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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Union in McHenry County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Railroad Standard Time

 
 
Railroad Standard Time Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., September 6, 2010
1. Railroad Standard Time Marker
Inscription.  
Before 1883, clocks were set to local "sun time," where noon was the time when the sun was highest in the local sky. Use of sun time meant that each town's time was different; Chicago would be nearly 5 minutes ahead of Rockford, or 15 minutes behind Detroit. Such time differences played havoc with railroad schedules.

The General Time Convention of Railroad Managers, meeting in Chicago in November 1883, established four time zones (Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific) for the continental U.S. Each zone was exactly one hour apart. Within a single zone, all railroad facilities, operations, and timetables would use the same "Railroad Standard Time," regardless of local sun time at each station or town.

Even though Standard Time was intended only for railroad use and operations, its obvious benefits for commerce led to its general acceptance nationwide. Congress officially adopted the system in 1918, with the passage of the Standard Time Act.
 
Erected by Illinois Railway Museum.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Communications
Railroad Standard Time Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., September 6, 2010
2. Railroad Standard Time Marker
Closest to the right of the large open door under the UP sign
Click or scan to see
this page online
Industry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars. A significant historical month for this entry is November 1883.
 
Location. 42° 13.716′ N, 88° 31.632′ W. Marker is near Union, Illinois, in McHenry County. Marker is on the west wall of Barn 3, on the grounds of the Illinois Railway Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7000 Olson Road, Union IL 60180, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Railroad Rails (here, next to this marker); Simplex Type Automatic Coupler (a few steps from this marker); Couplers (a few steps from this marker); Railroad Brakes / Westinghouse Automatic Air Brakes (a few steps from this marker); Chicago Railways Company Date Stone (a few steps from this marker); Early Railroad Signals (within shouting distance of this marker); Indiana Harbor Belt 1181 (within shouting distance of this marker); 1851 Marengo Station (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Union.
 
Also see . . .
1. Nov. 18, 1883: Railroad Time Goes Coast to Coast. Wired entry (Submitted on December 24, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.) 

2. Railroad Time Service. National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors entry (Submitted on December 24, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
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3. The Times Reports on "the Day of Two Noons" (Sunday, November 18, 1883). History Matters entry (Submitted on December 24, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.) 

4. Illinois Railway Museum. Museum homepage (Submitted on January 24, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 24, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 24, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 785 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 24, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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Apr. 15, 2021