Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Jasper Stahl (1844-1909) - Captains and pilots of CPRR steamers

From: "Heidi Cavagnolo" hcavagnolo@gmail.com

My great grandfather was the pilot of the CPRR steamer Apache from at least 1881 until at least 1884, based on San Francisco City directories.

He was a pilot before this time and after until at least 1901. I don't know if the other steamers that he captained or piloted over the years were also for CPPR.

They were:
1893 Sonoma
1893 Aurora
1898 Onward
1901 Onward

Do you have a list of the steamers that were owned by CPRR and/or a list of the pilots/captains of the ships that CPRR owned between 1871 and 1909? ...

—Heidi Cavagnolo

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Antelope's tender trucks

From: "Greg Vaughn" gbv1154@earthlink.net

Is it possible to get a high resolution scan of the Antelope's tender trucks and any information you might have about their design? ...

—Greg Vaughn


Antelope's tender trucks, detail
Antelope's tender trucks, detail
Courtesy CPRR Museum

Monday, August 08, 2016

First tie plates

From: "Milepost Oneninety" milepost190@yahoo.com

When were the first tie plates used in the Donner Summit area? And, what sized rail were they used with?

—Tom H.



CPRR tie plate

CPRR tie plate

CPRR tie plate

CPRR rail

Monday, August 01, 2016

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Cast Iron Journal Box Cover (wheel bearing), CPRR 1865

From: "David Tuckfield" david@allawgp.com

My grandfather, who worked for the railroad in salt lake and Ogden area had this iron plaque among his possessions. Do you know what this is and what it might be from?


Cast Iron Journal Box Cover (wheel bearing), 1865
[Cast Iron Journal Box Cover (wheel bearing), CPRR c. 1865]

Friday, July 22, 2016

Trout Creek - Truckee - Water Rights

From: "Denny Dickinson" echosdad@hotmail.com

Does the anyone in the CPRR Group have any information about water rights on Trout Creek in Truckee starting in 1863 to 1952?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Second track

From: "Frank Natturri" famattjr@gmail.com

Was another track ever laid beside the original single track from Sacramento to Ogden? Or did multiple tracks come into existence only with other railroads and routes?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Identify train in German comic book

From: "Sven-R. Schulz" Predantus@t-online.de

... I am publishing a printed magazine (fanzine) on topics related to the German comic book series Mosaik. The issue coming end of 2017 is intended to be about the American Old West. In one of the comic books which has been released 1971, a railroad is shown ... Can you tell me which model it could possibly be (or which model could be similar to the one on the picture)?

The artists were often inspired by old photographs or engravings, but since a lot of time has passed since then, they can’t remember now.

Unfortunately, all our previous research was unsuccessful, so we hope you can help me. Maybe you can also tell me something about the railway wagon? I would be very glad about an answer; and perhaps it’d even be possible to send an old picture of the engine?


Cartoon

Cartoon
Comic book cartoon train.
Courtesy Mosaik.

Monday, July 11, 2016

What companies manufactured the iron or steel rail for the train tracks?

Friday, July 08, 2016

Two articles from 'The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine', 41(1), November, 1890

Two articles from The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine Volume 41, Number 1, November, 1890:

The First Emigrant [Wagon] Train to California, 1841.

The Printing of "The Century", 1890.

Courtesy of the Bruce C. Cooper Collection.

Friday, July 01, 2016

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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

North vs. South

From: "Alex Cooke" pacooke@otcdkids.com

Was there a compromise that allowed this to happen because of tensions between north and south?

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Where did workers sleep?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Meerschaum Pipe Question

From: "Anthony Johnson" anthony@ajonline.net

... I'm a pipe collector/restorer and several years ago I acquired an antique F.W. Kaldenberg meerschaum pipe made in New York, NY that has the engraving "SHERMANS PASS 8227 FT 10 MAY 68 ROCKY MOUNT" around the rim of the bowl. It seems professionally done at the pipe company or at an engraver. It is also practically in unused condition with a very brittle genuine amber stem. I know from researching the pipe manufacturer that Kaldenberg was the first meerschaum pipe company in the US and operated during the time of the Civil War. From some of the photos I have found, I've discovered that Jefferson Davis actually smoked a meerschaum pipe made by Kaldenberg which is on display in a museum in Virginia, I believe, so they were fairly prevalent and given as special gifts.

I am very puzzled about the engraving though and I need help, hence why I am seeking help from you. I know the date has to refer to '1868' as Kaldenberg was producing top of the line pipes around this time. I know that Sherman's Pass is also referred to as "Evan's Pass". It has to have a special a connection to the Transcontinental Railroad construction to commemorate a completed section or quite possibly as a congratulations on reaching the highest point of the Railroad. I can't find any record of ceremonies or events during which it might have been given as a gift. Quoting from an online research [Wikipedia] reference:

"The Union Pacific reached the new town of Cheyenne in December 1867 having laid about 270 miles (430 km) that year. They paused over the winter to get ready to push the track over Evan's (Sherman's) pass. The Union Pacific connection at Cheyenne to Denver with its Denver Pacific Railway and Telegraph Company railroad line was made in 1870. The new 'railroad' town of Cheyenne (elevation 6,070 feet (1,850 m)) on the new Union Pacific route was chosen to be a major 'railroad' town with extensive railroad yards, maintenance facilities and Union Pacific presence. It was about 35 miles (56 km) from Evans pass and the highest point reached on the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad — 8,200 feet (2,500 m)."

