The railroads built America: up through WW2 they were the dominant form of transportation, with hundreds of major roads hauling passengers and freight. Most railroad lines were large enterprises requiring vast amounts of material and equipment to operate. Much of this material survives today and is sought after by collectors.

Railroadiana collectors will often focus on items from a specific region or railroad (New York Central, Southern Pacific, Baltimore and Ohio, Pennsylvania Central, Santa Fe, Norfolk and Western, Denver and Rio Grande, etc.), or on a specific type of item.

Some of the more popular collectible railroadiana categories include lanterns, calendars, postcards, posters, photos, passes, caps, china, silver and holloware, badges, pocket watches and signs.

There are also railroadiana collectors who focus on baggage tags, bells, builders plates, buttons, marbles, spittoons, uniforms, ashtrays, and railroad-related postal and telegraph items.

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