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These issues were partially self-inflicted, a result of executive greed and hubris during the 19th century that led to much of the federal oversight.
While the "Golden Age" officially extended from the 1880's until the Great Depression, ask most railfans the single greatest period and many would point to immediate post-World War II era, through the 1960's.
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Today, many of these classic railroads are but a memory.
The older folks reading this can remember those bygone days when corporations like the legendary Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad, and prosperous Southern Railway all served America.
The growth only continued after the Civil War as promoters pushed ribbons of rail westward, highlighted by the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in May of 1869.
Because these many systems served a particular region it was not uncommon for local communities to call a railroad their own.
During this time, although in decline, the industry was still generally profitable while it made the switch from steam to diesel-electric technology.
In addition, numerous, vibrant paint schemes adorned first-generation diesels, built by the five major manufacturers (Electro-Motive, American Locomotive, Fairbanks-Morse, Baldwin, and General Electric).
Some railroads, such as our country's first common-carrier, maintained their original name for well over a century while others were brought about through either consolidation or reorganization.
The railroad may have been born in England but it quickly caught on in the United States.You may notice that Canadian National and Canadian Pacific are now included in the website.