June 25, 1954 In southeastern Australia, the final section of the Walhalla railway line in the Gippsland region of the state of Victoria was closed. This shutdown took place just over 44 years after the Walhalla railway -- one of a few narrow gauge lines of the Victorian Railways (the operator of most of the... Continue Reading →

June 13, 1867 Construction engineer Gridley Bryant, who built the first commercial railroad in the United States, died at the age of 77 in Scituate, Massachusetts. Bryant was born in the seacoast town in 1789.  He demonstrated strong engineering abilities early on in life. Bryant recalled as an adult, "I was generally at the head... Continue Reading →

May 10, 1869 The First Transcontinental Railroad – originally called the Pacific Railroad -- was officially completed with the tracks of the eastbound Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) joining those of the westward Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) during ceremonies at Promontory Summit in what was then the Territory of Utah. “The long-looked-for moment has arrived,” reported... Continue Reading →

In the western section of the United States, thousands of Chinese laborers played a pivotal role in building the Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) line between 1865 and 1869. The CPRR encompassed 690 miles (1,110 kilometers) of track from California’s capital city of Sacramento to Promontory Summit in what was then the Territory of Utah. It... Continue Reading →

May 6, 1994 The Channel Tunnel, running beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover and linking the port town of Folkestone in southeastern England with the commune of Coquelles in northern France, was officially opened. (“England and France, Now a Train Trip,” proclaimed a headline in the New York Times.) The 31.35-mile (50.45-kilometer)-long tunnel,... Continue Reading →

April 29, 1851 The first successful demonstration of a full-sized electric locomotive took place in the Washington, D.C., area. The railroad car, equipped with an electric storage battery, had been built by Dr. Charles Grafton Page. Page was born in 1812 in Salem, Massachusetts. His father was a sea captain. Early on in life, he... Continue Reading →

April 22, 1904 The Visalia Electric Railroad (VERR) Company was incorporated under the laws of California to provide transit service within the central region of the Golden State.  Paul Shoup was president of the fledgling enterprise, while H.A. Culloden was named its secretary. A wholly owned subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Railroad, VERR was a... Continue Reading →

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 →

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