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					The Transcontinental Railroad
Railroads had already transformed life in the East, but at the end of the Civil War railroad tracks still stopped at the Missouri River. For a quarter of a century, men had dreamed of building a line from coast to coast. Now they would attempt to lay 1,775 miles of track from Omaha to Sacramento.

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The Transcontinental Railroad
It was 1,775 miles from Omaha, NE to Sacramento, CA.

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The Transcontinental Railroad
A path would have to be cut through mountains higher than any railroad-builder had ever faced; span deserts where there was no water anywhere; and cross treeless prairies where anxious and defiant Indians would resist their passage.

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The Transcontinental Railroad
In 1862, Congress gave charters to two companies to build these tracks. The Central Pacific was to push eastward from Sacramento, over the Sierra Nevada mountains. The Union Pacific was to start from Omaha Nebraska, cross the great plains and cut through the Rockies.

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The Transcontinental Railroad
The Union Pacific and Central Pacific were soon locked in a race to see who could lay the most track -- and therefore get the most land and money. Somewhere in the West -- no one knew exactly where -- the two lines were supposed to meet.

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The Transcontinental Railroad
Theodore Judah discovered a route for the railroad through the Sierra mountains. He and Doc Strong formed the Central Pacific Railroad. They located four Sacramento investors who each purchased $15,000 of stock in the newly born Central Pacific Railroad. These men became known as the “Big Four.”

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The Transcontinental Railroad
The “Big Four” were Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, Leland Stanford and Charles Crocker.

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The Transcontinental Railroad
Collis P. Huntington moved to California during the gold rush. The Sacramento hardware store he and Mark Hopkins owned made money selling goods to miners at inflated prices. Slide #8

The Transcontinental Railroad
Leland Stanford also made a fortune selling supplies to California gold miners. In 1861, he became governor of California and later became president of the Central Pacific Railroad.

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The Transcontinental Railroad
Charles Crocker also went to California in search of gold. Like the other “Big Four”, he too struck it rich after opening a store in Sacramento.

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The Transcontinental Railroad

The Central Pacific Railroad made these four investors some of the wealthiest men in America.
Stanford Huntington Hopkins Crocker

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The Transcontinental Railroad
Who were “The Big Four”?

S________ tanford

H__________ untington

H_______ opkins

C________ rocker

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The Transcontinental Railroad
In 1862, Congress loaned the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads $16,000 per mile of level track and $48,000 per mile of mountain track. Congress also promised each company 6,400 acres of federal land for every mile of track it laid.

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The Transcontinental Railroad
In 1865, Crocker, in charge of construction, found a solution to their work force problem. Besides hiring Irish immigrants who worked for low pay, the Central pacific Railroad employed over 10,000 Chinese immigrants.

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The Transcontinental Railroad
In 1866, the CPR had 44 blizzards while trying to tunnel through the Sierras. In 1869, the CPR laid 360 miles of track. On April 28, 1869, the CPR crew set a record of laying 10 miles in twelve hours.

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Finally, on May 10, 1869, The CPR and UPR met at Promontory Summit, Utah. The presidents of both railroads, Stanford and Durant, swung at the last gold spike.

The Transcontinental Railroad

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The Transcontinental Railroad
Locate Promontory Point on the map below.

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Before the railroads, each town kept its own time, based on the position of the sun. Railroad companies, however, needed more exact time tables. They devised a system with four time zones – eastern, central, mountain and pacific time. Every place within the same time zone observed the same time.

The Impact of the Railroads

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In 1864, George Pullman designed a railroad sleeping car.

The Impact of the Railroads

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In 1869, George Westinghouse helped make railway travel safer and faster with the invention of a new air brake. On early trains, each railroad car had its own brakes and brake operator. If different cars stopped at different times, accidents resulted. The new air brake allowed an engineer to stop all the cars at once.

The Impact of the Railroads

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Railroad lines also added dining cars where porters, conductors and waiters attended the needs of passengers.

The Impact of the Railroads

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The railroads spurred economic growth. Steelworkers turned millions of tons of iron into steel for tracks and engines. Lumberjacks supplied wood for railroad ties. Miners dug coal to fuel the engines. The railroads opened every corner of the country to settlement and growth.

The Impact of the Railroads

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Slide show created by Marie Sontag,  2001 Information gleaned from the following websites: _railroad.html ml

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