The rail network played an important role in the American Civil War, which pitted the southern Confederation against the northern Union states between 1861–65. The Union states of the north held an advantage in the form of a larger and more extensive railroad network, along with the accompanying telegraph communications lines which ran alongside the main rail lines. Rail infrastructure had reached the south of the country later than the most of the northeast, thus the Confederate army had a smaller rail network via which it could transport troops and supplies, although having been built later most southern rail lines were in better condition. Much of the railroad network was damaged during the war by attacks aimed at disrupting military efforts. Following the Union victory, the first major steps towards standardization began. In 1869 the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed when the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroad Companies linked their lines in Utah at Promontory Summit.
— OR —