The history and the building of the first transcontinental railroad

After failing to hit the spike on his first attempt, Stanford raised the heavy sledgehammer again and struck a solid square blow.

The history and the building of the first transcontinental railroad

The First Transcontinental Railroad was built crossing the western half of America and it was pieced together between and It was 1, miles long and served for the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States to be connected by rail for the first time in history.

The Transcontinental Railroad was also known as the Pacific Railroad for a while and later on as the Overland Route — after the main passenger transport service that operated the line.

The idea of building such a line was present in America for decades before the construction was authorized by the Pacific Railroad Acts of and This was the time of the American Civil War and the southern Democrats who opposed the idea before were now absent from Congress so the Republicans used the opportunity to vote the construction of the transcontinental railroad without them.

They chose two independent companies, the Union Pacific Railroad and Central Pacific Railroad and supported the project by issuing US government bonds. The land through which the railroad was supposed to pass was mainly worthless desert, although some portions of good farming land had to be crossed as well.

The workers involved in the building operations were mainly army veterans from the Civil War and immigrants from Ireland. Engineers and supervisors were mostly Union Army veterans, experienced in operating and maintaining trains during the Civil War.

The Transcontinental Railroad was finished and opened for traffic on May 10, The problem was that her quest for that West took place only ina few decades too late, many Americans must have thought. That year the wildest encounter for most people would be grappling with economic gloom and doom.

At this isolated airfield the passengers waited out the tempest.

History of the First Transcontinental Railroad

After a restless night of little sleep, the group flew east again the next day only to be forced by dense fog to make a second emergency landing, this time in Laramie. The Transformers Like a skilled magician, the railroads of the 19 th century had transformed America in ways that awed and dazzled onlookers.

Consider, for example, how surveyors used precisely calibrated instruments to mathematically quantify the West as never before in terms of curvature, elevation and distance as they staked out prospective railroad lines.

The process of transforming the West continued, and even accelerated, once actual railroad operations began. Approximation was no longer good enough in the West the railroads made.

Something seemingly so simple as the space between the rails could not vary by more than a fraction of an inch, or the locomotives and cars would derail.

A Brief History of Building the Transcontinental Railroad

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.

A Matter of Time 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 history and the building of the first transcontinental railroad

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.The first talk of a transcontinental railroad started around One of the first promoters of the railroad was a merchant named Asa Whitney.

Asa tried hard for many years to get Congress to pass an act to build the railroad, but failed. However, in the s Theodore Judah began to lobby for a railroad. Apr 20,  · Watch video · In , the Pacific Railroad Act chartered the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad Companies, and tasked them with building a .

Transcontinental Railroad summary: The First Transcontinental Railroad was built crossing the western half of America and it was pieced together between and It was 1, miles long and served for the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States to be connected by rail for the first time in history.

The First Transcontinental Railroad (also called the Great Transcontinental Railroad, known originally as the "Pacific Railroad" and later as the "Overland Route") was a 1,mile (3, km) continuous railroad line constructed between and that connected the existing eastern U.S.

rail network at Omaha, Nebraska/Council Bluffs, Iowa. First transcontinental railroad is completed At Promontory, Utah, California Governor Leland Stanford pounds in a ceremonial golden spike that completes the nation’s first transcontinental railway.

Digital History ID Along with the development of the atomic bomb, the digging of the Panama Canal, and landing the first men on the moon, the construction of a transcontinental railroad was one of the United States' greatest technological achievements.

History of the First Transcontinental Railroad