Book Description: Although railroad engineering began in England, railroad builders on this side of the Atlantic developed uniquely American ways suitable to the tasks of building a railroad system across the North American Continent. American civil engineers were unsurpassed in their ability to build railroads over great distances and across high mountain passes, to erect great bridges, or to bore tunnels of prodigious length. There is a remarkable story of the application of engineering to the building of a transportation system that civilised and settled America, and then supported an industrial revolution and created a world power. This is also the story of the development of the new profession of civil engineering in the 19th century. Our engineers were schooled at West Point, the technical schools in Europe, or technical institutes in America, while some were self taught: these early civil engineers soon acquired the skills needed for the construction of railroads that could be rapidly and economically built. Their innovation and daring developed the methods and machines to transform tunnelling from hand drilling to black powder blasting art to a modern technology of shields and tunnel-boring machines. The needs of the railroads changed bridge design from trial and error art to science, fathered modern structural engineering practices, and advanced the development of structural materials. This book, for the first time, calls adequate attention to the physical plant over which railroads operate - the roadbed, track, bridges, and tunnels, subjects that are often taken for granted. It is a book no rail fan or student of engineering can be without.