Birth of the American Railroads


Y/M/D Description Place
1810/00/00 Leiper builds a railway (lost) from his quarries on Crum creek to his landing on Ridley creek, 1809-1810. Leiper's 0.75 mile long tramway is the first railroad in America. Single car trains with flanged iron wheels are pulled by horses on wooden rails. Thomas Leiper Estate, Wallingford
1826/10/07 Designed and built by Gridley Bryant, Quincy Granite horse powered railway begins operations. Quincy Granite Railway, Quincy
1827/12/19 The South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company is chartered by an act of the South Carolina General Assembly. The company meets at the home of its first president, William Aiken. William Aiken House and Associated Railroad Structures, Charleston, SC
1829/08/08 The Stourbridge Lion, a steam locomotive manufacture in England, departs Honesdale and travels three miles (4.8 km) to Seelyville, and then reverses straight back. The Stourbridge Lion will be found to be too heavy for the track. Honesdale, PA, Pennsylvania
1830/05/24 The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad opens a line from Baltimore to Ellicott Mills. It is the first common carrier railroad to go into service in America. Ellicott's Mills Historic District, Oella
1830/10/00 Built for the SC Canal and Rail Road Co by the West Point Foundry of New York, the "Best Friend of Charleston" (lost), the first steam-powered railroad locomotive manufactured in the United States for revenue service, is shipped to Charleston, SC. West Point Foundry Preserve, Cold Spring
1830/12/25 The "Best Friend of Charleston" steam locomotive begins operations, carrying passengers for 6 miles (9.6 km) "on the wings of wind at the speed of fifteen to twenty-five miles per hour (24 to 40 kmh)." William Aiken House and Associated Railroad Structures, Charleston, SC
1831/00/00 "DeWitt Clinton", the first steam locomotive to operate in the state of New York and the 4th built for service in the United States, is manufactured for the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad. Named after DeWitt Clinton, a replica is located at The Henry Ford. West Point Foundry Preserve, Cold Spring
1833/10/03 South Carolina Canal and Railroad, completed to Hamburg, opens for passenger service. At 136 miles, its the longest railroad under single management in the world. SCCRR Piers remain in the Savannah River along side the 5th St bridge. Hamburg Depot, North Augusta
1834/04/00 The Meteor, the first steam locomotive in Boston, arrives by ship from England, unloaded at Long Wharf and hauled through the streets by a large team of horses to the new depot of the Boston and Worcester Railroad. Long Wharf and Customhouse Block, Boston
1845/00/00 Samuel Kier and BF Jones open the Independent Line Shipping Co and introduce sectional boats on the Pennsylvania Canal. Used for rail or canal transport, the boats allow the movement of goods through the Allegheny Portage Railroad. Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Pennsylvania

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