Railroad Development in America

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Railroads have been around for almost two hundred years. Between 1820 and 1850 the first railroads began to appear and the need for the further development became apparent. America had just gone through an era of canal making; and now with the canals not in total operation, railroads began to thrive and take jobs that would once have gone to the canals. However, it was not easy for the railroad industry to promote their innovative new mode of transportation. With vision and ingenuity, the pioneers of the early American railroads were able to surmount all obstacles that stood in their way and led the Nation into a “transportation revolution.” Early American Railroads The history of railroad development in America was heavily influenced by the industry in England. Attempts to develop the steam engine began as early as 1813. In 1814 George Stephenson developed the first commercially feasible locomotive. From 1820 to 1825 Mr. Stephenson worked on further developing the engines and their ability to haul cargo and, eventually, passengers. Many railroad companies were established in England during this time period. The Liverpool and Manchester Railroad became the first common carrier railroad in the world. America’s First Railroads Before all of the new engines from Europe came to America, the railroad industry was very primitive. In fact the first railroad in America was only three miles long. It was basically a mining track from Quincy, Massachusetts to the Neponset River. The rails were made of pine covered by oak which was in turn covered by a flat iron bar. Construction of this railroad commenced in 1826 and was completed in 1827. The second railroad was started in January of 1827 and completed in May of the same year. The tracks were used for a coal operation. The tracks only went a short distance and worked by gravity and the force of mules. Even before these early railroads, Colonel Stevens had suggested that he could build a railroad at less cost in place of what was to be the Erie Canal. Along with early railroads, the early ancestors of the locomotives were also very primitive. As said earlier, the carts were either horse drawn or worked on a system utilizing gravity. Pioneers of the Early Railroads In the early 1820’s America’s major mode of transportation of people and goods were canals and stageco... ... middle of paper ... ...html. I found a lot of useful information at this site. Found good quotes and almost all information found in other sources. Calkins, Carol C., The Story Of America The Reader’s Digest Assn., Inc.: Pleasantville, New York, 1975. A few quotes and a good piece of writing on this time period. Conlin, Joseph R., The American Past Fifth Edition. Harcourt Brace and Co.: Ft. Worth, Texas, 1997. Not too much information, but it helped to piece together different parts. Conners, Frank, Depots and Steel Rail (online) http://horton.col.k12.me.us/mmb/history/bhamrail.html. date unknown Gave information on depots and some of the problems faced by the early railroads. Ford, Bacon, and Davis, Maintenance of Way Training Manuel Book 1. Introduction to Railroading (on line) Http://www.tiac.net/users/ssnow/mwbook/mwfront.html. date unknown Facts and dates on first railroads and information on first charters for railroads. “America’s First Railroads,” Our Wonderful World. Spencer Press Inc.: Chicago, 1962 I found several quotes and good overall information on early railroads. “Railroads,” Encarta. Microsoft Corp., 1995 Figures and dates on the growing size of railroads.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the history of railroad development in america was heavily influenced by the industry in england.
  • Explains that all of these companies and their charters helped to expand the small railroad industry in america.
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