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10 Trains That Changed the World

1. The more

When did the United States start using time zones?

For ages, people used the sun to determine what time it was where they were. Every community set its clocks to noon based on when the sun reached its highest position in the sky; as a result, when it was noon in Washington, D.C., the local time in New York City was already more

6 Daring Train Robberies

1. Jesse James’ Iowa Train Robbery Notorious outlaw Jesse James is best remembered as a bank robber, but he was also one of the first bandits to hold up a moving train. The earliest of these heists came on the evening of July 21, 1873, near Adair, Iowa. After gathering more

8 Things You May Not Know About Trains

1. The term “horsepower” originated as a marketing tool.James Watt didn’t invent the steam engine, but he did create the world’s first modern one, and developed the means of measuring its power. In the 1760s, the Scottish inventor began tinkering with an earlier version of the more

The first railroad accident

The first recorded railroad accident in U.S. history occurs when four people are thrown off a vacant car on the Granite Railway near Quincy, Massachusetts. The victims had been invited to view the process of transporting large and weighty loads of stone when a cable on a vacant more

Crédit Mobilier

The Crédit Mobilier scandal of 1872-1873 damaged the careers of several Gilded Age politicians. Major stockholders in the Union Pacific Railroad formed a company, the Crédit Mobilier of America, and gave it contracts to build the railroad. They sold or gave shares in this more

Transcontinental Railroad

In 1862, the Pacific Railroad Act chartered the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad Companies, tasking them with building a transcontinental railroad that would link the United States from east to west. Over the next seven years, the two companies would race toward more

Canada’s transcontinental railway completed

At a remote spot called Craigellachie in the mountains of British Columbia, the last spike is driven into Canada’s first transcontinental railway. In 1880, the Canadian government contracted the Canadian Pacific Railroad to construct the first all-Canadian line to the West Coast. more

Railroads create the first time zones

At exactly noon on this day, American and Canadian railroads begin using four continental time zones to end the confusion of dealing with thousands of local times. The bold move was emblematic of the power shared by the railroad companies. The need for continental time zones more

Express train crosses the nation in 83 hours

A mere 83 hours after leaving New York City, the Transcontinental Express train arrives in San Francisco. That any human being could travel across the entire nation in less than four days was inconceivable to previous generations of Americans. During the early 19th century, when more

Dalton Gang commits its first train robbery

The members of the Dalton Gang stage an unsuccessful train robbery near Alila, California–an inauspicious beginning to their careers as serious criminals. Bob, Emmett, and Grat Dalton were only three of Lewis and Adeleine Dalton’s 10 sons. The brothers grew up on a succession of more

Trains collide near Tokyo, killing more than 160 people

Two commuter trains and a freight train collide near Tokyo, Japan, killing more than 160 people and injuring twice that number on May 3, 1962.It was Constitution Day in Japan when a commuter train pulled out of Mikawashima station at 9:30 p.m. taking passengers out of Tokyo. more

Trains collide in Pakistan

Two trains collide in Sangi, Pakistan, on January 4, 1990, killing between 200 and 300 people and injuring an estimated 700 others. This was the worst rail accident to date in Pakistan. The train Zakaria Bahauddin (named after a holy man according to Pakistani tradition) had a more

Trains buried by avalanche

Two trains are swept into a canyon by an avalanche in Wellington, Washington, on March 1, 1910, killing 96 people. Due to the remote location of the disaster and the risk of further avalanches, efforts to rescue survivors and find the bodies of the dead were not completed until more

Train passengers suffocate

On March 1, 1944, a train stops in a tunnel near Salerno, Italy, and more than 500 people on board suffocate and die. Occurring in the midst of World War II, the details of this incident were not revealed at the time and remain somewhat murky. Train Number 8017 left Salerno more

Train derails in Alabama swamp

An Amtrak train headed to Miami derails near Mobile, Alabama, killing 47 people on September 22, 1993. The accident, the deadliest in Amtrak’s history, was caused by a negligent towboat operator and foggy conditions. The Sunset Limited train travels from Los Angeles through Texas more

