Yet, even after the Chinese workers reached wage parity, they still had to pay for their own housing, clothes and food, unlike other workers. They tended to stay away from the prostitution and gambling institutions that followed the railway crews in the trek westward. Part 4 is a brief look into the laborers who built the Union Pacific’s section of the Transcontinental Railroad, extending from Omaha, Nebraska to Promontory Point, Utah. The Union Pacific had easier terrain to deal with through the plains of Nebraska and eastern Wyoming than did the Central Pacific, who had to traverse the Sierra Nevada range and into the Rocky Mountains. ", Yet, even after the Chinese workers reached wage parity, they still had to. This year, however, the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association and other cultural groups championed visibility of railroad workers in events and official celebrations throughout the week. [4], While construction was under way in Utah, the railroad was able to employ a number of Mormons, who sublet portions of construction contracts. By the time the Central Pacific was ready to obtain permission to move forward with its altered plans, President Lincoln was assassinated. This is the second historical series on the blog; the first was a 7-part series: “Alabama’s Anti-Miscegenation Statutes“. Part 1: Trans-Siberian and Transcontinental Railroads, Part 2: A Need Arises for a Trans-Siberian Railway, Part 3: The Laborers on the Trans-Siberian Railway, Part 5: Chinese Workers Power the Central Pacific, Part 6: A Wrap-Up of the Transcontinental Railways. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Change ), Collis Huntington: Restless Railroad Tycoon,,, Follow Beyond the History Textbooks on, What the Left and the Alt-Right Get Wrong about Robert E. Lee, Putting the History in the Historical Novel: Cold Harbor, Putting the History in the Historical Novel: The Associates, Putting the History in the Historical Novel: Collis P. Huntington. Once the Central Pacific crossed the Sierra Nevada, the workers laid track at a rate of one to two miles per day. “And they forget about the people who actually did the work on the Central Pacific — the Chinese.”. A. J. Russell, Stereoview #27. The Transcontinental Railroad. Before highways, planes, trains and automobiles made crossing the United States a breeze, the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 1869 was a defining moment in the country’s history — and immigrant labor made it possible. CNN's Joe Sterling contributed to this report. "Snow fell so deeply that they had to build roofs over 37 miles of track so supply trains could make it through. The American Transcontinental Railroad was built largely by private industry, though not without government subsidies, for the purpose of financial gain. Trains mark Transcontinental Railroad's 150th anniversary, Here are the world leaders who have congratulated Biden, Dana Bash breaks down Trump's voter fraud claims, Hurricane Eta will make fourth landfall on Florida's coast, Meet 2 military spouses falsely identified as fraudulent voters, He's seen 3 presidential transitions. For Russia, finding foreign labor involved importing workers from neighboring countries. This year, however, the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association and other cultural groups championed visibility of railroad workers in events and official celebrations throughout the week. The Union Pacific’s initial flatland work over the Great Plains proved to be a piece of cake compared with obstacles the Central Pacific encountered – who almost immediately had to tunnel through the Sierra Nevada granite before reaching the easy work east of the mountains.

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