I was browsing and came across an article on the MO- Pacfic RR, which acquired the Iron Mntn RR in the early 1900's. Here are two excerpts that address 'bridge building.'
"In 1868 the Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River was started at St. Louis, thus beginning what many had thought impossible, a railroad bridge over the Mississippi River. To permit the free interchange of cars with those eastern railroads which had standard gauge and which expected to use the new bridge, in 1869 the Pacific Railroad changed its original " wide gauge" track to standard gauge. The change was also of advantage at Kansas City where the Pacific connected with the newly started Kansas Pacific, which later became the Union Pacific. The completion of Eads Bridge in 1874 extended the new standard gauge track through St. Louis to the Atlantic states."
"To speed construction and get into operation as quickly as possible, bridges over the White, the Arkansas and the Red rivers were passed up for the time being and passengers and freight were transferred by ferry until the bridges could be constructed. But the all-important thing was that the service was in operation by 1874."
On another subject..........
In my previous article on the Wabash RR, the supplier of ther first engine was mentioned,as follows.....
"By spring, construction crews were ready for the actual track laying and in April, 1838, the new road began to take form.
Shortage of materials handicapped the builders all summer, and it was not until the fall of the year that the first strip of the line was ready.
Now the builders waited for delivery of their first locomotive. Because of the long, arduous river trip and the lack of large shipping spaces, the locomotive, made in Newark, NJ, by the firm of Rogers, Grosvenor and Ketchum, was shipped to Meredosia in pieces. With this knocked-down locomotive came a man named Fields who was to be the first engineer on the new road."
Related to this, I found a picture of a sister locomotive of the one mentioned in that article. The next picture is of an 1860 locomotive by the same firm. The 1850's saw the 1st trend towards the locomotives to come, this one shows the addtion of the engineers's cab, bell, whistle, headlight and cowcatcher.
The final link is to an interesting RR aricle on the MO-Pac RR, some 60 pp's long, 1st 15 get you to about 1900's. http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Prairie/9575/mphist01.htm
Old Steam Locomotives
MO-Pac RR History