Transcontinental Railroad

From East to West in the United States

Early Plans

America's first steam locomotive made debut in 1830.


There was 9,000 miles of track laid east of Missouri River.


In 1845, an idea to stretch the railroad across the Pacific was made.


In the next year Abe Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Act.


Two Competing Companies

In terms of the Bill, the CPRC would start building in Sacramento all the way east across the Sierra Nevada.


On the other hand the Union Pacific Railroad built westward from Missouri. The two lines of track met in the middle.


The two companies each received $6,400 which later doubled to $12,800 in government bonds for every mile of track built.

Dangers And Difficulties

The Union Pacific finally began to move westward in 1866, after General Grenville Dodge, took control as Chief Engineer.


They suffered bloody attack by Native Americans, (including Sioux, Arapaho, and Cheyenne). Still they quickly moved across the plains compared to the low progress of their rivals through the Sierra Nevada.

Down the Home Stretch

By the summer of 1867, the Union Pacific was in Wyoming, which covered nearly 4 times as much ground as the Central Pacific.


Central broke through the mountains in late June.


March 1869. the new President Ulysses S. Grant announced he would hold federal funds until both countries agreed on a meeting point.


May 10th, after several delays, the final spike was driven, linking the Union and Central Pacific and the Transcontinental railroad was complete.