James D. Porterfield

A Railroad Chronology

August 8, 1829
Honesdale, Pennsylvania: The "Stourbridge Lion" becomes the first steam locomotive to operate in the United States.

December 25, 1830
Charleston, South Carolina: The first scheduled passenger train operates on the South Carolina Railroad.

June 6, 1833
Ellicott's Mills, Maryland: Andrew Jackson becomes the first President of the United States to ride a train.

November 24, 1842
Boston, Massachusetts: A rail route to Buffalo, New York, opens to connect the east coast with the Great Lakes.

January 23, 1853
Chicago, Illinois: A all-rail route to several eastern cities connects the east coast with this important mid-western rail center.

April 21, 1856
Davenport, Iowa: The first railroad bridge to span the Mississippi River opens to connect the east coast with the west bank of the Mississippi.

September 1, 1859
Bloomington, Illinois: The first Pullman sleeping car makes an overnight trip to Chicago.

April, 1868
Aurora, Illinois: The first dining car, the Delmonico, is placed in service by the Pullman Company.

May 10, 1869
Promontory, Utah: The driving of a Golden Spike marks the completion of the United States' first transcontinental railroad.

May 26, 1934
Denver, Colorado: The first Diesel-electric powered streamlined train, the Zephyr, arrives non-stop from Chicago, traveling a distance of 1015 miles at an average speed of 77.6 miles-per-hour.

May 1, 1971
Washington, DC: The National Rail Passenger Corporation, better known as Amtrak, begins operation.


Watch for information here in the future.

Selected Works

Web Site
A State-by-State Guide to Locations with a Connection to Railroad History, Travel and Preservation
The History and the Recipes of America's Golden Age of Railroad Cuisine
The Recipes and Stories Behind Today's Greatest Rail Dining Experiences
A Story of the Rails
The Life of a Pennsylvania Railroad Engineman: 1904-1949
A monthly magazine