History of the Railroad

Learn more about the "Iron Horse."

The Historic Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was in existence for more than 160 years before being absorbed into a larger organization. However, the B&O will always be remembered as America's first common-carrier railroad.

The Transcontinental Railroad
The Transcontinental Railroad was a dream come true for many businesspeople and politicians in America, providing a link for goods and communication from the East Coast to the West Coast. The Golden Spike was struck in 1869, but planning for the coast-to-coast route began much earlier.

The Builders of the Transcontinental Railroad
The labor required to build the Transcontinental Railroad was extensive. The main laborers, the ones who laid the track, did back-straining work for days on end, for not necessarily high wages, in sometimes brutal conditions. This massive transportation construction project also required an entire network of support, including medical staff, cooks, and proprietors of provisions stores and living areas.

Railroads in Texas from Fort Worth and Beyond
This excellent site traces the development of the state's railroad and how its builders had to overcome some unique-to-Texas challenges along the way.

Railroad Maps 1820-1900
These Library of Congress maps show in detail the where and the when of railroad expansion in the United States.

The American Railroads: a Long and Storied History
Excellent site focusing on all manner of railroad-related facts, figures, and stories. Find out more about railroad cars, lines, engines, history, and much more.

Age of Steam
The railroad age began in Great Britain. This site shows you how.

Driving the Last Spike
Follow the builders of the U.S. railroad as they meets in Utah for the driving of the Golden Spike.

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Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2020
David White