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  • | Photograph

    African American wood choppers’ hut on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad

    African American wood choppers’ hut on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. Black men, many of them formerly enslaved on the South’s railroads, chopped timber for railroad ties, bridges, and fuel for the U.S. Military Railroads. Stationed at remote camps, such as this, they also faced the constant danger of Confederate partisan and guerrilla raids.

  • | Time Table

    Atlantic & Great Western Railroad

    The Atlantic & Great Western Railroad stressed its safety record and comfortable, elegant, luxurious cars. The time table quotes former Illinois Congressman Elihu B. Washburn on the road's smooth ride and "clean, light, and airy" setting. The road also boasted that its passengers traveling in its beautifully appointed Pullman cars would "not have to leave the train between Chicago, Cincinnati, and St. Louis."

  • | Photograph

    Grading camp for the Union Pacific Railroad in the Rocky Mountains

    This is a photograph of the grading camp for the Union Pacific Railroad in the Rocky Mountains.

  • | Artwork

    In der Tram, 1916

  • | Pamphlet

    Land Hunter's and Settlers' Special Low Rates

    Published "to aid in the sale and settlement of its lands", this pamphlet by the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad introduces special fares for train tickets to Nebraska. "Exploring Tickets" were designed for those who wished to survey the land before committing to a purchase, while "One-Way Settler's Tickets" were targeted to those who had already made a decision to move to Nebraska. The company also offered rebates on the tickets to those who ended up purchasing land.

  • | Letter

    Letter from Willard Grant to George P. Cather, undated

    In this letter, Willard Grant asks George P. Cather numerous questions about life in Nebraska, including the method for constructing a good sod house, the possibility of raising fruit, the availability of water and timber, and the opportunities for additional work as a mason.

  • | Artwork

    Metro Station, undated

  • | Time Table

    Orange and Alexandria Line "Irregular" Timetable

    This "irregular" timetable, published by the United States Military Railroads department, shows arrival and departure times on the Orange and Alexandria Line for "The Government of Operatives Only."

  • | Map

    Railroads and war zone counties, 1861–1865

    If the presence of the Union army and/or a battle constituted a war zone, then only in Virginia did the Civil War’s destruction touch the majority of counties. Vast sections of the South remained out of the war zone, but over the course of the war destruction tended to follow closely along the pathways of the major lines of communication and transportation. From Paul F. Paskoff, “Measures of War: A Quantitative Examination of the Civil War’s Destructiveness in the Confederacy,” Civil War History, Vol. 54, No. 1 (March 2008). (Reproduced with permission of Paul F. Paskoff)

  • | Contract

    Slave sale receipt, blank

    A blank receipt for individual slaves from E.H. Stokes of Richmond, Virginia.

  • | Photograph

    Union Pacific Railroad Brigham Young Construction Camp, Echo Canyon, Utah

    This is a digital photograph of an image of the Union Pacific Railroad's Brigham Young Construction camp in Echo Canyon, Utah.

  • | Contract

    Bill of Sale for South Carolina Slaves, February 22, 1827

    This February 22, 1827 bill describes the sale of a dozen South Carolina slaves—"Dolly, Jacke, Jemmy, Grace, Dinah, Liddy, John and an infant, Paul, Hagar, Jack and Jane"—from "the estate of Arnoldus Vanderhorst, deceased" to Edward Frost for $3,020. Frost was President of the Blue Ridge Rail Road in South Carolina.

  • | Illustration

    Viaduct on Baltimore and Washington Railroad

    A steel-engraved image by Henry Adlard, from a drawing by William Henry Barlett, in American Scenery or Land, Lake, and River Illustrations of Transatlantic Nature.

  • | Newspaper

    Rebuke of the Eastern Railroad Company, for their Treatment of Colored Passengers

    Northern railways continued to discriminate against African American passengers and are rebuked in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

  • | Newspaper

    Railroad Corporations

    The maltreatment of African Americans by New England rail companies acting as "epidermis-aristocrats" draws an abolitionist's wrath as a Southerner weighs in on the merits of Southern rail travel.

  • | Newspaper

    To The Public

    The plight of African Americans and their abolitionist supporters on New England railroads is addressed in depth in this passionate editorial.

  • | Book

    American Notes for General Consideration

    Dicken's American Notes came from his 1842 trip to the United States. The author visited prisons, politicians, and toured primarily in New England and the Great Lakes region. In this excerpt, he describes American train travel in its early period, segregated railcars, and the distinctions between gentlemen's and ladies' cars.

  • | Newspaper

    Mr. Whitney's Railroad

    Asa Whitney's plans for a transcontinetal railroad were met alternately with scorn and acclaim. Whitney anticipated a United States as the central point for international trade; harbors on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts would be fed by rail lines criss-crossing the country, moving goods for import and export easily across country.

  • | Annual report

    Proceedings of the First Annual Meeting of the Stockholders of the Richmond and Danville Railroad Company

    This collection of reports given at the first annual meeting of the stockholders of the Richmond and Danville Railroad Company in 1848 includes extensive information about the financial status of the railroad. Whit'l P. Tunstall, president of the company, also presents an extensive argument for Virginia's railroad development, predicated on the successes of railroads in other states.

  • | Book

    Phelps's Travellers' Guide Through the United States

    This pocket atlas listed over 700 railroads, steamship lines, and canals in the United States and their routes of service, state by state. Frederick Douglass probably consulted a rudimentary timetable in the Baltimore newspaper or one posted at the depot for the Baltimore to Philadelphia route, described here twelve years after Douglass made his escape from slavery on the Philadelphia, Wilmington, & Baltimore Railroad.