History of the Transcontinental Railroad and its Facts

America's first steam locomotive made its debut in 1830, and over the next two decades railroad path associated many cities on the East Coast. By 1850, some 9,000 miles of track had been place east of the Missouri River. During that same period, the first colonist began to move westward across the United States; this trend augmented radically after the detection of gold in California in 1849. The overland journey--across mountains, plains, rivers and deserts--was risky and difficult, and many westward immigrant instead chose to travel by sea, attractive the six-month route around Cape Horn at the tip of South America, or jeopardy yellow fever and other sickness by crossing the Isthmus of Panama and traveling via ship to San Francisco.

In 1845, the New York entrepreneur Asa Whitney existing a resolution in Congress proposes the federal funding of a railroad that would stretch to the Pacific. Lobbying labors over the next several years failed due to growing sectionalism in Congress, but the idea linger a potent one. In 1860, a young engineer named Theodore Judah recognized the notorious Donner Pass in northern California (where a group of westward emigrants had become trapped in 1846)
as an ideal place for build a railroad through the dreadful Sierra Nevada Mountains.By 1861, Judah had enrolled a group of investors in Sacramento to form the Central Pacific Railroad Company. He then beginning to Washington, where he was able to tempt congressional leaders as well as President Abraham Lincoln, who indication the Pacific Railroad Act into law the following year.

By the terms of the bill, the Central Pacific Railroad Company would start structure in Sacramento and maintain east across the Sierra Nevada, while a second company, the Union Pacific Railroad, would construct westward from the Missouri River, near the Idaho-Nebraska border.

The two lines of track would convene in the middle (the bill did not designate an exact location) and each company would obtain 6,400 acres of land (later doubled to 12,800) and $48,000 in government union for each mile of track built. From the opening, then, the building of the transcontinental railroad was set up in terms of an opposition between the two companies.

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