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Old Railroads


Old Railroad Timeline
Railroads and their suppliers created a variety of souvenir and promotional pieces paying homage to early American railroading. Paperweights like this were especially popular.
Railroads and their suppliers created a variety of souvenir and promotional pieces paying homage to early American railroading. Paperweights like this were especially popular.
John B. Corns

1800:

Quarry tramways are introduced in the United States.

1815:

John Stevens receives a state charter for a tramroad in New Jersey.

1818:

Stevens is granted a charter to build a railroad in Pennsylvania.

1826:

The Granite Railway near Boston opens as the first U.S. railroad to carry passengers and freight.

1827:

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad is chartered to build a railroad between the Atlantic seaboard and the Ohio River in western Virginia, a distance of more than 350 miles.

1830:

The B&O inaugurates the first regularly scheduled passenger trains in the United States -- coaches hauled by horses for a distance of 13 miles.

By year's end, the South Carolina Railroad begins offering regularly scheduled, steam-powered passenger service; a railroad boom commences nationwide.­

1835:

The B&O Railroad's Washington Branch opens, providing the first rail line to the nation's capital.

1837:

Henry R. Campbell completes the first 4-4-0 locomotive; later named the "American" type, it became the most popular nineteenth-century locomotive.

1844:

Samuel F. B. Morse makes the first successful tests of his "magnetic telegraph," inaugurating the age of instantaneous electronic communication over long distances.

1852:

Railroads open routes from New York to Chicago and across the Allegheny Mountains to make connections with midwestern railroads and the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

1854:

Congress hires surveyors to locate possible rail routes to California.

1857:

Financial panic temporarily halts most railway construction. Regional disputes lead to talk of civil war.


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