Slowly, the small railroad companies would die out or be absorbed by large businesses. Railroad History The same year the US ordered the Stourbridge Lion locomotive from England, they began work building the first tracks of the Baltimore and Ohio railway. Color/B&W. Choose the Railroad in U.S. History books. Involving ingenious entrepreneurs, armies of workers, and the ultimate conflicts with Native Americans and outlaws, railroad history and tales are yet another fascinating aspect of westward expansion. In this chapter, we look at the twilight of steam as the history of American steam trains comes to a close. America’s first steam locomotive made its debut in 1830, and over the next two decades, railroad tracks linked many cities on the East Coast. The two companies met at Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869. The Union Pacific Railroad company started building from the east, while the Central Pacific began from the west. Stevens was granted the first railroad charter in North America in 1815 but others began to receive grants and work began on the first operational railroads soon after. 1980: Congress passes Staggers Rail Act . On October 6, 1866, the brothers John and Simeon Reno stage the first train robbery in American history, making off with $13,000 from an Ohio and Mississippi railroad train in Jackson County, Indiana. By the 1840s, the ultimate form of the nineteenth-century American railroad was beginning to emerge. Many lines had started out as government-assisted works or as joint ventures between local governments and private investors. During the 1960s, steam trains began to disappear from the American landscape, and by the early 1970s they were virtually extinct. As they drove the Golden Spike uniting the two tracks, a new age was born. Read the stories of the beginnings of the U.S. Railroads, the pioneers building America's transportation backbone, and more. 1863 – First underground railway started working in London. Success of this track gave birth to the modern subways. Approx run time: 4 hours 5 minutes. Today, the corporation is a component of American Financial Group which specializes in commercial insurance for a wide range of businesses. Since that time the public has taken a greater interest in preserving our remaining rail history, including important rail lines and depots. It soon became apparent that there was so much money to be made in railroading that the private sector could go it alone. 1970-1979, the rail industry’s return on investment never exceeded 2.9% and averaged just 2.0%. Today: The North American freight rail network is the safest, most efficient in the world. 1869 – The First Transcontinental Railroad completed in North America, successfully bridging Pacific and central United States. 1978, the rail share of intercity freight has fallen to 35%. 1856 – First railroad bridge over river Mississippi enabled expansion of trains to the west. Figuring prominently into every aspect of America’s history is the railroad. In 1930, Peter Cooper designed and built the first American-built steam locomotive, the Tom Thumb, to be operated on a common-carrier railroad. As the Stourbridge made its first trips, other railways, like the Hudson and Delaware track were being constructed, preparing for a new locomotive to run their tracks.