CNN Before highways, planes, trains and automobiles made crossing the United States a breeze, the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May was a defining moment in the country's history -- and immigrant labor made it possible. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. More Videos Trains mark Transcontinental Railroad's th anniversary.
He then headed to Washingtonwhere he was able to convince congressional leaders as well as President Abraham Lincolnwho signed Pond stocking ridgeville Pacific Trans contentental railroad Act into law the following year. Wikimedia Commons has media related to First Transcontinental Railroad. Irish immigrants, freed slaves and Mormons also worked on the transcontinental railroad. They were routinely lowered down sheer cliff faces in makeshift baskets on ropes where they drilled holes, cobtentental them with explosives, lit the fuse and then were yanked up as fast as possible to avoid the blast. The primary incentive had been getting the subsidies, which meant that Tranw of Trans contentental railroad kinds were routinely required in the following years.
Controversy enola gay. Dreams of a Transcontinental Railroad
Views Conttentental Edit View history. Chinese laborers were also crucial in the construction of 15 tunnels along the railroad's line through the Sierra Nevada mountains. Most Chinese workers were planning on returning with their new found "wealth" when the work was completed. How could railroad companies be encouraged by the government to build a railroad to service a part of Trans contentental railroad country where there were as yet no significant numbers of United States citizens? That year the wildest encounter for most people would be grappling with economic gloom and doom. It authorized creation of two companies, the Central Pacific in the west and the Union Pacific in the mid-west, to build the railroad. Under the direction of the Department of Warthe Pacific Railroad Surveys were conducted from through The Union Pacific's junction with the Denver Railroad with its connection Sucker minnows Kansas City, KansasTrans contentental railroad City, Missouri and the railroads east of the Missouri Contntental again increased Cheyenne's importance as the junction of two major railroads. Josiah Perham was elected its first president Swing to bop December 7, Church members built most of the road through Utah. Mark on a map the route that the transcontinental railroad will follow. What is the Union Pacific Railroad Company empowered by this act to do?
Before the advent of the transcontinental railroad , a journey across the continent to the western states meant a dangerous six month trek over rivers, deserts, and mountains.
- The resulting coast-to-coast railroad connection revolutionized the settlement and economy of the American West.
- Driving the Last Spike.
- Definition of the Transcontinental Railroad Definition: The world's First Transcontinental Railroad was built between and to join the east of the United States on the Atlantic coast with the west of the United States to the Pacific coast.
- Operations Center Staff Directory.
A transcontinental railroad is a contiguous network of railroad trackage  that crosses a continental land mass with terminals at different oceans or continental borders. Such networks can be via the tracks of either a single railroad, or over those owned or controlled by multiple railway companies along a continuous route.
Although Europe is crisscrossed by railways, the railroads within Europe are usually not considered transcontinental, with the possible exception of the historic Orient Express. Transcontinental railroads helped open up unpopulated interior regions of continents to exploration and settlement that would not otherwise have been feasible. In many cases they also formed the backbones of cross-country passenger and freight transportation networks. A transcontinental railroad in the United States is any continuous rail line connecting a location on the U.
Pacific coast with one or more of the railroads of the nation's eastern trunk line rail systems operating between the Missouri or Mississippi Rivers and the U. Atlantic coast. The first concrete plan for a transcontinental railroad in the United States was presented to Congress by Asa Whitney in A series of transcontinental railroads built over the last third of the 19th century created a nationwide transportation network that united the country by rail.
Its construction was made possible by the US government under Pacific Railroad Acts of , , and The world's First Transcontinental Railroad was built between and to join the eastern and western halves of the United States. Begun just before the American Civil War , its construction was considered to be one of the greatest American technological feats of the 19th century.
Known as the "Pacific Railroad" when it opened, this served as a vital link for trade, commerce, and travel and opened up vast regions of the North American heartland for settlement. Shipping and commerce could thrive away from navigable watercourses for the first time since the beginning of the nation. Much of this route, especially on the Sierra grade west of Reno, Nevada, is currently used by Amtrak's California Zephyr , although many parts have been rerouted.
