Transcontinental Railroad by nick howard

Before the transcontinental railroad was completed, travel overland by stagecoach cost $1,000, took five or six months, and involved crossing rugged mountains and arid desert. The alternatives were to travel by sea around the tip of South America, a distance of 18,000 miles; or to cross the Isthmus of Panama, then travel north by ship to California. Each route took months and was dangerous and expensive. The transcontinental railroad was built in six years almost entirely by hand. The completion of the transcontinental railroad changed the nation. Western agricultural products, coal, and minerals could move freely to the east coast. Passengers and freight could reach the west coast in a matter of days instead of months at one-tenth the cost. This inventions greatly altered the speeds and progress of the expansion of the United States. http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=2&psid=3147

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