railroad: The Early Nineteenth Century
The Early Nineteenth Century
In the United States, as in England, the first railroads, employing horse-drawn wagons, were used to haul minerals. The earliest such railroad, built from Quincy, Mass. to the Neponset River dates from 1826, and in the next year another was built in Pennsylvania from the coal mines in Carbon County to the Lehigh River. In 1829 two locomotives were imported from England, but they were found to be too heavy for the existing tracks. Thereafter, locomotives suited to the American railway were produced domestically, and Matthias Baldwin of Philadelphia soon took the lead in building them. The Baltimore Ohio RR began operation in 1828 with horse-drawn cars, but after the successful run (1830) of the
In the United States a turnpike era and then a canal era had immediately preceded the coming of the railroads, which proved to be fast, direct, and reliable in all weather. After 1830 the railroads grew so quickly that within a decade their mileage surpassed that of the canals. While the stagecoach type of railroad car was giving way to the square type in the 1830s, many short-run railroads began to appear throughout the United States. The big cities on the Atlantic Coast became the nerve centers, while inland points were readily connected with one another. Only the Erie RR was projected on a grand scale.
Because of the long distances involved, the United States and Russia had sleeping cars earlier than other countries. A type of sleeping car containing three tiers of berths on one side of the coach appeared in 1836 on the Cumberland Railway's run between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Sleeping cars of a more modern type were patented (1856) by George M. Pullman and soon put in operation. The first all-steel car appeared in 1859.
Sections in this article:
- High-Speed Passenger Service
- Railroads in Other Countries
- Decline and Revival
- Abuses and Regulation
- Technological Innovations
- An Era of Rapid Expansion
- The Early Nineteenth Century
- American Railroads
- Early Railroads
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