The Railroad Series
(Ralph of the Railroad)
by Allen Chapman

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Ralph of the Roundhouse book cover

The Stratemeyer Syndicate ten volume railroading adventure Railroad series (aka Ralph of the Railroad) was initially published by Mershon, then Chatterton-Peck and finally Grosset & Dunlap.

In this series Ralph Fairbanks works his way up the ladder to success on the Great Northern Railway and battles Gasper Farrington, one of the wealthiest men of Stanley Junction, and dissapated bully Ike Slump. His rapid rise can no doubt be accounted for by his penchant for stopping runaway trains, rescuing kidnapped relatives of the railroad president, foiling train robbers, and just generally being at the right place at the right time. A continuing theme throughout the series is Ralph's struggle to reclaim his late father's fortune, misappropriated by the greedy Farrington.

"Ralph Fairbanks was bound to become a railroad man, as his father had been before him. Step by step he worked his way upward, serving first in the Roundhouse, cleaning locomotives; then in the Switch Tower clearing the tracks; then on the Engine, first as a fireman; then as engineer of the Overland Express; and finally Train Dispatcher." -- Grosset & Dunlap

"Railroad stories are dear to the heart of the American boy, and these are certain to become deservedly popular. Clean and clear from cover to cover. Ralph is determined to be a "railroad man." He starts in at the foot of the ladder; makes both friends and enemies; but is full of manly pluck and "wins out." There is abundance of stirring incident in these tales, the characters are all natural, and the tone is altogether breezy and wholesome. Well printed and illustrated and bound in cloth, stamped in colors." -- Grosset & Dunlap

"In this line of books there is revealed the whole workings of a great American railroad system. There are adventures in abundance--railroad wrecks, dashes through forest fires, the pursuit of a "wildcat" locomotive, the disappearance of a pay car with a large sum of money on board--but there is much more than this--the intense rivalry among railroads and railroad men, the working out of running schedules, the getting through "on time" in spite of all obstacles, and the manipulation of railroad securities by evil men who wish to rule or ruin." -- Grosset and Dunlap

Most of the stories are in the public domain and some are available for free on Project Gutenberg and in free or low priced reprint editions available from Amazon.com.

Allen Chapman was a popular Syndicate house name, used on The Darewell Chums, Fred Fenton, Railroad Series, Radio Boys, Tom Fairfield, and other publications.

Ralph, The Train Dispatcher dust jacket
Ralph the Train Dispatcher frontispiece

01: Ralph Of The Roundhouse - 1906
or, Bound To Become A Railroad Man

02: Ralph In The Switch Tower - 1907
or, Clearing The Track

03: Ralph On The Engine - 1909
or, The Young Fireman Of The Limited Mail

04: Ralph On The Overland Express - 1910
or, The Trials And Triumphs Of A Young Engineer

05: Ralph, The Train Dispatcher - 1911
or, The Mystery Of The Pay Car

06: Ralph On The Army Train - 1918
or, The Young Railroader's Most Daring Exploit

07: Ralph On The Midnight Flyer - 1923
or, The Wreck At Shadow Valley

08: Ralph And The Missing Mail Pouch - 1924
or, The Stolen Government Bonds

09: Ralph On The Mountain Division - 1927
or, Fighting Both Flames And Flood

10: Ralph And The Train Wreckers - 1928
or, The Secret Of The Blue Freight Cars

xx: Ralph On The Railroad - 1933
4 in 1 omnibus containing the first 4 stories.
    Publishers
  • Mershon (1,2)
  • Chatterton-Peck (1,2)
  • Grosset & Dunlap (1-10, xx)
    Illustrators
  • Clare Angell (1)
  • Anonymous (2)
  • R.M. (3)
  • Charles Nutall (4)
  • H. Richard Boehm (5)
  • R. Emmitt Owen (6)
  • Walter S. Rogers (7-10)
    Publishing Information
  1. Mershon (1-2) 1906
    Brown cloth binding, illustrated cover. Same for all editions.
    Illustrations: Frontispiece and 3 internals on coated paper.
    Dust Jacket: Light brown uncoated paper, same illustration as book.
  2. Chatterton-Peck (1-2) 1907
    Same as 1.
  3. Grosset & Dunlap (1-5) 1909-1911
    Rust color binding else as 1.
    Dust Jacket: White coated paper. Same for all editions.
  4. Grosset & Dunlap (1-10,xx) From 1918 on
    Brown binding else as 1.
    Illustrations: Frontispiece only on coated paper. Internals omitted.
    Dust Jacket: Same as 3.