I've attached a few photos of the engraving around the bowl ...

Anthony Johnson


Kaldenberg meerschaum pipe

Kaldenberg meerschaum pipe

Kaldenberg meerschaum pipe

Kaldenberg meerschaum pipe

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cost of a one-way railway ticket

From: "Susan Marlow" susankmarlow@gmail.com

I'm a children's author and write historical fiction set in California. I need to know how much a one-way railway ticket from Sacramento, CA, to Kansas City, MO, in the mid-1870s would have cost. It doesn't have to be an exact price. Just a general idea. ...

Susan K. Marlow

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What kind of writing did the school kids do?

From: Mariana2006@mail.com

What kind of writing did the school kids do after the completion of the transcontinental railroad?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

National Train Day - May 10th

Anniversary of the driving of the last spike, formerly "National Train Day."

Monday, May 09, 2016

Archives for the CPRR

From: "Ethan Blue" ethan.blue@uwa.edu.au

I found your marvelous website, and have been searching through its masses of information! Incredible stuff!

I'm specifically trying to find correspondence between the CPRR and the federal government — specifically the Department of Labor and the immigration bureau — from the early 20th century. And really, between 1914 and 1945.

As some background, I’m researching the use of CPRR and Southern Pacific trains (as well as a bunch of others) as deportation trains in these years. I’ve read a great many sources kept by the Department of Labor, but have had trouble identifying archival collections that hold the rail companies perspectives.

Any recommendations on where these archives might be found would be very welcome. (I’ve done a quick search through the Southern Pacific records at Stanford University, but have so far come up short.) ...

—Ethan Blue, Senior Lecturer, History, University of Western Australia


Doing Time in the Depression: Everyday Life in Texas and California Prisons (New York University Press, 2012)

Engineering and War: Militarism, Ethics, Institutions, Alternatives. With Michael Levine and Dean Nieusma (Morgan and Claypool, 2013/2014)

Monday, May 02, 2016

How long does it take to travel the Union Pacific Railroad?

"How many passengers fit on the transcontinental railroad?"

"How many passengers fit on the transcontinental railroad?"


This question was asked anonymously, perhaps by a 4th grade student doing a homework assignment.

Can anyone guess what the question means, or suggest any possible answers?

Sunday, May 01, 2016

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Transcontinental Railroad Workers

... Years ago I used to assist an elderly woman by the name of Alice Davis Williams in Monterey, CA. Her father was Frank [William] Davis, who was involved with building railroads with Chinese workers. She wrote down his account of the railroad building in a book entitled 100 Years ago: True stories of Early California’s Gold Mining Days. ...

Friday, April 22, 2016

Restored CDVs of Early Locomotive Engineers

From: "BRYANT, WILLIAM" wbryant553@cbcsd.org

Restored CDVs of Early Locomotive Engineers:

Who were those people?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Print 'The Driving of the Golden Spike' for Cecil B. DeMille 1939 film

From: "Carol Johnson" jjcjcj49@icloud.com

I have found in my house a paper tube that contains a print from May 10,1969 entitled The Driving of the Golden Spike, completed the railroad that helped to unify America. From Cecil B. DeMille's Paramount picture Union Pacific.

Can you give me a value of this? ...

—Carol Johnson


Cecil B. DeMille's Paramount picture Poster

G.J. 'Chris' Graves, R.I.P.

From: "Karen Triest" karenmm38@hotmail.com

... I'm not sure how many of you are friends, or were friends of Chris Graves.

I wanted to let you know that Chris passed away on April 14, 2016, of natural causes. Chris was a wonderful historian, and touched so many of our lives in positive ways. He diligently worked on genealogy cases, changing many lives for the better. Chris loved his home and yard, and kept everything so green and beautiful year round. It is a very sad loss for us all. Chris will be buried in the Newcastle Cemetery, on the hill where he has a view of the foothills.

Please feel free to forward to those who knew and loved Chris as I did.

Peace

—Karen Triest, Loving Daughter


Chris Graves at Bloomer Cut

Chris Graves

William Strang (1836-1880)

From: "Kirsten Brophy" kbrophy@stamfordmuseum.org

Do you have any biographical information, citations or references to a William Strang (NOT the Overland Park Strang); but a William Strang (1836-1880) who was the superintendent of the telegraph line installation for the St. Louis, Lawrence & Denver Railroad & Telegraph Company from c.1870-1879?

He lived in Cleveland, Ohio in 1870 and died in Ohio in 1880.

A family reference regarding the Native American lithic material he collected states that, “Collected on route of Union Pacific RR from St Louis to CO by William Strang, Superintendent of telegraph line construction.”

Any information you can share about William Strang would be most appreciated, thank you! ...

—Kirsten R. Brophy, RPA, Curator of Collections & Exhibitions, Stamford Museum & Nature Center

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Early transcontinental railroad Timetables

From: "Bill Hockinson" pacslsm@cox.net

... Did all the Union Central Pacific [railroad] early Time tables have maps on the verso? Or did some purely have listings of cities/direction and times. I have a 1879 timetable with only direction (westbound/eastbound), cities and times. Several paragraphs regarding excursions ...

