First transcontinental railroad is completed - HISTORY
A railroad linking America's east and west coasts had been a dream almost since the steam locomotive made its first appearance in the early s. The need. The eastern-based Union Pacific began in Omaha and built west. of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah. the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad met on with the western crews battling the mountains and the eastern crews.
Many of these steam engines, railroad cars, and other machinery were shipped dismantled and had to be reassembled. The Union Pacific Railroad did not start construction for another 18 months until July They were delayed by difficulties obtaining financial backing and the unavailability of workers and materials due to the Civil War.
Their start point in the new city of Omaha, Nebraska was not yet connected via railroad to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Equipment needed to begin work was initially delivered to Omaha and Council Bluffs by paddle steamers on the Missouri River. The Union Pacific was so slow in beginning construction during that they sold two of the four steam locomotives they had purchased.
Civil War ended on June 22,the Union Pacific still competed for railroad supplies with companies who were building or repairing railroads in the south, and prices rose. But much of the south had adopted a 5-foot gauge. Transferring railway cars across a break of gauge required changing out the wheel trucks. Alternatively, cargo was offloaded and reloaded, a time-consuming effort that delayed cargo shipments. For the transcontinental railroad, the builders adopted the English standard, what is now called standard gauge.
Within a few years, nearly all railroads converted to steel rails. Time zones and telegraph usage[ edit ] Time was not standardized across the United States and Canada until November 18, Ineach railroad set its own time to minimize scheduling errors.
To communicate easily up and down the line, the railroads built telegraph lines alongside the railroad.
These lines eventually superseded the original First Transcontinental Telegraph which followed much of the Mormon Trail up the North Platte River and across the very thinly populated Central Nevada Route through central Utah and Nevada.
The telegraph lines along the railroad were easier to protect and maintain. Many of the original telegraph lines were abandoned as the telegraph business was consolidated with the railroad telegraph lines.
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Where the Transcontinental Railroad finally joined
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. May Learn how and when to remove this template message Route of the first American transcontinental railroad from Sacramento, California, to Council Bluffs, Iowa.
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Other railroads connected at Council Bluffs to cities throughout the East and Midwest. Omaha was chosen by President Abraham Lincoln as the location of its Transfer Depot where up to seven railroads could transfer mail and other goods to Union Pacific trains bound for the west.
Trains were initially transported across the Missouri River by ferry before they could access the western tracks beginning in OmahaNebraska Territory.
Some of the participants got "sloppy," and these were not all Irish and Chinese by any means. California furnished the Golden Spike.
Promontory, Utah - Wikipedia
Governor Tuttle of Nevada furnished one of silver. General Stanford [Governor Safford? The last tie was of California laurel. When they came to drive the last spike, Governor Stanford, president of the Central Pacific, took the sledge, and the first time he struck he missed the spike and hit the rail.
Promontory, Utah May 10, What a howl went up! Irish, Chinese, Mexicans, and everybody yelled with delight.
Then Stanford tried it again and tapped the spike and the telegraph operators had fixed their instruments so that the tap was reported in all the offices east and west, and set bells to tapping in hundreds of towns and cities Then Vice President T.
Durant of the Union Pacific took up the sledge and he missed the spike the first time. Then everybody slapped everybody else again and yelled, 'He missed it too, yow! It also gained extensive support facilities for workers, including a railroad eating stop, engine helper station, and quarters for the Chinese section crew. At the turn of the 20th century, wheat farmers had begun to change the landscape around Promontory with farms and families.
The replacement causeway is to the right.
The railroad across Promontory Summit remained in continuous use for 35 years. However, despite its historic importance, it was part of a large detour undertaken by the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific railroads because of the Great Salt Lake.
As trains became longer and heavier, additional engines were often required to pull them up to the summit. Although Union Pacific engineers had initially considered a direct route across the lake, they opted for the surveyed line through Promontory due to cost and schedule reasons.
The last regularly scheduled transcontinental passenger train to pass through Promontory station was on Sunday, September 18, On September 8,an "unspiking" ceremony was held to commemorate the lifting of the last rail over Promontory Summit; the old steel rails were used for the war effort in World War II. In the s, the wooden trestle was replaced with a parallel concrete-stone causeway built by the Morrison-Knudsen construction company.
Southern Pacific continued to maintain the wooden trestle as a backup for several decades, although its last significant rail traffic was in the early s. Beginning in Marchthe timber from the trestle has been salvaged and removed. By the early s, a number of re-enactments of the driving of the last spike had been held at Promontory Summit.