Railroads connecting New York City and Chicago

In the "Official Territory", the land of the Northeast U.S. bounded roughly by the Mississippi, Ohio and Potomac rivers, one of the most important railroad corridors is between New York City and Chicago. For over a century, this corridor was dominated by four major railroads, and an aggregate of other roads that served as a fifth option.

New York Central Railroad

The first New York-Chicago route was provided on January 24, 1853 with the completion of the Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland Railroad to Grafton, Ohio on the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad. The route later became part of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway, owned by the New York Central Railroad.

Pennsylvania Railroad

In 1857, the Fort Wayne Railroad Bridge was completed across the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and trains began to run from Philadelphia to Chicago along the Pennsylvania Railroad and Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Rail Road (later part of the PRR).

The Connecting Railway in Philadelphia opened for revenue service on June 3, 1867, with direct service between Philadelphia and Jersey City, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York. Through freight between Jersey City and Pittsburgh began the next month, and soon some trains began running between Jersey City and Chicago.

Erie Railroad

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad

From its original charter terminus of Wheeling, West Virginia, reached in 1853, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad pushed west by construction of new rails and by leasing other pre-existing ones. The B&O had reached Newark, Ohio by 1866, Sandusky by 1869, and had built a new line west into Chicago by 1874.

Alphabet Route

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