Practical operation of railroads in the United States began in 1827, when the Quincy (Mass.) Rail Road, three miles in length, started operation in April or May. This was followed immediately by the opening of a nine mile line at Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania. Soon afterwards preparations were made for the construction of several other lines of railroad, the longest and most important of which was the Baltimore and Ohio Railway. Much publicity was given the B & O, resulting in an increasing shift of transportation interest from canals to railroads generally. By the end of 1834, before Florida's first railroad construction began, there were in operation or nearing completion not less than sixteen railroads in the United States, with a combined trackage of 1613 miles; a number of them had supplanted their original horse power with steam locomotives. The foregoing is derived from Niles’ Weekly Register, of Baltimore, 1827-1835.
Davis, T. Frederick
"Pioneer Florida: The First Railroads,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 23
, Article 6.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol23/iss3/6