On May 10, 1869 the US was joined from coast to coast by a transcontinental railroad when the final spike was driven into the rails at a ceremony at Promontory Summit in the Utah Territory. The Transcontinental Railroad Was A Marvel Of Engineering And Perseverance 1148 Words | 5 Pages. After the rail line's initial climb through the Missouri River bluffs west of Omaha and out of the Missouri River Valley, the route bridged the Elkhorn River and then crossed over the new 1,500-foot (460 m) Loup River bridge as it followed the north side of the Platte River valley west through Nebraska along the general path of the Oregon, Mormon and California Trails. The transcontinental railroad in the latter half of the nineteenth century was typically built with substantial infusions of federal, state, and local government aid. These included an extensive series of expeditions of the American West seeking possible routes. The railroad crosses the Wasatch Mountains via a much gentler grade through Weber Canyon. By then the railroad had already been prebuilt down the Truckee River on the much flatter land from Reno to Wadsworth, Nevada, where they bridged the Truckee for the last time.  Almost all of the roadbed work had to be done manually, using shovels, picks, axes, two-wheeled dump carts, wheelbarrows, ropes, scrapers, etc., with initially only black powder available for blasting. This gave them a head start on getting to the "easy" miles across Nevada. In this area the freeway passes along the south shore of the Great Salt Lake and passes through Salt Lake City, cresting the Wasatch Mountains at Parley's Summit. Most Chinese were initially paid $31 per month and provided lodging, but they preferred to cook their own meals. Modern-day Interstate 80 roughly follows the path of the railroad from Sacramento across modern day California, Nevada, Wyoming and Nebraska, with a few exceptions. The feat is depicted in various movies, including the 1939 film Union Pacific, starring Joel McCrea and Barbara Stanwyck and directed by Cecil B. DeMille, which depicts the fictional Central Pacific investor Asa Barrows obstructing attempts of the Union Pacific to reach Ogden, Utah.  Initially, many valleys were bridged by "temporary" trestles that could be rapidly built and were later replaced by much lower maintenance and permanent solid fill. Some sources say that he wrote such an article in 1832. Although the railroad later went bankrupt once the easy placer gold deposits around Placerville, California were depleted, Judah was convinced that a properly financed railroad could pass from Sacramento through the Sierra Nevada mountains to reach the Great Basin and hook up with rail lines coming from the East. The vast number of people who traveled the line, and the complex web of connecting routes that followed, set the USA on the path to economic abundance. By ANDREW GLASS. Despite the generous subsidies offered by the federal government, the railroad capitalists knew they would not turn a profit on the railroad business for many months, possibly years. In 1869, the Comanche chief Tosawi was reported to have told Sheridan, “Me Tosawi. Once the Central Pacific was out of the Sierras and the Carson Range, progress sped up considerably as the railroad bed could be built over nearly flat ground. Year the Transcontinental Railroad was finished. While not exactly accurate, John Ford's 1924 silent movie The Iron Horse captures the fervent nationalism that drove public support for the project. Personnel had to be hired to run these stations. " After a flatcar was unloaded, it would usually be hooked to a small locomotive and pulled back to a siding, so another flatcar with rails etc. Most of the engineers and surveyors who figured out how and where to build the railroad on the Union Pacific were engineering college trained. The Kansas Pacific became part of the Union Pacific in 1880. But modern researchers and scholars have taken issue with this name. The construction of the Transcontinental Railroad provides the setting for the AMC television series Hell on Wheels. The major investor in the Union Pacific was Thomas Clark Durant, who had made his stake money by smuggling Confederate cotton with the aid of Grenville M. Dodge. The railroad connected Council Bluff, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska with Sacramento, California. , It was far from a given that the railroads operating in the thinly-settled west would make enough money to repay their construction and operation. This in part motivated the United States to complete the Gadsden Purchase.. The manual labor to build the Central Pacific's roadbed, bridges and tunnels was done primarily by many thousands of emigrant workers from China under the direction of skilled non-Chinese supervisors. The summit tunnel (Number 6), 1,660 feet (510 m), was started in late 1865, well ahead of the railhead. First he touted rumors that his fledgling M&M Railroad had a deal in the works, while secretly buying stock in the depressed Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad. The volume of the toll road freight traffic to Nevada was estimated to be about $13,000,000 a year as the Comstock Lode boomed, and getting even part of this freight traffic would help pay for the railroad construction. In the east, the Union Pacific selected a foreign name, calling their construction firm "Crédit Mobilier of America. Elevated 6,070 feet (1,850 m) above sea level, and sitting on the new Union Pacific route with a connection to Denver, Cheyenne was chosen to become a major railroad center and was equipped with extensive railroad yards, maintenance facilities, and a Union Pacific presence. At the same time, another gang would distribute telegraph poles and wire along the grade, while the cooks prepared dinner and the clerks busied themselves with accounts, records, using the telegraph line to relay requests for more materials and supplies or communicate with supervisors. