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Amateur To allow the companies to raise additional capital, Congress granted the railroads

Amateur in 200-foot (61 m) right-of-way corridor, lands for additional facilities like

sidings and maintenance yards. They were also granted

alternate sections of government-owned lands—6,400 acres (2,600 ha) per

mile (1.6 km)—for 10 miles (16 km) on both sides of the track, forming

checkerboard pattern. The railroad companies were given the odd-

numbered sections while the federal government retained the even-

numbered sections. The exception was in cities, at rivers, or on non-government property.

[39] The railroads sold bonds based on the value of the lands, and in areas

with good land like the Sacramento Valley and Nebraska[40] sold the land to settlers

, contributing to a rapid settlement of the West.[41][verification needed] The total area

of the land grants to the Union Pacific and Central Pacific was larger than

the area of the state of Texas: federal government land grants totaled about

130,000,000 acres, and state government land grants totaled about

50,000,000 acres.[42]

It was far from a given that the railroads operating in the thinly-settled west

would make enough money to repay their construction and operation. If

the railroad companies failed to sell the land granted them within three

years, they were required to sell it at prevailing government price for

homesteads: $1.25 per acre ($3.09/ha). If they failed to repay the bonds, all

remaining railroad property, including trains and tracks, would revert to

the U.S. government.[citation needed] To encourage settlement in the

west, Congress (1861–1863) passed the Homestead Acts which granted

an applicant 160 acres (65 ha) of land with the requirement that the

applicant improve the land. This incentive encouraged

thousands of settlers to move west

From:
Date: August 3, 2020