Vigilantes yank train robbers from jail and hang them

A guard, who had been shot by brothers Frank, William, and Simeon Reno during a train robbery in May, dies of his wounds. His death so infuriated the public that a group of vigilantes yanked the three brothers from their Indiana jail cell five days later and hanged them. Although more

The “Railway Rapist” commits his first murder

The “Railway Rapist” attacks 19-year-old Alison Day and abducts her from a London train. Her strangled body was recovered two weeks later. Although the perpetrator had attacked and raped many women since 1982, this was his first murder. The Railway Rapist had a distinctive method more

Great Train robber escapes from prison

On August 12, 1964, Charlie Wilson, part of the gang who pulled off the 1963 Great Train Robbery, one of the biggest heists of its kind, escapes from Winson Green Prison in Birmingham, England. Several men broke into the maximum-security facility to free Wilson, who remained on more

Trains - HISTORY

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania educates the public regarding the Commonwealth’s rich railroad history, discovering the relevance of railroads in building the nation and the role of today’s railroads in our lives.


Explore real trains, historical displays and interactive exhibits!


See 100 locomotives and railroad cars, and our operating model train displays.


There’s always something new and exciting going on at the Museum!


Learning is fun, and we have educational programs for every age group!


We welcome your support, and offer several ways for you to make an impact!

"Fallen Flags Of The Northeast" (Photos, Maps, Histories, Locomotive Rosters, And More)

*  This railroad is still operating, it is placed here because of its long and storied history.

**  The REA was not an operating railroad but was an integral part of the industry during the "golden age" when these now-fallen flags were still operating.

The growth only continued after the Civil War as promoters pushed ribbons of rail westward, highlighted by the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in May of 1869. ਌onstruction quickened after this momentous event and peaked in the 1880's.  

During that decade, as historian H. Roger Grant notes in his book, "The Corn Belt Route: A History Of The Chicago Great Western Railroad Company," the national network grew from 93,267 to 163,597 miles!  It was the single greatest period of expansion.  

Milwaukee Road 'Little Joe' E-21 powers an eastbound manifest as it climbs the grade out of Avery, Idaho along the St. Joe River on the electrified Rocky Mountain Division during August of 1971. Drew Jacksich photo.

The latter 19th century witnessed many fallen flags brought together while others, such as the Western Maryland and Virginian Railway, completed their systems in the early 1900's.  

The classic American railroad as we best remember it survived until the 1970's, a decade that reached a crescendo of bankruptcies and mergers.  

The government's severe regulations, dating back to the early 20th century, were largely to blame along with the railroads' difficulty in reducing crew sizes (even after technological advancements, including diesel locomotives, wireless radio, and computerization made such possible). 

These issues were partially self-inflicted, a result of executive greed and hubris during the 19th century that led to much of the federal oversight.

Southern Pacific F7's lead an eastbound manifest between Elko and Carlin, Nevada on September 12, 1967. Note the parallel Western Pacific main line at left both roads followed each other closely here along the Humboldt River. Robert Malinoski photo.

While the "Golden Age" officially extended from the 1880's until the Great Depression, ask most railfans the single greatest period and many would point to immediate post-World War II era, through the 1960's.

਍uring this time, although in decline, the industry was still generally profitable while it made the switch from steam to diesel-electric technology.  

In addition, numerous, vibrant paint schemes adorned first-generation diesels, built by the five major manufacturers (Electro-Motive, American Locomotive, Fairbanks-Morse, Baldwin, and General Electric).

With a plethora of different emblems roaming the rails it was quite an era for anyone interested in trains.  �use these many systems served a particular region it was not uncommon for local communities to call a railroad their own. 

Examples here include the New York Central, Reading, New Haven, Western Pacific, Atlantic Coast Line, Missouri Pacific, and the list goes on of carriers serving either a block of states or specific area.  

