Collectible Stocks and Bonds from North American Railroads             by Terry Cox

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  Railroad events timeline  

These are events that relate to the health, welfare, and advancement of the railroad industry as a whole.

Please contact me with additional events you think should be included. Also, please help refine dates and correct errors.

ASP Table Wizard
DateEvent
  
May 17, 179224 brokers agreed on rules and created first organized New York stock market
Feb 22, 1804First steam tramway (road, as opposed to railroad) locomotive built in Wales.
1814George Stephenson built first steam railway locomotive (Blucher) for Stockton & Darlington Railway.
1815First North American railroad charter for Camden & Amboy.
Mar 8, 1817New York Stock & Exchange Board organized; met under Buttonwood tree at 68 Wall Street
1819Panic of 1819, often blamed on the Second Bank of the United States tightening credit, but probably the result of long-declining agricultural prices.
Oct 7, 1826First horse-powered railroad (3 miles long) completed in United States at Quincy, MA granite quarry.
Feb 28, 1827First railroad, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, chartered in the United States.
May, 1827Mauch Chunk (9 miles long) gravity railroad built near Carbondale, PA.
Dec 22, 1828Baltimore & Ohio completed first section of horse-drawn rail service.
Aug 8, 1829Delaware & Hudson Canal Co ran first steam-powered locomotive "Stourbridge Lion" near Carbondale, Pennsylvania.
1830Mohawk & Hudson became first railroad stock to be officially traded on NYS&E
Aug 28, 1830Peter Cooper operated "Tom Thumb" - the first locomotive manufactured in the United Stares - on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
1830John Stevens invented T-Rail.
Nov 14, 1832John Mason started first horse-drawn streetcar service along Bowery Street in New York.
1835Samuel Morse created telegraph based on earlier technology by Joseph Henry, 1830
1836First railroad in Canada opens - Champlain & St Lawrence.
May 10, 1837Banks in New York City stopped payment in gold and silver, precipitating the Panic of 1837. Six-year depression follows.
1837First railroad built in Cuba (Havana to Guines.)
1842Brokers began trading stocks too small for listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Since they had no offices, and merely traded on Broad Street, they became known as "Curbstone Brokers" and "New York Curb Market." This outdoors arrangement lasted until 1921.
Mar 24, 1844First message transmitted over telegraph line completed between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Apr 13, 1846Pennsylvania Railroad chartered.
1846British government adopted "standard gauge" of 4' 8-1/2", the same as the Stockton & Darlington road.
Sep 16, 1850First railway in Mexico opened - 11 km between Veracruz and Molino.
Sep 20, 1850President Millard Fillmore signed first Land Grant Act.
1851Trains dispatched by telegraph.
Feb 20, 1852First rail connection between East Coast and Chicago.
Jul, 1854Stock market crash caused by discoveries of fraudulent stock issuances in New York & New Haven RR, Harlem Co, and Vermont Central Ry
Jan 28, 1855Panama Railroad completed across Isthmus of Panama.
Apr 21, 1856Chicago Rock Island & Pacific train crossed first railroad bridge across Mississippi River between Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa.
Sep 21, 1856Illinois Central Railroad completed between Chicago and Cairo, IL.
Apr, 1857Severe Baltimore & Ohio Railroad labor strike resulted in several deaths
Aug 24, 1857Failure of New York branch of Ohio Life Insurance & Trust Co precipitated the Panic of 1857.
Oct 14, 1857Run on bank deposits forced suspension of withdrawals on Wall Street banks. Numerous bank failures.
1857St Louis connected by rail to East Coast.
Oct, 1861Overland Telegraph and Pacific Telegraph completed transcontinental system and quickly merged into Western Union.
Jul 1, 1862Congress passed Pacific Railway act which authorized construction of Transcontinental railroad. Act created Union Pacific Railroad Company.
