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The Transcontinental Railroad Essay

888 words - 4 pages

In 1863, the overall enormous construction project, The Transcontinental Railroad, began with the tracks forming from the Central Pacific to the east of Sacramento, where it was completed. The Union Pacific Railroad started building their railroad in 1865, while the Central Pacific Railroad started in 1863. “Congress granted both railroads large tracts of land and millions of dollars in government loans” (The First Transcontinental Railroad 116).
The government soon realized that making one huge railroad would take forever, so they made The Pacific Railroad Act. It gave two industries, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific, the responsibilities for making the railroads. “The Central Pacific ...view middle of the document...

The next hardest challenge that the Central Pacific faced is the Cape Horn. The railroad ran along the edge of a cliff that was higher by a half mile above the American river. An important construction project for the Central Pacific was the Dutch Flat Wagon Road, which was a very good source of cash. “This road [The Wagon Road] linked the town to Dutch Flat, about fifty miles northeast of Sacramento, to Virginia City, Nevada, by following Judah’s surveyed rail route through Donner Pass and into the Truckee Valley”(Streissguth 33). It took several different types of workers to get the operation done, such as carpenters, surveyors, teamsters, writers, cooks, and metalworkers.
By 1900, multiple railroads ran parallel, like the Pioneering Road, reaching from the Pacific to westward Mississippi. The railroads met together on May 10, 1869, at Promontory, Utah. After completing the first forty miles of the railroad, each railroad company was given 6,400 acres of general land and a loan of $16,000 to $48,000 for each mile of track put down. The finishing of the railroads led to more regions of the continent open to trade, farming, and town development. In 1869, the nation’s first transcontinental rail line was finished through the United States.
For the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad a golden spike was driven into the deserts at Promontory Summit, Utah, on the finishing day. The golden spike was one of the most expensive parts of the Transcontinental Railroad because it was made of solid gold. When the golden spike was driven in, it was figuratively heard across the country. It told the world that the Transcontinental Railroads had been completed. The golden spike left its mark on the joining of...


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