The transcontinental railroad provided fast, safe, and cheap travel. It replaced most of the far slower and more hazardous stagecoach lines and wagon trains. The number of emigrants taking the Oregon and California Trails declined dramatically.
The sale of the railroad land grant lands and the transport provided for timber and crops led to the rapid settling of the "Great American Desert". The Union Pacific recruited laborers from Army veterans and Irish immigrants, while most of the engineers were ex-Army men who had learned their trade keeping the trains running during the American Civil War.
The Central Pacific Railroad faced a labor shortage in the more sparsely settled West. It recruited Cantonese laborers in China, who did prodigious work building the line over and through the Sierra Nevada mountains and then across Nevada to their meeting in northern Utah. George J. Gould attempted to assemble a truly transcontinental system in the s. The Alphabet Route was completed in , providing the portion of this line east of the Mississippi River.
The completion of Canada's first transcontinental railroad with the driving of the Last Spike at Craigellachie, British Columbia , on November 7, , is an important milestone in Canadian history.
Between and , the Canadian Pacific Railway CPR completed a line that spanned from the port of Montreal to the Pacific coast, fulfilling a condition of British Columbia 's entry into the Canadian Confederation. The City of Vancouver , incorporated in , was designated the western terminus of the line. The construction of a transcontinental railroad strengthened the connection of British Columbia and the Northwest Territories to Canada they had recently joined, and acted as a bulwark against potential incursions by the United States.
The first railroad to directly connect two oceans although not by crossing a broad "continental" land mass  was the Panama Rail Road. Panama split off from Colombia in and became the independent nation of Panama. By spanning the isthmus, the line thus became the first railroad to completely cross any part of the Americas and physically connect ports on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Given the tropical rain forest environment, the terrain, and diseases such as malaria and cholera , its completion was a considerable engineering challenge.
The construction took five years after ground was first broken for the line in May, , cost eight million dollars, and required more than seven thousand workers drawn from "every quarter of the globe.
This railway was built to provide a shorter and more secure path between the United States' East and West Coasts. This need was mainly triggered by the California Gold Rush. Over the years the railway played a key role in the construction and the subsequent operation of the Panama Canal , due to its proximity to the canal.
Currently, the railway operates under the private administration of the Panama Canal Railroad Company, and its upgraded capacity complements the cargo traffic through the Panama Canal. It currently sees no passenger service. Mendoza has an active connection to Buenos Aires. The old Transandino began in and ceased passenger service in and freight 4 years later. Technically a complete transcontinental link exists from Arica, Chile , to La Paz , Bolivia , to Buenos Aires, but this trans-Andean crossing is for freight only.
The construction will start in and will be finished in Another longer Transcontinental freight-only railroad linking Lima , Peru , to Rio de Janeiro , Brazil is under development. Since , when the direct standard gauge line across the country was completed, the passenger train on the Sydney to Perth line has been called the Indian Pacific. The proposed Iron Boomerang would connect iron in the Pilbara with coal in Queensland , so achieving loaded operations in both directions.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Contiguous network of railroad trackage that crosses a continental land mass with terminals at different oceans or continental borders. Main article: First Transcontinental Railroad. Main article: Gould transcontinental system. Main article: Panama Canal Railway. Main article: Rail transport in Guatemala. Main article: Rail transport in Costa Rica.
Further information: Eurasian Land Bridge. Railways portal. Empire Express; Building the first Transcontinental Railroad. Viking Penguin. Philadelphia: Polyglot Press, pages. Seattle: Create Space. World Digital Library. Retrieved NP Gallery. National Park Service. Retrieved September 9, Little, Brown. Young, Superintendent of State Printing, Categories : Railways by type. Hidden categories: CS1: Julian—Gregorian uncertainty Webarchive template wayback links Articles with short description All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from July Articles with unsourced statements from May Wikipedia articles needing clarification from May Namespaces Article Talk.