Jan 10, 1863First subway opened in London.
Jan 29, 1863New York Stock & Exchange Board changed name to New York Stock Exchange.
Aug, 1864Gold hit $261.75
1864George Pullman invented Pullman sleeping car.
Nov 6, 1865Investors cornered Milwaukee & Prairie Du Chien Railway Co stock price driven from $40 to $210 and back to $110; many brokerages failed because of inability to cover short sales.
Dec 9, 1865New York Stock Exchange occupied new building.
Dec 25, 1865Giant Union stockyards opened in Chicago.
1865Smelters in Chicago milled first steel rails.
Apr, 1866Investors cornered Michigan Southern RR stock; price driven from $84 to $104 and back to $80 within 24 hours. Heavy speculation and "corners" in Reading, Chicago & Rock Island, Hudson River, Cleveland & Pittsburg and Northwestern.
Nov 15, 1867NYSE introduced stock tickers
Dec 7, 1867Charles T Harvey successfully demonstrated first cable-pulled elevated railway in New York.
Jan 16, 1868William Davis patented refrigerator car.
Apr 20, 1868New York legislature gave full control of Erie to Jay Gould and James Fisk; Commodore Vanderbilt defeated.
Jul, 1868Jay Gould became president of Erie Railway (the first Gould railroad)
Jul 1, 1868West Side Elevated opened between Cortlandt Street and Battery Place in New York.
Feb 1, 1869New York Stock Exchange required shares of all listed companies to be officially registered (anti stock-watering decree)
Apr 13, 1869George Westinghouse patented automatic air brake.
May 8, 1869Open Board of Brokers merged with New York Stock Exchange
May 10, 1869Union Pacific and Central Pacific drove "Golden Spike" at Promontory Point, Utah and officially completed the transcontinental railroad.
Sep 24, 1869Jay Gould and James Fisk precipitate "Black Friday" gold market crash after driving gold to $162; U.S. government announced it would sell gold and prices fell to $135 within 15 minutes.
Jan 17, 1871Andrew Smith Hallidie patented first cable car.
Apr 20, 1871First steam-powered elevated railway operation in New York City.
Jan 6, 1872Edward Stokes murdered James Fisk in Grand Central Hotel, New York.
Mar 15, 1872Jay Gould forced to resign from board of Erie; replaced by John Dix.
Sep 4, 1872New York Sun began exposing Credit Mobilier financing which resulted in huge railroad financing scandal.
Nov 20, 1872Gould, Schell and Clark corner Erie stock and drive price from $83.75 on Nov 20 to $230 on Nov 23; prices quickly fell back to $85, seriously hurting Drew and Smith.
1872Canadian railroads converted lines to standard gauge of 4' 8-1/2".
1872Vanderbilt interests acquired sufficient Union Pacific stock to install Horace Clark as president.
Apr 29, 1873Eli H. Janney patented knuckle coupler.
Jun, 1873Jay Gould acquired first Union Pacific shares upon death of Horace Clark.
Aug 1, 1873First cable car opened for operation in San Francisco.
Sep 18, 1873Jay Cooke & Co brokerage failed because of problems financing the Northern Pacific; failure of Cooke and 57 additional brokerages and banks precipitated the Panic of 1873; New York Stock Exchange closed for 10 days; five-year depression followed..
Sep 30, 1873NYSE reopened.
Mar, 1874Jay Gould elected to Union Pacific board of directors.
Jul 4, 1874Eads steel arch bridge across the Mississippi River opened at St Louis.
Jul 14, 1877Railroads decreased pay because of depression which resulted in strikes, labor unrest, and violence; labor unions increased power.
Nov, 1879William Henry Vanderbilt sold 250,000 shares of New York Central & Hudson River at 120 per share to J.S. Morgan & Co.
Jan, 1880Jay Gould acquired Missouri Kansas & Texas stock and became president.
Mar 13, 1882To counter reports of financial hardship, Gould displayed $53 million in stocks and offered to show an additional $30 million.
Mar 21, 1882Chicago Stock Exchange organized.
Aug 8, 1883Southern Pacific and Atlantic & Pacific railroads completed line from New Orleans to Pacific Coast at Needles, CA.
Sep 8, 1883Northern Pacific Railroad completed.
Nov 18, 1883U.S. and Canadian railroads adopted four standard time zones.
