History of Railways
The history of railways started in the 1600s with ancient civilizations. Railroads greatly affected the growth of the United States of America.
1 – Starting in the 1600s, civilizations such as Greece and Egypt used horses to drive simple train cars. They drove these on rails that went only in two parallel directions.
2 – Railroads and trains began in Europe and although the actual creator of the steam engine is unclear; names such as Richard Trevithick, George Stephenson, Matthew Murray, and Thomas Savery are mentioned as possible inventors.
3 – In the United States, the first locomotives and most rails used were imported from England.
4 – In 1830, Peter Cooper created the first American steam-powered locomotive, called Tom Thumb.
5 – In 1830, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the first railroad in the U.S.
6 – In England during the early 1800s, the cost of trade went down by 60-70% when shipping by rail. This more than likely influenced Americans to begin building railroads.
7 – 1850 marked the point when railway transportation became the most important factor in westward expansion. It brought economic, social, and even political change to the growing country.
8 – The Transcontinental Railroad was completed on May 10, 1869. This railroad is actually made up of two railroads, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific.
9 – 50 million dollars in freight was shipped from east-to-west and west-to-east just within ten years of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.
10 – Today, many different types of trains are used. Some trains are used for commercial travel like subways, bullet trains, and distance trains. Others are used to transports goods, such as freight trains.
The history of railway transportation began in the 1600s. Subsequently, Europe created the first steam locomotive and the more modern version of trains began. Later, the United States began to use rails and trains, although they were imported from England. Eventually, railways went across the United States. This unified and strengthened the growing country. The country we live in today may have never been a world superpower if it was not for rail transportation.