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Railway - North America
United States and Canada Railways and Railroads, Companies, History, Steam, Diesel & Electric Locomotives and Short Lines
Railroad companies associated with the first public railways in the United States include the Delaware and Hudson (D&H), Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) and South Carolina Railroad. In 1929 the D&H tested the first steam locomotive to operate in the US, the ‘Stourbridge Lion’ imported from England. The B&O was the first public carrier, opening the inaugural 13 miles of its lines in May 1830; it also tested the first American-built steam locomotive, the vertical boiler ‘Tom Thumb’. The initial section of the South Carolina Railroad opened in April 1830 and by 1833 136 miles of track had been completed; the railway was the first to operate scheduled locomotive hauled services.
From the 1830s onwards, US railroad mileage grew rapidly with 49,168 miles by 1870 and 163,562 miles by 1890. Its peak was over 250,000 miles in 1916. The first significant application of railways for military purposes, both supply and fighting, was the American Civil War in the 1860’s. The First Transcontinental Railroad opened with the famous Last Spike ceremony at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869. The line was 1,907 miles in length and constructed by the Union Pacific Railroad, the Central Pacific Railroad and the Western Pacific Railroad. In combination with the Texas and Pacific Railway (T&P) and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF), the second transcontinental line was completed by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1883. Shortly thereafter the Northern Pacific Railway and Great Northern Railway completed their routes.
The American locomotive industry developed rapidly following the initial import of English locomotives. The Baldwin Locomotive Works, and the workshops of William Norris and Thomas Rogers all produced their first steam locomotives in the 1830s; Baldwin going on to produce over 70,000 locomotives to its closure in 1956. The second largest steam producer was the American Locomotive Company (Alco) established at the beginning of the twentieth century; other manufacturers included Lima Locomotive Works and more specialised engines were produced by companies such as Heisler and H.K. Porter. Railroad companies including the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), Norfolk and Western (N&W) and the B&O also produced locomotives, the later introducing the Mallet design to the US.
Diesel-electric traction was introduced from the 1920s led by companies such as General Electric (GE) and Alco. The locomotives were utilised for the new clean, efficient and high-speed travel of the streamliner era of the 1930s and 1940s operated by companies such as the Union Pacific and the Burlington (Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q)) with its Zephyr trains. The GM Electro-Motive Division (EMD) produced its E- and F-units from the 1930s to the 1960s, the SD40 in the 1970s and 1980s, and the SD70 series from the 1990s.
Form its first railway in Quebec in 1836 Canada expanded it railways with 13,151 miles being completed by 1890, including the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) completion of the first transcontinental railway in 1885. The current system is around 30,000 miles.
This listing covers all books on the United States and Canadian railways and railroads, while the sub-categories on the left of this page cover specific countries. Click the book image for more details including the examples in stock.
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