From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere
- January 2 – California Southern Railroad, a subsidiary of the Santa Fe, begins regular passenger and freight service between its National City terminus and Fallbrook Junction, just north of Oceanside, California.
- January 9 – The first train from Cincinnati, Ohio, on the Cincinnati Northern Railway, departs for Dayton, Ohio.
- February 21 – The Port Huron and Northwestern Railroad opens its line connecting Marlette and East Saginaw, Michigan.
- March 6 – The Norfolk Terminal Company is incorporated in Virginia as the merger of the Norfolk Terminal and the original Norfolk and Western Railroad.
- December 19 – Building from Denver, Colorado, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad tracks reach the Utah border where the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad picks up construction in Utah.
- December 28 – The Ithaca and Alma Railroad completes construction of its line connecting its namesake cities in Michigan.
- Duke, Donald (1995). Santa Fe: The Railroad Gateway to the American West, Volume One. San Marino, CA: Golden West Books, 50. ISBN ISBN 0-87095-110-6.
- Railroad History Time Line - 1880's. RRHX: Michigan's Internet Railroad History Museum. Retrieved on 2008-02-19.
- Morris, J. C. (1902-12-31). “1880's”, Annual Report of the Commissioner of Railroads and Telegraphs. Retrieved on 2008-02-29.
- This Month in Railroad History: December. Rivanna Chapter, National Railroad Historical Society (2006). Retrieved on 2007-12-19.