Central Pacific Railroad

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United States  >  Migration  >  Railroads  >  Central Pacific Railroad

In 1869 the Central Pacific Railroad out of Sacramento, California, and the Union Pacific Railroad out of Omaha, Nebraska linked tracks in the Golden Spike ceremony at Promontroy Summit, Utah to form the first transcontinental railroad service in the United States.[1] Settlers were attracted to communities near railroads because they provided access to markets. Railroads encouraged settlement along their routes to help increase the need for their service. If an ancestor settled near a railroad, you may be able to trace their place of origin back to another place along the tracks.

Historical Background

In order to bind the nation together from California to the eastern states visionaries proposed a railroad between the west and east coasts of the United States. During the Civil War Congress authorized the building of this railroad. Congress offered land grants along the tracks in a checkerboard pattern as an incentive to the builders.
Later in its history, the Central Pacific tracks through Nevada to Ogden, Utah came to be controlled by the Southern Pacific Railroad.


  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Central Pacific Railroad," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Central_Pacific_Railroad&oldid=299761457 (accessed 6 July 2009); Wikipedia contributors, "Union Pacific Railroad," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Union_Pacific_Railroad&oldid=298717292 (accessed 6 July 2009); Wikipedia contributors, "Golden spike," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Golden_spike&oldid=290578008 (accessed 6 July 2009), and Wikipedia contributors, "Promontory, Utah," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Promontory,_Utah&oldid=297584143 (accessed 6 July 2009).