American Railroad Journal, 12/21/1833

I forget where I acquired this item, and what I paid for it, but I like almost any rail-related ephemera, and if I can afford something like this, I buy it. According to references I was able to find on the www, the American Railroad Journal was published in the US from 1832 until at least 1912, and is considered the best primary source of information about the development of railroads in the US during the nineteenth century. Dimensions of this 16-page issue are 9¼" by 12½".

I was surprised that there was a weekly periodical of this nature so early in the development of railroads. At the time of the publications's inception it had been barely ten years since the first experimental rail locomotives in this country, and just two years since the first successful passenger operations had been initiated. Total railroad track mileage in the US in 1833 was twenty-three. But the industry grew quickly - by 1840, total track mileage was nearly three thousand, by 1850 9,000, by 1860 30,000, 1865 35,000, 1880 93,000, 1890 164,000, peaking in 1916 at 254,000.

Note however, that over half of this issue of the Journal is devoted to non-rail articles and news, including articles about general science and business, foreign reports, book reviews and advertisements, letters, history, etc. Note the meteorological data on the back page, for New York City for the preceding week.

Excellent text overview of American railroad history -
Table of key events in American railroad history -

Click on any image to view a high-res version - Move forward or backward from that point via the links at the top and bottom of each page.

NOTE that the high-res image files are large - 350 to 450 KB, so if you are working over a slow connection it will take a while for them to load - figure one to two minutes per image at 56Kb.


All text Copyright © 2004, William M. Senkus

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Created -- 12/30/3004
Revised -- 12/30/2004