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Jump Back in Time Western Expansion & Reform (1829-1859)
Map of routes for a Pacific Railroad
Map of routes for a proposed Pacific Railroad in 1855

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The Gadsden Purchase Was Signed in Mexico City
December 30, 1853

After completing the Central Pacific Railroad from California to Utah in 1869, the big four started the Southern Pacific as a branch line into southern California. The railroad reached the Arizona border in 1877, and in 1883 it was joined to other railroads built west from New Orleans across Texas and New Mexico, territory that was acquired in the Gadsden Purchase. This transcontinental system sped up westward expansion of the U.S.

Still in operation today as the Union Pacific Corporation, the company controls most of the rail-based shipping in the western two-thirds of the country. Have you ever ridden a train through the West?

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