May 6, 1884Grant & Ward, Metropolitan Bank and Marine Bank failed and precipitated failure of 15 additional brokers and banks
Jul 3, 1884Charles Dow created stock average (precursor to Dow Jones Industrial Average) which included nine railroad issues (Chicago Milwaukee & St Paul, Chicago & North Western, Delaware Lackawanna & Western, Lake Shore, Louisville & Nashville, Missouri Pacific, New York Central, Northern Pacific (preferred), and Union Pacific).
Feb 16, 1885Charles Dow modified "Dow Dozen" to include twelve railroads and two industries. (New railroads: Central Pacific, Central RR of New Jersey, and Delaware & Hudson).
Jan 2, 1886Two companies removed from Dow Average (constituents included Chicago Milwaukee & St Paul, Chicago & North Western, Delaware & Hudson, Delaware Lackawanna & Western, Lake Shore, Louisville & Nashville, Missouri Pacific, New York Central, Northern Pacific (preferred), and Union Pacific)
May 31, 1886Standard gauge of 4'-8-1/2" adopted by Southern railroads.
Feb 4, 1887Interstate Commerce Act became law; intended to insure reasonable rates, prevent pooling, and stop two-tiered pricing.
Sep 29, 1890Congress passed law to require railroads to forfeit unused land grants.
Apr 19, 1892Charles and Frank Duryea perfected first automobile.
Jan 6, 1893Great Northern Railway completed to Scenic, Washington.
Feb, 1892Philadelphia & Reading Railroad failed with $125,000,000 debt and led to collapse of stocks on New York market.
Jun 27, 1893New York stock market collapsed and began 4-year depression.
Apr 9, 1894Dow average modified (constituents included Chicago Burlington & Quincy, Chicago Milwaukee & St Paul, Chicago & North Western, Chicago Rock Island & Pacific, Delaware & Hudson, Delaware Lackawanna & Western, Louisville & Nashville, Missouri Pacific, Northern Pacific (preferred), and Union Pacific).
May 11, 1894Pullman Palace Car Co slashed wages and precipitated strike.
Jul 2, 1894U.S. government issued injunction against striking Pullman Palace Car Co. workers.
Jul 3, 1894President Cleveland sent U.S. troops to Chicago to enforce injunction; two men killed on July 6; troops withdrawn on July 20.
Jan 14, 1895New York trolley employees begin strike; riots followed; strike eventually stopped by New York and Brooklyn militia.
May 26, 1896Charles Dow created Dow Jones Industrial Average; all railroads moved to Dow Jones Railroad Average.
May 26, 1896Dow created Industrial Index and moved railroad stocks to Dow Jones Railroad Index.
Sep 1, 1897First electrified U.S. subway opened in Boston.
May 9, 1901James Hill and J.P. Morgan fought with Edward Harriman and Kuhn Loeb over control of Great Northern and Northern Pacific; stock hit $1000/share and precipitated panic and collapse in other stocks.
Nov 13, 1901Northern Securities Co formed to control Great Northern and Northern Pacific. Near-monopoly in northern shipping follows, eventually resulting in major trust company.
Mar 10, 1902Attorney General began prosecution against Northern Securities Company for violating the Sherman Anti-Trust law.
Feb 19, 1903Congress passed Elkins Act and outlawed all rebates on published railroad freight rates.
Mar 14, 1904Supreme Court ruled against Northern Securities Co. for violating the Sherman Anti-Trust law.
Oct 27, 1904First New York subway opened.
May 21, 1906Congress passed Hepburn Act which allowed the Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate railroad, pipeline, and terminal rates.
Jun 18, 1910Congress passed the Mann-Elkins Act which allowed the Interstate Commerce Commission to begin proceedings against railroads, pipelines, terminals, telegraph, and telephone companies in violation of rate regulations.
Jul 31, 1914New York Stock Exchange closed through November 27 upon declaration of war.
Jul 31, 1914Chicago Stock Exchange closed through December 11 upon declaration of war (World War I).
Aug 29, 1916Congress passed Army Appropriations Act which included clause that allowed the President to take control of any system of transportation during times of war.
