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Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, a world class museum of railroad history in Strasburg, PA.

Railroad History Timeline


1930  Air-conditioned passenger cars first appear.
1934 Introduction of lightweight streamlined passenger trains by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and the Union Pacific.
1937 The Delaware & Hudson laid the first continuous welded rail, or ribbon rail, in the U.S.
1941 With the attack of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. enters World War II. The nation's railroads bear an unprecedented level of traffic through the end of the conflict, doing so without government management, but undergo serious wear.
At 7,000 horsepower, the Union Pacific's "Big Boy" locomotives (4-8-8-4) debut as the world's largest steam locomotives ever built.
1945 Railroads quickly purchased diesel locomotives for freight and passenger service; the last domestically-built engines are delivered by Alco, Baldwin and Lima four years later.
1946 Last Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotive, T1, 5546 (4-4-4-4), enters service.
1952 The Pennsylvania Railroad's Broad Street Station in Philadelphia closes, ending seventy-one years of faithful service.
1954 Piggyback service (truck trailers carried on flatbed rail cars)  first offered by several railroads.
1956 The Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, once the world's largest producer of locomotives, ceases production with a total output of 70,500 locomotives built.
April 6, The East Broad Top, the last regularly scheduled 3-foot gauge railroad east of the Mississippi, winds up over 100 years of uninterrupted service at Orbisonia, Pa.
1957 The New York, Ontario & Western Railway becomes the first anthracite carrier to abandon operations in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Railroad ends its use of steam locomotives. Some of its most historic locomotives are in storage, most destined to be preserved in the future Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.
1959 National rail network drops to 220,000 miles.
1960 The Grand Trunk Western in Detroit, Michigan, operated the nation's last regularly scheduled steam passenger service with two 4-8-4's.
The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western and the Erie merge as the Erie-Lackawanna Railway.
1963 The Pennsylvania Railroad's grand Penn Station in New York City's midtown was demolished, ushering in the contemporary historic preservation movement.
1968 February 1, The Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central merge together to form the world's largest privately-owned railway, the Penn Central.
1970 June 22, The Penn Central declares bankruptcy, with a $431 million loss; it was the biggest business failure in American history.
1971 May 1, Amtrak is created as a measure of nationalizing the country's passenger trains.
The Reading  (Railroad) Company declares bankruptcy.
1972 Hurricane Agnes cripples Pennsylvania by washing out or flooding miles of tracks, which resulted in service cutbacks and mileage abandonments on the Penn Central.
1975 April 22, The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania opens to the public for the first time, with the first building built specifically for a train museum.
1976 April 1, Conrail is established by Congress to save and consolidate seven of the nation's ailing northeastern carriers-the Penn Central, Reading, Central Railroad of New Jersey, Lehigh Valley, Erie-Lackawanna, Lehigh & Hudson River and Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines.
1980 February 14, The Staggers Railroad Act deregulates the railroads from government control.

1791-1841  1842-1881  1882-1927  1981-2000  and history continues!



























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