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Remember Ross Rowland’s audacious 1969 “Golden Spike Centennial Limited”? Golden Spike Ceremony at Promontory, Utah 5/10/1869. A near neighbour, the 47th parallel survey, had in the early 1880s been followed by the Northern Pacific Railway. The Transcontinental Railroad was by no means finished—it would take years to make it a fully-functional main line. Prior to the transcontinental railroad, a trip out west was accomplished by stagecoach or wagon. This was designed to help boost trade and transportation throughout the country. Directors of the Union Pacific Railroad 1866. The entire country waited for the three dots sent by telegraph: the message was “Done.”. So far, the “Sesquicentennial Season” (stretching from the 150th Anniversary of the 1862 Pacific Railroad Act through the May 10, 2019 celebration in Utah) has been a rather quiet, unfocused affair. The Transcontinental Route. What was the significance of the golden spike? After five years of brutally hard work, exhausted construction crews watched by lamplight as the Chief Engineer drove the final spike of a railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The railroad's ability to connect both coasts with a relatively quick form of transportation opened markets for goods that did not exist earlier. My Wingman and colleague will be Kyle Wyatt, longtime Curator of the Nevada State Railroad Museum and California State Railroad Museum, and one of the most deeply knowledgeable railroad historians I know. It would have been a fine chance for the railroad industry at large to recognize railroading’s heritage, and its central role in creating our modern economy and society—at least one last time. The first transcontinental railroad was a landmark achievement that boosted industry and commerce and cleared the way for the settlements throughout the West. I have lots of ideas but no agenda, other than to explore interesting aspects of the Journey to Promontory, and what came after. There are few things in American history that had the impact of the Transcontinental Railroad. Look for a new post every couple of weeks. Though there was expansion in settled areas within the nation, the country itself seemed smaller as reaching the various locations became easier. The railroad boosted the economic status of the United States in several ways. Andrew Jackson took the first concrete steps by the U.S. Government to create an “Inter-Oceanic Railroad” in the 1830s, but was stymied by the country’s financial situation. Officials and workers for the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads celebrate the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. Please allow up to 24 hours for your comment to be approved. Sources . Another way to prevent getting this page in the future is to use Privacy Pass. By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our, Get our weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox. Thank you. If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. 10 days. Still, the Panama Railroad was ambitious for its day and a challenge to build. It wasn’t good history, but it captured the essence of a moment in railroading’s—and America’s—past. A 47-mile long jungle railroad angling oddly across the narrow isthmus connecting the North and South American continents wasn’t in the same league as the 1800-mile long road between the Missouri and Sacramento Rivers. The 41st parallel survey, only a partial investigation, sketched the alignment on which was to be built the first transcontinental railroad, the Union Pacific east of … In 1800s America, some saw the railroad as a symbol of modernity and national progress. Even the Railroad Heritage community (and certainly the culture at large) seems to regard this as a local, or railroad-specific, event. If you are reading this, you probably have more than a passing interest in railroading’s past and present, and hopefully the patience to roam around a vast, quirky and far ranging project from 150 years ago. The advantages for business are almost obvious. They were Leland Stanford, Collis P. … Completing the CAPTCHA proves you are a human and gives you temporary access to the web property. The Transcontinental Railroad expedited the growth of the American West. If completed, the United States would be truly be united from east to west. Calls for a railroad that would connect the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the North American continent began in the 1840s, with the first resolution in support of the as-yet undetermined route passing Congress in 1845. This took around 6 months and costed over $1000. Comments on this post must be approved by a moderator before they will appear on the site. It was 1855, fully 14 years before Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads likewise drove a series of “final spikes.” The Panama Railroad (with associated steamship lines) dramatically cut transit time between New York and San Francisco, and made our present Transcons inevitable. Significance: The Central Pacific First Transcontinental Railroad is a segment of the western half of the first transcontinental railroad, built from Sacramento, California to Promontory Summit, Utah between 1863 and 1869, where it joined the Union Pacific Railroad which had built west from Omaha. Impact of the Transcontinental Railroad. The Pacific Railroad had it all--drama, intrigue, fascinating characters, setbacks and triumphs, and as much tabloid and reality show behavior as we can stand. 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