Photo Gallery: Building the Transcontinental Railroad

Other Photo Galleries

The transcontinental railroad's construction touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Some desired it, some built it, and some did everything in their power to stop it. Browse a photo gallery of settlers, Native Americans, and workers whose lives were affected by the railroad as it traversed the West. 

http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_01.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_01_t.jpg|

Native American men and women of the Shoshone tribe pose near tepees in Wyoming Territory. Chief Washakie stands with a wooden shaft and a saw, to the left of the photo. Next to him is a white man wearing a bowler hat.

|Wyoming State Archives;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_02.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_02_t.jpg|

A group of Ute Indians on horseback.

|The Andrew J. Russell Collection, The Oakland Museum of California;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_03.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_03_t.jpg|

Pioneer families with their covered wagons, migrating across the Great Plains.

|Utah State Historical Society;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_04.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_04_t.jpg|

A large group of Mormon emigrants, 1866.

|Utah State Historical Society;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_05.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_05_t.jpg|

White and Chinese gold prospectors working together in Auburn Ravine, near Sacramento, California, 1852. Many Chinese immigrants would go to work for the Central Pacific.

|California State Library;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_06.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_06_t.jpg|

A Chinese tea carrier outside the east portal of tunnel #8 through the Sierras.

|Library of Congress;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_07.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_07_t.jpg|

Chinese laborers at work in a cut.

|California State Library;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_08.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_08_t.jpg|

Central Pacific workers laying rail at the end of track, Humboldt Plains, Nevada.

|The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_09.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_09_t.jpg|

Mormon workers digging the Union Pacific's Deep Cut #1 through Weber Canyon, Utah, autumn, 1868.

|Utah State Historical Society;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_10.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_10_t.jpg|

Union Pacific rolling mill workers, Wyoming. 

|American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_11.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_11_t.jpg|

Union Pacific workers eat at their camp in Utah's Uinta Mountains.

|Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, F-18163;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_12.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/tcrr_gallery_12_t.jpg|

Telegraph corps at work, Weber Canyon, Utah.

|The Andrew J. Russell Collection, The Oakland Museum of California

My American Experience

My American Experience photos

Share Your Story

The Railroad revolutionized American travel. Many people ride trains today not just for transportation, but also as a way to see the country. What trains have you been on? Have you been in a Pullman car? Share your most memorable train ride.