Thus, there was tremendous incentive to be the first railroad to reach a prime location, incurring extra costs on any latecomers.
This was called a "frog war", named after the "frog", the specialized rail piece that goes in the center of a junction and looks like a jumping frog.
Frog wars were dangerous. In one case, after which is named the Grand Crossing area of Chicago, the second line was built secretly, to avoid the cost of the proper precautions, leading to a crash that killed 18.
I've lost a couple frog wars recently, but I'm hoping to win this next one...