—Bill Hockinson

Monday, April 11, 2016

Oakland, California to Cheyenne, Wyoming, 1890

From: "Mac Simpson" mackinnon96816@gmail.com

Aloha,
My name is MacKinnon Simpson. I am a writer/designer in Honolulu. I have done two pictorial histories on rail in Hawaii:
Next Stop Honolulu—The Story of Oahu Railway & Land Company; and,
Streetcar Days in Honolulu—Breezing through Paradise..

Right now I am working on a book about Honolulu Harbor. Three of the people being featured left Honolulu on the steamer Australia in early July, 1890, bound for San Francisco. Their eventual destination was Springfield, Massachusetts. I am trying to flesh out the first part of their trek and have a number of questions:

1) Would they have originally boarded the train on the Oakland Long Pier?

2) We know that they occupied the “drawing car Vinta” (perhaps Uinta).
• Are there any specific descriptions of this car or any like it?
• Are there any photos?
• Did it include sleeping quarters?

3) We know they arrived in Cheyenne, Wyoming at 5:05 am on July 19, 1890.
• When would the train have left San Francisco?
• Are there any timetables that could be scanned as an illustration?
• Did the train have a name?
• Where would they have transferred to the Union Pacific to continue east?

Thanks very much, and I will acknowledge your efforts in the book.

—Mac Simpson

Friday, April 01, 2016

Today is cancelled.

Today is cancelled.

There is no April 1st, in 2016. This is a leap year.



In other news ...

Google's Pedestrian Flypaper Patent
Google's Pedestrian Flypaper Patent

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

CPRR Right of Way - Hiking the old grade

From: "Jon F. Thompson" jonfthompson@gmail.com

I'm attempting to find information on the original CPRR right-of-way, areas that have been abandoned and can be hiked. I've searched the Internet but don't seem to be discovering anything. I wonder, can you suggest a resource – books, websites, anything? ...

—Jon Thompson

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Southern Pacific Company Special Agent O.J. Meade c. 1903-1909

From: "Tink & Dawn" g.marshion@comcast.net

Fantastic site ... I need some help ...

I have been trying to find out more about a Special Agent for the Southern Pacific Company, around 1903-1909, named O.J. Meade. He was in the San Joaquin Division, Bakersfield, California, in 1909.

I have two pieces of ephemera from him. One is a letter [See the first document below] to the Sheriff post marked July 7, 1903, about some stolen mirrors from different train cars.

A dispatch written on January 12, 1909, [is] asking Marshall Kelly for help in stopping the "hobo's" from burning the empty cars. [See the second document below.]

I am having a hard time finding any information on him. I am going to put these two pieces up for auction and need a bit more background. Can you possibly help me in finding more of this man? I appreciate all of your help. You have a grand website; I have learned a lot of new things here ... Thanks again.

—George Marshino


O.J. Meade SP document

O.J. Meade SP document

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

CPRR train fares from Iowa to Oakland, CA in 1875?

From: "Joel Pickford" joelpickford@gmail.com

Can you tell me approximately what CPPR passage would have cost per person from Iowa to Oakland, California in 1875? ...

Joel Pickford, Pickford Pictures, Fresno, CA

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Impact on other nations?

From: "Alli Kat" axtee590@gmail.com

Is there any evidence that shows that the U.S. transcontinental railroad possibly influenced other transcontinental railroads in the world and/or had impact on other nations in the world? I can't find much information on the topic online.

Thanks!!
A fellow student in Wichita, KS

Friday, March 18, 2016

Unknown machine, Auburn, California

From: "Mike Monahan" popicoc@gmail.com

Can anyone identify this machine, the picture was taken in Auburn, California. I also have seen the engine itself in old Newcastle photos. ...

—Mike Monahan


First train down Auburn Ravine. Unknown CPPR machine.
First train down Auburn Ravine.

Friday, March 11, 2016

CPRR Locomotive #317 ??

From: "Bill Metnik" bjmetnik@gmail.com

I recently acquired a metallic print of CPRR Locomotive #317 pulling a string of flatbed cars loaded with stage coaches. (See 2 photos attached). Was there such a locomotive or is this just an artist's rendition?

If this was a working engine, where can I obtain its history?

—Bill Metnik


CPRR Locomotive #317 ??

CPRR Locomotive #317 ??

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Unknown Old Photo – SP Train Wreck

From: "William R. Davis" wrdavisjr56@gmail.com

I was going through some old papers and found this original photo. It looks like it might be Southern Pacific rail accident. Do you have images of this already? Or maybe it might be the only one. It looks like it might be a silver photo as it reflects in areas and is mounted to black cardboard. Nothing written on it as far as I can see. Love to know what you think. ...

—Bill Davis



Unknown Old Photo - SP Train Wreck?
Unknown Old Photograph – Southern Pacific Railroad Train Wreck?
Courtesy of William R. Davis.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Rail travel 1875

From: "GERALD THOMPSON Owner" tcanal111@centurylink.net

... I'm writing my grandfather's history. He traveled by rail from Baltimore, Maryland to Topeka, Kansas in 1875.

How can I find the carriers and route?

—Jerry

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Great Great Grandfather Alexander H. Houston

From: "Juliet Eccles" julieteccles@virginmedia.com

Having just come across your website I am delighted to find information I have been searching for.

