A Brief History of the Pacific Railway - The Transcontinental Railroad
The Central Pacific Railroad crossing Dutch Flats. which amounted to $32, per mile of track laid, to two companies, the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad. . meet on May 10, , at Promontory Summit, Utah. The Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) was a rail route between California and Utah built eastwards from the West Coast in the s, to complete the western part of the "First Transcontinental Railroad" in North America. It later became part of the Union Pacific Railroad. . The Central Pacific and Union Pacific tracks meet in Promontory, Utah. On this day in , the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah, and drive a ceremonial last spike into a rail line that connects their railroads. This made transcontinental railroad travel possible for the first time in U.S. history.
The Tracks Meet at Promontory, Utah Congress made the fool's mistake of assuming some motivating rationality on the part of the railroad companies, and not just base greed, so they didn't dictate just how, when, or where the rails must meet. When Central and Union crews ran into each other in northern Utah, instead of merging the lines right away, they set off building miles of parallel grading, with each company hoping to acquire more mileage and thus more of the reward money.
With a kind of paternal exasperation, then, Congress had to set a junction point; and they chose Promontory, Utah—a little tent town of railroad workers and prostitutes just north of the Great Salt Lake.
When and where did the union pacific and central pacific meet
Precious Metals and Railroad Fat Cats Make Good News Since the meeting of the rails was such a meaningful and publicized national event, everyone considered it fit to celebrate with extravagant ceremony.
Of course, extravagance ought to involve precious metals whenever it can, so four precious spikes were donated to adorn the last tie.
There was an iron, silver, and gold spike from Arizona; a silver spike from Nevada; one gold spike from the San Francisco News Letter; and the crowning spike of gold from David Hewes, a friend of Central Pacific magnate Leland Stanford who was also founder of the University. Hewes' spike was the first to be made, and it inspired the rest. Hearing of the grand event, Hewes was initially disappointed at a lack of symbolic and precious metal objects donated for the ceremony, so he got the ball rolling himself.
The precious ceremonial spikes were carefully tapped into a ceremonial tie with a ceremonial silver hammer.
When the dignitaries Stanford of Central Pacific and Thomas Durant of Union Pacific tried real hammer swings to seal the deal, they both missed. A rail line built along this route would require tunneling through granite mountains and crossing deep ravines, an engineering feat yet to be attempted in the U.
InJudah received a letter from Daniel Strong, a storekeeper in Dutch Flat, California, offering to show Judah the best route along the old emigrant road through the mountains near Donner Pass. The route had a gradual rise and required the line to cross the summit of only one mountain rather than two. Judah agreed and he and Strong drew up letters of incorporation for the Central Pacific Railroad Company. They began seeking investors and Judah was able to convince Sacramento businessmen that a railroad would bring much needed trade to the area.
Several men decided to back him, including hardware wholesaler Collis P. Huntington and his partner, Mark Hopkins ; dry goods merchant, Charles Crocker ; and wholesale grocer, soon to be governor, Leland Stanford. These backers would later come to be known as the "Big Four. Judah used maps from his survey to bolster his presentation to Congress in October Many Congressmen were leery of beginning such an expensive venture, especially with the Civil War underway, but President Abraham Lincolnwho was a long time supporter of railroads, agreed with Judah.
First Transcontinental Railroad
Pacific Railway Route Almost immediately, conflicts arose between Judah and his business partners over the construction of the Central Pacific line. In OctoberJudah sailed for New York to attempt to find investors who would buy out his Sacramento partners.
Though he had made the voyage to Panama and across the Isthmus by train many times, he contracted yellow fever during this trip and died on November 2, one week after reaching New York City. Judah did not live to see the Central Pacific begin work; he departed Sacramento for New York a few weeks before the first rail was spiked on October 26, At the eastern end of the project, Grenville Dodge and his assistant, Peter Deysurveyed the potential route the Union Pacific would follow.
President Lincoln favored this route and made the decision that the eastern terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad would be Council Bluffs, Iowa, across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska. Because the government paid by the mile of track built, Durant also insisted the original route be unnecessarily lengthened, further lining his pockets. Soon after the completion of the railroad, Durant's corrupt business schemes became a public scandal with Congress investigating not only Durant, but also fellow Senators and Representatives who had benefited from his shady dealings.
The Central Pacific's Big Four formed their corporation with a similar arrangement, awarding the construction and supplies contract to one of their own, Charles Crocker, who, for the sake of appearances, resigned from the railroad's board. However, the Big Four owned an interest in Crocker's company and each of them profited from the contract.
The race between the two companies commenced when the Union Pacific finally began to lay tracks at Omaha, Nebraska, in July It has been released on microfilm reels.
The following libraries have the microfilm: Hart was the official photographer of the CPRR construction. Silvis The Central Pacific's first three locomotives were of the then common type, although with the American Civil War raging in the east, they had difficulty acquiring engines from eastern builders, who at times only had smaller or types available. Until the completion of the Transcontinental rail link and the railroad's opening of its own shops, all locomotives had to be purchased by builders in the northeastern U.
The engines had to be dismantled, loaded on a ship, which would embark on a four-month journey that went around South America's Cape Horn until arriving in Sacramento where the locomotives would be unloaded, re-assembled, and placed in service. The railroad had been on rather unfriendly terms with the Baldwin Locomotive Worksone of the more well-known firms. It is not clear as to the cause of this dispute, though some attribute it to the builder insisting on cash payment though this has yet to be verified.
Consequently, the railroad refused to buy engines from Baldwin, and three former Western Pacific Railroad which the CP had absorbed in engines were the only Baldwin engines owned by the Central Pacific.
The Central Pacific's dispute with Baldwin remained unresolved until well after the road had been acquired by the Southern Pacific. In the s, the road opened up its own locomotive construction facilities in Sacramento.
Central Pacific's was rebuilt by these shops and served as the basis for CP's engine construction.