From Ohio History Central
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Most canals remained in operation in Ohio until the late 1800s. There is a short stretch in the Muskingum Valley near Zanesville still in operation today. By the 1850s, however, canals were losing business to the railroads. Railroads had several advantages over the canals, which made the railroads much more popular. While railroads cost more to ship people and goods, they could deliver people and items much more quickly than the canals. Railroads also were not limited by a water source like canals were. As a result of these advantages, railroads quickly supplanted the canals.