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Railroads - Providing Growth to the
United States in the 19th Century
Valerie Varnuska
Introduction
• Valerie Varnuska of Westbury, NY, has an affection for classic trains and
the history they represent. Thoug...
Railroads
• The 20-year span between 1830 and 1850 saw the total
length of railroads in the US grow from 23 miles to 9,000...
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Railroads - Providing Growth to the United States in the 19th Century

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Valerie Varnuska of Westbury, NY, has an affection for classic trains and the history they represent. Though trains continue to transport heavy cargo and occasional tourists, their heyday in the United States seems to have passed, thanks to the increasing convenience and speed of air travel. However, Valerie Varnuska hopes that trains, historic symbols of human ingenuity, will not easily be forgotten.

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Railroads - Providing Growth to the United States in the 19th Century

  1. 1. Railroads - Providing Growth to the United States in the 19th Century Valerie Varnuska
  2. 2. Introduction • Valerie Varnuska of Westbury, NY, has an affection for classic trains and the history they represent. Though trains continue to transport heavy cargo and occasional tourists, their heyday in the United States seems to have passed, thanks to the increasing convenience and speed of air travel. However, Valerie Varnuska hopes that trains, historic symbols of human ingenuity, will not easily be forgotten. It’s no accident that history’s centers of civilization are located along rivers or seas. Prior to the invention of trains, human civilization was dependent on coastlines and rivers for transportation. With the invention of steam engines and the establishment of rail networks, trains were able to efficiently connect urban centers and settlements across great stretches of land. This would prove essential to the growth of the US in the 19th century.
  3. 3. Railroads • The 20-year span between 1830 and 1850 saw the total length of railroads in the US grow from 23 miles to 9,000, reaching farther westward to encourage settlers. With intensive efforts to establish a full continental network, the total length of railroads peaked at 250,000 miles in 1916. As time passed and land travel gave way to automobiles and the interstate highway system, trains have continued to run in the US, but primarily in a commercial capacity between shipping centers. Countries like Japan, China, France, and Germany still use trains for passenger travel, operating high-speed bullet trains that safely run at hundreds of miles per hour. Hopefully, the US will wake up and build high speed trains, too.

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