In 1867 George M. Pullman established the Chicago-based Pullman Palace Car Company. The Pullman cars provided luxuries such as freshly prepared gourmet meals in dining cars with chandeliers, electric lighting, and table lamps with silk shades. The dining tables were set with fine linen, silver, and china, all made especially for the railroad and emblazoned with its logo. A porter attended to passengers' every need. The Pullman Company owned and operated its fleet of cars until December 31, 1948, at which time it transferred ownership of the cars to the railroads on which they operated.
More than 40,000 steam engines were built between 1829 and 1949. The Union Pacific Railroad purchased the largest engines ever built, called Big Boys. In 1870 The Chicago & Alton Railroad became the first railroad o use the dining car for regular passenger service
1826Colonel John Stevens (father of American railroads) demonstrated the feasibility of steam locomotion
1827The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is chartered to run from Baltimore to the Ohio River in Virginia making it the first westward bound railroad in America.
1828South Carolina Railroad is chartered making it the second railroad company for the transportation of passengers and freight.
1830Built by Peter Cooper the Tom Thumb was the first American-built steam locomotive. It hauled 36 passengers at 18 mph in August of that year.
1840The United States had 3,000 miles of tack
1855The first land grant railroad in the U. S. is completed, the "Illinois Central".
1860Over 30,000 miles of track linked most of the countries major cities Rail links were complete along the Atlantic and southern coasts from Bangor, Maine to New Orleans
1862The government passed the Homestead Act to encourage settlement in the west
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act authorizing construction of the first transcontinental railroad.
1867Pullman (sleeping) cars and first hotel or buffet cars were introduced
The Transcontinental Railroad was completed
1870Denver Pacific Line joins to the transcontinental
1870Kansas Pacific Line arrives in Denver
1894There were 175,441 miles of track in operation to the west.
The Railroad Era
1829 Delaware and Hundson Railway Company
1830 Charleston & Hamburg (1st entirely steam railroad, 1st with regular passenger service)
1830 The Boston & Lowell Massachusetts Legislature granted charter
1832 Erie Railroad Company incorporated in as the New York and Erie Railroad Company
1846 Pennsylvania Railroad Company chartered
1851 Missouri Pacific Railroad Company founded, first rail line west of the Mississippi River
1851 Lackawanna & Western Railroad.
1853 New York Central Railroad Company founded
1853 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad
1857 Minnesota & Pacific Railroad Company
1861 Central Pacific Railroad founded by a group of California merchants
1862 Union Pacific Railroad incorporated by an act of the U.S. Congress
1863 Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company
1864 Northern Pacific Railway Company was chartered by Congress
1868 Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company (C&O).
1870 Southern Pacific created by "Big Four" western railroad barons: Collis P. Huntington,
Charles Crocker, Leland Stanford, and Mark Hopkins
1871 Texas & Pacific Railway Company (T&P) was established by a federal charter
1881 Norfolk and Western Railway Company to provide direct salt water access from the Midwest
1882 New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad Company
1887 Kansas City Southern Railway founded
1912 New York Central & Hudson River Railroad Company