Railways. – The main railway lines are the transcontinental ones that lead from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. The first of these lines was completed in 1869 and is the Central Pacific, which connects New York with Chicago, then passes through Omaha, passes the bulwark of the Rocks at the Evans Pass, crosses the Great Basin and reaches San Francisco via the Donner Pass. Its construction was difficult and highly contrasted, but already a few years later it was necessary to proceed with the construction of other similar lines. Currently the main transcontinental lines from N. to S. are: a) the Great Northern Pacific, from Duluth on Lake Superior to Seattle and Olympia on the Pacific; b) Northern Pacific, from New York to Astoria for S. Paolo, Seattle and Portland; c) the Central Pacific already mentioned; d) the Santa Fe-Pacific, from New York to Saint Louis, Kansas City, Santa Fe and S. Francisco; e) the Southern Pacific, from New Orleans to San Francisco to El Paso and Los Angeles.
Numerous meridian lines intersect them such as: 1. the Atlantic coastline, which from the New Brunswick border to New York, Richmond and Atlanta reaches New Orleans, with a branch to Charleston and Florida; 2. the Pan American Railway, which from Winnipeg in Canada, via S. Paolo and Chicago goes down to Saint Louis and ends in Laredo on the Mexican border; 3. the Pacific coastline that runs from Vancouver and Seattle via Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles to the Western Mexico Railroad.
Impressive is the number of connecting lines and those that radiate from the major centers. The rail network is, of course, much denser in the industrial and high productivity zones of the Mid Atlantic and the northern lowlands, and is lightening and thinning as we proceed westward, especially in the Rocky Mountains. In general, it must be remembered that the railways were lines of penetration and that starting from 1850 the colonization of the territories was preceded by the railways or progressed hand in hand with them. The major railway centers, in addition to the great eastern ports, are: Chicago, Saint Louis, Memphis in the central plain, City of the Salt Lake in the highlands; Seattle, S. Francisco and Los Angeles on the Pacific. The railway network of the United States, with its 400,000 km., it surpasses the European one and forms about one third of the world network. In 1930 there were 60,189 locomotives, 53,584 passenger carriages with 1063 million passengers and 2,322,267 freight wagons which carried 1816 million tons. The power lines measured, in 1927, km. 65,500, of which over 16,000 km. belonging to the states of NE. and those of the N.
Rail passenger and freight traffic is enormous and incomparably greater than that of any other country in the world.
Railway lines were built and are managed by private companies, such as the New York Central Railway (18,380 km.), The Pennsylvania R. (1 7.530 km.), The Southern Pacific (14,700 km), etc.
Ordinary roads. – The ordinary roads were for a long time limited to the immediate vicinity of the major centers, because the railways provided for the needs of traffic and circulation. But the recent grandiose development of motoring has forced the construction of large artificial roads suitable for new traffic. The problem was tackled with very large means and the various states spent over a billion and a half dollars on the construction of new macadamized roads and on the transformation of the old ones. However it is still far from the goal and in 1930 on almost 5 million km. of ordinary roads, more than three and a half were unsuitable for car traffic. The macadamized roads, more numerous in the western area, connect the great industrial and commercial centers of the Atlantic with those of the central plains: 21 million cars, 95,900 buses, 3 and a half million trucks, are the figures, relating to 1930, which denounce the importance of the modern vehicle. The car lines in public service are very numerous and their network exceeds the development of the railways.
Civil aviation, post, telegraphs and telephones. – Commercial aviation American depends on the “aviation branch” of the Department of Commerce. The aviation business is divided into two divisions: air navigation and air regulation. The first includes three services: the air route maintenance service, the air reconnaissance service and the air development service; the airport consultation section depends on the first, while the technical inspection and construction section, the communications section, the cartographic section, the radio equipment section, and the study and research section depend on the last. The aviation regulation division includes three services: airline inspection, general inspection and construction inspection: these three services include four sections: the registration section, the flight accidents section, the medical section and the discipline section.
The United States counts (1936) about 14,800 civilian pilots, patented, in flight activities; they also have more than 2350 airports, of which about 700 are illuminated and equipped for night flights. The internal airlines cover, on 23 routes, about km. 45,500; those of communication with foreign countries about 52,000 km.
The state illuminates 30,000 kilometers of these air routes, maintains 94 radio beacon stations, 70 radio stations, 80 direction finder stations, 200 weather stations with teleprinters (whose network extends to 19,000 kilometers), over 320 teletype stations, 1500 rotating beacons, 290 flash beacons.
Postal Aviation is under the second Deputy Director of the Post Department and is operated by subsidized private companies. While in the beginning some companies used only special aircraft with a single pilot on board for the transport of mail, recently there has been a tendency to use passenger and freight aircraft for the postal service as well.
In the United States there are approximately 9072 civil aircraft, and 435 gliders. There are 23 air navigation companies.
The postal service of 1932 was disengaged from 48,159 offices which annually send over tens of billions of parcels; in the same year, the post office had an income of 588 million dollars. The telegraphic service is operated by private companies, the most important of which are Western Union Telegraph Co. and Mackay Co.: 3.5 million kilometers of wire and 229 million telegrams sent are data relating to 1930. The telephone service it is also operated by private companies and the telephone is so widespread that in 1930 there were 20,201,000 sets, that is 165 telephones for every thousand residents: it can be said that there is no family without a telephone.
The radiotelegraphy and radiotelephony service in turn has reached enormous proportions with hundreds of transmitting stations and millions of receiving sets.