US Railroads 1850

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Map Code: Ax01960

The 1840s saw massive expansion of America’s railroad network and by 1850 the total length of railroads was triple that of just ten years earlier. By this point all of America’s eastern states, besides Florida, had stretches of railroad running through them and a number of large cities were supplied by multiple railroads which interlinked the surrounding area. To maximize efficiency and availability of funds, smaller railroad companies whose lines were connected and operating in the same territories began to merge into conglomerations. The most notable conglomeration at the time was the New York Central Railroad Company, which formed in 1853 from a number of smaller railroad companies in the area. The New York Central Railroad subsequently took control of most of New York State’s rail network, which stretched from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes. The 1840s also saw the widespread introduction of solid iron ‘T’-rails, greatly improving railroad safety and durability.

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