This gave them a head start on getting to the "easy" miles across Nevada. The Union Pacific's junction with the Denver Railroad with its connection to Kansas City, Kansas , Kansas City, Missouri and the railroads east of the Missouri River again increased Cheyenne's importance as the junction of two major railroads. Their start point in the new city of Omaha, Nebraska was not yet connected via railroad to Council Bluffs, Iowa. As the railroad advanced, their freight rates with the combined rail and wagon shipments would become much more competitive. Dodge was appointed Chief Engineer on the Union Pacific, but hard working General "Jack" Casement continued to work as chief construction "boss" and his brother Daniel Casement continued as financial officer. Construction continued eastward reaching Indian Wells Indio in May
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Over time, and with occasional prodding from the federal and state regulators, everything from paper thickness to envelope sizes in company offices was standardized within the railroad industry. No railroad company tolerated a drunken employee endangering the safety of passengers or fellow employees.
Conversely, loyal employees who avoided intoxicating beverages received preferential treatment in promotion. No ambitious railroader dared to spend a leisurely evening at a boisterous saloon, one of the institutions synonymous with the Wild West. In the fall of a group of well dressed ladies and gentlemen gathered with much fanfare in the wilds of Montana Territory. In their stylishness and cool elegance they looked conspicuously out of place.
Some had traveled from as far as England, the Netherlands, and Germany to this isolated patch of sagebrush and sand on the banks of the Clark Fork River, and they had done so willingly. Guests of the Northern Pacific Railroad had traveled to Gold Creek aboard five luxury trains to witness the driving of a last spike that mark ed the formal opening of the first transcontinental rails linking the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley with Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean. After the loud band music, the flowery oratory, and the last sledgehammer blows drove a golden spike into place, the Glittering Ones reboarded their special trains and left Gold Creek, most of them never to return to Montana.
The day had been rich in symbolism. For one moment the old Wild West popularly associated with Indians, fur trappers and pioneer settlers stood face to face with the new West of high finance, nationwide mark ets and rapid advances in communication and transportation. A little more than two months later in , on another day rich in symbolism, North Americans collectively reset their clocks and watches to standard time, and like the symbolism of business moguls driving a golden spike in the wilds of Montana, the new system of timekeeping was an unadorned statement of railroad power.
Our present time system was invented to resolve the confusion caused for the railroads of North America by dozens of local time standards—hundreds, in fact. Time back in the days of trail travel to Oregon and California needed only be measured casually by noting the position of the sun or by mark ing off each passing day. Every spring in the s and s individuals and families traveled west by wagon train, leaving the familiar Missouri Valley and rolling slowly across the lush grasses of the Great Plains.
Their collective goal was to reach Golden California or fertile Oregon by September or October before snowfalls blocked mountain passes.
The Donner Party resorted to cannibalism because it lost the seasonal race to the West Coast and became trapped by deep snow in the Sierras during the winter of Before the fall of when the railroads created standard time, local variations prevailed throughout the West, and in most places approximate time was good enough to meet the demands of daily life.
Minutes seldom seemed to matter. Railroad managers wanted to schedule their trains safely over single-track lines—the kind that predominated across the West and much of the rest of the United States —but safe operation was impossible except by imposing a precise system of time discipline. Failure to observe accurate time might well result in a bloody head-on collision between two speeding trains inadvertently attempting to defy physics by occupying the same section of track at the same time.
That was the kind of headline-grabbing misfortune every railroad engineer feared most. A growing number of long-distance travelers grew concerned about accurate timekeeping, too, because the numerous local time standards caused confusion that resulted in impossibly tight connections and missed trains.
However, across the nation there were pockets of resistance. To the critics, the unilateral action by railroad managers was highhanded and thus all too typical of railroad power to shape and dominate all phases of human existence. The diehards kept their clocks and watches set on local time, but they were fighting a losing battle and they knew it.
Symbolically, the railroad companies of the United States and Canada had collectively taken upon themselves a form of power that for millennia had belonged solely to God, or so their critics complained.
What was the brave new world defined by railroad power coming to? The railroads new role as the self-appointed guardians of time epitomized as nothing else their seemingly limitless power to transform the Wild West through the practical application of science and engineering.
Imposition of standard time was only the most successful and far-reaching triumph of railroads over local and pre-modern ways governed by the rhythms of nature such as seasonal changes, extremes of weather, and even the contrast between the hours of daylight and darkness. The image illustrates a common method railroads used at the time to field-test the strength and safety of bridges before the first passenger and freight trains chugged across them.
