Establishing the Law
While there were railroads that were built for connecting cities in a certain are together, this railroad would be built to stretch across America from the Missouri river to the Pacific Ocean. Tasked by President Lincoln, the Union Pacific Company would build, according to Jacques’s a “railroad across the Plains and over the Rockies to link with California’s Central Pacific, which will expand eastward, surmounting the rugged Sierras.” The railroad would turn out to take up more than 175 million acres of public land. And each mile would cost between $16,000 and $48,000 a mile. It would take some time however, since the Civil War was still being waged. Luckily, the Union Pacific Company would start the railroad from the Omaha, Nebraska while the California’s Central Pacific would start their side of the railroad from Sacramento, California. The Union had a much easier time working on the railroad since most of the land they worked on was flat plains. On the other hand, the Central Pacific had to work around the Sierra Nevada, with the first year only laying out 31 miles of track while the next two years would only see 50 miles laid out.
The Civil war also saw that workers would be an issue. There were not enough workers to make the job run smoothly and most of them would just work until they had received their pay check, blow it on whatever they wanted, and then leave. With this shortage of workers that were not very reliable, the employment of Chinese workers would be needed to speed up the project since they were expected to complete the railroad because of their history of completing difficult tasks such as building the Great Wall of China or developing gunpowder. And they did not disappoint, for they were regarded as being people who were “tireless and extraordinarily reliable workers.” Even though they were paid less than a white worker, they still took what they could get and continued their work. With more Chinese workers coming in, they had begun working in other fields and eventually the railroad, taking up 12,000 positions of the 13,500 that were able to work on the railroad. With this much work being done, the two companies even began to compete over how many railroad tracks could be laid out each day.
Many years would pass until May 10, 1869 where the railroad would be completed with a golden rail spike at Promontory Point, Utah. It would be a day to remember since telegraphers would spread the word to all of America saying that the railroad was completed. Everyone was happy except for the Native Americans such as the Cheyenne and the Sioux, who were “embittered as white men thrust their iron trail through sacred hunting grounds.” These tracks ran through their territories which brought a drastic change to their way of life. The railroad would bring even more distress to the Native Americans when traveling through the Great Plains. The men that would ride through that area would shoot and kill the wild buffalo that lived off the plains. With no mercy or remorse, they would leave the bodies to rot. This “sport” would almost exterminate the buffalo. But besides these crimes, the railroad would provide a good service to America. The journey from the east to west would usually take a few months of facing the harsh elements and rugged terrain. But with the railroad, the time it takes to travel from east to west was vastly reduced to around eight days. It also “created a boon of trade, business and population.” With the speed of the train, transporting goods is made much easier. Which in turn makes business make more money at a faster rate. This speed would also help transport people as well. Towns are laid out frequently throughout the span of the railroad.
Moving on to the 20th century, a national train company known as Amtrak operates in 46 states, running on more than 21,000 miles of routes on tracks shared with hundreds of commuter trains in the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston according to a New York Times article. Unfortunately, these railroads may not acquire enough funding by the government. Obama has pledged to send $53 billion towards the construction of a high-speed rail, however funding has decreased because of the republicans disinterest in the project. Luckily the railroad will not be obsolete since other worlds such as Brazil, China, and even Russia have their own railroad systems that are still in use today. There are even railroads that are part of an underground railroad system for cities like New York that take up all the space. These modes of transportation help to get both people and resources to their destinations at a reasonable price. And they may continue to be their source of transportation for everyone that can access these systems.