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What We’re Following
Full steam ahead: At 114 years old, the Nevada Northern Railway is the best-preserved short-line railroad in the United States. Based in the remote town of Ely, Nevada, it offers an experience for the most hardcore of train enthusiasts: driving a real-live steam locomotive along 14 miles of track in a cartoonishly perfect Wild West landscape. Earlier this summer, CityLab’s West Coast Bureau Chief Laura Bliss got to pour the coal into the fire box of an 85-ton, 10-wheeled locomotive, known variously as the “Queen” or the “Ghost Train of Old Ely.”
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad, the signature infrastructure achievement of the 19th century. To mark the occasion, Laura went looking for some historic perspective on the transportation news cycle. While today’s mobility innovations run on “an engine of techno-speculation” and promise transformation that’s forever just around the bend, it’s worth looking back at an emerging technology that “actually changed everything,” Laura writes. Read about her day as an engineer: This Is What a Transportation Revolution Looks Like
More on CityLab
Black Rock City Planning
I picture an economist showing up at Burning Man and saying: “Oh, look! This is the miracle of the invisible hand. All of this stuff happens by self-interest, and it just magically appears.” And there’s this huge amount of planning that actually is what’s required beneath it to make the order emerge.
The New York Times took a Nobel-winning economist to Burning Man to investigate: Is this bacchanal a model of urban planning?
From the CityLab archives: The Amazing Bureaucracy of Burning Man
What We’re Reading
Democratic presidential candidates’ climate plans lack vision for urban transportation (Streetsblog)
The human cost of Amazon’s fast, free shipping (ProPublica)
Uber wants to redeem itself. Does the public even care? (Vox)
Climate gentrification is coming to a community near you (Mother Jones)