One of the greatest accomplishments in American history was the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869. It took six years to build the railway that would stretch from San Francisco to the existing network in the east at Council Bluffs, Iowa. The process was hard and they famously relied on Chinese workers who were often underpaid and who had to endure life-threatening conditions. Modern track-laying methods rely much more heavily on machines and are infinitely safer for workers. Instead of having individuals working hard to lay tracks and nail spikes, the entire process is facilitated by a machine that acts as a mobile assembly line. Seeing the entire process at work, it is easy to appreciate how far we have come along.