Oliver Evans built the first successful non-condensing high pressure stationary steam-engine, later to be used in his building of the first steam-powered boat.
First American Steam Locomotive
Oliver Evans built the first American steam locomotive in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Silas Whitney operated a horse-drawn and gravity wooden tramway on Beacon Hill, Boston
First Railroad Charter in America
John Stevens, of Hoboken, New Jersey, was granted the first railroad charter in America by the New Jersey Legislature. The charter authorized the construction of a rail line between the Delaware and Raritan Rivers.
First Locomotive to run
John Stevens built the first locomotive to run on rails in America. It was operated experimentally on a half-mile circular track in Hoboken, New Jersey.
The Granite Railway
Gridley Bryant’s Granite Railway was opened in Quincy, Massachusetts. It was used to transfer granite that would build the Bunker Hill Monument. Horses provided the moving power.
Charter for First Railroad in Maryland
A charter was granted for the first railroad in Maryland. Construction began July 4, 1828.
The locomotive Stourbridge Lion was put on a track at Honesdale, Pennsylvania and operated 3 miles. It was built by Foster, Rastrick, & Co. It was the first steam locomotive to run on a commercial line in the United States. It was built by Foster, Rastrick, & Co.
Tom Thumb Locomotive
Peter Cooper’s locomotive Tom Thumb completed a trial trip from Baltimore, Maryland to Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland, and back.
Best Friend Locomotive
Using the American-built Best Friend locomotive, a railroad at Charlestown, South Carolina introduced scheduled passenger service. It became the first public carrier by rail in South Carolina, and the first railroad to use steam power in regular service.
DeWitt Clintonin NY
The first steam train ran in New York, pulled by the locomotive DeWitt Clinton.
First Locomotive Headlight
Introduction to the first locomotive headlight was in South Carolina with a pine-knot fire on an open platform car.
Mail by Rail
The United States mail was carried for the first time by rail, in South Carolina.
Andrew Jackson Rides the Railroad
Andrew Jackson became the first President of the United States to ride on a railroad train.
First Railroad to Washington D.C.
The first railroad to Washington D.C. was opened.
Philadelphian Henry R. Campbell patented an eight-wheeled engine, which was named the American type. The locomotive was completed May 8, 1837, and remained a popular model until 1985.
Patent No. 1
A U.S. senator from Maine, John Ruggles, was issued Patent No.1 for a device that would increase the power of railway locomotives and to prevent their wheels from sliding.
The first two locomotives to yield whistles were built at Lowell, Massachusetts, under the guidance of George Washington Whistler. Whistler was a prominent American railroad engineer.
First Locomotive Whistle Introduced
The first locomotive whistle was introduced.
First Sleeping Locomotive
The world’s first sleeping car ran between Harrisburg and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
New Rail routes connect major cities
The first direct railroad between New York and Boston was completed.
First Federal Railroad Lannd-Grant Act
President Millard Fillmore signed the first Federal Railroad Land-Grant Act. The Act was intended to promote construction of a railroad that would run from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.
First International Railroad
The first international railway in North America was built from Quebec to New York.
First Locomotive west of the Mississippi
The first locomotive built west of the Mississippi River, ran from St. Louis to Cheltenham, a distance of five miles.
Rail route from Eastern seaboard
The first rail route from the Eastern seaboard was opened. It ran from Chicago to the Mississippi River.
"Night Seat" Coaches
Reclining-seat cars were introduced between Philadelphia and Baltimore. They were nicknamed “night seat” coaches.
The Niagara Suspension Bridge
The Niagara Suspension Bridge was completed. It was the world’s first working railway suspension bridge. This opened another route between the East and West. It connected Niagara Falls, Ontario to Niagara Falls, New York.
West Coast's first railroad
The West Coast’s first railroad was opened from Sacramento to Folsom, California.
Mississippi River Bridge
The first railroad bridge to cross the Mississippi River was built at Davenport, Iowa. It was later partially burned, rebuilt, and reopened.
Pullman Sleeping Car
The introduction of the first Pullman sleeping car, demonstrated the luxury. The car was invented by George Pullman.
New Constuction by Lincoln
President Abraham Lincoln signed an act to authorize the construction of a line of railroads from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast.
Automatic Block Signals
Automatic block signals were introduced. The automatic block signals indicate whether or not a train may enter a block based on whether or not a block is clear.
Rulling Dining Car
The first Pullman dining car was put into service.
Golden Spike Ceremony
The completion of the first transcontinental rail route. It was signified by the Golden Spike ceremony in Promontory, Utah.
Pullman Parlor Car
The introduction of the first Pullman parlor car.
Standardization of Gauge
The standardization of gauges, at 4 ft. 8 ½ in., of railroads was completed, allowing an interchange of cars throughout the country for the first time.
The first trains to run fully equipped with electric lights
The adoption of an automatic, quick-action, triple-valve break for freight service
100 MPH Run
Locomotive No. 999 made the world’s first 100 mph run in New York.
Conversion to Electricity
The first railroad conversion to electricity was completed on three railroads in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland.
The Cascade Tunnel
The Cascade Tunnel was built in Washington, making it the longest tunnel in the Western Hemisphere.
The world’s first completely air-conditioned passenger train was put in service between New York and Washington.
The first gas-turbine-electric locomotive in the United States went into regular service.
Silicon Rectifier Locomotive
The first silicon rectifier locomotive was introduced to an Eastern railroad.
High-speed Metroliner rail service was put into service between Washington and New York.
High-speed Turbo-train service was introduced between New York and Boston.
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrack) was established.
Railroads become more popular
Amtrack carried 18.5 million passengers, marking a steady increase in the use of railroads.