- 1630 - A man named Beaumont laid rails on a
highway in England to transport coal from the
Newcastle mines. This is the first railroad known
- 1765 - James Watt constructed his first steam
engine at the Corson Iron Works, Glasgow,
- 1776 - The first iron rails, of which we have a
complete account, were cast with a perpendicular
ledge instead of the flange on modern wheels.
- 1801 - A short line of track for a horse railroad
was laid between Wandsworth and Croydon in the
suburbs of London - the first chartered railroad
- 1 804 - The first attempt to utilize steam power
on a railroad was made by a Cornishman named
Trevithick, who ran a locomotive attached to
several wagons in South Wales.
- 1827 - The first American railroad, from Quincy,
Massachusetts, to the Neponset River, was
- 1828 - Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer
of the Declaration of Independence, laid, on July
4, the first rail of the Baltimore and Ohio
- 1829 - The Stourbridge Lion, the first steam
locomotive ever seen in America, had its trial
trip over the line of the Delaware and Hudson
Canal and Railroad Company. In England,
Stephenson's locomotive, The Rocket, won the
prize of $2,500 offered by the directors of the
Liverpool and Manchester Railway.
- 1830 - The first section of the Baltimore and
Ohio Railroad, fifteen miles in length, was
opened. Over it Peter Cooper ran his little
locomotive, Tom Thumb, to prove that engines
could be used on curves. The Best Friend, the
first locomotive built in America for actual
service, began regularly to haul freight on the
South Carolina Railroad.
- 1842 - The whole of the Boston and Albany was
completed, the first road to be operated as an
important through route. The New York Central
route to Buffalo was opened, though the various
companies along the line were not consolidated
until eleven years later.
- 1844 - With the aid of the government, Professor
Morse built his pioneer telegraph line between
Baltimore and Washington.
- 1846 - The Pennsylvania Railroad was chartered.
- 1853 - Eleven railroads were consolidated into
the New York Central.
- 1854 - The Mississippi River was first reached by
the Chicago and Rock Island Road.
- 1858 - Railroad building was pushed as far West
as the Missouri River, the Hannibal and St.
Joseph reaching that river.
- 1868 - George Westinghouse invented the
- 1869 - The Union and Central Pacific lines were
joined, making a through railroad route from the
Atlantic to the Pacific.
- 1870 - The Chicago and Omaha pool was formed, the
first pool on a large scale in the history of
- 1887 - The Interstate Commerce Commission was
established to have supervision over railroad
- 1901 - The Northern Securities Company was
organized to control the transcontinental
- 1904 - The United States Supreme Court, by a
decision of five to four, held that the Northern
Securities Company was in restraint of trade and
was therefore illegal.
- 1906 - The Hepburn bill was passed by Congress,
increasing the size and powers of the Interstate