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Steel Rails and Silver Wings

By Robert J Serling

The year is 1928, and the aerial gold rush has well and truly begun.

Following Charles Lindbergh’s ground-breaking flight across the Atlantic, the exciting possibilities of air travel seem endless. With airlines popping up all over the country, the future of travel was clear – and railroad entrepreneurs saw an opportunity.

For a brief time, the Pennsylvania, the Santa Fe and even the Norfolk and Western Railroads collaborated with aviation companies in an unlikely partnership to provide transcontinental air transport for business travellers – seemingly unaware that by doing this, they were signing their own death warrant.

And the cycle doesn’t end there. In our modern world, where technology means businessmen don’t have to fly across the world to meet partners face-to-face, the thriving telecommunications industry continues to threaten the future of business travel. With airlines collaborating with tech companies to install conferencing screens and passenger wifi on their planes, it seems inevitable that history is bound to repeat itself.

Steel Rails and Silver Wings is the exciting true story of that astonishing time in the travel industry. This is the story of Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, of aviators and celebrities. It is the story of entrepreneurism and changing times, of the early days of TWA and the dying days of the railroads. Above all, it is the story of American industry.

Robert J Serling (1918-2010) wrote aviation fiction, as well as some non-fiction, his whole adult life and received the 1988 Lauren D. Lyman Award for distinguished achievement in the field of aviation and aerospace journalism. Formerly residents of Washington, D.C., he and his wife moved to Tucson, Arizona. He passed away in 2010 at the age of 92.

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