April 5, 1941 Nigel Gresley, a railway engineer who made major contributions to the development of high-powered steam locomotives, died at his home in Hertford, England, at the age of 64. He was born in 1876 in Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh and raised in the English village and civil parish of Netherseal. After attending... Continue Reading →

March 7, 1877 The first train of the Seattle & Walla Walla Railroad began operations on a 14-mile (22.5-kilometer)-long stretch between the city of Seattle and town (present-day city) of Renton in what was then the Territory of Washington. (This territory became a state more than 11 years later.) The San Francisco Chronicle reported, “Excursion... Continue Reading →

African-American publisher Robert Sengstacke Abbott, who was born in Georgia in 1870, creatively utilized a coast-to-coast rail transportation network to disseminate and popularize his newspaper The Chicago Defender. The son of one-time slaves, Abbott launched the newspaper in the Windy City in 1905. The Chicago Defender, focusing on African-Americans and the civil rights challenges that... Continue Reading →

February 14, 1888 A new streetcar company was chartered in Georgia to provide a small but important transit link in the north-central part of the state. More specifically, this company was established to better connect the city of Covington and the town of Oxford (incorporated as a city in 1914) with each other as well... Continue Reading →

Leonard A. Grimes (1815-1873) was an African-American abolitionist who, as a conductor for the Underground Railroad, used his transportation enterprise in the Washington, D.C., area to deliver others from slavery to freedom. Grimes grew up free in Leesburg, Virginia, but he still managed to witness the misery of slavery in his native South. He resolved... Continue Reading →

January 15, 1931 Union Station in Omaha, Nebraska, was officially dedicated about a year-and-a-half after the ground-breaking ceremony for this train terminal. As part of the ceremony, Omaha Mayor Richard L. Metcalfe opened the main door of the 124,000-square-foot (11,520-square-meter) building with a gold key. Carl R. Gray, president of the Union Pacific Railroad, used the... Continue Reading →

December 27, 1956 The Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Tunisiens (SNCFT), the national railway of Tunisia, was established. The railway’s founding took place just over nine months after Tunisia achieved its independence from France. Railways have long been a key means of transportation in Africa’s northernmost country. Muhammad III as-Sadiq, who ruled Tunisia from... Continue Reading →

December 20, 1870 In what turned out to be a day-long celebration, a station for the Wallkill Valley Railroad in upstate New York was formally opened in the village of New Paltz in Ulster County (just south of the Catskill Mountains and on the western side of the Hudson River). The New Paltz station’s features included... Continue Reading →

December 7, 1906 The Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) and Union Pacific Railroad (UP) jointly established the Pacific Fruit Express Company (PFE). The Montana-based Weekly Missoulian reported that PFE was “chartered to construct and operate refrigerator cars, ventilator cars and other vehicles for the transportation of fruits, vegetables, meats, etc., and to build and operate refrigerating... Continue Reading →

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