Cabinet Meeting discusses gauge for Transcontinental Railroad

January 20, 1863

Under the legislation authorizing the transcontinental railroad, President Lincoln is charged with decided on the gauge of the railroad track.   At the regular cabinet meeting as snowy weather closes in on the capital, President Lincolns requests opinions the options: a five-foot gauge or a standard gauge of four feet, eight and a half inches.  The decision President Lincoln makes the next day in favor of the five-foot gauge will eventually be overturned by Congress – which institutes the standard gauge in use in the eastern half of the country.

On the another railroad matter, President Lincoln wrote Missourian Samuel Glover: “Yours of January 12th. stating the distressed condition of the people in South-West Missouri, and urging the completion of the Railroad to Springfield, is just received. Of course I deplore the distress of the people in that section & elsewhere. Nor is the thought of extending the railroad, new to me. But the military necessity for it, is not so patent, but that Congress would try to restrain me in some way, were I to attempt it.”

Published in: on January 20, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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