Railroad passes are truly like collecting baseball cards for railroad memorabilia collectors. They are very close in size (in fact most of them will fit in a baseball card “sleeve” for preservation and like baseball cards, can range in subject variety, colors, graphics, etc.
Passes are a great entry point into the hobby and can range everywhere from a few dollars to several thousand dollars depending on condition, rarity, subject matter, artwork and material the pass is made from. So what is a railroad pass? A railroad pass is similar to today’s “buddy pass” issued by airlines to friends and family members so they can travel for free to a certain destination or over the course of specified dates. Railroads issued these passes to family members, notable employees of other railroads, dignitaries and in some noted cases – issued passes to garner favor of elected officials!
Some railroad passes are plain, some feature highly detailed artwork and some even made of pure silver! The subject matter of railroad passes is endless and no matter if it’s the railroad name, the name the pass was issued to or even the year, they are truly a snap shot of history and the imagination.