The first transcontinental railroad known originally as the pacific railroad and later as the overland route was a 1912 mile 3077 km continuous railroad line constructed between 1863 and 1869 that connected the existing eastern us rail network at council bluffs iowa with the pacific coast at the oakland long wharf on san francisco bay . The pacific railway a brief history of building the transcontinental railroad before the advent of the transcontinental railroad a journey across the continent to the western states meant a dangerous six month trek over rivers deserts and mountainsalternatively a traveler could hazard a six week sea voyage around cape horn or sail to central america and cross the isthmus of panama by . Chinese camp and construction train in nevada when building of the first transcontinental railroad was being speeded across the state by the central pacific bettmann archive getty images. Directors of the union pacific railroad gather on the 100th meridian which later became cozad nebraska approximately 250 miles 400 km west of omaha nebraska territory in october 1866the train in the background awaits the party of eastern capitalists newspapermen and other prominent figures invited by the railroad executives
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