The earliest known train songs date to two years before the first public railway began operating in the United States . "The Carrollton March", copyrighted July 1, 1828, was composed by Arthur Clifton to commemorate the groundbreaking of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad . Another song written for the occasion, "Rail Road March" by Charles Meineke, was copyrighted two days after Clifton's, one day before the July 4 ceremonies. The number of songs that have appeared since then is impossible to determine, not only because of the difficulties in documenting the songs but also in defining the genre. 
Controversy first arose when the French-owned and Montgomery County, Maryland -based Keolis (already operating Virginia Railway Express trains) was the only bidder for the contract. The bidding process was suspended in the fall of 2010 due to lack of competition. Before bidding reopened in 2011, Maryland passed a law (at the request of Leo Bretholz and other Holocaust survivors) requiring Keolis's majority owner, SNCF (currently solely owned by the French government)  to fully disclose its role in transporting Jews to concentration camps during World War II (while SNCF was under control of the Nazi government), to the satisfaction of the Maryland state archivist, before Keolis would be allowed to place a bid for MARC service. Keolis faced similar issues while bidding for VRE operations in 2009, but in the end, they were allowed to run VRE.