Re: Travel time on the Valley road.
No, the general increase in speed is expected–perhaps in part due to heavier rail and air brakes.
That the Folsom mixed of 1901 was slower than 1895 may–in part–be due to seasonal freight. The passenger was a bit faster between those two years.
This one surprised me. I don't understand it and wonder if there was a
1895: Sacto to Rocklin: 55 min w/ 1 stop for the fast mail, yet 50 min w/4 stops Overland express. The data at hand just doesn't make sense.