Transcontinental Railroad: Across the Continent
The Transcontinental Railroad was one of the Pacific Railroads. The term "Transcontinental" means going across a continent and the transcontinental railroad enabled a journey on the transcontinental railroad from the Eastern part of the United States all the way to the Western part of the United States.
Transcontinental Railroad: The Pacific Railroads
The Transcontinental Railroad was one of the Pacific Railroads. The term "Transcontinental" means going across a continent and the transcontinental railroad enabled a journey on the transcontinental railroad from the Eastern part of the United States all the way to the Western part of the United States. The Union Pacific Transcontinental Railroad provided a railroad route connecting New York on the Atlantic coast with San Francisco, California on the Pacific Coast of the United States.
History of the Railroad and the Transcontinental Railroad
To set the scene for the development of the Transcontinental Railroad it is interesting to check out the history of the railroad and trains - also refer to Railroads in the 1800s. The history dates back to 1769 when James Watt patented his idea for a steam engine which heralded the Industrial Revolution. In 1814 George Stephenson, considered the inventor of the first steam locomotive engine for railways, engineered the steam locomotive and developed the Rocket in 1829. 1825: Colonel John Stevens, considered to be the father of American railroads, built a steam locomotive capable of hauling passenger cars. In 1830 Peter Cooper designed the Tom Thumb. In 1833 the 'John Bull' locomotive was one of the first American locomotives to be fitted the famous 'cow catcher' at the front of the train. The need of the Transcontinental Railroad and an efficient transportation system became evident during the period of Westward Expansion and the discovery of gold and silver in the west.
Fast Facts and Stats about the Transcontinental Railroad
Fast facts and statistics about the Transcontinental Railroad provides interesting facts and important information presented in a simple question and answer format:
Q. How long was the Transcontinental Railroad? A. It was 3,500 miles long and nearly 2,000 of miles of track were added when work started in 1863
Q. When was the Transcontinental Railroad built? A. It started construction in 1863 and was completed on March 10, 1869. The First Transcontinental Railroad was originally known as the "Pacific Railroad" and later as the "Overland Route"
Q. Who funded and financed the Transcontinental Railroad? A. U.S. government bonds and extensive land grants of government owned land. Loans were extended from $16,000 to $48,000 for each mile of track laid.
Q. Who were the big four in the Transcontinental Railroad? A. The “big four” were Leland Stanford, Collis P. Huntington, Charles Crocker and Mark Hopkins. They were also called Robber Barons
Q. What two companies completed the Transcontinental Railroad? A. 690 miles were completed by the Central Pacific Railroad and 1,086 miles were constructed by the Union Pacific Railroad.
Q. What were the starting points and ending points of the transcontinental railroad? A. The eastern starting point was constructed by the Union Pacific RR from Omaha, Nebraska, and the western starting point was constructed by the Central Pacific in Sacramento, California. The two lines met at Promontory Summit, Utah
Q. Who worked on the Transcontinental Railroad? A. Many American workers including Irish laborers and ex-soldiers who served in the Civil War started work on the tracks but in 1865 silver was discovered in Nevada, starting a silver rush, and in 1865 Charles Crocker started to hire Chinese immigrants - by the end of construction on May 10, 1869 over 11,000 workers were Chinese
Q. Where did the Transcontinental Railroad meet? A. Promontory Point, Utah was the meeting point where the two railroads came together on May 10, 1869. The last tie was laid and hammered together with a bronze and gold spike - called the Golden Spike
Timeline and Facts about the Transcontinental Railroad for kids
Interesting facts about the Transcontinental Railroad are detailed below. The history of the Transcontinental Railroad is told in a factual timeline sequence consisting of a series of interesting, short facts providing a simple method of relating the history of the Transcontinental Railroad for kids, schools and homework projects.
1845: The proposal for the transportation system was presented to Congress by Asa Whitney
July 1860: Engineer Theodore Judah reaches Donner Passand identifies the location as ideal for constructing a line through the Sierra Nevada.
July 1, 1862: Congress passes and President Lincoln signs the Pacific Railroad Bill. The Bill charters Central Pacific to build the California line and the Union Pacific Railroad Company to build west from the Missouri River.
January 8, 1863: California Governor Leland Stanford conducts the Groundbreaking Groundbreaking ceremony for the Central Pacific in Sacramento, California.
October 26, 1863: The Central Pacific begins construction of its first rails
October 30, 1863: Thomas "Doc" Durant, uses the leverage of his controlling interest in the Union Pacific Railroad Company to get himself appointed the railroad's vice president and general manager.
July 1, 1864: Congress revises the Pacific Railroad Bill to double land grants, pass control of all natural resources located along the lines to the railroads and remove the existing limitations on individual stock ownership
October 1864: The Union Pacific construction contract is signed over to Union Pacific associate Herbert M. Hoxie who then signs the contract over to Durant's new company, Credit Mobilier of America. The transaction allows Thomas Durant to pay himself for construction, generating giant profits without congressional oversight.
January 20, 1865: President Lincoln asks Massachusetts senator Oakes Ames to help to manage the Union Pacific. Oakes Ames subsequently invests in Credit Mobilier and promotes the interests of the company in Washington, D.C.
January 20, 1865: Charles Crocker starts to hire Chinese immigrants for Central Pacific
April 9, 1865: General Robert E. Lee surrenders and the Civil War ends releasing many soldiers to work on the railways
April 9, 1865: President Lincoln is assassinated
July 10, 1865: Union Pacific Lays the First Rail
July 1866 Doc Durant hired by General Jack Casement as the Union Pacific construction boss who aims to construct 60 miles of track per month
May 1867: Durant is forced to resign from the Union Pacific
Jun 25, 1867: Chinese workers Rail Strike for better hours and wages. Crocker takes a hard line and strikers return to work within a week
Apr 8, 1869: Location of meeting of the railways agreed by Grenville Dodge and Collis Huntington at Promontory Summit, Utah
May 10, 1869: Golden Spike ceremony at Promontory Point, Utah. Tracks of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific lines are joined together
The Pacific Railroad constituted one of the most significant and ambitious American technological feats of the 1800's following in the footsteps of the building of transportation systems such as the Construction of the Cumberland Road, the Erie Canal, the Oregon Trail
Telegraph lines and the Morse Code enabled an communication system in America. Telegraph poles were erected alongside the railroads as the routes had already been cleared due to the construction of the railroads and it was easy to set up poles to carry the telegraph wires.
The Union Pacific Railroad and the Credit Mobilier construction company who were involved in the building of the eastern portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad were later involved in the Credit Mobilier Scandal