Also see the A. The first transcontinental railroad was completed when the rails of the Union Pacific, reaching westward from Omaha, Nebraska, and those of the Central Pacific Railroad, reaching eastward from Sacramento, California were joined, completing the coast-to-coast connection.
From the beginning, then, the building of the transcontinental railroad was set up in terms of a competition between the two companies. All were ambitious businessmen with no prior experience with railroads, engineering or construction. They borrowed heavily to finance the project, and exploited legal loopholes to get the most possible funds from the government for their planned track construction.
Disillusioned with his partners, Judah planned to recruit new investors to buy them out, but he caught yellow fever while crossing the Isthmus of Panama on his way east and died in Novembersoon after the Central Pacific had spiked its first rails to ties in Sacramento.
Meanwhile, in Omaha, Dr.
Thomas Durant had illegally achieved a controlling interest in the Union Pacific Railroad Company, giving him complete authority over the project. Though the Union Pacific celebrated its own launch in early Decemberlittle would be completed until the end of the Civil War in Still, the Union Pacific moved relatively quickly across the plains, compared to the slow progress of their rival company through the Sierra.
By that time, some 50, Chinese immigrants were living on the West Coast, many having arrived during the Gold Rush. This was controversial at the time, as the Chinese were considered an inferior race due to pervasive racism.
The Chinese laborers proved to be tireless workers, and Crocker hired more of them; some 14, were toiling under brutal working conditions in the Sierra Nevada by early To blast through the mountains, the Central Pacific built huge wooden trestles on the western slopes and used gunpowder and nitroglycerine to blast tunnels through the granite.
Down the Home Stretch By the summer ofthe Union Pacific was in Wyominghaving covered nearly four times as much ground as the Central Pacific. The Central Pacific broke through the mountains in late June, however, and the hard part was finally behind them. Both companies then headed towards Salt Lake City, cutting many corners including building shoddy bridges or sections of track that would have to be rebuilt later in their race to get ahead.
By earlythe companies were working only miles from each other, and in March the newly inaugurated President Ulysses S.
Grant announced he would withhold federal funds until the two railroad companies agreed on a meeting point. On May 10, after several delays, a crowd of workers and dignitaries watched as the final spike was driven linking the Central Pacific and Union Pacific.
Telegraph cables immediately went out to President Grant and around the country with the news that the transcontinental railroad had been completed.Union Pacific is the largest railroad in North America, covering 23 states across the western two-thirds of the United States History and Photos.
Union Pacific History and Chronologies. Union Pacific Railroad Timeline; The Great Race to Promontory After the completion of the transcontinental railroad, communities all along the backbone.
"No one has done before what Athearn has done in this volume.
He has utilized company records and a variety of other sources to write a very attractive and readable, but scholarly account of the impact of the Union Pacific and its branch line on the country it served from the s to the s. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Pacific Railroad Act of , which names and directs two companies, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, to construct a transcontinental railroad.
Ground is broken at Omaha for Union Pacific, but construction is delayed because of insufficient funding. The First Transcontinental Railroad (also called the Great Transcontinental Railroad, known originally as the "Pacific Railroad" and later as the "Overland Route") was a 1,mile (3, km) continuous railroad line constructed between and that connected the existing eastern U.S.
rail network at Omaha, Nebraska/Council Bluffs, Iowa with the Pacific coast at the Oakland Long Wharf . Central Pacific Railroad construction in the 's. Stereoviews, engravings, maps, and documents are treasures of western Americana that illustrate the history of the first transcontinental railroad, built from Sacramento, California over the Sierra Nevada mountains, the to end of track at the Golden Spike Ceremony at Promontory, Utah where the rails were joined on May 10, with the Union.
This Day in History: 05/10/ - Transcontinental Railroad. In This Day in History video clip: In , the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah.