The 1880s was the decade that saw the greatest total railroad mileage constructed in American history, however the majority of this expansion occurred outside the eastern states, which had previously been the railroad heartland. The prosperous economic climate of the 1880s provided the funding and incentives for railroad development into the previously underdeveloped mid-western states. Throughout the decade railroad companies across the country transitioned from the assortment of different track gauges previously found, to a national standard of 4 ft 81/2 in. Time zone standardization was also adopted across the rail network in 1883 in order to increase efficiency and coordination. The four time zones, Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific, provided the basis for the time zones which are still in use today. By 1890, new government legislation was drafted to tackle the issue of increasing monopolization, whilst cooperation between railroad companies aimed to set out industry standards that would prioritize passenger safety.
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