Section Three: Reading Comprehension（1）
The work of the railroad pioneers in America became the basis for a great surge of railroad building halfway through the nineteenth century that linked the nation together as never before. Railroads eventually became the nation’s number one transportation system, and remained so until the construction of the interstate highway system halfway through the twentieth century. They were of crucial importance in stimulating economic expansion, but their influence reached beyond the economy and was pervasive in American society at large.
By 1804, English as well as American inventors had experimented with steam engines for moving land vehicles. In 1920, John Stevens ran a locomotive and cars around in a circular track on his New Jersey estate, which the public saw as an amusing toy. And in 1825, after opening a short length of track, the Stockton to Darlington Railroad in England became the first line to carry general traffic. American businesspeople, especially those in the Atlantic coastal region who looked for better communication with the West, quickly became interested in the English experiment. The