The First Regularly Scheduled Passenger Train In The United States Begins Operation

On Christmas Day, December 25, 1830, the first regularly scheduled passenger train in the United States began operation.

Chartered in 1827, the same year as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company steamed out of Charleston along a six mile line of track. According to the previous day's Charleston Mercury regular times for leaving the station would be "8 o'clock, at 10 A.M., at 1, and at half past 3."

The new service's locomotive steam engine, named Best Friend, purchased from one Mr. E. L. Miller, was the first in the U.S. to pull an entire string of cars. According to the Mercury article, "It is said to have moved on some occasions at the rate of 30 miles per hour…When drawing two Cars with 41 Passengers, it went at the average rate of nearly 16 and where the Road was straight, at the rate of 20…per hour." This breakneck speed was achieved by a six horse power engine weighing three tons "exclusive of the wood and water for keeping it in continued action."

Chartered in 1827, the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company ran scheduled steam service over its 136-mile (219 km) line from Charleston, SC to Hamburg, SC beginning in 1833. At that time it was the longest railroad in the world. It was also known as the Charleston and Hamburg Railroad although it is unclear if that was a legal name, a subsidiary name, or just a nickname. In 1844, this line merged with the South Carolina Rail Road, which had replaced the abortive Louisville, Cincinnati and Charleston Railroad in December 1843.

RAIL ROAD LABORERS, — Wanted to Hire, from 1 to 200 HANDS, by a Contractor, to work on the Rail Road by the year, for whom liberal wages will be given. Payments will be made as follows: at the expiration of the first 90 days, and after that, every 30 if required. Apply to Capt. D. Kane”

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