Here's a wonderful bit of railroadiana / folklore:
"The youngest of the Bunyan boys, (Paul's family), Cal S. Bunyan, built the most wondrous railroad in the world: The Ireland Jerusalem, Australian & Southern Michigan Line. It took the largest steel mill in the country two years operating on a schedule of 36-hour days and a nine-day week to produce one rail for Cal. Each tie was made from an entire redwood tree.
The train had 700 cars. It was so long that the conductor rode on a twin-cylinder, super deluxe motorcycle to check tickets. The train went so fast that, after it was brought to a dead stop it was still making 65 miles an hour. After two months of service, the schedule was speeded up, so that the train arrived at its destination an hour before it left its starting point. "One day Cal said to the engineer, "Give 'er all she's got!" That was the end of the I.J.A.&S.M. Railroad. The train traveled so fast that the friction melted the steel rails and burned the ties to ashes. When it reached the top of the grade, the engine took off just like an airplane and carried itself and the 700 cars so far into the stratosphere that the law of gravity quit working. That was years and years ago, but the I.J.A.&S.M.
is still rushing through space, probably making overnight jumps between the stars."
--from The Hobo's Hornbook (1930), compiled by George Milburn
There is a theory thid is the same train known as the Wabash Cannonball <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabash_Cannonball> , immortalized in song in the late 19th century. The song text and legend were also used by GM in an ad which appears on p. 18-19 of Railway Age <http://nucat.library.northwestern.edu/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=2616540>
for August 19, 1968.