Wild West


he construction work was long, intensive and often dangerous. It began in 1863 and took a half-dozen years to finish. Three private companies hired the laborers, who spanned more than 1,900 miles across public tracts provided by major U.S. land grants. The Western Pacific Railroad Co. laid 132 miles of tracks, from Alameda to Sacramento, Calif. The Central Pacific Railroad, building east from Sacramento, built 690 miles of the line. Finally, working west from Council Bluffs (near Omaha, Neb.), the Union Pacific provided the remaining 1,085 miles of rails.

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