The Transcontinental Railroad: The Gateway to the West

Overview

In 1862, when Congress passed the Pacific Railway Act, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads were established to fulfill the long-awaited American dream to link the coasts of the United States. The Union Pacific started from Omaha, Nebraska, and the Central Pacific was based in Sacramento, California. The Central Pacific began construction in 1863, more than a year and a half before the Union Pacific, but the two railroad lines had markedly different terrain to cover. The Central Pacific was tasked with...
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Overview

In 1862, when Congress passed the Pacific Railway Act, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads were established to fulfill the long-awaited American dream to link the coasts of the United States. The Union Pacific started from Omaha, Nebraska, and the Central Pacific was based in Sacramento, California. The Central Pacific began construction in 1863, more than a year and a half before the Union Pacific, but the two railroad lines had markedly different terrain to cover. The Central Pacific was tasked with traversing the Sierra Nevada, a much more difficult route than the level ground of the Great Plains, over which the Union Pacific was laying track. As a result, when the two lines met at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869, the Union Pacific had laid more than two-thirds of the 1,776 miles of track between Omaha and Sacramento. The Transcontinental Railroad represents one of the nineteenth century's greatest feats of engineering. The tale of its construction is one of great heroism, brutal dispossession, rampant corruption, and sheer will.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
AGERANGE: Ages 12 up.

In the late 1840s, soon after California became a state, the Gold Rush began. A transcontinental railroad was next on the agenda. President Franklin Pierce commissioned Secretary of War Jefferson Davis to explore construction of a railroad that would connect California with the rest of the country. Following the 1862 Pacific Railway Act, both the Central Pacific Railroad Company and the Union Pacific Railroad Company were founded. Both companies had the same mission: to put down 1,800 miles of railroad track between Omaha, Nebraska and Sacramento, California. The book provides details about the logistics of the work, as well as the challenges and the types of people involved in this expensive and ingenious engineering feat. While the Union Pacific Railroad Company faced attacks by Cheyenne and Sioux Indians, the Central Pacific Railroad Company had the most difficult route to build which led to the digging of more than a dozen tunnels through the Western mountain range. Ultimately, the project was completed with a connecting-of-the-rails celebration in Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869. The book is part of the "Milestones in American History" series. Reviewer: Lynn O'Connell

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791093511
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/2007
  • Series: Milestones in American History Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents


Gold, Silver, and Iron Spikes     1
Two Companies     11
The Race to the Middle Begins     23
The Men Who Made the Railroad     34
Corruption     47
Union Pacific Progress     58
Tunnels, Deserts, and Prairies     68
The Great Race     81
Finale     92
Chronology and Timeline     104
Bibliography     108
Further Reading     109
Index     112
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