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The Transcontinental Railroad

One hundred and forty years ago an historic ceremony marked the beginning of a transportation revolution in the United States. During the Civil War, Congress had enacted legislation providing for the construction of a transcontinental line to be be built by two separate companies. In 1863 the Union Pacific Railroad began construction from Omaha, Nebraska, while the Central Pacific began at Sacramento, California. The two lines met at Promontory Summit, Utah, and on May 10, 1869, a golden spike joined the two railways, thus completing the first transcontinental railroad. It is considered one of the greatest American technological feats of the 19th century. Read more about this historic event in Stephen Ambrose's fascinating account Nothing like it in the world: the men who built the transcontinental railroad, 1863-1869 - or watch one of the Library's several documentaries about the history of railroads.