The concept of constructing a railroad in the United States was first conceived by Colonel John Stevens, in He described his theories in a collection of works called "Documents tending to prove the superior advantages of railways and steam carriages over canal navigation.
Oldest railroads in North America A railroad was reportedly used in the construction of the French fortress at Louisburg, Nova Scotia in It was used untilwhen it was temporarily replaced by the Leiper Canalthen is reopened to replace the canal in This is the first railroad meant to be permanent, and the first to evolve into trackage of a common carrier after an intervening closure.
In Massachusetts incorporated the Granite Railway as a common freight carrier  to primarily haul granite for the construction of the Bunker Hill Monument ; operations began later that year. The Americans closely followed and copied British railroad technology.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the first common carrier and started passenger train service in Mayinitially using horses to pull train cars.
This program enabled the opening of numerous western lines, especially the Union Pacific-Central Pacific with fast service from San Francisco to Omaha and east to Chicago. West of Chicago, many cities grew up as rail centers, with repair shops and a base of technically literate workers.
Canals and rivers were unavailable in the winter season due to freezing, but the railroads ran year-round despite poor weather. And railroads were safer: The railroads provided cost-effective transportation because they allowed shippers to have a smaller inventory of goods, which reduced storage costs during winter, and to avoid insurance costs from the risk of losing goods during transit.
For the common person in the early s, transportation was often traveled by horse or stagecoach. The network of trails along which coaches navigated were riddled with ditches, potholes, and stones. This made travel fairly uncomfortable.
Adding to injury, coaches were cramped with little leg room. Travel by train offered a new style. Locomotives proved themselves a smooth, headache free ride with plenty of room to move around. Some passenger trains offered meals in the spacious dining car followed by a good night sleep in the private sleeping quarters.
In the heavily settled Corn Belt from Ohio to Iowaover 80 percent of farms were within 5 miles 8. A large number of short lines were built, but thanks to a fast developing financial system based on Wall Street and oriented to railway securities, the majority were consolidated into 20 trunk lines by The canals and steamboats lost out because of the dramatic increases in efficiency and speed of the railroads, which could go almost anywhere year round.
The railroads were faster and went to many places a canal would be impractical or too expensive to build or a natural river never went. Railroads also had better scheduling since they often could go year round, more or less ignoring the weather.
Long distance transport of goods by wagon to a canal or river was slow and expensive. A railroad to a city made it an inland "port" that often prospered or turned a town into a city. Rail was strategic during the American Civil Warand the Union used its much larger system much more effectively.
Practically all the mills and factories supplying rails and equipment were in the North, and the Union blockade kept the South from getting new equipment or spare parts.
The war was fought in the South, and Union raiders and sometimes Confederates too systematically destroyed bridges and rolling stock — and sometimes bent rails — to hinder the logistics of the enemy.
Most transports was by boat, not rail, and after the Union blockaded the ports in and seized the key rivers inlong-distance travel was difficult.
The outbreak of war had a depressing effect on the economic fortunes of the railroad companies, for the hoarding of the cotton crop in an attempt to force European intervention left railroads bereft of their main source of income. For the early years of the war, the Confederate government had a hands-off approach to the railroads.
Only in mid did the Confederate government initiate an overall policy, and it was confined solely to aiding the war effort. Conditions deteriorated rapidly in the Confederacy, as there was no new equipment and raids on both sides systematically destroyed key bridges, as well as locomotives and freight cars.
Spare parts were cannibalized; feeder lines were torn up to get replacement rails for trunk lines, and the heavy use of rolling stock wore them out.
Ceremony for the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad, May The Southern states had blocked westward rail expansion beforebut after secession the Pacific Railway Acts were passed in allowing the first transcontinental railroad to be completed inmaking possible a six-day trip from New York to San Francisco.
Other transcontinentals were built in the South Southern PacificSanta Fe and along the Canada—US border Northern PacificGreat Northernaccelerating the settlement of the West by offering inexpensive farms and ranches on credit, carrying pioneers and supplies westward, and cattle, wheat and minerals eastward.
In railroads carried less than half as much freight as inland waterways, by railroads carried 5 times as much freight than waterways.In , Congress passed the Pacific Railway Act, which authorized the construction of a transcontinental railroad.
The first such railroad was completed on May 10, By , four additional transcontinental railroads connected the eastern states with the Pacific Coast. The impact of the railroad on the geographic, economic, and political futures of the United States was enormous, not just because of the sheer physicality of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad connecting the entire continent east to west in Apr 20, · Watch video · In , the Pacific Railroad Act chartered the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad Companies, and tasked them with building a transcontinental railroad that would link the United.
History of Railroad Maps Surveying and mapping activities flourished in the United States as people began moving inland over the inadequately mapped continent.
The settlement of the frontier, the development of agriculture, and the exploitation of natural resources generated a demand for new ways to move people and goods from one place to another. The railroads affected settlement patterns in the United States because most cities were now being built along the railroad.
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