Less obvious was that the bridge at Bismarck towered above the water corridor that Lewis and Clark followed eight decades earlier and steamboats based in St. Louis had used in more recent years for fur trade commerce and gold-camp traffic. Feats of railroad engineering triumphed literally as well as symbolically over familiar steamboat technology and the seasonal variations that could impede or halt steamboat travel on the rivers of the northern West for months at a time.
One reason that the Lewis and Clark Expedition spent the winter of at Fort Mandan, an historic site about 50 miles north of the new bridge, was that the Missouri River froze solid and impeded water travel until the spring thaw six months later.
In later years, the Missouri River commerce based in St. Louis shut down each winter. During the s and s, when steamboats and stagecoaches dominated long-distance travel across the West, their schedules varied according to the season.
Not only did cold weather and ice halt river travel for months at a time, but ice and drifting snow in high mountain passes greatly slowed the pace of overland stagecoaches and their vital cargoes of mail, or stopped them literally in their tracks.
In the new railroad era, steam locomotives and their passenger and freight trains would roll with impunity across frozen waterways and through the icy mountain passes of the West to reach their destinations regardless of the weather, and generally they would do so according to the printed schedule.
Railroads used a combination of technology and muscle to triumph over nature. They dispatched snowplows of various types and armies of shovel-wielding workers to clear the tracks and keep trains moving.
Only infrequently did their best efforts fail. On the rare occasion when railroads of the West lost a battle with Old Man Winter, their temporary plight gladdened the hearts of local journalists eager to write maudlin human-interest stories about snowbound trains and passengers marooned in the high Sierras, Rockies or Cascades.
With proper equipment on the job and hard work, there was no reason why winter passenger train schedules should be significantly different from summer. Further, with steady and consistent service no previous mode of transportation had been able to provide, railroads transformed or eliminated many seasonal variation once ingrained in Americans since birth.
Fresh oranges and grapefruit, for instance, were once unimaginable luxuries on the breakfast table, and especially for residents of the High Plains and mountain West during winter months. Yet, beginning with the widespread use of refrigerated cars beginning in the s, all kinds of fruit—from apples and cherries to lemons and peaches—sped east from the newly planted orchards in southern California and the Pacific Northwest to help provide wholesome and nutritious meals for families in places as distant as Iowa and New Hampshire.
Perishable cargoes traveled inside insulated cars that protected them from the ill effects of winter chill and summer heat.
In time, seasonal variations meant no more to the railroads of the West than differences between night and day, which the carriers had early resolved by adding massive headlights to their locomotives.
Wherever railroads chose to run their tracks, they transformed the West by naming or renaming what they perceived to be boundless and undefined space. Some of the names recall the supremacy of a generation of western railroad builders, promoters, financiers and executives, all working tirelessly to transform the landscape of the Wild West. For example, Billings, Mont. Railroads claiming the right to inscribe names of their own choosing across the West made sense only because many parts of the region appeared far younger historically to the Euro-Americans doing the naming or renaming from an Indian perspective than comparable lands in the Great Lakes or Mississippi River country.
Vast portions of the modern American West were, in effect, the children of railroad parents who did so much to shape and transform them, and in many cases that included naming the land and its distinctive features. Who is entitled to secure a grant of land from the Federal Government? Can women secure such a grant in their own names, and if so, how?
What is the largest amount of land a person can secure from the Federal government through this act? How would one go about applying for land under the act filing the affidavit? How long would one have to wait in between filing an affidavit and securing final title to the land one settled?
What did a settler need to do in the meantime? How much per acre did land under the Homestead Act cost? The Homestead Act was meant to insure that United States citizens who actually wanted to farm land were the recipients of the government's largess. Who else might have wanted to profit from this deal, and how? How is the law trying to prevent various abuses? Step 2 As a class, answer the following questions about the Pacific Railway Act of What is the purpose of this act?
What is the Union Pacific Railroad Company empowered by this act to do? Mark on a map the route that the transcontinental railroad will follow.
