What was the role of the railroads in the settlement of the great west

Binding the Nation by Rail The transcontinental railway was completed with a jubilant celebration on May 10,when the rails connecting the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads were joined at Promontory, Utah.

What was the role of the railroads in the settlement of the great west

Oldest railroads in North America A railroad was reportedly used in the construction of the French fortress at Louisburg, Nova Scotia in It was used untilwhen it was temporarily replaced by the Leiper Canalthen is reopened to replace the canal in This is the first railroad meant to be permanent, and the first to evolve into trackage of a common carrier after an intervening closure.

In Massachusetts incorporated the Granite Railway as a common freight carrier [6] to primarily haul granite for the construction of the Bunker Hill Monument ; operations began later that year.

Other railroads authorized by states in and constructed in the following years included the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company 's gravity railroad ; and the Mohawk and Hudson Railroadto carry freight and passengers around a bend in the Erie Canal. The Americans closely followed and copied British railroad technology.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the first common carrier and started passenger train service in Mayinitially using horses to pull train cars.

This program enabled the opening of numerous western lines, especially the Union Pacific-Central Pacific with fast service from San Francisco to Omaha and east to Chicago. West of Chicago, many cities grew up as rail centers, with repair shops and a base of technically literate workers. Canals and rivers were unavailable in the winter season due to freezing, but the railroads ran year-round despite poor weather.

And railroads were safer: The railroads provided cost-effective transportation because they allowed shippers to have a smaller inventory of goods, which reduced storage costs during winter, and to avoid insurance costs from the risk of losing goods during transit.

For the common person in the early s, transportation was often traveled by horse or stagecoach. The network of trails along which coaches navigated were riddled with ditches, potholes, and stones.

This made travel fairly uncomfortable. Adding to injury, coaches were cramped with little leg room. Travel by train offered a new style.

Locomotives proved themselves a smooth, headache free ride with plenty of room to move around. Some passenger trains offered meals in the spacious dining car followed by a good night sleep in the private sleeping quarters. In the heavily settled Corn Belt from Ohio to Iowaover 80 percent of farms were within 5 miles 8.

A large number of short lines were built, but thanks to a fast developing financial system based on Wall Street and oriented to railway securities, the majority were consolidated into 20 trunk lines by Although the transcontinental railroads dominated the media, with the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in dramatically symbolizing the nation's unification after the divisiveness of the Civil War, most construction actually took place in the industrial Northeast and agricultural Midwest, and was designed to minimize shipping times and costs.

The canals and steamboats lost out because of the dramatic increases in efficiency and speed of the railroads, which could go almost anywhere year round.

The railroads were faster and went to many places a canal would be impractical or too expensive to build or a natural river never went. Railroads also had better scheduling since they often could go year round, more or less ignoring the weather.

Canals and river traffic were cheaper if you lived on or near a canal or river that wasn't frozen over part of the year, but only a few did.

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Long distance transport of goods by wagon to a canal or river was slow and expensive. A railroad to a city made it an inland "port" that often prospered or turned a town into a city.

Rail was strategic during the American Civil Warand the Union used its much larger system much more effectively. Practically all the mills and factories supplying rails and equipment were in the North, and the Union blockade kept the South from getting new equipment or spare parts.

The war was fought in the South, and Union raiders and sometimes Confederates too systematically destroyed bridges and rolling stock — and sometimes bent rails — to hinder the logistics of the enemy. Most transports was by boat, not rail, and after the Union blockaded the ports in and seized the key rivers inlong-distance travel was difficult.

The outbreak of war had a depressing effect on the economic fortunes of the railroad companies, for the hoarding of the cotton crop in an attempt to force European intervention left railroads bereft of their main source of income. For the early years of the war, the Confederate government had a hands-off approach to the railroads.

Only in mid did the Confederate government initiate an overall policy, and it was confined solely to aiding the war effort. Conditions deteriorated rapidly in the Confederacy, as there was no new equipment and raids on both sides systematically destroyed key bridges, as well as locomotives and freight cars.

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Spare parts were cannibalized; feeder lines were torn up to get replacement rails for trunk lines, and the heavy use of rolling stock wore them out. Ceremony for the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad, May The Southern states had blocked westward rail expansion beforebut after secession the Pacific Railway Acts were passed in[24] allowing the first transcontinental railroad to be completed inmaking possible a six-day trip from New York to San Francisco.

Other transcontinentals were built in the South Southern PacificSanta Fe and along the Canada—US border Northern PacificGreat Northernaccelerating the settlement of the West by offering inexpensive farms and ranches on credit, carrying pioneers and supplies westward, and cattle, wheat and minerals eastward.

In railroads carried less than half as much freight as inland waterways, by railroads carried 5 times as much freight than waterways.Questions for consideration in this forum: 1. What was the role of the railroads in the settlement of the Great West? 2. What factors account for the rise of the American steel industry in the late nineteenth century?

1. What was the role of the railroads in the settlement of the Great West? 2. What factors account for the rise of the American steel industry in the late nineteenth century?

3. Why did the AFL prevail over the Knights of Labor? 4. It would be hard to imagine American . "Railroad iron is a magician's rod in its power to evoke the sleeping energies of land and water" (Ralph Waldo Emerson). By it became obvious the railroad was to become the mode of transportation of the industrial America, meeting the transportation needs of a maturing economy.

The role of the railroads in the late ’s increased the population and the economy of the Great West. With the completion of the railroads in , it opened the market for the eastern and western communities of the United States to %(1).

Search Results for 'what was the role of the railroads in the settlement of the great west' The Role Of Leaders In Innovation The Role of Leaders in Innovation This paper will explore the role .

Nov 04,  · Railroads have played huge roles in American history. During the civil wars, and even up to WWII, trains were the main form of transportation for soldiers and military equipment.

What was the role of the railroads in the settlement of the great west

During the Civil War, railroads were big targets because if the railroad was Status: Resolved.

University of Washington Press - Books - The West the Railroads Made