Ralph on the Railroad is a turn-of-the-century adventure series for boys, similar in vein to the Tom Swift adventures, which is probably the most famous of the genre of the era.
The series employs standardized formula: a young and indomitable hero sets out to earn his way, facing foes and finding new friends. In this case, Ralph is determined to be a railroad man, and has it in his mind to start at the bottom. Each subsequent book follows Ralph's climb up the railroading ladder.
Also typical in this era's literature is extent sexism and racism and stereotypical villains: unsavory men who walk with a slouch, hands jammed into their pockets with their hats pulled low over their eyes. Just as typical are the friends Ralph makes, and those whom he "sets to right".
Overall, it's a generally enjoyable series, and gives you a view into what was once a thriving industry but now one relegated to history books. One could imagine living in a small town where the hub of activity is the railroad depot.
Good for train fans, but take note that vernacular is often used, i.e., "cow catcher" vs. "pilot"
Wow. A rather short story, but it invokes some seriously powerful emotions.
Not really dystopian. The hero is thrown into a world where, by a random act of nature, the rules have suddenly changed. Quite enjoyable.
What a wonderful gem of a book. The dialog is overly wordy, and the buildup seems to take exceedingly long. But on the overall, it helps to build affinity for the characters, and once the final battle commences, you will find yourself there with them. I don't know how historically accurate all the details are, but nevertheless, the book breathes exciting life into a world long since gone, and brings back great men to walk amongst us.