How did canals and railroads change Maine’s economy

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Maine was strategically situated at the coast, had deep harbors and had an abundance of natural resources including several million acres of forest cover which played a crucial role in propelling its economic status. The construction of the railroad network facilitated inland commerce and trade as goods and raw materials were ferried to various destinations in good time. In fact, John Poor received a charter to construct the Atlantic and St. Laurence Railroad which would join Portland to Canada. Upon completion of this railroad, it was named The Grand Trunk and it facilitated the transportation of goods from Canada to the Coast. More importantly, the road came in handy during the winter period when water transportation was hampered by the freezing of rivers and this ensured a continuous system of trade. Once goods arrived at Portland at the coast, they would be transported to other parts of the world. The railroad network impacted greatly on Maine industries such as fishing, ship building and lumber.

Construction of canals also facilitated the transportation of products and raw materials inland. In addition to that, Maine was able to benefit from the transatlantic trade thanks to its established ship building and other maritime skills. Trade with the outside world intensified significantly during the 1840’s when Maine ventured into business with China where there was need for clipper ships.