BrainPOP

Railroad History

For more than a century, if you wanted to send goods from one state to another, or visit distant friends and relatives, the railroad was pretty much your only option. In this BrainPOP movie, Tim and Moby explain how railways spanned continents, spurred commerce, enabled the settlement of the American West, and even helped the North win the Civil War! You’ll discover how the steam engine--one of the key developments of the Industrial Revolution--led to the design of the first locomotives, and why early British and American railroads proved to be extremely profitable. You’ll find out how an invention called the Bessemer process made building rail lines cheaper and easier, and why the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 led to the end of the “wild frontier.” Finally, you’ll hear how the automobile and interstate highway system led to the decline of the railroad, and how state-of-the-art high-speed trains are helping to bring it back! So buy your ticket, settle into a window seat, click on this movie, and learn!

Watch the Social Studies movie about Railroad History »


What was the Transcontinental Railroad?

What is the Golden Spike?

Why did so many immigrants from China work on the Transcontinental Railroad?