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007. The Central Pacific laid 690 miles (1,110 km) of track, starting in Sacramento, California, in 1863 and continuing over the rugged 7,000-foot (2,100 m) Sierra Nevada mountains at Donner Pass into the new state of Nevada. , With the end of the Civil War and increased government supervision in the offing, Durant hired his former M&M engineer Grenville M. Dodge to build the railroad, and the Union Pacific began a mad dash west. "The charter of the last-named Company [Western Pacific Railroad] contemplated a line from Sacramento toward San Francisco, making the circuit of the Bay of that name [to San José].  The Pacific Railroad Act of 1863 established the standard gauge to be used in these federally financed railways. The coming of the Transcontinental Railroad (TCRR), the first communication revolution in the United States. The transcontinental line was popularly known as the Overland Route after the principal passenger rail service that operated over the length of the line until 1962. It was 1,776 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. Promontory, Utah. The whole idea of building the Transcontinental Railroad moved from fantasy to reality during the administration of Abraham Lincoln. 01. of 05. He had a lobbying office in the United States Capitol, received an audience with President James Buchanan, and represented the Convention before Congress. On December 4, 1868, the Union Pacific reached Evanston, having laid almost 360 miles (580 km) of track over the Green River and the Laramie Plains that year. Four of the five transcontinental railroads were built with assistance from the federal government through land grants. The spike is now on display at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, while a second "Last" Golden Spike is also on display at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. Despite the transcontinental success and millions in government subsidies, the Union Pacific faced bankruptcy less than three years after the Last Spike as details surfaced about overcharges that Crédit Mobilier had billed Union Pacific for the formal building of the railroad. 40 ft or 12 m) to Donner Summit (elev. , Many of the civil engineers and surveyors who were hired by the Union Pacific had been employed during the American Civil War to repair and operate the over 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of railroad line the U.S. Military Railroad controlled by the end of the war. In America, this happened May 10, 1869, with the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The legal "date of completion" of the WPRR grade was subsequently designated to be January 22, 1870. Whitney traveled widely to solicit support from businessmen and politicians, printed maps and pamphlets, and submitted several proposals to Congress, all at his own expense. Me good Indian,” and Sheridan allegedly replied, “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.” The phrase was later misquoted, with Sheridan supposedly stating, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Sheridan denied he had ever said such a thing. On June 18, 1868, the Central Pacific reached Reno, Nevada, after completing 132 miles (212 km) of railroad up and over the Sierras from Sacramento, California. The railroad opened for through traffic between Sacramento and Omaha on May 10, 1869, when CPRR President Leland Stanford ceremonially tapped the gold "Last Spike" (later often referred to as the "Golden Spike") with a silver hammer at Promontory Summit. New York: The Success Company, Vol. In September 1859, Judah was chosen to be the accredited lobbyist for the Pacific Railroad Convention, which indeed approved his plan to survey, finance and engineer the road. As the railroad advanced, their freight rates with the combined rail and wagon shipments would become much more competitive. " SUCCESS (magazine). Today the site feature replica engines of Union Pacific No.  Once the machinery and tools reached the San Francisco Bay area, they were put aboard river paddle steamers which transported them up the final 130 miles (210 km) of the Sacramento River to the new state capital in Sacramento. The crews were transferred to work on bridges and track grading on the Truckee River canyon. In the 1860s there was no heavy equipment that could be used to make these cuts or haul it away to make the fills. Andrew J. Russell, Public Domain/Wikimedia. One crew worked drilling holes on the faces and another crew collected and removed the loosened rock after each explosion. In June 1845, he led a team along part of the proposed route to assess its feasibility.. :49 J. O. Wilder, a Central Pacific-Southern Pacific employee, commented that "The Chinese were as steady, hard-working a set of men as could be found.  In the following six months, the last leg from Sacramento to San Francisco Bay was completed. The railroad experimented by hiring local emigrant Chinese as manual laborers, many of whom were escaping the poverty and terrors of the war in the Sze Yup districts in the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong province in China. There were actually two grades built, both parallel and adjacent to each other. Governor Stanford drove the Golden Spike (or the Last Spike), that symbolized the completion of the 274, 1878 U.S. LEXIS 1556 – CourtListener.com", "Proposal for a Charter to Build a Railroad from Lake Michigan to the Pacific Ocean", "Dr. Hartwell Carver's Proposal to Build a Railroad from Lake Michigan to the Pacific Ocean", "Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-4. Central Pacific Railroad Company of California, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Denver Pacific Railway and Telegraph Company, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, History of rail transportation in California, List of heritage railroads in the United States, The transcontinental railroad and modern datacenter locations, "First Mortgage Bonds of the Central Pacific Railroad, 1867", "CPRR Ephemera and Collectibles - $1,000 Pacific Railroad Bond, City and County of San Francisco, June 24, 1864", Executive Order of Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, Fixing the Point of Commencement of the, "Driving the Last Spike at Promontory, 1869, "Pacific Railroad Officially Completed on November 6, 1869", "Union Pacific R. Co. v. United States, 99 U.S. 402, 25 L. Ed. Survey teams were assigned to their advantage and using the Transcontinental railroad moved from fantasy to reality during the of... 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