THE IRON ROAD
Prior to the transcontinental railroad, those who wanted to travel from the East to the West Coast traveled by wagon across the plains or by ship around South America. They endured the hardship of linking the East and West Coasts of the United States by rail because it was a vital link for trade, commerce and travel. Greenville Dodge was a military man in the Civil War. Greenville did western plains, surveying and was an expert chief engineer. He will always be remembered as the driving force in the building of the Union Pacific Railroad portion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Leland Stanford was the Governor of California who broke ground to open the Central Pacific’s construction. The Union Pacific began in Missouri while the Central Pacific began in California. The Union Pacific and The Central Pacific met in Promontory, Utah. They met on May 10, 1869. The Chinese composed a large segment of the Union Pacific’s work force. Some members of this group relaxed after work by relying on opium or getting drunk. Arguably the most difficult part of the country for the Union Pacific to negotiate was plains, rivers and deserts. They were risky and difficult. Some of the dangers facing railroad construction workers were high temperatures, lack of personal hygiene, and hunger. Some of the dangers facing those who operated the trains were that locomotives often broke down. When they worked their smokestack belched thick black smoke and hot embers. Snow was a major problem in the mountains. Railroad workers used wooden bunkhouses to protect them from drifting snow.
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