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Choose the best answer for the following questions.
Trains were the major transportation in the past. This selection recorded the historical event of celebrating the completion of the first transcontinental railroad line across the United States.
The Meeting of the Rails
It was like a circus in the wilderness. The sounds of brass bands, speeches, and laughter filled the air as about a thousand spectators milled around in the desert. Newspapers called it the second greatest event in U.S. history----second only to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
What was it? It was the completion of the first transcontinental railroad line across the United States.
Before 1869, there were many railroads on the East Coast, but none stretched across the vast wilds of the West to the Pacific. Travel west was difficult at best, deadly at worst.
In the early 1860s the U.S. government commissioned two railroad companies----the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific----to build a track all the way across the country. A railroad that linked East and West would take settlers and goods quickly and safely across the United States.
For six years the Central Pacific had laid track eastward from Sacramento, California, battling the snows of the Sierra Nevada mountains and the heat of the Nevada desert. At the same time the Union Pacific built westward from Omaha, Nebraska.
Now they were coming together at Promontory Summit, a sagebrush-covered, isolated valley in the Wasatch Mountains of northern Utah Territory.
The festivities began on Monday morning, May 10, 1869. The Central Pacific's engine,
----decorated in blue, red, and gold----pulled to the end of the western line. The Union Pacific's engine,
119, did the same on the eastern line. With the two engines facing each other, laborers from the Central Pacific laid the last crossties, leaving space for one last tie.
Next came two teams of tracklayers carrying the last two rails. After the Union Pacific team finished, the Central Pacific stood ready to lay the final rail.
Then four special spikes were presented: two of gold; one of silver; and one of gold, silver, and iron. Construction officials from each railroad slipped the last crosstie, a beautiful piece of polished laurel wood, under the rails. The spikes of precious metal were dropped into holes in the laurel wood tie and symbolically tapped into place. Then they were removed, and a regular tie and iron spike were made ready.
Finally it was the moment that everyone was waiting for: the driving of the last spike of the transcontinental railroad.
Leland Stanford, president of the Central Pacific and governor of California, had the honor of striking the first blow. The silver-plated mallet he held was attached to telegraph cables. The moment he struck the spike, the signal would fly across the United States.
Stanford nervously lifted the hammer, brought it down—and hit the iron rail instead of the spike! Sheepishly, he handed the mallet to Thomas Durant, vice-president of the Union Pacific. Durant missed the spike, too.
It didn’t matter, though. When Stanford hit the rail, a telegraph operator sent the message around the country. In San Francisco, the electricity automatically rang the fire bell in City Hall, and 220 cannons at Fort Point answered.
Crowds erupted into cheers in Sacramento and Omaha. A four-mile parade began in Chicago. The Liberty Bell rang in Philadelphia. One hundred guns fired in New York. The message arrived in Washington, D.C., and sounded the bell of the Capitol.
Then, as the crowd clapped and cheered,
119 pulled forward and met on the last rails, their cowcatchers
barely touching. Then
pulled back and let
119 roll onto the Central Pacific track. Finally,
119 backed up and let
roll onto the Union Pacific track. The dream was a reality. The country was united by rail.
a strong metal frame on the front of a locomotive that removes obstacles from the track
What was the most important result of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad line?
People in many cities celebrated.
The railroad line united the country.
An ordinary valley became a famous landmark.
Two different railroad companies worked together.
It was like a circus in the wilderness. The sounds of brass bands, speeches, and laughter filled the air as about a thousand spectators milled around in the desert.
Read the above sentences from the article. The author compares celebrating the completion of the first transcontinental railroad line to a circus because the celebration
is noisy and festive.
is silly and amusing.
happens in many places.
takes place out of doors.
What is the main idea of this article?
The transcontinental railroad line took six years to complete.
The transcontinental railroad line made transportation easier.
The completion of the transcontinental railroad line was very difficult.
The completion of the transcontinental railroad line was a great event.
When Leland Stanford struck the iron rail with the mallet, how did the message get all around the country?
Newspapers covering the event spread the message to many major cities.
The crowd at Promontory Summit carried the message back home with them.
The completed transcontinental railroad line allowed trains to carry the message.
Telegraph wires attached to the mallet alerted a telegraph operator to send the message.
The information in this article could best be used for a student research project about
living in the West.
the history of transportation.
the construction of train engines.
maintaining a nationwide telegraph system.
spikes of precious metal
were dropped into holes in the laurel wood tie and symbolically tapped into place. Then they were removed, and a regular tie and iron spike were made ready.
Read the above sentences from the article. These sentences mean that the
spikes of precious metal
put in freely.
put in for show.
put in carelessly.
put in for strength.
What was the author’s purpose in writing this article?
to discuss transportation in the 1860s
to describe the celebration of a historical event
to explain the reasons that people might move to the West
to demonstrate the importance of companies working together
Why did the two engines,
119, have to back up after they had pulled forward to meet on the last rails?
The crowds were standing on the track and creating a danger.
The cowcatchers were too big and almost became stuck together.
The engines could not move past each other on the single set of tracks.
The engineers could not see because there was too much smoke from the engines.
Which of the following teams carried the last two rails at the festivities?
Whom did Leland Stanford give the mallet to?
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