Railroad tracksThomas Durant re-directed the Union Pacific line in a crazy oxbow shape leaving Omaha, Nebraska, simply to add miles to the line -- and money to his pocket.

Oakes Ames ensured continuing support among his Congressional colleagues by distributing Union Pacific stock -- an activity that would go down in history as the Credit Mobilier scandal.

Collis Huntington sent spies to Union Pacific's suppliers and paid off a Capitol Hill doorkeeper to inform him about the UP's activities in Washington.

Crews from both companies cut corners, building hastily and poorly while racing to lay as many miles of track as possible. Pure profit was the motive. "The line we want now is the one we can build the soonest," wrote Central Pacific surveyor Samuel Montague, "even if we rebuild immediately."

Shortly after the site launched in 1999, we asked our users to answer this controversial question. Below are the results from this poll.

Do you think the railroad could have been completed without backroom deals and criminal profiteering?

 

 

 

 

Total number of poll participants: 5228

Of the participants polled, 1860 watched at least half of the film; of those, 890 said the film influenced their vote.

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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.