The Orphan Train

by Zack Waxler

What was the Orphan Train?

The orphan train was a massive event in the history of child trafficking that occurred from 1854 to 1929. On the orphan train young orphans were moved in massive groups by train to different parts of the U.S. Where the orphan train ended up was important because it would decide whether or not the kids would go into a loving family, or be forced into labor.
An Orphan Train Rider Tells His Story
Documentary about orphan train rider Stanley Cornell.

How many people did the orphan train affect?

During the 75 years that the orphan train program was active, approximately 250,000 orphans were trafficked through the United States.
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Where did the orphan train happen?

Although the orphan train affected the whole United States, the trains mostly ran from the East Coast to the Midwest.
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What were the conditions like on the orphan train like?

The riders on the orphan train were treated well enough to survive, but no more. They were put on the trains without having anyone to talk to, and they had to hope that they would get to the correct destination. The riders were a range of different ages, from about 6 months to 15 years old.
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