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Noon in one place is not noon in another place. Local Noon is when the sun is at it's highest point for where ever you are. As you move around then Noon will be slightly different everywhere you are, the planet, it round and very big.

So if it's Noon in Washington it will be around 9am in San Francisco. This didn't really matter when the fastest you could travel was on horse back. You just set your clocks to local noon (by the sun) and since people moved slowly and messages beyond line of sight moved at the speed of the fastest horse then everybody was ok just setting their watches to local noon each day of their journey. (Those that had watches!)

Railways changed this. Rail travel is fast. Rail travel also depends on timetabling. If Noon at station A is not Noon at station B (which it won't be, see above) then train timetabling becomes hard and people become confused. So it was decided to split the world into time zones, each would be a region where all the clocks would be set the same - although their local noons would strictly be slightly out. "Noon GMT" is noon at the Greenwich Observatory in London. All other time zones are expressed as + or - a number of hours from GMT, the whole of the UK is on GMT.

In smaller countries this was fine, but the US is large! So it split by state into four timezones to avoid moving the "declared" time too far away from local time.

Railways were only the first to deal with this, faster shipping, telephones, radio, all means that you need to have agreed times.

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Q: Because of the coast to coast railroad network the US was split into four time zones. why do think the country needed time zones?
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