Alexander Houston was I believe my great great grandfather. Your article states Alexander died in Honolulu in 1869. Do you know why he was there? His grave is at Lone Mountain, San Francisco. He came from Delaware and married his wife Caroline in Alameda, San Francisco.

I am looking for information about Alexander, his company he ran, his wife Caroline Louisa and his daughter Minnie. Any newspaper cuttings or links to websites would be most helpful.

Minnie married Frank Bowden in 1879 at Calvary Presbyterian Church. They later left to live in England and Frank Bowden started the Raleigh Cycle company. ...

—Juliet Eccles

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Exhibit Highlights Role of Chinese in Building Transcontinental Railroad

"Exhibit Highlights Role of Chinese in Building Transcontinental Railroad" by Chris Jennewein, © Times of San Diego, February 28, 2016. (News Article)

"The instrumental role of immigrant Chinese workers in building the Transcontinental Railroad some 150 years ago will be examined in an exhibit opening Tuesday at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. ... " [More]

The Chinese and the Iron Road: Building the Transcontinental Railroad
Opening Reception, Saturday, March 5, 2016, 2-4PM with special presentation by Dr. Russell Low, the great grandson of a Chinese Central Pacific Railroad worker, Hung Lai Woh.

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Southern Pacific depot, Bakersfield, CA

From: "Ronnie Lee" rlee12@bak.rr.com

Would you have any old pictures of the Southern Pacific depot in Bakersfield, California in the 1800's?

—Ronnie Lee

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Chinese Railroad Worker Bunkhouses and Cook houses

From: "Mike Polk" mpolk@chg-inc.com

... I am continuing my research on Chinese bunkhouses and cookhouses along the Central Pacific Railroad during the 1870's, 1880's and, possibly, 1890's. I have a question that, perhaps, someone can help with. I am preparing a presentation for a conference on Chinese Railroad Workers on the Transcontinental Railroad in Stanford and would like to obtain photographs of bunkhouses and/or cookhouses that existed at Section Stations along the CPRR in Nevada and Utah during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Does anyone have any that they would be willing to share or know where I might find them? ...

—Mike Polk

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Travel New Orleans to San Francisco to Klondike in 1898

From: "Don Surgeon" dlsurgeon@gmail.com

I read with great interest the article by Erle Heath, Seventy-Five Years of Progress. An Historical Sketch of the Southern Pacific 1869-1944.

I am researching a party headed to the Klondike in 1898. They left New Orleans in March-April 1898 and traveled by train to San Francisco in two groups. After a meeting in early April, they went to the station in New Orleans and bought tickets for the first group, who were trying to travel cheaply. That group left about April 4 and arrived in San Francisco about April 13 and went through Houston, Texas. The remainder of the group probably traveled in style and arrived in San Francisco in mid-May.

To what station in New Orleans would they go to buy train tickets to San Francisco, and would it be the same station for both groups? Is there a picture of this station as it looked in about 1898? When they left New Orleans, would they leave from the same station in New Orleans where they bought their tickets, or would they have to go across the river to another station? Is there a picture of this train? Would the second group, traveling in style, take the Sunset Limited/Express (which was it called in 1898?) or some other train? Is there a good picture of this train from that time period (the best would be in New Orleans, but any good picture would do)? And from what station would they leave? Wikipedia describes the Sunset Express as follows: From its beginning in 1894 until streamlining in 1950, all the train's cars had 6-wheel trucks and dark olive green paint with black roofs and trucks. In summer 1926 it was scheduled at 71 hr 40 min New Orleans to San Francisco; it then carried a coast-to-coast sleeper Jacksonville to Los Angeles.

An 1895 consist included:

— A 4-4-0 American steam locomotive

1. Composite Baggage car with barber shop, bath and buffet smoker lounge El
Indio

2. 7 Drawing Room Sleeper with ladies´ parlor lounge El Piloto
3. 10 Section 2 Drawing Room Sleeper El Dorado
4. Dining Car Gourmet
5. 6 Section 1 Drawing Room 3 Compartment Sleeper Cliola
6. 14 Section 1 Drawing Room Sleeper Los Angeles

Would this be a correct description for 1898? How long would the trip take? I am assuming that the entire trip would be in the same cars – would there be an engine change?

I am assuming that both groups would have arrived at San Francisco’s old, old Southern Pacific Depot at Third and Townsend Streets – is that correct?

Is there anything else I should have asked but didn’t.

Thank you for any help you can give.

—Don Surgeon

Friday, February 05, 2016

Central Pacific Railway Locomotive 'Fairlie' ????

From: "Ed Workman" workman.e@gmail.com

I stumbled onto this at Hathi Library Trust.

And it seemed 'wrong'.

I searched your site using 'Fairlie' and got nada.

I found the list of CP locomotives.
Nada

Is there another website that might help?

Did Mason build it and sell it to another RR? ...

—Ed Workman


"Double-Bogie Locomotive for the Central Pacific Railway. Constructed, according to the plans of Mr. Robert F. Fairlie, by Messrs. William Mason and Co., Engineers, Taunton, U.S."

Engineering v.8 1869 CP Fairlie
Engineering v.8, p.35, July 16, 1869, CP Fairlie.
Courtesy Hathi Library Trust.

