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  • | Time Table

    Boston and Maine Railroad Summer Timetable, May 5, 1851

    This timetable, which took effect May 5, 1851, shows the summer schedule for trains leaving Boston on the Boston & Maine Railroad.

  • | Letter

    Quarterly Report

    In one of the first reports to the Board, Claudius Crozet explains the dangerous conditions in the construction and advises against using sink shafts on the project. Crozet refers to Col. Randolph, probably Thomas Jefferson Randolph, grandson of Thomas Jefferson and contractor of slaves to the project.

  • | Letter

    Letter from Claudius Crozet to the President and Directors of Public Works, November 15, 1850

    Claudius Crozet reports on his disagreement with the Tunnel's general contractor.

  • | Letter

    Letter from Claudius Crozet to Governor John B. Floyd, November 15, 1850

    The Kelly contract dispute occupied the first year of Claudius Crozet's project to build the Blue Ridge Tunnel. This letter from Kelly to the Governor of Virginia explains the contractor's view of his contract and his disagreement with Claudius Crozet, the chief engineer. Kelly claims his contract was to include the building of some parts of the project, while Crozet let these to another contractor at a much lower price.

  • | Illustration

    Hours of Departure of the Passenger Trains

    Note the delicate illustration of the passenger car in this advertisement.

  • | Annual report

    Annual Report to the President and Directors of the Board of Public Works, 1850

    When proposed and the first efforts made in 1850, the Blue Ridge Tunnel was to be the longest tunnel in North America. Claudius Crozet, as chief engineer, warns his Board of Public Works against comparing its progress with other tunnels. The condition of the rock and the scale of the project were different and unprecedented, respectively. Crozet tries to educate the Board on the nature of the project.

  • | Time Table

    Boston and Worcester Railroad Timetable, August 15, 1850

    This timetable, which took effect August 15, 1850, shows the departure and arrival times of trains on the Boston and Worcester Railroad.

  • | Letter

    Letter from Claudius Crozet to the President and Directors of the Blue Ridge Railroad Co., May 6, 1850

    Claudius Crozet keeps the Board informed of the project's progress on the Blue Ridge and measures that progress in numbers of "hands" employed and the amount of rock and earth moved.

  • | Contract

    Claudius Crozet's Comparative Estimate of the Five Lowest Bids Offered for Blue Ridge Tunnel No. 1, January 21, 1850

    Claudius Crozet offers the Board of Public Works his assessment of the bids for one section of the Tunnel project.

  • | Photograph

    Railroad Workers, 1850s

    Few original images remain of railroad workers in the 1850s, especially of construction crews, whether free labor or enslaved. Northern railroad companies employed thousands of men on their payrolls in a dizzying array of occupations.

  • | 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.

  • | 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.

  • | 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.

  • | 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

    To The Public

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

  • | 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

    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.

  • | 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.

  • | 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.

  • | 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)