The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum

The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad changed the People, Process, and Product of the American landscape in unprecedented ways. Still a fixture of American life, the railroad continues to hold an important place in American industry and travel.

Following the peak of train ridership in the 1930 sand 1940s, railways experienced a decline due to the rise of the automobile and the airplane in the 1950s. In 1970, Amtrak was created by an Act of Congress to take over the passenger rail services previously required to be operated by private railroad companies, which had operated at a net loss of millions of dollars for many years. Amtrak currently operated rail lines in the Philadelphia, Lancaster,Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh area in Pennsylvania as well as many others in the United States.

In the modern day, rail lines are experiencing somewhat of a renaissance due to rising gas prices and the struggling economy. In 2013, Amtrak welcomed nearly 31.6 million passengers, the largest annual total in its history.