(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
Railroads greatly changed transportation of people and goods in the nineteenth century. In 1865, a hodge-podge of local rail lines extended no farther than Missouri and Iowa. By the end of the century, there were five railroads that stretched from coast to coast. The railroads provided a national transportation system that drew farmers from local into national markets, and lowered shipping costs. At the same time, observers noted the dangers of railroad travel. This disastrous train wreck photographed in April 1886 near West Deerfield, Massachusetts, took ten lives and injured many others.