How were railroads important to Texas ranchers?
They drastically reduced the distance the ranchers had to travel to sell their cattle, as they often grazed on the great plains - but the introduction of the cross continent railway system allowed a much easier transportation of cattle from point A to point B.
Before railroads were built in Texas, cattle had to be herded on cattle drives to the nearest railroad. The first railroads in the United States ran from east to west. After the railroads were built that ran north and south, the Texas cattle ranchers had less distance to cover to reach a railroad for transport.
What became important to the development of the cattle industry in the Great Plains in the late 19th century?
Demand for beef in eastern cities, but the railroads did not yet reach out to the areas of the Texas (and other western) ranches. Prior to the railroads the cattle drives would have been prohibitively long and impractical, early western railroads made cattle drives practical. After the railroads were extended and cattle could be loaded directly on the trains without having to take them on long drives, the cattle drives cease.
The growth of the cattle industry was dependent on the development of the railroads because the ranchers needed a way to get their beef to markets in the eastern United States and further west if needed. Before the railroads ran north and south, the ranchers had to herd their cattle hundreds of miles to the train in Kansas.
Nowadays, it's just the Union Pacific, KCS and the BNSF. Before 1980, other large railroads were forced to have a subsidiary in Texas and operate it independently. Examples include: The Texas & Pacific, The Texas & New Orleans (Southern Pacific) and others. Check out the list of railroads in Texas on Wikipedia.
What were the most important developments in transportation during the early years of Texas statehood?
Because of the establishment of the railroad: These transcontinental railroads reduced the time that it took to travel across the U. S. A. from weeks to days. And finally cattle ranchers in Texas saw a way to make a lot of money. They could feed cattle cheaply on the grasslands. And with the new railroads they could transport the cattle to eastern cites where people were hungry for meat. In the years after the Civil…