The years following the Civil War witnessed a rapid expansion in the power of the federal judiciary. In this article, Professor Merkel reveals that the construction of the transcontinental railroad played an important role in this development. Beginning in 1868, the management of the federally chartered Union Pacific Railroad sought legislation that would authorize the company to remove lawsuits from hostile state courts to more sympathetic federal forums. Congress was accommodating, passing laws that expanded the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts. Consequently, these courts resolved many questions of transportation law, often in ways that benefitted the railroads.