Gold rush tagged posts

Early American Railroad History

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by Allen Johnson

The first use of crude railroad tracks was in England and Wales, where donkeys pulled carts full of coal out of the coal mines. Mine owners determined that, with less friction (wheels on rails), it was easier for the donkeys to pull a cart with more coal than previously had been done. In 1803, Richard Trevithick, an English mining engineer, figured out how to mount a steam engine on a moveable platform and constructed the first steam railway engine. Within a few years, the very first steam locomotives were used to haul coal from mines to seaports. In 1825, the first rail passenger service was begun in England, and America’s first railroad was the Baltimore and Ohio, which started in 1830.

Gold was discovered in California in 1848, and thousands headed west chasing after ...

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