Promontory Point, Utah, May 10, 1869.A continuous rail link from the east shore of the Atlantic to the west shore of the Pacific is another 40 years in the future, and that one still requires transloading or regauging the cars.
The Pacific Railroad might have been a case study in the teething troubles of public-private partnerships (two years ago I learned the European powers had troubles of their own) or a study of the worst implications of public choice theory or of capitalist accumulation, depending on your inclinations, or simply a pork-barrel project to keep California from reuniting with Mexico. It might offer students of competition policy opportunities to debate the wisdom of the Harriman Lines case that forestalled today's Union Pacific for nearly a century.
Never mind all that. Four years after the end of the Southern Rebellion . . . DONE. Happy 137th to the Transcon and let the stack trains roll.