Following the mega-merger movement this is no longer the case as a single railroad can now extend from New York to Chicago or link San Francisco with St. Louis.

The Eagle Lake & West Branch Railroad

There are not a lot of places in the world where you can be hiking through a remote wilderness and suddenly stumble upon rusting locomotives. One of the things that makes the Allagash so fascinating is the possibility of a sudden discovery of remnants from a bygone lumbering industry. For example, you could be walking through the wild forests of northern Maine after landing your canoe on the shore of Eagle Lake and then suddenly you're staring down the nose of two steam locomotives.

For those lumbering operations still driving logs south from Eagle and Churchill Lakes to Penobscot waters, the Eagle Lake and West Branch Railroad replaced the Tramway. In 1926 this railroad ran from the Eagle Lake end of the tramway thirteen miles to Umbazooksus Lake, which connects to the West Branch of the Penobscot River via Chesuncook Lake. Edouard “King” Lacroix’s Madawaska Company purchased a ninety-ton steam locomotive in New York and converted it from coal to oil burning for this operation. To haul the large supply of oil needed for the train, the company leased a Plymouth gasoline engine from Great Northern Paper. The oil was brought in barrels by truck from Greenville to Chesuncook Dam. From there, a scow would carry the barrels to the terminal end of the railroad on Umbazooksus Lake.

During the winter of 1926-27, Lombard tractors hauled all of the materials for the railroad from Lac Frontiere to Churchill Depot, then across Churchill Lake to the shore of Eagle Lake. This included the fifteen hundred foot trestle for Allagash Stream, steel rails, loaders, two gas-powered switchers, sixty train cars, and the two one hundred ton locomotives. King Lacroix, however, never got the railroad into operation because the Great Northern Paper Company bought his operation early in 1927. On June 1, 1927, the railroad made its first successful trip as the Eagle Lake and West Branch Railroad.

To load the train cars on the Eagle Lake end of the line, logs were drawn along two conveyors that raised them up twenty-five feet over a two hundred twenty-five foot length. With a forty-horse power diesel engine powering each conveyor, a cord of wood could move from lake to car in just ninety seconds. Each twelve-cord car could be filled in eighteen minutes. Operators soon discovered that the time it took to neatly pile the logs into the cars horizontally made the practice inefficient, so they resorted to just dumping them in as they fell from the conveyors. The cars were built with a twelve-inch tilt in them so that when they drove out onto the unloading trestle at the Umbazooksus end (where the tracks were tilted six more inches) an operator could knock loose the pins holding back the car wall hinged at the top and most of the load would tumble out into the water. A little picking and prodding of the remaining logs and the train was on its way back for another load.

Since the round trip over the curvy road made a single-train operation too slow and inefficient, the company used two trains of ten cars each, with a passing track in the middle so the empty car on its return route could pass the full car headed in the other direction. The trains of twelve cars each ran on the road both day and night stopping only ten minutes to service the steam engine. While this happened, the Plymouth engine pushed a set of loaded cars away from the conveyors where the locomotive could hook up to it. The Plymouth then took the empty cars, just back from their run, and pushed them under the conveyors for loading. This system, along with the addition of an electric lighting system for loading the cars and storage towers to allow faster refilling of the trains’ water and oil, increased the log-hauling capacity four hundred percent. In an average week, more than six thousand five hundred cords of wood moved across the tracks.

The Plymouth engines at each end of the train route shifted empty cars around the yard while the locomotives refueled. Logs could not float away when too much bark gathered near the unloading trestle, so engineers designed a special scraper that was attached to the Plymouth by means of a pulley and anchor and this system scraped the bark out of the way.

The railroad crossed over the northwest arm of Chamberlain Lake where it reaches toward Allagash Lake.

The most significant structure of this operation was the fifteen hundred foot long railroad trestle sturdy enough to carry both the train and its regular supply of heavy log cargo across this piece of water. Only a few remains of the trestle are still visible.

