Railroad History

Its all about the rails

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US Railroad Father: Colonel John Stevens

Colonel John Stevens, III (June 26, 1749 – March 6, 1838) was an American lawyer, engineer, and inventor. Stevens is considered to be the father of railroads in the United States. In 1826, Stevens demonstrated the feasibility of steam locomotion on an experimental circular track constructed at his estate in Hoboken, New Jersey—three years before Stephenson perfected a practical steam locomotive in England.

Stevens was granted the first railroad charter in North America in 1815 but others began to receive grants and work began on the first operational railroads soon after.

In 1930, Peter Cooper designed and built the first American-built steam locomotive, the Tom Thumbto be operated on a common-carrier railroad.

Pullman Sleeping Car

Another major train innovation of the 19th century didn't have anything to do with propulsion or power supply. Instead, it was all about passenger comfort. George Pullman invented the Pullman Sleeping Car in 1857. Although sleeping cars had been in use on American railroads since the 1830s, the Pullman car was designed specifically for overnight passenger travel and was considered a marked improvement over its predecessors.