How Did The Transcontinental Railroad Affect Westward Expansion

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In the United States today a person could board a non-stop flight in New York City and arrive in San Francisco in less than seven hours. American’s today are spoiled in many ways, especially when it comes to travel. Imagine, instead of taking a flight to San Francisco you would have to travel by horse and buggy for up to six months in order to make the same trip. From the horse and buggy, travel evolved in the 1800s to railway and trains, which severely reduced the travel time. The Transcontinental Railroad influenced the westward expansion and transformed travel and economics of the United States in the late 1800s. The transcontinental railroad became important to westward expansion for obvious reason; it made travel to the west quicker, …show more content…

Responding to the booming transport demand, American entrepreneurs developed projects for a transcontinental railroad with the first being submitted to Congress in 1845, but it would be blocked due to its cost and political conflicts (Duran). Between 1853 and 1861, there would be numerous studies and surveys conducted on the railroad from the cost, possible routes, and alternative transportation options. On July 1, 1862 the Pacific Railroad Act was passed (Duran). The act would authorize several grants that allowed for financial support for companies to complete the railway. Two railroad companies would begin work, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific. Both companies would begin constructing what would become the transcontinental railroad and on May 10, 1869 the two companies would meet in Promontory Point, Utah completing the transcontinental railroad. The project would be official with the driving of the final gold spike and the Union Pacific and Central Pacific became a single, continent-spanning rail line (Haycox). The transcontinental railroad officially became the first long-distance form of travel in the United States linking the Pacific and Atlantic

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