The First Transcontinental Railroad: Central Pacific, Union Pacific

By John Debo Galloway | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
The Origin and Development of Railroads Prior to 1870

THE BUILDING of the Pacific Railroad marked the culmination of a movement that began in the years close to 1830, when the first railroad locomotives were brought to America. Not over a third of a century, hardly half the allotted three score and ten years of a man's life, elapsed from the opening of the first short section of the Baltimore and Ohio to the breaking of ground for the Central Pacific at Sacramento in 1863. In this brief time more than 30,000 miles of railroad were constructed in the United States. By 1870, over 52,000 miles of line had been built and placed in operation. Railroad building was one of the principal evidences of the rapid expansion of the American nation.

The first railroad in the world operated for general purposes was the Stockton and Darlington in northeastern England. Although projected in 1817 for transporting coal from the Wilton

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