Due to the expansion of the country, many new railroads were built. Congress began to advance liberal money loans to 2 favored cross-continent companies in 1862 in response to the fact that transcontinental railroad construction was so costly and risky.
Growing railroads took up more land than they were allotted because their land grants were given over a broad path through the proposed route. The railroad owners would then choose the route to build on. President Grover Cleveland ended the land dispute in 1887 when he opened up all the unclaimed public portions of the grants to the public. Spanning the Continent with Rails
The Union Pacific Railroad was commissioned by Congress in 1862 to build a transcontinental railroad starting in Omaha, Nebraska.
Many railroad workers, including Irish "Paddies", were forced to pick up their rifles and fight when Indians attempted to defend their lands.
Rail-lying at the California end of the railroad was taken up by the Central Pacific Railroad. The 4 chief financial backers of the enterprise (the Big Four) included Leland Stanford and Collis P. Huntington. They operated through 2 construction companies.
The Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad companies both received monetary aid from the government.
The transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, increasing trade with Asia and opening up the West for expansion. Binding the Continent with Railroad Ties
There was a total of 5 transcontinental railroads built: The Northern Pacific Railroad, running from Lake Superior to Puget Sound, was completed in 1883; the Atchison, running from Topeka to California, was completed in 1884; the Southern Pacific, stretching from New Orleans to San Francisco, was also completed in 1884; and the Great Northern, running from Duluth to Seattle, was completed in 1893 by James J. Hill. Railroad Consolidation and Mechanization
The railroad was Cornelius Vanderbilt's enterprise.
2 significant improvements benefited the railroads; the steel rail and a standard gauge of track width. Steel rails were much stronger and safer than the traditional iron rails. Revolution by Railways
The railroad stimulated the industrialization of the country in the post-Civil War years. It created an enormous domestic market for American raw materials and manufactured goods. Railroad companies also stimulated immigration.
At this time, every town in the United States had its own local time. In order to keep schedules and avoid wrecks, the major rail lines stated, on November 18, 1883, that the continent would be divided into 4 times zones - most towns accepted the new time method. Wrongdoing in Railroading
With great wealth and prosperity came much corruption.
In order to increase the weight of cows, "stock watering" was employed. It entailed forcing a cow to bloat itself with water before it was weighed for sale. This technique enabled railroad stock promoters to inflate their claims about a given line's assets and profitability and sell stocks and bonds in excess of the railroad's actual value.
Railroaders, feeling they were above the law, abused the public by bribing judges and legislatures.
Railroad kings were manipulators of a huge natural monopoly and exercised too much direct control over the lives of people.
Many rail barons granted rebates or kickbacks (bribes) to powerful shippers in return for steady traffic.
Railroad companies combined with other companies in order to protect their profits. "Pools", agreements to divide the business in a given area and share the profits, were the earliest form of combinations. Government Bridles the Iron Horse
With the onset of the depression of the 1870s, came protests from farmers against railroaders who ran the farmers into bankruptcy.
Many Midwestern legislatures tried to regulate the railroad monopoly, but in 1886, the Supreme Court ruled in the Wabash case that