In the early 1880s the Valley Railroad was coming south from Staunton and the Richmond & Allegheny was building to Lexington from the East. These two railroads became the Baltimore & Ohio and the Chesapeake & Ohio respectively and joined up just northeast of Lexington, where they came into the city utilizing the same station just west of downtown. Compared to the canals, the railroads provided faster, more economical and dependable transportation to the entire United States. The Valley Railroad discontinued service in 1943 and the Richmond & Allegheny in 1969 (passenger service stopped in 1954). The interstate road system became the preferred transportation system.
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It would be difficult, indeed, to overestimate the transcendent importance of the part the railroad has played in making the Nation what it is to-day. Perhaps it would be within bounds to say that without railroads to bind the States into one homogeneous whole, the Nation never could have attained its present size and importance.
- Charles Frederick Carter