The history of the PRR could fill libraries ranging from its corporate heritage to its different business sectors.
In short, the company's scope is far too broad to cover in detail here.
The Pennsy was born through a need by the state of Pennsylvania to maintain a competitive edge.
It was clear by the 1840s railroads were the future of transportation and the PRR was created as a result.
These cities fiercely competed with one another in an attempt to establish themselves as the preeminent eastern port.
Naturally, maintaining an efficient inland transportation system was also important in opening trade to the North American interior.
Unlike the other major eastern trunk lines the Pennsylvania Railroad got off to a relatively late start.
The Baltimore & Ohio, Erie, and New York Central could all trace their corporate heritage back to the 1820s and early 1830s. According to Mike Schafer and Brian Solomon's book, "," on March 19, 1846 the state House passed a bill to organize the Pennsylvania Railroad while their counterparts in the Senate did so on March 26th. Shunk signed into law the charter for the Pennsylvania Railroad, authorizing the new company to construct a rail line from the state capital at Harrisburg to Pittsburgh.
From there the HPMt J&L continued westward to the PRR's eastern terminus at Harrisburg.
A few years later plans extended its eastern connection to Philadelphia.
In an interesting design, engineers came up with a system that utilized both waterways and early, interlinking railroads which were collectively known as the Main Line of Public Works.
At the same time work was commencing east of Pittsburgh and finished to Cresson in late 1852, completing the original charter.
The first train running from the Steel City to Philadelphia did so on December 10, 1852.