Map of the projected railway
from Harrisburg to Pittsburg.
This outline map of the projected railway from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh was drawn and published by J.A. Sheaff around 1840. Included in the map are Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and lower New York. Shown are major destinations, rivers, and railroad lines, both completed and under construction.
The city of Pittsburgh was settled by European explorers in 1717 in the area between the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers.
Harrisburg got its start as a trading center and stop-over for west bound travelers as they encountered the upcoming pass through the Appalachian Mountains. Settled by Europeans in the early 1700's, the community was incorporated in 1791 and named after settler John Harris, Sr. The town was laid out by John Harris, Jr. and became state capital in 1812. By the 1850's Harrisburg’s interests were turning towards the iron and steel industries.
The Cumberland Valley Railroad, which later became a pivotal asset to the Union army during the American Civil War, stretched southwest from Harrisburg to Chambersburg. It was built in the late 1830's. The horse-drawn railroad’s early construction methods involved laying oaken stringers that were covered with a thin layer of iron acting as rails 4.5 feet apart. The first serving locomotive had two driving wheels and wooden spokes. The passenger cars could carry up to 14 people each. The Cumberland Valley Railroad introduced the nation’s first sleeping car in 1839.