Monday, February 01, 2016

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

National History Day Questions

From: "Naomi Henderson" naomi.henderson@hudsonpiratepride.com

Hello, my name is Naomi. I have chosen the Transcontinental Railroad as my topic for a historical contest called NHD, national history day. I was wondering if I could ask you some questions regarding my research.

If you had to pick the most important period of time during the construction, what would it be?

What is the biggest impact, in your opinion, of the railroad?

Did you ever hear an interesting story you would like to share?

Thank you for spending your time to read this.

—Naomi Henderson

Saturday, January 16, 2016

National History Day Questions

From: "Joshua Bush" joshua.bush20@gmail.com

My name is Joshua Bush I am an 8th Grade student attending Harold Wiggs Middle School in El Paso, Texas. I am working on a National History Day project about the Transcontinental Railroad. I am inquiring if you would be able to answer some questions about my topic. I have included five questions below that I would appreciate your insight on. If you do answer do you mind if I cite you in my research?

Thank in you in advance for your assistance to my project.

—Joshua Bush



Interview questions

1. How was the transcontinental railroad an innovation in the technology of that era?

2. What do you believe were the main obstacles that was incurred in the building of the railroad?

3. Was there, if any, political opposition to the building of the railroad?

4. How did the railroad open up the country new possibilities for exchange?

5. What do you think was the most important impact to the country of the transcontinental railroad?

Friday, January 08, 2016

Questions about the Transcontinental Railroad

Friday, January 01, 2016

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Southern Pacific Maintenance Building

From: "Mike Polk" mpolk@sagebrushconsultants.com

I am continuing my research on Central Pacific/Southern Pacific Maintenance camps and the Chinese connection. I have several questions which I hope someone out there may be able to provide some clarity on. I have found what appears to be a surplus maintenance building along the line in western Nevada and want to determine if it may actually date from the years of Central Pacific operations. The building is a one story, side gable structure with a low pitch, tar paper roof with exposed rafter tails. It is about 16 x 18 ft in size and clad in 4 x 8 plywood sheets. That alone suggests post 1920's construction, but it is possible that the plywood was added at a later date. It has one opening on one of the short sides, though it is possible that the opposite end had windows or a door and has since been covered with plywood. The end with an opening is entirely open with the upper portion framed in with angled gable trim. The interior seems to be open frame of 2 x 4's, with no insulation and no interior walls. It is possible that the building was originally used as a hand car building, bunkhouse or tool shed. It is now off the railroad and used to store irrigation pipe by an adjacent business.

1. Is there information about when the Central Pacific began building its standard plan structures at station stops along the route from Ogden to Sacramento? It seems, from my sources, that by 1880 buildings at station stops were in place and of uniform design, including bunkhouses, cook houses, tool sheds, hand car shacks, etc.

2. When did the SP begin to change paint colors from the Box Car Red used by Central Pacific to Colonial Yellow used by Southern Pacific? I don't know for a fact that CPRR used Box Car Red, but have been told that by well informed railroad historians in Utah and actually saw dark red painted lettering on portions of former Promontory roundhouse walls. The roundhouse was demolished around 1913, but portions have been preserved as part of a rancher's barn. I note in a CPRR Discussion Group post from 2006 that the new SP color scheme seems to have begun on the Salt Lake Division around the Harriman era of the early 1900s. It also indicates that common plans between SP and UP were started about 1904. The building that I am speaking about is painted in SP Colonial Yellow. It's certainly possible that it was re-painted to that color in later years, but then again, it is possible that it is a much newer building and dates from the early 20th Century.

Any thoughts would be of value. Thank you.

Mike Polk
Sagebrush Consultants
Ogden, Utah

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Southern Pacific Railroad's Inter-California Line

From: "Cindi Andersen" cindersnaps343@yahoo.com

I ... was wondering about the SP's "Inter-Cal" line which went from Araz Jct., Arizona to Mexicali on the Mexican side of the border. Although the SP de Mexico was rarely if ever profitable, did the Inter-California line make money prior to its abandonment circa 1958? Does any information still survive as to the types of crops shipped on that particular line? ...

—Cindi Andersen

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Boston Board of Trade Transcontinental Railroad Trip, 1870

From: "Beth Anne Bower" bower1848@gmail.com

Boston Board of Trade Transcontinental Railroad Trip, 1870.

In doing family research I learned that my 2nd great grandfather was one of the organizers and participants in this historic trip. The Massachusetts Historical Society and the American Antiquarian Society both have some papers related to the trip. I was very interested to see the Hart photographs and the Transcontinental newspaper. I am pursuing additional research (I live outside of Boston) and am scheduled to be in San Francisco in March.

Can you point me in the direction of any other archival collections with records, photographs or memorabilia from the trip? Ideas on where to look? I am particularly interested in how the train was supported. I assume there were porters, engineers, cooks, staff etc. on the train ... but where did they sleep etc.? Was there a "support" car? ...

—Beth Bower

Monday, December 07, 2015

Mastodon locomotives on Donner Pass?

From: "Larry Mullaly" lmullaly@jeffnet.org

Mastodons on Donner?

A June 1884 Motive Power summary that I found at the National Archives lists status of all locomotives then in service from Visalia to El Paso. This reports shows that “mastodon" locomotives SP nos. 51-63 as well as CP no. 229 were assigned to the Tulare Division. No mastodons were assigned to the Los Angeles Division.

