Hi! I enjoyed this opening setting with the photographer and her descriptions of the characters provided a clear picture in my mind. I am not clear on an inciting incident. There could be two….one for Bertha and one for Elizabeth. They both seem to have some change coming in their lives.
Trigger/Hook Seems to be the development of the railroad and what changes it will bring in the lives of Elizabeth and Bertha and her kids.
I am not sure you will like my suggestion but I would have Elizabeth be a lot more feisty in her comments. Here is a woman who wants to change the world…at least that is the feeling I got from your opening. For me she is just way to polite. I want her to stamp her feet and gesture with her hands and express umbrage at her assistant. I want her to express anger at the railroad magnate who is doing this to the people like Brenda. I want her to show more compassion for Brenda and her kids. What is happening to them is a travesty….give me some passionate emotions here and I think your opening will soar.