In the 1840s, the desire for new land and the promise of riches drew thousands of Americans westward. But the journey by wagon and on foot was slow and dangerous, and people yearned for a new way to travel. The dream of creating a railroad that spanned the entire country seemed at best fleeting, but the passion of a few ignited a nation. Railroad fever had struck.
The transcontinental railroad would forever change the face of the country. Through the hard work of Irish and Chinese immigrants, former slaves, and others, the dream of transcontinental travel became a reality. Fighting rough terrain and enduring backbreaking work and terrible conditions, the workers pushed on in the “great race” that developed between the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific railroads. Part of National Geographic’s Crossroads America series, Railroad Fever: Building the Transcontinental Railroad, 1830–1870 is a story of struggle, dreams, and the building of America.
About the Author