Logan Hasper


The development ofwas one of the most important phenomena of the Industrial Revolution. With their formation, construction and operation, they brought profound social, economic and political change to a country only 50 years old. Over the next 50 years, America would come to see magnificent bridges and other structures on which trains would run, awesome depots, ruthless rail magnates and the majesty of rail locomotives crossing the country.


The railroad was first developed in Great Britain. A man named George Stephenson successfully applied the steam technology of the day and created the world's first successful locomotive. The first engines used in the United States were purchased from the Stephenson Works in England.

Advantages and Disadvantages

-Large numbers of people could be transported easily and more quickly
-Large amounts of goods could be transported more easily and more quickly than by barge or stagecoach
-Farmers’ goods could be transported to market more quickly.
-With refrigerated cars, liquids and fresh produce were able to travel long distances and reach markets still fresh
-Provided employment - The railroads in the late 1800s and well into the 20th century were the largest employers in the U.S.A.


-Dirty – Passenger trains most notably – Passengers’ clothes often suffered the consequences of the soot, ashes and smoke generated by both coal and wood burning steam locomotives.
-Sometimes inefficient ex. not all railroads used the same gauge track in the 1800s. This meant when two railroads using different gauge track met, the goods had to be offloaded from the boxcars of one railroad to the boxcars of the connecting railroad.
-Dangerous for passengers. – Thee were many, many accidents in the early decades of the railroads. Coal burning stoves in passenger cars often ignited entire cars and consumed the passengers. There were also rear-end and head on collisions. Casey Jones met his fate when he rear-ended a freight train in Vaughan, MS. Railroad signals and signaling systems were in their primitive stages in the mid 19th century.
-Dangerous for employees – especially brakemen who had to apply the brakes to each car individually in all types of weather. Although the airbrake was invented by George Westinghouse in 1869, the railroads were slow to adapt it, as it was more costly to fit the rolling stock with airbrakes than it was replacing dead brakemen, and there were many

How did it affect ND

It allowed more emmagrants move to North Dakota and more goods to be transported in and out of the state.

What was the railroads importance to settling the west?

It allowed goods to be easily transported east to west and people to move west easier