May 10 marks the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike ceremony that celebrated the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The great era of locomotives long has passed, but rail is still No. 1 in a few freight categories.
Then to now[hhmc]
- 1827: The first railroad in North America — the Baltimore & Ohio — is chartered by Baltimore merchants.
- 1833: 380 miles of track in operation
- 1840: 2,800 miles of track in operation
- 1850: The more than 9,000 miles of track in operation in the U.S. were as much as in the rest of the world combined.
- 1860: 30,000 miles of track in operation
- 1861: After fighting broke out in 1861 during the Civil War, railroads were instrumental in the Norths ability to move forces and supplies quickly. The rail network totaled more than 30,000 miles, and 21,300 miles of it were concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest, but the Confederacy enjoyed only 9,022 miles.
- 1865: For nearly half a century, railroads are the main mode of transportation. In those 50 years, the rail network grows from 35,000 miles to a peak of 254,000 miles in 1916.
- 1869: A May 10 ceremony links the rail lines at Promontory Summit, Utah
- 1970: The Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970 creates Amtrak, and it officially begins service on May 1, 1971.
- Todays lines: The U.S. freight rail system owns and operates more than 138,000 rail miles, including 95,000 miles owned by Class I railroads, defined as having revenues of at least $457.9 million in 2015.
Where railroad still rules[hhmc]
Shares of freight vary by distance. Trucks carry the largest shares by value, tons and ton miles for shipments moving 750 or fewer miles, while rail is the dominant mode by tons and ton miles for shipments moved 750 to 2,000 miles.
The largest concentrations of container-on-flatcar routes are between Pacific Coast ports and Chicago, Southern California and Texas, and Chicago and New York.
Southern California is home to the largest ports in the Western Hemisphere. The Ports handled 16.9 million 20-foot equivalent units in 2017 — 2.5 times more than the next largest port in the United States. The Cajon Pass north of San Bernardino is one of the busiest rail mountain passes in the U.S. and handles 90 to 150 trains, about 100 cars each,Read More – Source