Transcontinental Railroad Stamp

US Postage Stamps: 1944

Transcontinental Railroad Stamp

This stamp was issued on May 10, 1944 and commemorates the completion of the first transatlantic railroad. The scene shows the ceremony in Promotory, Utah where the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads met.

The first steam trains were introduced in the early 1800s and plans to build a transcontinental railroad were being made shortly after that.  It was not until the middle of the century that advances in construction and railroads made the transcontinental railroad a possibility.

The railroad was built by two different railroad companies, the Union Pacific which started in the east in Council Bluffs, Iowa and the Central Pacific starting in Sacramento, California.  Both companies would build track until the railroads met.  The construction took seven years, and huge fortunes were made by rail barons as they manipulated stocks and played loose with government money and regulations.  Eventually though, the 690 miles of Central Pacific track joined with the 1087 miles of Union Pacific track at Promontory Summit in what would later become the state of Utah, and the transcontinental railroad was a reality.

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