Monday, June 27, 2005

The Ben Halliday

From: "Larry Mullaly"

I have a passenger car question. The SP Assistant Superintendent's Journal for March 16, 1873 contains the entry:

Excursion engine No. 4 [Comanche] with one coach, the Ben Halliday, a wedding party to San Jose.

My interpretation is that SP No. 4, Comanche, was hired out to bring a one car train from San Francisco to San Jose. Can anyone provide additional information about this car? ...

Larry Mullaly


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


" ... Jack had made a trip as a child almost across this continent in the first overland stage-coach. That man's name who ran that line of stages – well, I declare that name is gone. Well, names will go. Halliday – ah, that's the name – Ben Halliday, your uncle [turning to Mr. Carnegie]. That was the fellow – Ben Halliday – and Jack was full of admiration at the prodigious speed that that line of stages made – and it was good speed – one hundred and twenty-five miles a day, going day and night, and it was the event of Jack's life ... "

Mark Twain – Address at the dinner of the Society of Illustrators, given at the Aldine Association Club, December 22, 1905.

6/27/2005 5:02 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Jim Wilke"

The journal entry probably describes the movement of a private car. Benjamin Holliday (with an "o" rather than an "a" as in the entry) at various times operated stagecoach, steamship and railroad lines, and was most recently in control of the Oregon Central Railroad, reorganized as the Oregon & California in 1870. He was also known as the "Stagecoach King."

Presumably the private car named for him was his own. According to Baldwin records, his name was also to be on an engine ordered for the OC in the late 1860s.

Holliday employed the hardball tactics of his era but had a particularly poor reputation. Financial overextension forced him into bankruptcy but I cannot remember if it occurred before or during the national financial depression which began a few months later in 1873.

Jim Wilke

6/27/2005 6:44 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography for Ben Holliday.

Overland Stage.

6/27/2005 6:52 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Jim Wilke"

One more thought on hiring a locomotive to move a single private car: Holliday was also known as the "King of Hurry," so its not unlike such a person to pay for the privilege of moving at his own schedule. The cache of a private train would appeal to anyone addicted to the display of wealth and ability.

The choice of an engine named Comanche would have been especially nice, a self-flattering turnabout from the Indian raids experienced during operations of the overland stage line some years earlier.


6/27/2005 10:29 PM  

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