American Transcontinental Railroad

The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad on 10 May 1869 is one of the nation's greatest accomplishments that effected one of the most monumental impacts on America's development. In an effort to expedite the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, economic incentive was given to the railroad companies, initiating a period of rapid construction.

Between the years of 1864 and 1869 a total of 1,775 miles of rail were laid to complete the railroad link across the continent. This effort was perhaps the largest single construction project ever undertaken within the country. The task laid before both railroads was enormous, both logistically and financially. - US NRHP



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Timeline

Y/M/D Description Place
1859/08/19 During a four-day, three-night stay in Council Bluffs, a few of the townspeople escort Abraham Lincoln to a high-point in the city where he can view the great Missouri Valley, and Mr Pusey introduces Abraham Lincoln to a young surveyor, Grenville Dodge. Lincoln Monument, Council Bluffs, Council Bluffs, IA
1859/08/20 At a meeting in the Pacific Hotel (lost, 430 Broadway, Council Bluffs), Grenville M Dodge advises Abraham Lincoln that the best route for a railroad to the Pacific would be through the Platte Valley.
1863/01/08 Construction of the Transcontinental Railroad begins in Sacramento. Old Sacramento, Sacramento
1863/11/17 President Lincoln signs an executive order that officially designates Council Bluffs the eastern terminus for a Transcontinental Railroad.
1863/12/02 Ground is officially broken for construction of the Union Pacific on the west side of the Missouri River near Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha was picked by Thomas C Durant of the Union Pacific Railroad. Omaha, NE, Nebraska
1863/12/02 President Abraham Lincoln designates Omaha the starting point for the continuation of the transcontinental railroad.
1864/02/00 By February 1864 only 18 miles of rail have been laid in California.
1864/07/02 After request from the railroads for further assistance, the Pacific Railroad Act of 1864 doubles the size of the land grants and allows the them to sell their own bonds, virtually doubling the resources available to the companies.
1865/04/00 In the spring of 1865, rails are actually begun to be install near Omaha. The construction material came up the river from St Joseph by boat.
1868/06/19 The Central Pacific railroad arrives in Reno, Nevada. Reno, NV, Nevada
1869/00/00 UP builds Eleven trestles. The railroad ties and stringers are redwood other types of wood. Trestles are constructed of vertical round support beams with a roadbed of railroad ties topped with flat stringers. Transcontinental Railroad Grade, Corinne
1869/04/28 Union Pacific lays 10 miles and 59 feet of railroad track Golden Spike National Historic Site, Promontory, UT
1869/05/10 Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroads join their rails, creating North America's first railroad across the continent Golden Spike National Historic Site, Promontory, UT
1869/10/00 In late 1869, the Central Pacific acquires the Transcontinental Railroad Grade and soon reconstructs the poorly built Union Pacific structures. Transcontinental Railroad Grade, Corinne

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