This essay will be discussing briefly about the transcontinental railroad construction during 1865-1900. During the 19th century railroads had become the nation?s most important transportation source. The railroad helped the United States to improve its economic system. When airbrakes were invented, it transported more travelers and goods than before. People or goods could travel anywhere in the United States without walking or riding a horse which took several days.
The United States wanted to have a transcontinental railroad, which connects the railroad tracks from east to west. After years of debate on the best route, President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Act. The government gave the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific permission to construct a railroad and telegraph line that would connect the continent. The Union Pacific was to build westward from the Omaha, Nebraska through the Great Plains, and the Central Pacific was to build eastward from Sacramento through the Sierra Nevada. The Government gave them funds depending on how many tracks were laid. It caused a big competition between these two companies. Thousands of workers, including Civil War veterans and immigrants, were enlisted to do the back-breaking work of laying track across the treeless deserts and through the mountains.
As the tracks from the Central Pacific and Union Pacific approached each other, they chose a meeting point and it was Promontory, Utah. During the next two decades, railroads experienced their greatest growth. The United States has successfully become a 2-ocean nation. Now the passengers could travel and goods could be shipped. This led to a western expansion because now people could move west faster.