Railroads opened so many opportunities for North Dakota; they are why North Dakota is what it is today. Two of the major railroads in North Dakota are the Northern Pacific Railroad and Great Northern Railroad. As the railroads developed so did towns and villages surrounding the railroads. Railroads opened new doors for North Dakota; they started building a population along with economic growth. During the time of the railroads is when Dakota Territory really developed. .
The Northern Pacific Railroad began being built around 1870. It was built with federal funding, federal loans, and federal land. Meaning the government gave them money to fund the building of the railroad, but eventually will be paid back. 40,000,000 acres of land was given to the railroad by the federal government. Which is the largest every land transfer that the government has done. The Northern Pacific Railroad starts in Duluth, MN and goes to Puget Sound, WA. Normally railroads are zigzagged so they can connect town that have been previously built. The Northern Pacific Railroad could be build wherever, no towns were to connect the railroad. Once they started building towns around the Northern Pacific Railroad, they would build the towns 7 miles apart. Today, major highway systems follow the railroads (Northern Pacific and Great Northern). .
The Great Northern Railroad was the first and only major railroad built in the nation without federal help. The Great Northern Railroad was built to be intended to reach the Canadian market. It used to be called the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Manitoba before the name became the Great Northern Railroad. It became the Great Northern Railroad in 1889 when the railroad started being built across North Dakota. James J. Hill was the genius behind the Great Northern Railroad. Him and his crew would build 3 1/2 miles of railroad track a day. Hill had a hard time keeping workers, they would find land that they liked and bought it so they could farm.