railroad history has as its roots developments in England
related to mining operations and the development of steam
engines, late in the 18th century. Certain aspects of this
can be traced to similar activities in Germany. The
standard distance between the rails of a track ("standard
gauge") -- four feet, eight and a half inches -- has
been associated with cart trackways in England from the
time of Roman domination. Early on, visionary Americans
espoused the need for railroads and experimented with steam
as a means of propulsion. See also History
and Magic of Railroads for further information.
1791 - 1841
||Anthracite coal is
discovered at Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania.
Trevithick builds a successful steam locomotive to run on rails
of the Pen-y-Darren tramway in south Wales.
Leiper's horse-drawn wooden tramway connected quarries in Delaware
County, Pa., to a boat landing. It was the first time rails
were utilized for freight transportation.
state of New Jersey granted America's first railroad charter
to Col. John Stevens of Hoboken, to run between New Brunswick
and Trenton, NJ. Because of funding difficulties, it was not
John Stevens built and operated a prototype steam locomotive
on a circular track on his estate at Castle Point, Hoboken,
NJ. (A full size replica of "The John Stevens"
is on display at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.)
Bryant uses his broad gauge tramway to haul granite for the
Bunker Hill Monument.
Navigation Canal is completed.
4, Charles Carroll,
the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence,
lays the first stone to begin construction of the Baltimore
& Ohio Railroad, the nation's first common carrier.
8, The Stourbridge Lion,
imported from England, was experimentally operated by Horatio
Allen on the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company's railroad
at Honesdale, Pa. It was the first steam engine to run on commercial
railroad tracks in the United States.
race is staged between the B&O's Tom Thumb and a horse-drawn
carriage near Ellicott's Mills, MD; the horse galloped to victory!
first scheduled passenger train service in America, by Best
Friend of Charleston, at Charleston, South Carolina.
|23 miles of railroad
track in the United States.
Stephenson built the locomotive John
Bull in England for the Camden & Amboy Railroad, operated
by the sons of Col. John Stevens. It made its inaugural
run in Bordentown, NJ in November, and entered regular passenger
service in 1833. The C&A fitted the John
Bull with lead wheels and "cow catcher" or pilot, the first
time these devices were used in America.
first U.S. mail is carried by rail on the South Carolina Canal
& Railroad Co.
|Locomotive DeWitt Clinton pulls the first steam train in New York.
|The Elizabethtown & Somerville, the earliest ancestor
road of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, is incorporated.
the 6-foot gauge New York & Erie, the ancestor of the Erie
Railway, receives a charter from the New York State Legislature.
23, Matthias Baldwin, a Philadelphia jeweler and abolitionist,
entered the locomotive business with the successful operation
of his first locomotive, Old
Ironsides, on the Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown
Bend Tunnel on the Allegheny Portage Railroad, east of Johnstown,
Pa., is the first railroad tunnel built in the Western Hemisphere.
|Andrew Jackson, the
first President to ride on a railroad, travels between Ellicott's
Mills and Baltimore, MD.
||The Philadelphia &
Columbia Railroad opens as part of the "Main Line of Public
Works" -- a combined inclined plane, rail and canal route stretching
395 miles through the interior of Pennsylvania.
||The first sleeping
car, a crudely remodeled day coach, was placed in service on
the Cumberland Valley Railroad between Harrisburg and Chambersburg.
first American-type locomotive (4-4-0) is planned and built.
3,000 miles of railroad and 3,300 miles of canal in operation
in the United States.
first caboose, termed a way-car, was placed in service on the
Auburn & Syracuse Railroad in New York.