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On this day in 1883, American and Canadian railroads instituted standard time zones

November 18, 2023

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 18 of November, repeating indefinitely

On this day in 1883, American and Canadian railroads instituted standard time zones (Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific). Prior to this standardization, each town set its own time by when the sun appeared highest in the sky. This resulted in a wide variety of times from place to place. With a rise in train travel, it was understandably challenging to write schedules, hence the creation of standard time zones. ๐Ÿš‚ ๐Ÿš‚ ๐Ÿš‚

The U.S. government didnโ€™t adopt the system until 1918 with the Standard Time Act, which also established Daylight Savings Time.

Did you know? A difference in time could result in life-or-death situations on the railroad. Time discrepancies could (and did) result in collisions from trains being on the same track at the same time.

Cardiff Docks, Lionel Walden, 1894

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Date:
November 18, 2023
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