Impact of Industrialization on transportation in the United States

Source 1: Maps

This exhibit demonstrates the impacts of industrialization on railroad transportation of goods, people, and services across the United States between the mid to late 1800’s, into the 1900’s. The Industrial Revolution was a time when many products were being produced that ultimately improved the lives of many. This began in Britain and worked its way into many different countries. The United States took advantage of the opportunities that arose and in the mid to late 1800’s the groundbreaking of a new form of transportation made its way onto United States soil. Railroads were a major improvement to United States transportation. This improved trading, and selling of goods and services, improved and created the populations of major cities, and also brought movement between citizens throughout the country. The image below explains the Union Pacific Railway and shows the connections between cities with emphasis on the main railway moving west. During this time, the west was important for farming. With no access to an ocean or water transportation, the Midwest and western United States utilized railroads to transport their goods to the eastern and southern United States. Before railroads the journey to the west was dangerous and consisted of traveling over rivers, mountains, and wilderness. The creation of railroads and the Union Pacific Railway improved transportation to these areas immensely.

Source 2, 3, 4: (Image, Numbers, Time)

The following image shows the impact that the Industrial Revolution and railroads had on transportation for people between cities. During the early 1800’s the only practical way of traveling long distances was through the country’s waterways which made it difficult for many Americans to move throughout the country, so the population existed near the coasts and major waterways. After the implication of railroads, that changed dramatically. Populations of major cities rose. By 1900, Chicago, which was nearly nonexistent before then, consisted of 1.6 million residents. Railways became the main form of travel among Americans. In 1826, the first American incorporated United States railroad to perform transportation service began operations at Quincy, Massachusetts. From this time on, major cities provided work to build and provide transportation through railways. From New York to California, railroads became vital to movement throughout the country. The reason this form of transportation was popular was because it was cheap, easy and fast. The first American Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869. The estimated amount of a ticket from New York to San Francisco across the Transcontinental Railroad was as little as $65 and took as little as 7 days. Americans took these opportunities to travel, find work, and move to popular major cities because of the connections from railroads.

Image result for image of railroads in us being built

Source 5, 6: (Words, Social Media)

By 1850, 9,000 miles of track stretched across the United States. It was a goal to create a Transcontinental Railroad that reached from the Atlantic to the Pacific. With the discovery of gold in California, railroad companies rushed to create a railroad that was able to transport people and services across the country. This was a difficult feat because of the mountains and waterways that were scattered across the western part of the United States. Two railroad companies , The Central Pacific and the Union Pacific railroad companies would build track that started in various areas around America and would meet in the middle to create a railway that stretched across the country. This created more opportunities for jobs for Americans which also improved the quality of living. By 1967, both companies headed toward Salt Lake City, Utah and agreed on a meeting place and finally in 1969, the first Transcontinental Railroad was created.

Ultimately, the creation of railroads improved the quality of life for many Americans. It helped with the transportation of goods and services, improved the populations of major cities, and created movement throughout the country with the usage of the Transcontinental Railroad. This wouldn’t have been possible if the Industrial Revolution did not take place. Industrialization created the necessary tools, opportunities and ideas to make transportation possible in the United States.



Map: “New Map of the Union Pacific Railway, the Short, Quick and Safe Line to All Points West.” The Library of Congress. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2016

Image: Strayer, Robert W. Ways of the World: A Global History, High School Edition. Place of Publication Not       Identified: Bedford Bks St Martin’S, 2012. Print.

Numbers: Shmoop Editorial Team. “Transcontinental Railroad Statistics.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, 2008. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.

Time:  “Transportation History.” Transportation History Timeline – Kern Council of Governments – Kern COG –    Kern Council of Governments – Kern COG. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

Words: Staff. “Transcontinental Railroad.” A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.

Social: “Railroad’s Impact on the Industrial Revolution.” The Industrial Revolution & Railroads. N.p., 2013. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.






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