Failure Of The Transcontinental Railroad

870 Words4 Pages
The Transcontinental Railroad not only untied the nation, but made America possible. Building the Transcontinental railroad was one of America’s greatest achievements, comparable to traveling to the moon and creating the atomic bomb. It connected the east and west coasts of the country, giving the people the ability to settle wherever they wanted. Before they would have had to travel by wagon, take a ship around South America, or risk getting yellow fever crossing the Isthmus of Panama. The driving force behind the transcontinental railroad was the competition between two railroad companies, the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific. The government would pay each company sixteen thousand dollars for every mile of track laid. This got the companies moving as fast as they could. The Union Pacific started in Omaha Nebraska on flat terrain. The Central Pacific started in Sacramento California and had to find their way through the Sierra Nevadas. The difficulty of tunneling through the mountains was so hard the Central Pacific company was barely able to move a foot in one day. The flat terrain that the Union Pacific was using was perfect; they were able to lay nearly eight miles of track every day. The federal government made this project possible. Without their funding the project never would have been started let alone be completed in six years. The first person to propose the idea was a young New York entrepreneur named Asa Whitney. His early efforts failed do to the
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