Aerial photographs from 1966 show that only one structure, the shed built over the locomotives, remained at the railroad site on the Eagle Lake end of the tramway when the Allagash Wilderness Waterway was created. While still owned by the Seven Islands Land Company on April 9, 1969, the Maine Forest Service mistakenly burned the shed, causing damage to some of the wooden elements of the locomotives (i.e. the wooden cab). Both locomotives have also suffered from vandalism and souvenir hunters. Photos show the burned area on June 11, 1969.

On August 16, 1969, the Maine Parks and Recreation Commission painted the trains to prevent further rusting. In 1995, the boiler jackets on both locomotives were removed in order for asbestos surrounding the boilers to be removed and abated.

Members of the Allagash Alliance worked to right and stabilize Eagle Lake and West Branch Railroad Locomotive Number 1 and its Tender. Built in June 1897 at Schenectady Locomotive Works (4-6-0 stamped #4552), it was originally a steam locomotive that burned coal but later converted to burn oil to eliminate the forest fire threat caused by cinders. Number 1 was purchased by Great Northern in 1926 and used to haul pulpwood in the Allagash area from 1927-1933.

ELWB Locomotive Number 2, and its tender, were built in December 1901 at Brooks Locomotive Works (2-8-0 stamped 4062). Number 2 was also used as a coal-burning steam locomotive and later converted to burn oil. It was purchased by Great Northern in 1928 and used as the main engine for hauling pulp cars from 1928-1933. When the railroad stopped operating, both locomotives were relatively obsolete and not worth the cost of transporting them back out of the Allagash area. Instead, they were stored inside a shed at the Eagle Lake facility where they remain today.

Freight cars

Throughout the world the great majority of freight cars for all rail gauges are built with four axles, divided between two trucks. Because of the layout constraints of some freight terminals, several European railroads still purchase a proportion of two-axle vehicles, but these have a much longer wheelbase and hence a considerably larger load capacity than similar cars in the past. Some bulk mineral cars in Germany and the United States have been built with two three-axle trucks, and Russia and various other former Soviet states still have a number of freight cars carried on four two-axle trucks these are the world’s largest. Concern to maximize payload capacity in relation to tare vehicle weight has led to U.S. and European adoption of articulation for cars in certain uses, notably intermodal transport. In this system a car comprises several frames or bodies (usually not more than five), which, where they adjoin, are permanently coupled and mounted on a single truck.

One type of vehicle that is virtually extinct is the caboose, or brake-van. With modern air-braking systems, the security of a very long train can be assured by fixing to its end car’s brake pipe a telemetry device that continually monitors pressure and automatically transmits its findings to the locomotive cab.

Before World War II, freight cars consisted almost entirely of four basic types: the semiwalled open car, the fully covered boxcar, the flatcar, and the tank car. Since then, railroads and car builders have developed a wide range of car types designed specifically for the ideal handling and competitive transport of individual goods or commodities. At the same time, the payload weight of bulk commodities that can be conveyed in a single car without undue track wear has been significantly increased by advances in truck design and, in North America, by growing use of aluminum instead of steel for bodywork, to reduce the car’s own tare weight. In Europe and North America, where highway competition demands faster rail movement of time-sensitive freight, cars for such traffic as perishable goods, high-value merchandise, and containers are designed to run at 120 km (75 miles) per hour. The French and German railways both operate some selected merchandise and intermodal trains at up to 160 km (100 miles) per hour to achieve overnight delivery between centres up to about 1,000 km (600 miles) apart. In the United States, container trains traveling at 120 km/hr where route characteristics allow are scheduled to cover about 3,500 km (2,200 miles) in 52 hours.

