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Railroad History in a Nutshell

View Resource 01: Early Photograph of an Early Locomotive, the Tioga (editor's title)
Tioga, one of the earliest photographs of a locomotive

Like so many American institutions, railroading came to the U.S. from England. First significant construction began in 1828 with the Baltimore & Ohio; the first steam locomotive operated in 1830 in South Carolina. Twenty years later, in May 1848, this steam locomotive, the Tioga, emerged from the Norris Brothersí factory in Philadelphia, the early locomotive capital of America. It was purchased...

View Resource 02: The Lackawanna Valley
Highly Important 1850s Painting of a Railroad and Locomotive

In the mid-1850s the president of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad commissioned one of the nationís foremost landscape painters, George Inness, to capture his burgeoning rail line on canvas. The president picked Scranton, Pennsylvania, for the setting, and specified that Inness include a roundhouse that was not yet constructed. Other painters previously had made many images of...

View Resource 03: Railroads in the Civil War (editor's title)
Work train in the Civil War.

Both Union and Confederate strategies during the Civil War depended on railroads, making it the first war in which railroads were critical to the outcome. They brought troops to the fronts, wounded to hospitals, and retreating soldiers to islands of safety. On the domestic front, they continued to supply necessary food and goods to communities around major battle zones. In January 1862, Congress...

View Resource 04: Construction of the Transcontinental Railroad (editor's title)
Shovel shovel at Hanging Rock, Echo Canyon, Utah

Between 1828 and 1869, America achieved the goal of spanning the continent with a railroad. To accomplish this, the federal government awarded public lands to private railroad companies so that the railroads in turn could sell the land to finance construction, benefiting both the private and public sectors. Here, about 15 workers for the Union Pacific employ an Otis Excavator and work train with...

View Resource 05: Railroad Construction Expands Westward (editor's title)
Dormitory car with minority groups

In 1887, the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway constructed 642 miles of track between Minot, Dakota Territory, and Helena, Montana Territory--a notable feat. Construction began April 2 and ended November 19. The line was a predecessor of the Great Northern Railway, built without land grants or government aid. Socially, the image shows remarkable racial mingling on the railroad frontier. A...

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Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers
and Trainmen

Brotherhood's Relief and Compensation Fund
California State Railroad Museum
Center for Railroad Photography & Art
Cleveland Memory Project (CSU)
Kalmbach Publishing Co.
Lake Forest College Special Collections
McLean County Museum of History
Museum of the Rockies Photo Archive
Norfolk Southern Corporation
North American Railway Foundation
New York Transit Museum
Oakland Museum of California
Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History

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