However, nowhere is there is no sign of SP nos. 64-79, the last group of these engines built by Danforth-Cooke in May-June of 1883. Their absence from the southern lines leads me me to surmise that they may have been assigned to the Donner route.

The topic gets more interesting because Menke/Mullaly (SP Trainline Fall 2005) suggest that the transition on this route from wood to coal took place in late 1886 based on San Francisco. Since the Danforth-Cooke locomotives seem to have been coal burning engines, perhaps the topic of coal usage over Donner also needs to be revisited.

Comments would be appreciated.

—Larry Mullaly

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

"The Central Pacific R. R. of California. Character of the Work, Its Progress, Resources, Earnings, and Future Prospects." New York, October, 1866

From: "NewCastle, Alta Cal'a" caliron@att.net
Subject: Interesting Auction

A nice 1866 CPRR map in this auction.

—Chris



The Central Pacific R. R. of California. Character of the Work, Its Progress, Resources, Earnings, and Future Prospects. George Brown, Printer, New York, October, 1866.
The Central Pacific R. R. of California. Character of the Work, Its Progress, Resources, Earnings, and Future Prospects. New York, October, 1866."Map Showing the route of the Central Pacific R.R. From Sacramento To Great Salt Lake... Drawn, Engraved & Printed by C.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. 172 William St. N.Y."
Courtesy PBA Galleries.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

CPRR Discussion Group

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Red eye missing may mean retinoblastoma

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"How Railroad History Shaped Internet History"

"How Railroad History Shaped Internet History", © The Atlantic, November, 2015. (Article)

"It's no accident that Iowa, where the first transcontinental railroad began, is now home to a huge data-center industry. ... Google's decision to place its Iowa data centers in the starting point of the transcontinental railroad ... the actual routes that fiber-optic networks run." [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]


Railroad Depot at Council Bluffs, Iowa, 1882
Railroad Depot at Council Bluffs, Iowa, 1882.

"Bloodgood vs. Mohawk & H.R.R., an 1837 easement case describes the inherent value of railroads:"

... they tend to annihilate distance, bringing in effect places that are distant near to each other: tending in their magic influence to the extension of personal acquaintance, the enlargement of business relations, and cementing more firmly the bond of fellowship and union between the inhabitants of the States.

Locomotive "Socrates," the only survivor of the Ashtabula Train Disaster of the 1870's

From: "Joe Daniels" joedan123@gmail.com

I am attempting to find information on a 1800's locomotive named "Socrates." It was the only survivor of the Ashtabula Train Disaster of the 1870's. I have not been able to locate a single detail as to the fate of this locomotive.

I found one report that said it was put on display during the memorial service but I can't find out what happened to it after. ...

—Joe Daniels

Sunday, November 01, 2015

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Joining of the rails

From: "Theodore Kiefer" tedkiefer467@gmail.com

Since the rails met coming from opposite directions, I presume a standard length rail might not fit the gap between. How did they accomplish this last joining of the rails? I have never read anything concerning this situation. I am guessing two rails were fabricated just for this situation. Were they able to cut and drill holes for the joint bolts in the field? ...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Rail Road Spike Question (the number 16 on spike head)

From: "Elledge, Mark D." Mark.Elledge@va.gov

I have enjoyed looking at the fantastic web page your organization has created.

A couple years ago a friend and I were metal detecting and he unearthed a rail road spike. However, this one was very odd. On the head of the spike the number 16 was deeply stamped into it.

I have dug up many railroad spikes but have never found one with a number on it. I was wondering what it means. I have looked and searched and have failed to find and answer.

I have attached a photo of the item. ...

—Mark D. Elledge, Sheridan, WY


railroad spike with the number 16 on its head

Monday, October 19, 2015

Indians on top of trains

From: "Shayne Del Cohen" shaynedel@att.net

Looking for copy of leases or right aways from Indian agents that allowed Indians to ride for free on top of trains in exchange for laying RR through their reservation. ...

—Shayne Del Cohen

P.S. Ride Reno-EMY [Reno, Nevada to Emeryville, California] all the time and just love going through the mountains thinking of the construction.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"Union Pacific Museum has 'hidden gem' from Golden Spike ceremony"

"Union Pacific Museum has 'hidden gem' from Golden Spike ceremony" by Tim Rohwer, © The Daily Nonpareil, October 18, 2015. (News Article)

" ... On display ... is one of the three ceremonial golden spikes ... that were tapped into place by a special silver ... hammer into a laurelwood tie ... a fine wood ... you would use for furniture ... the Golden Spike and the Nevada Silver Spike [were] given to Central Railroad President Leland Stanford. ... The Arizona Gold and Silver [spike] was given to [Union Pacific Railroad] President Oliver Ames, who took it back to New York City, then the railroad’s headquarters. Years later, after Ames’ death, his family donated the spike to the Museum of the City of New York, which owns the spike. ... The spike has been on display since the UP Museum opened in 2003 on a permanent loan ... [with] a ring featuring gold that came from the Golden Spike, as well as watchfobs used on pocket watches. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Train Travel in 1925

From: "Anne Louise Bannon" anne@annelouisebannon.com

I'm writing a novel in which my character is travelling in October, 1925 from New York to Los Angeles (or Pasadena? Some other L.A. station? I know the Los Angeles Union Station didn't open until 1939). The fun part is that she's riding first class for the first time in her life. And I mean the kind of first class that an uber-millionnaire would be taking. So in addition to schedules, I need to get a sense of what it would be like from the time she arrives at the train station (Grand Central or Pennsylvania?) to the time she gets off the train in L.A., plus some sense of what a similar trip would be like for someone of considerably more modest means. While I don't need to know the exact cost of the trip, I would need to know how much of any incidental expenses, such as meals, would be pre-paid or on her husband's tab, as it were. He will not be with her at the time since he's gone ahead of her to California.

