Year Keyword Event  and Description
1800 tr rr Steam U English engineer Richard Trevithick, 29, builds a high-pressure steam engine that will be used to power a road vehicle (see 1801; Watt, 1782; Evans, 1797).
1801 tr rr Steam T Richard Trevithick employs his steam engine to power a road carriage, the first steam vehicle to carry passengers (see 1800; locomotive, 1804). 
1804 tr rr Steam T The world’s first steam locomotive goes into service on the Killingworth colliery railway as English inventor George Stephenson, 34, applies Richard Trevithick’s 1804 steam engine to railroad locomotion and replaces horses and mules for hauling coal (see Stockton-Darlington line, 1825). 
1814 tr rr Co. T The world’s first steam locomotive goes into service on the Killingworth colliery railway as English inventor George Stephenson, 34, applies Richard Trevithick’s 1804 steam engine to railroad locomotion and replaces horses and mules for hauling coal (see 
1825 tr rr Co. T England’s Stockton and Darlington Railway opens September 27 with the world’s first steam locomotive passenger service. Planned as a tramway by promoter Edward Pease, 58, the new 27-mile rail line has been built for steam traction with the help of engineer George Stephenson, whose 15-ton locomotive Active pulls a tender, six freight cars, the directors’ coach, six passenger coaches, and 14 wagons for workmen (see B&O, 1828). 
1827 tr rr B&O T The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad has its beginnings February 28 in a charter granted to Baltimore bankers George Brown, 40, and Philip Evan Thomas to build a 380-mile railway to the West that will compete with the 2-year-old Erie Canal, which is diverting traffic from the port of Baltimore. The new railway is to be used for cars that will be drawn by horses or propelled by sails (see 1828). 
1828 tr rr B&O T Construction begins July 4 on the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad chartered last year by the state of Maryland as the first U.S. railroad for the general transportation of freight and passengers (see 1815; 1825). Backed by the richest man in America Charles Carroll of Carrollton, now 90, who lays its cornerstone, the B&O has a narrow 4-foot 8.5-inch gauge that is based on the standard English track width for carriages (see Cooper, 1829). 
1830 tr rr Tech T A flanged T-rail invented by Robert Livingston Stevens, 43, will be the basis of future railroad track development. Stevens is a son of steamboat pioneer John Stevens. Now president and chief engineer of the Camden and Amboy Railroad and Transportation Co. (see 1815), he will also invent a hookheaded spike and a metal plate to cover the joint between rails. 
1854 tr rr BN T The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy is created by a merger of four small lines. Entrepreneur James Frederick Joy, 43, who has engineered the merger (the new corporate name will be adopted February 14 of next year), has been helped in earlier effort to extend the Michigan Central to Chicago by Springfield, Ill., lawyer Abraham Lincoln, 45, and now works to extend the Burlington (see Quincy Bridge, 1868). 
1862 tr rr Law T Congress promises up to 100 million acres of federal lands to the Union Pacific, the Central Pacific, and other railroads that will connect the Mississippi with the Gulf and Pacific coasts (see 1863). 
1867 tr rr Pullman T Pullman Palace Car Co. is founded by George M. Pullman with Andrew Carnegie who will be its major stockholder until 1873. The new company will build cars and will operate them under contract for railway companies (see first dining car, 1868). 
1868 tr rr Tech T A refrigerated railcar with metal tanks along its sides is patented by Detroit inventor William Davis who dies at age 56.
1868 tr rr Tech T An automatic railway “knuckle” coupler patented by former Confederate Army major Eli Hamilton Janney, 37, hooks upon impact and replaces the link-and-pin coupler that endangers the fingers and the lives of brakemen. Janney’s coupler prevents excess sway of railcars and will become standard railway equipment in 1888. 
1878 tr rr BN T Canadian-American entrepreneur James J. Hill, 40, and his associates buy the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad which they will reorganize and extend in 1890 to create the Great Northern Railway, a road built without government subsidy (see Canadian Pacific, 1881; Northern Pacific, 1901). 
1881 tr rr BN T James J. Hill of the St. Paul and Pacific joins with Montreal financier George Stephen to organize a new Canadian Pacific Railway Co. after the collapse of an earlier effort. Given a $25 million pledge of government aid, a 10-year deadline, and assurance that no other railroad will be permitted in the area for 20 years, Hill and Stephen hire Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul general manager William Cornelius Van Horne, 38, to carry out the trans-Canada project (which is long overdue in light of the Dominion government’s pledge to British Columbia in 1871). Van Horne moves to Winnipeg, works his crews night and day, and by the end of summer has built nearly 500 miles of track through forest and swamp (see 1887). 
1882 tr rr Co. T Union Switch and Signal Co. is organized to manufacture railroad signals invented by George Westinghouse who has made a fortune from his air brake (1868; gas pipeline 1883) 
1884 tr rr SP T The Central Pacific Railroad is merged into the Southern Pacific by Charles Crocker and Collis P. Huntington, who amalgamate other California railroads to create a giant competitor to the Union Pacific (see 1881; Santa Fe, 1887). 
1904 tr rr Co. T The Supreme Court rules in a 5 to 4 decision that the Northern Securities Company of 1901 violates the Sherman Act of 1890. The court decision orders dissolution of the railroad trust. 
1941 tr rr SF T The first U.S. diesel freight locomotives go into service for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe (see General Motors, 1935). Built by General Motors’ Electromotive Division, the new 5,400-horsepower diesels eliminate water problems in desert country and reduce hotbox problems on downgrades with a dynamic braking system. Running time between Chicago and California drops from 6 days to 4, with only five brief stops en route, and the sound of the steam engine whistle begins to fade from the American scene 
1968 tr rr Penn Central T Penn Central is created February 14 by a merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad with the New York Central. Both are in
1970 tr rr BN T Burlington Northern, Inc., is created in March by a merger of the Great Northern, Northern Pacific, and Chicago,
1971 tr rr Co. T Amtrak (The National Railroad Passenger Corp.) takes over virtually all U.S. passenger railroad traffic May 1 in a
1980 tr rr Co. T CSX Corp., created in November by a merger of the Chessie System and Seaboard Coast Line Industries, becomes the