Transcontinental Railroad – Dale’s Daily Data [VIDEO]
When Thomas Jefferson was president in the early 1800’s it took him 10 days to travel the 225 miles from Monticello to Philadelphia by carriage. You could make the 100-mile trip from Philly to New York in two days if you really pushed it, but that would mean continually changing horses along the way. Back in those days the country still hadn’t extended all the way to the Pacific Ocean, but Jefferson envisioned it would some day. He wondered how a country that big could stay united when it would take months to travel that distance.
Jefferson had an idea though. He even described it – a carriage on wheels powered by steam. That was in 1802 and even though he never lived to see a train, within a half century America had more railroads than any nation in the world and by 1869 the transcontinental railroad was completed. And for the first time a trip that took months could now be done in less than a week.
In June of 1876 an express train arrived in San Francisco, only 83 hours after leaving New York City. Just a generation before that, it was inconceivable that any person could travel across the entire country in less than four days. But Thomas Jefferson dreamed it decades before. Can you image what he might have thought of flying across the country in a matter of hours? It makes you wonder what travel might be like 100 years from now. I envision something like a transporter similar to the one on Star Trek – “beam me up Scotty.”