chapter  4
18 Pages

The Railroads

The Civil War-in real terms the most costly war of the 19th century-acted on the whole as a stimulus to railroad development. Railroads became strategically as well as economically important, and trans-continental railroad building especially was pushed forward, in order to bind the West more closely and more securely to the Northern cause. Survey work in the Great Plains region had been in progress since 1853, and construction of the Union Pacific-Central Pacific was actually begun in 1862 and the road completed in 1869. Two other transcontinental roads were built shortly after the war: the Northern Pacific 1867-83, and the Santa Fe 1869-1884. A decade later, in 1878, the Great Northern was begun, and this road was completed in 1890.