Railroads 1850

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Map Code: Ax00722

By 1850, 9,021 miles (14,500 km) of railroad had been constructed in the northeast, with some lines laid towards the west. The federal government wanted to establish further railroads across the west, connecting the seaports of the Atlantic with the middle west and the Pacific seaboard. During the 1850s there was an explosion of railroad building, with thousands of miles of additional track laid. Speculators bought land to resell to the railroad companies. The government also granted public land to the railroad companies, realizing that it would increase productivity and wealth by bringing the railroad to undeveloped areas. This was the case with the Illinois Central, one of the first railroads built under this scheme. Plans were mapped for the first transcontinental railroad in the 1850s. It was finished in 1869 and several more transcontinental lines were added between 1869–1910.

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