On February 28, 1827, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad became the first U.S. railway chartered for commercial transport of passengers and freight. There were skeptics who doubted that a steam engine could work along steep, winding grades, but the Tom Thumb (steam locomotive), designed by Peter Cooper, put an end to their doubts.

Tom Thumb was a four-wheel locomotive with a vertical boiler and vertically mounted cylinders that drove the wheels on one of the axles. The "design" was characterized by a host of improvisations. The boiler tubes were made from rifle barrels and a blower was mounted in the stack, driven by a belt to the powered axle. The engine was fueled by anthracite coal.

Investors hoped a railroad would allow Baltimore, the second largest U.S. city at the time, to successfully compete with New York for western trade.

Today, a replica of the Tom Thumb remains on display at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum. The museum lists the replica as operational, and the locomotive makes special appearances each year.

More Info: en.wikipedia.org