How did the growth of railroads foster the creation of new urban, financial and market centers across the country?

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dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The growth of American railroads saw its 'Golden Age' between 1869 and 1900. During that time the railroads not only linked the east with the west, in doing so it changed the landscape of the nation. The railroads were responsibile for moving the thousands of immigrants westward, as well as transporting the food necessary to feed the growing urban populations along the eastern seaboard. In 1869 the Central Pacific met the Union Pacific in Promontory Utah, the Transcontinental Railroad was complete. This east-west connection ultimately connected with other regional railroads which gave way to the growth of already established cities and saw the birth of new cities. The railroads were responsible for the marketing of crops and manufactured goods wherever there was a station. People migrated, goods migrated, crops migrated like never before, this resulted in new cities, market centers, faster mail communication, and financial markets. The railroads also served as the advertising agency for the cheap lands made available by the federal government, namely The Homestead Act of 1862. It must also be noted that the railroads are responsible for time zones in The United States which impacted all of The United States. Eastern Standard Time, Central Time, Mountain Time, and Pacific Time were created by the railroads in an effort to end the horrible accidents that were taking place on the rail lines, remember when it is 12:00 the sun is overhead in New York it is not overhead in Chicago...so depending upon where you are in the U.S. the next time you are running late blame it on the railroads !!!!!!