In the late 19th century tugboat-pulled barges carried train cars two-at-time across the Albemarle Sound. This was a slow, all-day process that improved in 1899 when John W. Garrett steamer came into service. This train ferry could carry twenty-three loaded freight cars at a time. However, by 1906, railroad officials concluded that building a second railroad ferry was not practical. The solution--build a bridge. Built at a cost of $1 million and completed in 1910, the Norfolk & Southern Railroad Bridge stretched five miles over the sound and was the longest one of its kind in the world. It would last seventy-six years.