City of the Rails

A mother, a daughter, and the secret world of freight trains.

Motion shot of a man sitting on the front of a locomotive with the text City of the Rails on top
City of the Rails promo

When journalist Danelle Morton’s daughter skips town to hop trains, Morton follows her into the trainyard, and across America. In City of the Rails, the listener shadows Morton as she travels the country trying to understand what drew her daughter to this life. Her guides are the rail cops, train engineers, and hobos she meets along the way, each of them with their own extraordinary tales of the beauty and brutality of the rails.

City of the Rails’ mother/daughter story unfolds across a landscape of vast open spaces and filthy backstreets as Morton shows us how railroads shaped the modern world – from creating our time zones and QR codes, to the first lobbyists and unions. The story of the rails is the story of America, and through 10 episodes, Morton reckons with our history, and her family history, as she tries what she can to bring her daughter home.

City of the Rails launches January 18, and will release ten weekly episodes.