Aug 10, 1917Congress passed Priority Law which authorized the President to force carriers to give precedence to military defense traffic.
Dec 28, 1917President Woodrow Wilson useds Federal Possession and Control Act to take possession of "each and every system of transportation...within the boundaries of the United States;" U.S. Railroad Administration created.
Mar 19, 1918United States adopted five standard time zones across the nation and Alaska.
Mar 21, 1918Congress passed Railway Control Act to officially control U.S. railway system during World War I.
Feb 28, 1920Congress passed Esch-Cummins Act and created the Railroad Labor Board.
Mar 1, 1920Government relinquished control of all railroads.
Apr 26, 1920Stock Clearing Corporation established.
1921"Curbstone Brokers" ("New York Curb Market") moved indoors.
Oct 4, 1922Canada created Canadian National Railway and nationalized system.
Dec, 1923First diesel locomotive demonstrated.
1925Diesel locomotives production began.
Oct 24, 1929Stock prices collapsed on New York Stock Exchange; day became known as "Black Thursday;" market collapse eventually forced widespread decrease in American commerce and became known as Great Depression.
1929"Curbstone Brokers" ("New York Curb Market") renamed New York Curb Exchange.
Sep 3, 1930Thomas Edison ran first experimental electric passenger train between Hoboken and Montclair, NJ.
Mar 6, 1933President Roosevelt ordered "Bank Holiday" from Mar 6 to Mar 9 (Executive Proclamation 2039); banks and stock exchanges closd.
Mar 9, 1933President Roosevelt extended "Bank Holiday" indefinitely (Executive Proclamation 2039.)
Mar 10, 1933President Roosevelt ordered banks reopened (Executive Order 6073.)
Apr 5, 1933President Roosevelt ordered confiscation of all gold coins, gold certificates, and bullion (Executive Order 6102.)
Apr 19, 1933President Roosevelt officially took U.S. off gold standard.
May 27, 1933Congress passed Federal Securities Act which required full disclosure about stocks offered to the public.
Jun 5, 1933Congress nullified all U.S. contracts that promised to repay interest or principal in gold. (House Joint Resolution. 192, 73rd Congress, 1st Session. 'Joint Resolution to Suspend the Gold Standard and Abrogate the Gold Clause'.)
Jun 6, 1934President Roosevelt signed Securities Exchange Act which created the commission assigned to regulate exchanges and stock transactions.
Jun 7, 1934Congress passed Corporate Bankruptcy Act which allowed corporate reorganization with support of two-thirds of creditors.
May, 1934First streamlined diesel locomotives (CB&Q Pioneer Zephyr) put into service.
Jun 13, 1937Mexico nationalized all railroads.
Dec 27, 1943President Roosevelt ordered (Executive Order 9412) Federal takeover of railroads to prevent shutdown by labor.
Jan 18, 1944U.S. Army returned control of railroads to private ownership.
May 17, 1946President Truman (Executive Order 9727) authorized Federal control of railroads to prevent collapse of transportation system during transportationh strike; strike ended May 25.
May 10, 1948President Truman (Executive Order 9957) authorized Army to operate railroads.
Jul 9, 1948U.S. Army returned control of railroads.
Jun 5, 1950United States Supreme Court decides that segregation in railroad dining is illegal (Henderson v United States.)
Aug 26, 1950President Truman ordered U.S. Army to operate railroads to prevent transportation strike (Executive Order 10155.)
May 23, 1952U.S. Army returned railroads to private control.
Jan 5, 1953New York Curb Exchange renamed American Stock Exchange.
Apr 25, 1963President Kennedy authorized Department of Interior to operate Alaska railroads (Executive Order 11107.)
Jan, 1970Dow Jones added air lines to Railroad Index of 20 stocks and renamed average to Transportation Average.
Jun 21, 1970Penn Central declared bankruptcy, the largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history at the time.
Oct 14, 1980President Jimmy Carter signed Staggers Rail Act which deregulated railroads and led to divestiture of thousands of miles of unprofitable lines.

 
 
 

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