1860 US Railroads


Map Code: Ax00726

By 1860, 30,000 miles (49,000 km) of railroad tracks had been laid, with 21,300 miles (34,000 km) concentrated in the northeast. The Baltimore and Ohio railroad was the first chartered railroad in the United States and was built to increase the flow of goods between Baltimore and Ohio. After this, others quickly followed, with the railroad offering faster, more cost-effective transport of people and freight than roads or waterways. There was some opposition to the building of railroads by other transport operators, but its economic benefits allayed scepticism. In the southern states, such as the Carolinas and Georgia, there were less railroads, but by 1860 the US was still one of the leading railroad regions in the world. Southern railroad companies used hundreds of male slaves to build their railroads. Individual railroad companiess used different track gauges, reducing efficiency as goods travelling long distances had to switch trains.

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