There was once a time when the idea of a transcontinental railroad was considered foolish--a waste of time and resources. After all, what use was a railroad through the desolate regions of western America? However, as the United States began to expand and more and more settlers made their way west by horseback or covered wagon, the concept of a railroad spanning the country made more and more sense. Finally, in the midst of an epic civil war, President Abraham Lincoln signed the law that called for the building of a transcontinental railroad. There were many obstacles for the railroad builders to overcome. Harsh weather, mountains, hostile attacks, and even a lack of manpower were just some of the problems that had to be overcome. However, eventually the railroad builders triumphed, and finally train whistles could be heard echoing over the once-quiet landscape of the western United States.