Why Was the Transcontinental Railway Built?

Construction of the first transcontinental railroad began in the United States in 1863 and was completed in May 1869. The idea of ​​building the transcontinental railroad was presented to Congress by Asa Whitney in 1845. Upon completion, the railway became one of the legacies of the development of the infrastructure of Abraham Lincoln, who had supported the construction of the railway, although it was not completed four years after his death. The railway was built by several companies including the Western Pacific Railway Company, the Central Pacific Railway Company of California and the Union Pacific Railroad Company.

Areas served by the Transcontinental Railroad

The railway was built between 1863 and 1869 as a means of connecting the east and west coasts of the United States of America. He passed through several cities and towns including Sacramento, Omaha and then through Nebraska. The transcontinental railway was built to open the interior and allow settlement in these areas, to make rural and unexplored areas accessible and to facilitate the transport of goods and passengers from one area to another. It has also been built to increase commercial activities, economic growth and industrial activities in these areas.

Benefits of the Transcontinental Railroad

The railroad has strengthened the economic state of the United States in several ways. The transport of raw materials and manufactured goods to and from the industries has become faster and easier after the completion of the railway, and the railway’s ability to connect the two coasts has increased commercial activities on the coasts. The railway has contributed to the opening of unexplored inland regions of the country, leading to new settlement areas that otherwise would not have developed. The railroad has improved the faster and cheaper transportation of goods and passengers from coastal areas to US interiors, replacing dangerous and slow wagon trains, express ponies and stagecoaches. During the construction process, there were also important cultural exchanges with immigrant workers from countries like China,

Construction challenges

During the construction process, some challenges were encountered that slowed the completion of the railway. The building occurred during the American Civil War, which explains why it took longer for the railway to cross Sierra. Furthermore, construction work in the Sierra concerned the rough terrain and a challenging mountainous landscape. The supply of construction materials from Cape Horn to California took a long time because they had to be transported by ship. The lack of labor, food and housing was another setback that slowed the construction process. Weather conditions, such as freezing and sandstorms, have also affected workers and the construction process.

Negative effects of the railway

The construction of the transcontinental railroad has had a negative impact on various groups of people. Some Native American tribes were forced to leave their land to pave the way for the transcontinental railroad. The diseases were widespread due to interactions during the construction of the railway, and the construction process itself was dangerous for the health of workers. A large number of buffaloes have been killed during the construction process due to sports activities.

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