THE FIRST RAILWAY.
The first railroad of any note,—except a short one of three miles at Quincy, Massachusetts,—in this country, was constructed from Mauch Chunk to the Summit Mines, a distance of nine miles, in 1827. This was and is a gravity road, having a descent from the mines to the river of about 100 feet per mile. At first the mules which hauled back the trains rode down with the coal in a car constructed for the purpose, and could not be forced to walk down after having enjoyed the luxury of riding. By this novel contrivance two and a half trips, or 40 miles per day, could be accomplished. An improvement, however, was subsequently adopted, and stationary engines fixed at each terminus of the track, by which the empty cars were drawn to the summit of the mountain and returned again to the mines by gravity. In 1831 a locomotive road was constructed to the eastern extremity of the company's mines at "Room Run," where 14 seams were developed in 1830, with an aggregate of 240 feet of coal.*
In 1837 the Lehigh & Susquehanna Railroad was commenced, from White Haven to the Wyoming Valley, a distance of nearly 20 miles. This road was completed about 1845. The first shipment appears in 1846, of 5886 tons.
The Beaver Meadow Railroad, opening out the Beaver Meadow basin, and the Hazleton Railroad to the Hazleton basin, wete in operation in 1840 ; the Buck Mountain Company's road was nearly ready for operation in the same year.
The Lehigh Valley Railroad was opened in 1855, transporting 9003 tons of coal, and during 1864, 1,295,419 tons ; the total amount shipped from the Lehigh region by both canal and railroad during the same year was 1,928,706 tons.