Traction enthusiasts are people who, like author Ed Conrad, are interested in the history of now-defunct small rail lines connecting localities and streetcar lines that served metropolitan areas. "If the automobile industry had been delayed by 10 years, the interurban industry would have had 10 more years to prosper," Conrad says. "And they probably would have flourished during World War II as a result of gasoline shortages and rationing." This idea is at the core of his lecture, titled "Off the Track: "The Derailment of Interurban Transit in Kansas City
today at the Kansas City, Missouri, Public Library's Central Branch (14 West 10th Street). He'll be discussing aspects of his book, Heartland Traction
, which focuses on the Strang line that ran between Olathe and Overland Park in the early 20th century. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended. Call 816-701-3407.
Off the Track: the Derailment of Interurban Transit in Kansas City
Sun., Dec. 16, 2 p.m., 2007