For the past two weeks we were on vacation in the East, visiting my daughter in Boston, which is why I haven't posted anything recently. But now it's time for more trip reports. We'll start with something unique.
In the early 1800's, when railroads were first developed, most engineers expected that wherever it was available, water transport would always be cheaper and more useful than rail, and most early railroads were designed as feeders to the local seaport or riverside. Whereas the state of New York could be crossed with a nearly water-level route canal, Pennsylvania's mountain ranges posed huge challenges to the desire to compete for trade between the Atlantic and the Midwest. The state's original solution to this problem was a series of canals connected by inclined ramps and short sections of railroad on which canal boats would be transported. This did not work very well and was soon replaced by what became the Pennsylvania Railroad, but the remnants of this portage system are quite interesting.
Special canal boats were developed with hinged sections, so that a boat could be loaded and unloaded at the transfer points between water and rail with relative ease.