Central Pacific Railroad - Wikipedia
the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad met on May were brought nose-to-nose, with a one rail gap left in the track. Judah did not live to see the Central Pacific begin work; he departed Sacramento for However, Crédit Moblier was owned by Union Pacific investors and, over the next few years, meet on May 10, , at Promontory Summit, Utah. the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah The actual building of the railroad would have to wait even longer.
Central Pacific Railroad
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. 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.
Where the Transcontinental Railroad finally joined - CNET
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 A bridge over the Missouri River would be built later to join Omaha to Council Bluffs, the official eastern terminus.
With tens of thousands of Civil War veterans out of work, hiring for the Union Pacific was easy. The men, mostly Irishmen, worked hard and well, despite going on strike occasionally when Durant withheld their pay over petty labor disputes.
Finding workers was a more difficult task for the Central Pacific. Laborers, mainly Irish immigrants, were hired in New York and Boston and shipped out west at great expense.
The former tried to be successful in business through federal aid, pools, vote buying, or stock speculation. The latter tried to create and market a superior product at a low cost.
- Transcontinental railroad completed
- The Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads
- The Pacific Railway
The political entrepreneurs usually were the classic Robber Barons, as in the case of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads . The subsidies affected the UP builders' strategy in the following ways.
They moved west from Omaha in along the Platte River. Because they were being paid by the mile, they sometimes built winding roads to collect for more mileage. For construction they used cheap and light wrought iron rails. Vice-president and manager Thomas Durant stressed speed, not workmanship.
Also, since trees were scarce on the plains, Durant and his chief engineer Grenville Dodge had barely enough wood to make railroad ties, of which were needed to finish each mile of track. Sometimes they shipped in wood, other times they used the fragile cottonwood found in the Platte River Valley. Often, though, they solved their problem by passing it on to others.
The UP simply paid good wages to tie-cutters and daily bonuses for ties received. Thus crowds of tie-cutters invaded Nebraska to cut trees wherever they were found, and deliver freshly cut ties right up to the UP line. The UP leaders conveniently argued that, since most of Nebraska was unsurveyed, farmers in the way were therefore squatters and held no right to any trees on this 'public land'.
Some farmers used rifles to defend their land. Following this violence, even Durant discovered "that it was not good policy to take all the timber  ".
Building problems took a turn for the worse in the harsh Nebraska winter.
With the subsidies in mind, Dodge had no time to waste and laid track on ice and snow anyway. Even fresh food could be transported over the rail lines.
At last, the coasts were tied together. So if the transcontinental railroad was such a great idea, why didn't they build one earlier?
First, the railroad and steam locomotive had to be invented, which didn't happen until a little into the 19th century. Then, by the time such a project was technologically and logistically feasible, the States were beginning their Great Schism, which would lead to the Civil War; and various North-South debates about the fate of the West, the future of slavery, and the routes of the rails paralyzed negotiations.
The Great Railroad Race The Civil War actually advanced the transcontinental railroad project, since it freed up the Union to build whatever it wanted without a care for what the Southern grumblers thought. Inthen, Congress managed to forge the Pacific Railroad Act, which granted money and land for every mile of rail constructed towards the goal of an East-West connection.
The two companies involved were the Union Pacific and Central Pacific, racing from Omaha and Sacramento, respectively, for as many subsidized miles as they could build before the rails met. The Central Pacific utilized over 10, Chinese willing to work for less and in perilous conditions—which was important for Central, since they had to climb and blast their way through the Sierras almost as soon as they left Sacramento.
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.