What will be the most difficult terrain on which to lay track? What other difficulties do you foresee in terms of crews of men living and working in a variety of environments as they lay tracks? Why do you think the government is providing for the building of telegraph poles along the length of the railroad?
The act is giving the railroad the right of way on public lands. How much land on either side of tracks does this include? What does the government promise to do if American Indian tribes claim title to this land? In Section 3 the act provides the railroad with more land than what is needed to give it a right of way. Why will this land fronting the railroad tracks be even more valuable than land given to homesteaders at a distance from the railway? What method of financing the railway does the bill propose in Section 5?
Under what terms is the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California authorized to build a railway headed east? Since the bonds will be awarded based on completed mileage of railway track, which company would ultimately be awarded the most money? How does this set up a competition between the two railways? The Central Pacific Railroad had to lay track in the mountainous region of the Sierra Nevadas, one of the most difficult endeavors of the entire enterprise This will obviously take much more time than laying tracks on the flat plains.
How does the government plan to compensate the companies for the laying of track over mountainous terrain? Activity 3 Step 1 Divide the class into three groups and ask each group to do the following: Railway owners As railway owners you will want to maximize your profits. Your lawyers are ready to look over both acts to see how your company can make the most money.
As a group plan whatever strategies you can to do so. In your thinking, be sure to include use of the land you will acquire. Land Speculators You are neither settlers nor railway owners, but people who want to buy land as cheaply as possible and then re-sell it at a much higher rate. Your lawyers will look at both these acts to find as many loopholes as possible for ways in which you can purchase land for re-sale.
Settlers You are people who want to purchase land for farming. The Homestead Act seems like the bonanza you have been waiting for. However, profiting from both these acts may be harder than you imagine. Discuss the various difficulties you may face in terms of staking your claim to land, holding on to it, and making it profitable.
Step 2 Now have each group present their strategies to the class. Each group should answer the following questions in their presentation. What conflicts are evident?
First Transcontinental Railroad - Wikipedia
CNN Before highways, planes, trains and automobiles made crossing the United States a breeze, the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May was a defining moment in the country's history -- and immigrant labor made it possible. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds.
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Origins of Russia probe now a criminal investigation. Astros address firing executive over outburst at reporters. Videos show teen being shot while chased by police. Thousands of workers from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds labored in grueling terrain and conditions to connect the Atlantic and Pacific. Most of them were Chinese workers who were paid less for their labor than their European counterparts.
Chinese migrants worked in the Sierra foothills for the Central Pacific Railroad. For years, railroad workers were largely overlooked in memorial events marking the railroad's completion. This year, however, their contributions and descendents are more visible than ever in th anniversary celebrations.
The anniversary was an occasion to commemorate "the contribution and sacrifices of the railroad workers," including the estimated 12,, Chinese laborers "who risked everything to make the Transcontinental Railroad a reality," Chao said.
Before the transatlantic railroad, train travel was available from points east to as far as St. Louis, Missouri. Anything west of the Mississippi River required travel by wagon, a trip that could take anywhere from three to six months.
When California's gold fields lured men away from railroad work, Central Pacific started hiring Chinese workers. They dug 15 tunnels through pure hard granite," Chao said.
Irish immigrants, freed slaves and Mormons also worked on the transcontinental railroad. The conditions were merciless, dangerous and harsh. Yet, even after the Chinese workers reached wage parity, they still had to pay for their own housing, clothes and food, unlike other workers.
Chinese workers are said to have laid the last rails to complete the line at the Golden Spike Ceremony before dignitaries tapped four precious metal spikes into a polished tie made from California Laurelwood.
The tie bore a silver plaque that included the officers and directors of Central Pacific along with the names of the tie maker and the donor. The spikes were symbols of the "elites" who presided over the ceremony," Stanford University history professor Gordon Chang said.
The steam engine appears in the th anniversary of the Golden Spike Ceremony on May They directed attention "to the business people, political people who were prominent at the time," Chang told the Salt Lake Tribune. This year, however, the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association and other cultural groups championed visibility of railroad workers in events and official celebrations throughout the week. Chinese workers were included for the first time in the annual reenactment of the driving of the Golden Spike.
A lion dance was performed at the start of the Golden Spike Ceremony.