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History of Railroads

Uploaded by Admin on Jan 22, 1999

Railroads were born in England, a country of dense population, short distances, and large financial resources. In England problems were very different from those in America, which in the early 1800s was a nation of great distances, sparse population, and limited capital. Americans had to learn to build railroads for their own country by actual experience; they could not copy English methods. The first American railroads started from the Atlantic ports of Boston, Mass.; New York City; Philadelphia, Pa.; Wilmington, Del.; Baltimore, Md.; Charleston, S.C.; and Savannah, Ga. Within 20 years four rail lines had crossed the Alleghenies to reach their goal on the "Western Waters" of the Great Lakes or on the tributaries of the Mississippi. Meanwhile other lines had started from west of the mountains, and by the mid-1850s Chicago, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo.; and Memphis, Tenn., were connected with the East. Still other lines were stretching westward beyond the Mississippi. An international route connected New England and Montreal, Que., and another one crossed southern Ontario between Niagara, N.Y., and the Detroit River. During the 1850s north-south routes were developed both east and west of the Alleghenies. It was not until after the American Civil War, however, that a permanent railroad bridge (as distinguished from a temporary wartime structure) was constructed across the Ohio River. After the Civil War the pace of railroad building increased. The two Pacific railroads-one, the Union Pacific, building westward from Omaha, Neb.; the other, the Central Pacific, building eastward from Sacramento, Calif.-had been started during the war to help promote national unity. They were joined at Promontory, Utah, on May 10, 1869, completing the first rail connection across the continent.

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   01/22/1999

Category:   American History

Length:   1 pages (274 words)

Views:   1447

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