Thursday, April 10, 2014



The First Transcontinental Railroad is the popular name of the U.S. railroad line (known at the time as the Pacific Railroad) completed in 1869 between Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska (via Ogden, Utah and Sacramento, California) and Alameda, California By linking with the existing railway network of the Eastern United States, the road thus connected the Atlantic and Pacific coasts by rail for the first time. Opened for through traffic on May 10, 1869, with the driving of the "Last Spike" at Promontory Summit, Utah the road established a mechanized transcontinental transportation network that revolutionized the population and economy of the American West.

Authorized by the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 during the American Civil War and supported by U.S. government bonds and extensive land grants of government owned land, it was the culmination of a decades-long movement to build such a line and was one of the crowning achievements of the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, although completed four years after his death. The building of the railway required enormous amounts of money and feats of engineering and labor in the crossing of plains and high mountains by the Union Pacific Railroad and Central Pacific Railroad, which built the line westward and eastward respectively.


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