Railroads and migration
Published Online: 4 FEB 2013
Copyright © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration
How to Cite
Hoerder, D. 2013. Railroads and migration. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .
- Published Online: 4 FEB 2013
Railroads have generally been considered as facilitating emigrant travel to a port of departure and from a port of arrival. However, building railroad grades required immense amounts of human labor and it was construction rather than individual migration plans which mobilized local, or in some cases, distant earth-workers. The English navvies, German Erdarbeiter, and Hungarian kubykos began to follow construction camps, and extended Europe's railways form a mere 330 km in 1831 to more than 300,000 km by 1876. Some would migrate intercontinentally to build the Panama railroad (1855) to shorten migrants' route to California, or, later, dig the Panama Canal or carve railway grades in the Rocky Mountains.