Modern Marvels: Transcontinental Railroad
On a somber day in Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln ended his famous address with a promise that the war-torn nation would someday be reborn.
At the time of Lincoln's speech, the greatest symbol of that rebirth had already begun. Hailed as an engineering feat to rival the Egyptian pyramids, the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad was an engineering marvel as well as a technological nightmare. In the 1860s, the Union Pacific began laying tracks westward from Omaha, and the Central Pacific did the same heading eastward from Sacramento, hoping they would one day meet. Creeping along inch by grueling inch, work on the railroad represented the nation's struggle to forge an iron link between East and West, making cross-country travel faster and easier.
Join The History ChannelÂ® for this fascinating look into the building of the transformational Transcontinental Railroad.