Is there a good online source for schedules, photos of 1920's Pullman cars and diners, perhaps a menu or two? Would she be changing trains in Chicago? One of your notes suggested that folks on the Pullman cars didn't necessarily. If she doesn't change trains, would the car be hooked up to another train. To the best of my knowledge, it wasn't a straight shot. ...

Anne Louise Bannon, Writer and Columnist

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Stereo views by A. A. Hart

From: shipwreckcargo@gmail.com wrote:

I recently acquired 2 dozen stereo views with A. A. Hart's logo on the reverse side.

Can you help me identify which ones are rarities and what their value might be? ...

—Brewster Harding

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Food for CPRR rail passengers

Thursday, October 01, 2015

CPRR Discussion Group

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Recommended German Language Books on U.S. Railroad History

From: "Karl-Heinz Stempfle" ekstempfle@t-online.de

My English is (sorry) not good. Seeking books on railway history in USA in German language.

—Karl from Germany

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Golden Spike Centennial May, 1969 with account from 'Harper's Weekly,' May 29, 1869 and 1869 Timetables

From: "Bruce C. Cooper" centpacrr@comcast.net

From The Official Guide of Railways, 102nd year, No. 1, June, 1969 (Golden Spike Centennial Issue) pp. 2-5.

Courtesy of The Bruce C. Cooper Collection.



Excerpts from
"THE PACIFIC RAILROAD"
in "Harper's Weekly" of May 29,1869

The foremost of the great projects for connecting by rail the Atlantic and Pacific coasts was realized May 10. At ten minutes past 3 o'clock P.M. at Promontory Point, Utah the last rail was laid. The last spikes driven were presented by Nevada and Arizona. That from Nevada was of silver. "To the iron of the East and the gold of the West," said the Hon. T. A. Tuttle, representing that State, "Nevada adds her link of silver to span the continent and wed the oceans." By a connection of the telegraph with the last spike (a gold one from California), the last blow given announced to the world the completion of the grand enterprise. A prayer was said by Rev. Dr. Todd of Pittsfield; then the last two rails were laid simultaneously, one opposite the other—one for the Union Pacific Railroad, and one for the Central Pacific Railroad; the presentation of spikes and the responses followed; then the last spikes were driven by the two companies, and telegrams were sent to the President of the United States and to the Associated Press.

This remarkable event was celebrated with especial enthusiasm in Chicago and other Western cities. But in New York city the news was calmly received; and as on the occasion of the capture of Richmond the event was celebrated by the singing of anthems, and not by a loud uproar. A salute was fired in the City Park; peals were rung from Trinity chimes, and a religious service was held in Trinity Church. The remarks made by the Rev. Dr. Vinton were so appropriate that we quote here a portion of his address:

"This is, indeed, a great event of the world: it is one of the victories of peace—a victory grander than those of war, which leave in their track desolation, devastation, misery and woe. It is a triumph of commerce—a triumph indicating free trade as a future law of the nation. When we contemplate this achievement we can hardly realize its magnitude. Three thousand two hundred and eighty-five miles of continuous railway within four degrees of latitude and fifty degrees of longitude in the temperate zone. When the ocean route was discovered around the Cape of Good Hope, it was very properly regarded as a blessing to mankind—hence the designation by which it was known; but this mighty work, which connects the two oceans, is a still greater blessing. In the olden times, when camels were the means used for transportation it was found that wherever the caravans stopped there would spring up cities, and there would be the evidences of civilization. So with this great work. It will populate our vast territory, and be the great highway of the nations; their merchants will cross it to trade with us. But there is another aspect in which we view it as a blessing, and esteem it as of still greater importance. It will preserve the union of these States.

"Philosophers tell us, and we know it to be true, that where there are rivers which diverge in their courses, and have separate and distinct outlets (as in Europe), there the nations become diffused and the people are separated and disunited. But where, on the contrary, the topography is such that the rivers all flow into one common central basin, there is necessarily a concentration of interests and of peoples, and that territory is marked out by God to be under one Government.

"By the operation of this natural law we must regard it as decreed that there shall ever be a unity of people and government in all that territory which lies between the Alleghenies and the Rocky Mountains. Beyond these lofty heights, however, we find the rivers diverging, as in Europe, and following the rule that obtains in the Old World, there might be a diffusion of interests and a separation of governments in that section of the country divided from us by the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains. But this railway counteracts such natural tendency to disunion, has prevented a separation and binds the States of the Atlantic and Pacific into one nation."