In Europe and North America open cars for bulk mineral transport are generally designed for rapid discharge, either by being bodily rotated or through power-operated doors in the floor or lower sides of their hopper bodies. Modern North American four-axle coal cars typically have 100–110 tons’ payload capacity. In Europe, where tighter clearances necessitate smaller body dimensions and track is not designed for axle loadings as high as those accepted in North America, the payload capacity of similar four-axle cars is between 60 and 65 tons. High-sided open cars also are built with fully retractable sliding roofs, either metal or canvas, to facilitate overhead loading and discharge of cargoes needing protection in transit. In a variant of this concept for the transport of steel coil in particular, the sidewalls and roof are in two or more separate, integral, and overlapping assemblies these can be slid over or under each other for loading or discharge of one section of the vehicle without exposing the remainder of the load.

Fully covered hopper cars or tank cars are available with pressure discharge for bulk movement of a variety of powders and solids. Tank cars are also purpose-designed for safe transport of a wide range of hazardous fluids.

Because of the rapid growth of intermodal transport in North America, boxcar design has seen fewer changes there than in western Europe. For ease of mechanized loading of palletized freight, modern European boxcars are built with their entire sidewalls divided into sliding and overlapping doors. Another option is to replace the sidewalls with a fully retractable, material-covered framework, so that the interior of the vehicle can be wholly opened up for loading or discharge. A typical North American boxcar for bulky but comparatively light cargo may have a load-area volume of up to 283 cubic metres (10,000 cubic feet) that of a modern four-axle European boxcar is 161.4 cubic metres (5,700 cubic feet). Boxcars are often fitted internally with movable partitions or other special fittings to brace loads such as products in sacks. Vehicles for transport of fragile merchandise have cushioned draft gear that absorbs any shocks sustained by the cars in train or yard shunting movement.

The automobile industry’s concentration of manufacture of individual models at specific plants has increased the railroads’ share of its transportation. As distances from manufacturing plant to dealer increase—and in many cases these involve international transits—the security and economy offered by the railroad as a bulk transporter of finished autos have become more appreciated. In North America vertical clearances allow automobiles to be carried in triple-deck freight cars, but in Europe the limit is double-deck. Retractable flaps enable each deck of adjoining cars to be connected to form drive-through roadways on both levels for loading and discharge of an auto-transporter train. Such cars also are used for a type of service for motorists that is widespread in Europe but confined to one route in the United States: trains that combine transporters for autos with passenger cars for their occupants. These are mostly operated between ports or inland cities and vacation areas in the peak season. Special-purpose cars also have been developed for inter-plant movement of automobile components, including engines and body assemblies, and for regular delivery of spare parts to distribution areas.

Trains - HISTORY

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Trains - HISTORY

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Welcome to the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum

The Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum celebrates the heritage and impact that the Railroad had upon our community and the individuals who worked within the railroad industry.

Founded in 2002 by several local railroad enthusiasts, the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum takes you on a journey through our local railroad history as depicted through photos, interactive displays and railroad memorabilia.

We Are Covid Compliant

The Bradford Railroad Museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of our railroad heritage.

Click Here to learn how you can help support our efforts. Thanks in advance!


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Museum Features

The Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum offers 3 levels of professionally procured exhibits, displays and information including.

Role of the Railroad in War

The Telegraph (interactive display)

The BF Tower (with operational signals)

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Located in the basement level, the children's area features interactive play exhibits, Thomas the Train set and much more. (Suitable for children of all ages)


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Our newest addition. the BF Tower is an interactive demonstration of the role that a Switching Station played in moving trains through a junction.


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The Museum Gift Shop is filled with BORM collectables, gifts & railroad memorabilia. the perfect addition to every train enthusiasts collection.

Electric Locomotives Get a Slow Start

The first prototype for an electric locomotive was built in 1837 by Scottish chemist Robert Davidson, powered by galvanic battery cells. Davidson’s next locomotive, a larger version named the Galvani, debuted at the Royal Scottish Society of Arts Exhibition in 1841. It weighed seven tons, had two direct-drive reluctance motors that used fixed electromagnets acting on iron bars attached to wooden cylinders on each axle. While it was tested on the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway in September of 1841, the limited power of its batteries scuttled the project. The Galvani was later destroyed by railroad workers who viewed the alternative technology as a potential threat to their livelihoods.

