How The Railroad Industrialized America A Track That Unified A Nation Research Paper

Length: 10 pages Sources: 6 Subject: American History Type: Research Paper Paper: #29660536 Related Topics: A River Runs Through It, Interconnection, Central America, Nation Building
Excerpt from Research Paper :

¶ … railroad industrialized America, a Track That Unified a Nation

How the railroad industrialized America

In the nineteenth century, the railroad system of the United States of America came to life. The systems' sole purpose was to transport people and goods across the country. Railroad system in the country began on the East and moved westwards. The move to the west resulted in development of towns, which further made the system branch to meet other regions in the state. These resulted in a web like rail system over the country. These had an impact on the life, culture and the way of life for the people of America. The railroad system in America in the nineteenth century interconnected various societies. The railroad systems at that time decreased work time since people were able to travel easier. People were able to travel great distances with the invention of the railroad system.

In the nineteenth century between the years, 1863- 1869, the first transcontinental railroad came into operation in the United States of America. The system, whose original name was pacific Railroad, brought immense development in the country. The systems' intention was to connect all of the county's railroads. The system connected the pacific coast with existing eastern rail systems. The interconnection of these systems was at Iowa, Missouri river, and Council Bluffs. The film further brings into one's realization that 10th of 1869 was the point at which rails joined at the Utah territory. This event came into light with the "Promontory Summit." This was the birth of the Transcontinental Railroad, which extended the frontier for the purposes of movement of populations (Grant and Bohi 1978). This railroad system meant that the people of America had an opportunity to transform their place of living and way of life with ease.

Effect of Railroad System

The advent of the railroad system in America in the nineteenth century meant that people improved their way of life. Railroads made people move goods in bulk and travel with ease. Railroad network expanded markets for traders; this made the availability of goods and markets expand within the country. This made it easier for a product in New York to make it out to the western market in a quicker time. One comes to the realization that the railroad system made people obtain a wider variety of goods in almost every place (Jeff 2012). During the period before the construction of the Railroad system, individuals were unable to access new markets with ease, buy a large variety of goods, or even obtain foreign goods.

The railroad system's development in the land of America allowed settlement of people. Settlements thrived on the railroad network since people were able to move great distances and obtained products easily for survival. Families were able to move to distance places and make homes. These brought up towns and village like settlements as well as markets. The system did not only facilitate the development and settlement but further extended markets. This made people start up businesses providing an opportunity for sale and production of goods. In that situation where goods in a region overtook, demand the railroad system provided an opportunity for transportation to other markets. However, the Rail system had its negative or a positive influence on the American Civil War depending on one's focal point (Grant and Bohi 1978). The railroad system allowed the move of military equipment and soldiers to greater distances. The system had positive influence on the development on societies as well as their military strategies. This therefore, made further development of the Railroad a priority for all in the community. The influence of the railroad system was a crucial factor for winning wars for various war factions in the United States of America in the nineteenth century.

Ending the nineteenth century, there were five railroads interconnections in America. These contributions reflect on the positive transformation of the economy of the society at that time. This rail system came into realization with the assistance of the federal government through land grant. The obtaining of land by


Railroad construction was not an easy task. It meant that workers had to endure uncomfortable environmental conditions. This crew had to lay tracks over natural features such as deserts, mountains, over rivers and through forests (Grant and Bohi 1978). The construction of the system attracted diverse character of people. Some of those who benefited from this construction dealt in illegal, legal or looked for a way to gain quick profit. Considering these aspects one has to realize that; however, much the railroad led to negative implications, the positive side of the system is worth mentioning. The system opened up settlement in the west, provided a base for development, and stimulated economic opportunities in the country.

Transcontinental Railroad Engineering and Technology (Golden Spike)

To proclaim the majestic structure of the Transcontinental Railroad in the United States of America, one has to refer to the importance of the Promontory Mountains. This is the place where the very first Transcontinental Railroad was completed. The date of completion was on May 10, 1869. The marvelous structure of the tract at this period moved through Sierra Nevada while moving towards the union pacific (Jeff 2012). The construction work with the help of workers, who included Chinese, came to a halt when the railroads met at the summit of the promontory mountain. Trained Chinese men laid the last stretch of the railroad in twelve hours before the beginning of the ceremony.

The event coded "golden Spike" signify the meeting point of two railheads. The occasion significance relates to the wedding of the two rail tracks. Engineering and technology of the railroad was crude at that period. The company used considerable finance and workforce to construct the railroad. Faced with the challenge of cutting rocks, making deep canyons and cutting through granite these companies made over fifteen tunnels. During construction, movement of materials was by way of wagons. The construction workers were mainly of Chinese origin. These groups of crewmembers succeeded to move through the desert, and showing a tremendous effort of human engineering (Jeff 2012). However, their involvement in these massive projects meant that the cost of construction had to go up and that a number of them were injured or even died. The accomplishment of the construction of the intercontinental railroads in America is the greatest accomplishment of engineers of its era.

While crossing the Sierra Nevada, the Central Pacific had constructed approximately fifteen tunnels. Activities of these workers revolved around sinking tunnels, workers labored over of time. The labor was so intensive that worker labored in almost every climatic condition. With these to consider, there is recorded history of where an entire crew during the construction died after being swept by snow. Because time was a factor in completing the task, members of the crew used heavier power, which proved dangerous and affected the clarity of lines. Boring machine usage was part of the technology, and these meant that workers worked in shifts. The means of transportation to the sites were sledges, locomotives, and ox teams. Explosives used in exploring rocks were made of nitroglycerine.

Brown's scope surveys the development of the railroad from 1862 through 1869

The construction of the Railroad in the nineteenth century in America had its challenges, and competition between construction companies. The intersection also represents the era of intersection between the Central and Union Pacific. These were critical players in the construction of the railroads. There was competition from the two railroad companies. The Union Pacific company underwent several challenges. Some of the challenges in this route were spring and winter weather. The rail tracts were flooded during spring and replaced with ice debris during winter. The railroad also had to cross-rivers. The conflict between the two rail companies came forth particularly with the resignation of the chief Engineer of Union pacific over a border dispute. The company had to carry meals and supplies on specialized carriages, which was costly and needed sufficient workers. The other problem that the company faced was attacks from Indians. Small surveys parties were subject to Indian attacks, which made it necessary for a Calvary of troops to support constructions. The terrain, on the other hand, proved difficult for engineers and worker alike.

The Central pacific company, on the other hand, needed to construct a railroad on their route. This route had its strategy in building the railroad. The strategy employed by the Central Pacific Company involved, supplies, crewmembers and equipment. The work was in two divisions; the upper division and the lower division. There were engineers' assigned specific duties. Some took the task of constructing tunnels, bridges while they worked under special supervisors. The works at this route started at the end of the American civil war. These workers had their schedule of doing work some drilled…

Sources Used in Documents:


William Thomas, 2011 . "Railroads and the Making of Modern America."

John F. Stover, 1997. "American railroads.," Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press

Albro Martin., 1992. "Railroads triumphant: the growth, rejection, and rebirth of a vital American force." New York: Oxford University Press.

H. Roger Grant and Charles W. Bohi., 1978. "The Country Railroad Station in America."

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