The transcontinental railroad was not invented by a single person, but was rather the culmination of various inventions, such as the steam locomotive. The transcontinental railroad was chartered as part of the Pacific Railroad Act in 1862, and construction was commissioned to the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Central companies.
The two companies began construction on opposite ends of the United States with one starting from Sacramento, California, and the other in Omaha, Nebraska. Construction of the transcontinental railroad lasted approximately seven years. Both ends of the railroad eventually met on May 10, 1869, in Promontory, Utah. The construction of the transcontinental railroad significantly reduced the cost of traveling across the United States.