The brainchild of Werner von Siemens, the first electric passenger train, consisting of a locomotive and three cars, made its maiden run in 1879 in Berlin. The train had a maximum speed of just over eight miles per hour (13 km). Over the course of four months, it transported 90,000 passengers on a 984-foot (300-meter) circular track. The train's 150-volt direct current was supplied via an insulated third rail.

Electric tram lines began gaining popularity, first in Europe and later in the United States, after the first made its appearance in 1881 in Lichterfelde just outside Berlin, Germany. By 1883 an electric tram was running in Brighton, England and the tram that launched service near Vienna, Austria, the same year was the first in regular service to be powered by an overhead line. Five years later, electric trolleys designed by Frank J. Sprague (an inventor who’d once worked for Thomas Edison) took to the tracks for the Richmond Union Passenger Railway.

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History of rail transportation in the United States

Wooden railroads, called wagonways, were built in the United States starting from the 1720s. A railroad was reportedly used in the construction of the French fortress at Louisburg, Nova Scotia, in New France (now Canada) in 1720. Between 1762 and 1764, at the close of the French and Indian War (1756–1763), a gravity railroad (mechanized tramway) (Montresor's Tramway) is built by British military engineers up the steep riverside terrain near the Niagara River waterfall's escarpment at the Niagara Portage (which the local Senecas called "Crawl on All Fours.") in Lewiston, New York.

Railroads played a large role in the development of the United States from the industrial revolution in the North-east (1810–1850) to the settlement of the West (1850–1890). The American railroad mania began with the founding of the first passenger and freight line in the nation of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1827 and the "Laying of the First Stone" ceremonies and beginning of its long construction heading westward over the obstacles of the Appalachian Mountains eastern chain the following year of 1828, and flourished with continuous railway building projects for the next 45 years until the financial Panic of 1873 followed by a major economic depression bankrupted many companies and temporarily stymied and ended growth.

Although the antebellum South started early to build railways, it concentrated on short lines linking cotton regions to oceanic or river ports, and the absence of an interconnected network was a major handicap during the Civil War (1861–1865). The North and Midwest constructed networks that linked every city by 1860 before the war. In the heavily settled Midwestern Corn Belt, over 80 percent of farms were within 5 miles (8 km) of a railway, facilitating the shipment of grain, hogs, and cattle to national and international markets. A large number of short lines were built, but thanks to a fast developing financial system based on Wall Street and oriented to railway bonds, the majority were consolidated into 20 trunk lines by 1890. State and local governments often subsidized lines, but rarely owned them.

The system was largely built by 1910, but then trucks arrived to eat away the freight traffic, and automobiles (and later airplanes) to devour the passenger traffic. After 1940, the use of diesel electric locomotives made for much more efficient operations that needed fewer workers on the road and in repair shops.

A series of bankruptcies and consolidations left the rail system in the hands of a few large operations by the 1980s. Almost all long-distance passenger traffic was shifted to Amtrak in 1971, a government-owned operation. Commuter rail service is provided near a few major cities such as New York City, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and the District of Columbia. Computerization and improved equipment steadily reduced employment, which peaked at 2.1 million in 1920, falling to 1.2 million in 1950 and 215,000 in 2010. Route mileage peaked at 254,251 miles (409,177 km) in 1916 and fell to 139,679 miles (224,792 km) in 2011. [1]

Freight railroads continue to play an important role in the United States' economy, especially for moving imports and exports using containers, and for shipments of coal and, since 2010, of oil. According to the British news magazine The Economist, "They are universally recognized in the industry as the best in the world." [2] Productivity rose 172% between 1981 and 2000, while rates rose 55% (after accounting for inflation). Rail's share of the American freight market rose to 43%, the highest for any rich country. [3]