Let us glance at the history of this enterprise. It is closely connected with the political developments of the last twenty years. At the close of the Mexican War, in 1848, California, New Mexico (including Arizona), and Texas were added to our territory, so that from the 32d to the 42d parallel of latitude there was no foreign domain between the Mississippi and the Pacific coast. The very next year thousands of miners from every quarter of the globe flocked to the goldfields of California; the greater number by sea, but very many through the Eastern States, and over the unexplored regions of the Far West, by what soon came to be known as the overland route. The necessity for a transcontinental route then became evident. Hon. Thomas H. Benton, of Missouri, introduced a bill into the Senate in 1850, authorizing what may be called a stepping-stone railroad, consisting of links of railroad interrupted occasionally by what were then supposed to be insuperable natural obstacles. Three years later Congress appropriated $150,000 for six surveys of proposed routes for Pacific railroads, to be carried on by the War Department, of which Jefferson Davis was then Secretary. Among those who had been prominent in advocating the claims of this enterprise before the people, the foremost was Asa Whitney. Congress in 1854, appropriated $190,000 more, and three additional surveys were made.

The great problem of the engineers was how to overleap the Rocky Mountains. The Pacific surveys proved that this great grizzly bear had a very broad back, that the slope up his sides was very gradual, and that his spine did not extrude unpleasantly in the centre, but lay, on the contrary, rather sunk between two rows of muscles, or mountains, on either side.

But very soon the Southern disunion sentiment cast a cloud over the political sky, and the important question arose, "How would the Pacific States stand"? Their isolated position was keenly felt. The importance of California was beginning to be understood. Her gold, cereals, grape culture, her trade with Eastern Asia; all these facts commanded attention. She stood the test of the Civil War, and proved herself loyal. Her own growing importance fed her...to seek a more rapid and convenient communication with the East. It was discovered that there was a practicable railroad route across the snow-clad Sierra through Donner Pass, midway between San Francisco and Virginia City. Some of the richest of California merchants pledged their entire fortunes to the realization of this project, the State Legislature gave its support, and Congress was asked to grant a fitting subsidy.

It is needless here to describe the conflict which then sprang up between Chicago and St. Louis, each of which (the former backed by New York and the Northwest, and the latter by Philadelphia and the Middle States) sought to gain control of the eastern branch that was to meet and unite with that already proceeding from San Francisco. This was in 1862, when the Government was spending daily $2,000,000 in gold for the suppression of the Rebellion. It was in the midst of such a contest as this that in July, 1862, President Lincoln signed the act granting a charter to the proprietors of the Pacific Railroad Companies. The Chicago capitalists had gained the victory, and Omaha (on the Missouri River) was fixed upon as the eastern terminus of the road to Sacramento, 1,721 miles distant. But St. Louis was to be provided for by a subsidized branch line, to connect with the main line on or about the 100th meridian. This was called the Eastern Division of the Union Pacific Railroad. The line from Sacramento to meet the Union Pacific was called the Central Pacific Railroad. These three companies were all chartered and stood on equal footing as regarded land-grants, loans, mortgages, etc. Congress conferred upon the three companies the right of way, an absolute grant of 12,800 acres per mile of the public lands traversed, and authorized a special issue of 6 per cent United States bonds, proportioned to each company according to the length and difficulty of the lines, to be delivered as the work progressed. The bonds issued by the companies themselves were given the position of a first mortgage. The two classes of bonds and the other capital for the construction of the Union and Central Pacific roads amount in round numbers to $150,000,000, about equally divided between the two.

These two roads have been completed and the through line regularly established. On the very day of the opening an invoice of tea from Japan was shipped from San Francisco to St. Louis. The next day a telegram was received at the Post-Office Department, Washington from Promontory Point, stating that the mails had been delivered at that place for San Francisco. The cost of transmitting the mails by the Butterfield route was $1,100 per mile by the year; by the railroad it is only $200 per mile. The transportation of government supplies and troops is diminished in the same ratio.

The advantages of the new route thus opened are obvious. Communication between Calcutta, Hong-Kong, and Liverpool will be measured by days instead of weeks. Facilities for the interchange of merchandise will tend to the rapid development of our national resources. Immigration will receive the aid of a most powerful auxiliary. What will grow out of the close connection thus established with Eastern Asia time alone can reveal. We are not disposed to be imaginative. Looking only to what is real and tangible, it is certain that no work of this century can compare in the grandeur both of the undertaking and of its probable results with the Pacific Railroad.

Chinese newspaper, San Francisco, 1893

From: ektien@gmail.com

My family found an old Chinese newspaper [The Oriental Chinese Newspaper, War Kee, Proprietor, No. 803 Washington St., San Francisco, Cal.] ... that is dated May 12th, 1893. ...

–Ek Tien

Courtesy of the Tien Family Collection.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Identification of Passenger Riding Antelope's Cowcatcher

From: "Robert Murphy" robertmurphy12@cox.net

I am the author of The Iron Horse Chronicles, historical fiction about the building of the first transcontinental railroad. In the third book I am writing about the driving of the golden spike. A scene in that book presents Stanford’s special train journeying from Sacramento to Promontory Summit. Who was the passenger riding the cowcatcher of the Antelope when it struck the log in Truckee Canyon? I would like to identify the individual by name rather than brush over the topic.

Robert Lee Murphy



Eagle Talons (The Iron Horse Chronicles: Book One), 2014.

Bear Claws (The Iron Horse Chronicles: Book Two), 2015.