By: Briaunna and Molly
The Start of Railroads
Railroad fever all started with a man named Peter Cooper. He built a steam locomotive called the "Tom Thumb", which he raced against a horse-drawn rail-car. At the finish his locomotive broke down. Even though this happened the locomotive drew attention another way of transportation, the railroads.
Growth of Railroads
About 2,800 miles of track were laid down in America by 1840. French economist Michael Chevalier said that the "have a perfect passion for railroads." By 1860 about 30,000 miles of railroad were laid out, connecting almost every major city in the eastern United States. When this happened the economy surged forward.
British vs. American Railroads
The British railroads ran on straight tracks across flat ground, but American railroads had to travel up and down steep mountains, around tight curves, and over swift rivers. Therefore engineers and mechanics overcame many tough challenges and made many advances in their field.
Wagon vs. Locomotive
Locomotives traveled much faster than wagons, in fact they were the fastest way of transportation back then. Wagons often traveled less than 2 m.p.h. and locomotives averaged 20 m.p.h. Although wagons were much safer than locomotives, many people still wanted to get to their destination fast and dangerous, rather than slow and safe.
Expanding the Transcontinental Railroad: History and Impact