains, the People, the History, the Region Book By David Alff

Please join our Zoom presentation on June 7 at 7:30 PM

Use the button below to register for our Zoom presentation. We will send you a personalized link to join the Zoom meeting. The Zoom meeting becomes available for joining at 7:15 p.m. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. If you have a problem signing in, contact Bob Newhouser at [email protected] or, on the night of the meeting, call or text Bob at 917-482-4235.

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Wiring the Coast

The show tells the story behind one of America’s greatest infrastructural achievements: the electrification of the northeast corridor. It begins with Thomas Edison’s experiments with electro-magnetic railways, which tipped off a decades-long battle between A.C. and D.C. traction. Turning to the corridor itself, we will see how the New Haven Railroad pioneered the development of overhead catenary, and how the Pennsylvania Railroad spent New Deal relief funds to string wire from New York to Washington. The talk will conclude by describing the physical and political challenges Amtrak faced when it electrified the corridor between New Haven and Boston in the 1990s.

David Alff teaches in the English Department at SUNY-Buffalo. This talk draws on research from his new book, The Northeast Corridor: The Trains, The People, The History, the Region. David has written about infrastructure and transportation for Time, The Washington Post, The Boston Review, and various academic journals. Professor Alff is a new speaker to ERA with a unique and comprehensive view of a historic rail corridor. Don’t miss this presentation!

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