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299 Year History of United States Railway

When the French fortress was constructed in Nova Scotia in the year 1720, a rail road was used at the time. Between the years 1762 and 1764, there were a number of rail roads constructed. It was during the end of the French and Indian wars that this happened. It was the British military engineers who were responsible for constructing this.

Early Period (1826 - 1860)

history of united  states railway

This is the time which is called the early period of the United States Railway. The Liper railroad is considered to be animal powered. This was the railway that was used till the year 1829 before it was temporarily replaced by the Leiper Canal. Then again the liper railroad was again re-opened in order to replace the canal.

In the year 1826, the Quincy's Railway was incorporated by the Massachusetts for freight carrying. This was used in order to get granite that would be used for constructing the Bunker hill monument. The railway operations began later in the year 1826 and a section of it continued operations till the year 1940.

Reconstruction of the Railroad during the Civil War (1861-1877)

Using the railways was a part of the strategy during the civil war. The Union used the larger system quite effectively. All the factories as well as the mills that supplied railway equipments were situated in the North. The Union blockage therefore prevented the South from getting either any railway equipments or any spare parts.

The civil war was fought in the Southern part and the confederates and the union raiders destroyed the rolling stocks and the bridges in the most systematic manner. They also bent the railways at times that finally hindered the enemy logistics.

Expansion and also the consolidation of the railroads of the United States and the management was nationalized between 1917 and 1920.

There were a total of 17800 freight locomotives by the year 1880. This used to carry freight of 23600 tones. It also carried as many an 22200 passenger locomotives. The industrial growth was to a great extent affected by the railways of America. There were as much as 100 acres of farming land that were ready for mechanization. The railway management was also modernized during the time.

The management of the railroads at the time of World War 1 was taken over by the United States Railroad Administration. This was done in order to deal with the systems that included trackage, terminals, rolling stock etc. With the USRA management the equipments were standardized and there was also a deduction of the duplicative passenger services. The freight traffic were also managed and very well coordinated. The railroads federal control finally ended in the month of March.

Railroads in the Automobile Era (1921 - 1945)

In the 20th century, there were some railroad executives who started raising concerns about the way the railroads were being managed. The memories of the panic in the year 1893 and also the continuous increase of railroad companies and duplicate facilities raised a lot of concern. It was for this reason that the legislation decided to bring about an improvement in the system.

In the year 1920 the Esch-Cummins Act asked the ICC to prepare and also adapt a plan that would lead to a consolidation of the various rail road companies. Though the agency listens to the plans, however, none of these plans were ever implemented. During the great depression of the 1930's there were also a number of railroads that failed.

Modern Era (1946 till present)

During the World War II, there were a number of railroads that went out of business because there was a huge competition from the interstate highways as well. The passenger rail road service almost came to an end with the rise of the automobiles. The interstate highways also grew after the war.

The railroads only carried freights in bulk that included coal, steel and also other commodities. Then the high speed intra city railway services were introduced. These had a higher speed as compared to the passenger trains and these operated between the cities. Rapid transits were certain intra city systems that were meant for the large cities and had quite high passenger capabilities. On the street levels there were small Trans used.

The Introduction of the Passenger Rail Services

In the year 1970, the passenger rail service act was passed by congress. This created the amtrak. By May, 1971 the entire transition was completed and passenger rail services started its operations throughout the nation.


There has been a substantial amount of spending on the equipment, technology as well as infrastructure. It is for this reason that the freight railroads are able to move more freight safely, efficiently and also quiet clean.

The trains of today have locomotives which have as much 200 ton power and they are also super computers as a result of which they are able to process a lot of data points in one second. There are smart sensors as well as drones and data used and these ensure that the equipment and the infrastructure are quite safe.

There is also some specialized computer software that improves the operations of the rails. There is also something called anti-idling technology that is developed by the green technology. These keep the carbon foot prints of the rails quite small. Since a lot of money has been spent on the technology, so the rail road's operation has improved to a great extent.

Railway Services of the United States

Amtrak is the most important and the largest train services provider in the United States. Apart from Amtrak there are also other local companies in the US that provide train services. Some of them includes the MBTA in the greater Boston, Path in New York and new Jersey and also New Jersey transit operating in New Jersey.

Amtrak is a passenger rail service that is quasi owned by the state. As per the law, the freight railroads have to grant Amtrak access to the track.

Types of Trains in Unites State

1. High Speed Trains

Northeast Regional, Keystone Service, certain MARC Penn Line express trains and Amtrak's Acela Express [reaching 150 mph (240 km/h)], operate at a speed that is higher than the 125mph. These trains are able to connect the metropolitan areas that are large. They are actually able to compete with the airlines in regards to time. These trains are compatible with the freight trains and also the regular passenger trains, however, it requires special tracks that would enable it to run at a high speed.

2. Inter-city trains

Amtrak travel very long distances and also connect the various metropolitan areas. These trains in most cases travel at a highway speed. These trains also provide you with certain amenities that you might not be able to find in any other forms of transport.

3. Regional Trains

Alaska and Alabama passenger trains connect the various suburban areas with the main city. These trains in most cases run during the weekends. They also run in peak directions during the rush hours. There are also some trains that are electric multiple units rather than mere locomotives.

4. Rapid Transit

Washington Metro, Los Angeles Metro Rail, the Miami Metrorail, and the Montreal metro are trains that travel through the subway and also heavy rail. These mainly serve the urban population and have a very large passenger carrying capacity. They run separately from the other road traffics.

5. Light Rail

These trains are also called street cars and trolleys. There are a total of 27 trains that operate in the United States. This means that they can operate in the street level and also run in urban areas. This is a pedestrian friendly train and has a lesser passenger capacity in comparison to the rapid transit. The train fare is also less as compared to the light rail.

6. Modern Street Car

In Seattle as well as Portland there is something called an urban street car present that, though operates separately, however, is compatible with the light rail system. These street cars have smaller sizes and also have lesser speed as compared to the rail counter parts. These are suitable for circulating in the local urban area and do not connect the downtown with the suburbs. Los Angeles and Oakland are also trying to construct these sort of street cars.

Various Rail zones of the United States

• Amtrak : This is a passenger railroad service that provides you with an intercity service both at short as well as long distances.

• BNSF Railway : This is a very critical railway that the global market place with the consumers. It has been operating for the last 160 years and has played a very important role in sustaining the economy of the United States.

• Canadian National Railway : This is the largest railway company both in terms of the physical size as well as the amount of revenue generation.

• Canadian Pacific Railway : This is a railway that travels from Toronto and reaches its destination after covering Ontario, Vancouver and the snow capped mountains.

• CSX Transportation : This is a freight railroad that is distinguished as class I and it covers the Eastern part of the United States and also the Canadian provinces of Quebec and also Ontario.

• Kansas City Southern Railway : If you need an efficient transportation across the border or you want to ship within Mexico or the United States then this railway company can be your best partner.

• Norfolk Southern Railway : This is one of the best transportation companies and it transports the Industrial products that include agriculture, metals, chemicals and also other construction materials.

• Union Pacific Railroad : This is the first transcontinental rail road project and it later came to be known as the Overland route.

The Railways of the United States is very well maintained and has made communication easy for a lot of people.