The first railroad appeared in England in 1825. and the Americans soon emulated it with construction of the Mowhawk and Hudson Railroad.
Charterde in 1826,built in 1830, it operated between Albany and Schenectady rinciby 1831. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroade, the first passenger railway in the United States,was chartered in 1827,but it took until 1853 to complete a line from Baltimore to Wheeling.
Other lines followed, with incessant incorporation of smaller into larger:by 1840 th United States boasted a total pf 3328 miles of railroade. in all of Europe there were only 1818 miles railroad.
Between 1840 and 1860 an additional 28000 miles were added, at capital expenditure of close to $1 billion-a huge sum in those days. By 1855 a continuous line of rails connected New York and Chicago.
However,there was no direct connection along the east Coast between Washington, Charleston,and Savannah. The westernmost extension of railroad by 1860 was to St Joseph, Missouri; on the pacific coast near Sasramento a short road had been built: the remaining gap, east-west, would of course close after the Civil War.
Rates for transportation varied remarkably by 1860. Per ton-mile they averaged fifteen cent for turnpikes, three-fourths to one cent for canals, and two cent for railroades. In the west, the trails of the pre-Civil War period hardly equalled the network of roades, canals,and railroads east of the Mississippi.
But in binding together an isolated section of the country, the Far West (including after the 1840s the Pacific coast) they proved almost equally important. Principal trails until 1860 began at independence, Missouri, whence ran the trail to Santa Fe the Oregon Trail that passed through Utah and over the Rockies.
The former trail opened in 1821 the one to Oregon was not heavily used until the 1840s.