Reliance Transportation Company lithograph, circa 1836.
flipFlip to Broadside advertising the "Pioneer Fast Line," 1837.
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Lithograph of Railroads and canals advertising from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.

Credit: Courtesy of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

Marrying railroad and canal technology, the Main Line of Public Works was an enormously expensive, hybrid transportation system that linked Philadelphia with the Midwest. In 1830s ingenious designers built sectional boats that could be separated for travel by rail. The Reliance Transportation Co. (1834-1852) was one of many private brokers that arranged passenger and freight movement along the state-owned main line.

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