First Transcontinental Railroad Facts

First Transcontinental Railroad Facts
The First Transcontinental Railroad was the first railroad in the United States to connect the West coast to the already existing rail system in Iowa. The First Transcontinental Railroad was a hot topic for many years before construction began. It had been suggested as early as 1832 in an article by Dr. Hartwell Carver and in 1847 he submitted a proposal to Congress. Surveys were completed between 1853 and 1855 to determine a route, and in 1862 the project was authorized by the Pacific Railroad Acts. The railroad was 1776 miles long, and was constructed between 1863 and 1869 by three private companies.
Interesting First Transcontinental Railroad Facts:
The First Transcontinental Railroad has also been known as the Pacific Railroad, and the Overland Route.
Although there were two main routes determined for the railroad, only one could be chosen. The choices were: the southern route which ran across Texas, New Mexico, and ended in Los Angeles, and the central route which ran from Omaha, to Nebraska, and ended in Sacramento, California. The central route was chosen by Congress. The central route was almost the same as the Oregon Trail.
The First Transcontinental Railroad was built to connect the East coast to California, a state that was rapidly developing at the time.
The Transcontinental Railroad line was important to Abraham Lincoln, but it wasn't completed until four years after he died.
The First Transcontinental Railroad replaced the Pony Express, wagon trains, and stagecoach lines that transported people and goods from the East to the West. These methods of transportation were much slower and much more dangerous than the railroad system.
The Transcontinental Railroad also replaced the sea journey that went down around the South America's southern tip and back up to the California coast.
On May 10th, 1869 Governor Stanford drove the last spike, often called the Golden Spike, into the track. The spike was only gold plated as real gold would have been too soft a metal.
The Golden Spike is on display today at Stanford University in California.
The railroad made it possible to travel across the country in one week instead of in six months.
The fare to travel from Omaha to San Francisco in 1870 was $65. This would get a passenger a third class ticket in a sleeping car.
The Transcontinental Railroad did not actually connect the east coast to the west coast. It ran from California to Omaha.
The three private companies that built the Transcontinental Railroad were the Western Pacific Railroad Company, the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California, and the Union Pacific Railroad Company.
Most of the workers for the Central Pacific Railroad Company were Chinese Immigrants; most of the workers for the Union Pacific Railroad were Irish. Mormon workers were common in Utah.
Chinese workers earned typically less than white workers, but if they saved, could have $20 left over at the end of the month. This was a small fortune to them, as many came from extreme poverty in China.
Many movies have been made that featured the railroad, and some consider it to be one of the most revolutionary creations of its time.


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