Railroad Train Robbers
Railroad Train Robbers Old West Trains Pinkerton Detectives Texas Rangers U S Marshals

Railroad Train Robbers

     With the advent of the transcontinental railroad in the west came a new and daring profession of the train robbers.   Generally working in gangs, they succeeded in numerous ways.   The trains were very slow in the old west and the cars were made out of wood  

     Gold shipment and payrolls were carried on them on regularly scheduled times.   The train robbers would pick a very isolated area which could be about anywhere in the west to perform their occupation.   Riding up on horses parallel to the train, a rider would jump onto the moving train while another rider grabbed his horse 

     Once on the train, the robber would unhitch the designated rail cars from the engine. The safe was usually blown open with a stick or two of dynamite.   Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch was notorious for train robberies as well as Jesse James and the James Gang

     The most memorable one being when the Wild Bunch used too much dynamite and blew up the Union Pacific car, strewing thirty thousand dollars into the air.    Another method was to derail the train by removing a few wooden ties.    This was less frequently tried as it entailed work which most of the gangs detested

     Some of the gangs would actually have gang members ride on the train and as they reached a certain designated spot, have them maneuver to take control of the train and stop it.   The waiting gang members would hop onto the train and rob the passengers or steal the Wells, Fargo and Company payload which ever suited their fancy

     With a wave of their hat, they would be gone, riding off on horses hidden behind the rocks.   The train robbers led a shadowed lives as the big railroads such as the Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, Central Pacific and the Northern Pacific as well as Wells, Fargo and Company did not take kindly to being harassed in this manner 

     Pinkerton men, Texas Rangers and U. S. Marshals all contributed to the cause of arresting, convicting and sentencing of these men  

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