The continent of North America has the most extensive railway network in the world with over 300,000km in U.S.A, 93,000KM in Canada and the rest in Central America. It
connects the Eastern Seaboard from Halifax in the North through Winnipeg to Churchill, to the Western Seaboard in Prince Rupert, San Francisco, Los Angeles South to New Orleans.
This pattern of railway network was aimed at;
- Opening up of vast empty lands in the interior in the Prairies and rocky mountain
states and provinces such as British Columbia.
- Transportation of bulky manufactured goods to the ports of Halifax, New York,
New Orleans, Vancouver, Los Angeles for exports such as machinery and cars.
- Transportation of bulky raw materials to the interior for example oil, coal, iron ore,
timber and construction materials.
- Facilitating mineral exploitation for example iron and steel at Pittsburg, magnetite
near New York, leematite and limonite at Birmingham and copper, iron, zinc in the
Great lakes region.
- The Trans – continental lines followed the East to West direction linking the main
centres of settlements in the East to the Western coasts of less population
- The railway pattern also aimed at providing transport for agricultural products to
distant markets on the Seaboards such as wheat for the Prairies, cotton in the South.
- It aimed at distributing manufactured goods to the region from the main industrial
regions of Boston. New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Lake Michigan and
- It aimed at linking the main cities especially Eastern U.S.A, Southern Canada, South
of the Great lakes to the Atlantic Seaboard where main cities occur such as New
York, Boston, Washington DC and Philadelphia.