Resources for railroad maps (US)

I’m looking for railroad maps–specifically ones from WWII up until as late as possible. I’ve seen something along the lines of topographic maps with rail lines on them, but I also recall seeing detailed rail maps (sort of like road maps) for states.

Long story short, there are several military bases that used to be serviced by rail lines, and I’ve noticed a lot of terrain features and even buildings that would lend themselves to being rail depots or even embarkation/debarkation points for troops during the war. I’ve got a lot of suspicions about particular buildings, which I think I could only satisfy if I saw rail maps with lines heading alongside those buildings.

I have asked some of the bases’ “Real Estate” sections before, but I usually get shrugs or the number of someone else to call. I know that pulling maps out is like pulling teeth, and the engineering offices also give me the blank stare look. On the other hand, I’m sure maps in the public domain may be online . . . but where? :confused:

Anyone know of a good online catalog of railroad maps? Starting out, I’m absolutely positive that Robins AFB in Georgia has some of those rail depots.

I could look up the Peacekeeper or Minuteman on rail, but I get a miasma of unrelated stuff.

Look at historical society archives for the states involved. Georgia historical Society Try the National Archives too.

Ebay has them. I bought a railroad map of Arkansas for my mom & dad, and got it framed. I think it had been removed from a reference book. Great shape for a map printed a hundred years ago.

you might find the THE FREIGHT TRAFFIC REDBOOK, 1929, HARDCOVER. interesting. For $25 (caps were in listing) expires in a couple hours

Why don’t USGS topo maps do the job (they seem to be the most convenient source for large-scale coverage of the US)–are you looking for lines that might have been removed before the latest round of map revisions?

For example: Here’s a topo map and aerial photo of part of Robins AFB. The map shows a rail line and several sidings branching off. Most of the rails appear (in the photo) to have been removed, but some of the curves are still visible as parking-lot boundaries, etc.

I haven’t seen that topo map, but I do know many of the ones I’d seen in the past were published after they had removed the lines. It makes searching difficult because I have to hit that window between WWII (or heavy, fun times during the Cold War) and when they pulled up the tracks some time in the 1990s. You’re right that many of the parking lots and buildings are still shaped on the countours of rail lines, and I do thank you for the topo map link which does confirm my suspicions. I wonder if I can start researching records to find out how often the rail lines were used and/or what kind of freight or personnel arrived and departed. . . I don’t speak “archive”–where would I look?

Harmonious Dischord, aceplace, thanks! I hadn’t thought of those and I think I’m going to look through them. The National Archives might have some good leads–is there a way I can request materials from them through a library or such?

Chugga chugga, chugga chugga, bombs away.

If you know which particular railroad was servicing a particular base/area, you might be able to get some information from that railroad’s historical division or PR office. There are a lot of railroad historical societies out there, and a huge collector trade in old rail maps, etc - there are even conventions and collector shows. There are specialty publications, including maps. There might be local railroad clubs that can help you, too.

Some of the major railroads have been around continuously a very, very long time - for example, since 1862 for The Union Pacific. They keep pretty good records.

I only look online. You’ll have to figure out what they provide.

The University of Minnesota Library has a special map collection, very large, contained in its own section of the library.

You might try checking with your nearest University.