Sunday, April 30, 2006


From: "Jennifer M. Meadows"

Out of curiousity, who won the race to Promontory Point – Central Pacific or Union Pacific?

—Jennifer Meadows, Sam Houston State University

John McQuarrie mural artist for the Mesa Railroad Station

From: "Ron Peters"

I am doing some research on John McQuarrie. He apparently was the mural artist for the Mesa Railroad station built in 1931 Demolished in 1975. I am trying to find out if there is a record of his murals and copies. I would sure like to find a copy of the mural he did for the mesa station. It was centered around the Salt river Valley and conquest of the Indians by the Morman settlers. Any help would be appreciated.

—Ron Peters

John McQuarrie, Obituary, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/30/1944. Courtesy of the G.J. 'Chris' Graves Collection.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

WARNING: Fake AT&SF 1876 Color Timetables

According to Fake Railroad Paper - Railroadiana Online: "An 1876 timetable from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad has been recently produced in some quantity. According to a reputable source, the text does not indicate that it is a reproduction. We do not know if there ever was an original timetable that looked just like this, so it could be either a reproduction or a 'fantasy' item."

FRAUD ALERT: These fake timetables which have started to appear on eBay, are easy to spot because they are reproduced using a color halftone screen printing process that shows an array of dots easily visible when the timetable is looked at with magnification. Halftone printing did not exist in 1876.

When legitimately sold as not being original by an ethical dealer, these are described for example as "AT&SF 11-26-1876. Large, very colorful, very ornate REPRINT, guessing 1970's - 80's date of reprint (16-pl)...$11."

Railroad Fakes & Reproductions: "... These are quite attractive and apparently have been printed in some quantity. One guess is that they were produced in the 1970's, but whether or not there ever was an original timetable like this is unknown."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Source of construction material

What country supplied material for the Transcontinental Railroad?


Transcontinental RR Train Stations

From: "Felber, Mary"
Subject: 2006 Richard Morris Hunt Fellowship

... I’m looking for great people to contact to arrange the program for the 2006 Richard Morris Hunt fellow, Christopher Loustau. His area of interest is specific: Train stations along the 1st transcontinental railroad from NY to SF. Please send me contacts for anyone you can think of to give the big picture/overview and specific architects, engineers, conservators, archeologists, etc that would be interested and be interesting for Christopher to meet. ...

Mary Felber
AIA/AAF Scholarship Programs
1735 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 626-7511

Purchasing railroad maps

From: "m gross"

I am interested in ... original maps, I may want to purchase. Can you tell me the prices of [railroad maps]? ...


Great grandfather Blodgett

From: "Mike & Sue Blodgett"

My name is Sue Blodgett and my husband's great grandfather was a part of the working crew when the track was laid. He received an Elgin railroad watch when either he retired or when the track was finished. I am not sure. I am looking for any information about him. I know his last name was Blodgett and that is all the information I have. Can you help me to find out anything else about him. I know I am not giving you much to go on. I think he would have worked for the Union Pacific side but not for sure on that.

—Sue Blodgett


WARNING: PayPal refuses to act on fraud that has been brought to their attention whenever a seller delays shipment of the fake item until after a PayPal complaint for non-receipt is filed.

This serious problem with eBay auction payments has been repeatedly brought to the PayPal Protection Services Department's attention, but PayPal adamantly refuses to modify their defective policy and procedure, stating: "In accordance to PayPal's User Agreement you may only file one PayPal Buyer Protection claim per PayPal payment either for Non-Receipt of merchandise or for receiving Not-as-Described. You are not able to file for both reasons."

Consequently their promise that "PayPal does not tolerate fraud ... we will investigate and take appropriate action" is worthless under these circumstances (delayed delivery + fake item) as PayPal's "Resolution Center" refuses to investigate the fraud dispute and won't take any action when the fraud is discovered and reported to them.

[Note: Hopefully, PayPal will eliminate their egregious recipe for getting away with selling fake items (simply by also delaying delivery), so that removal of this post would be merited.]

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ogden yards "transfer man" c. 1880

From: "Vella Evans"

... My Great Grandfather, Robert Faddies, worked in the Ogden, Utah, yards from about 1875 to 1880. He was called a "transfer man" at the time, but current railroaders can't tell me what kind of work a transfer man did. Can you, please.

—Vella Evans, St. George, Utah

Monday, April 24, 2006

19th century Month Dated Rail

"California Iron from the G. J. Graves Collection" has several of examples of 19th century month dated rail:

Wilson and Cammell Rail indicates "10.1881"

Cambria Steel Rail, 1874 has nine dots indicating September

Moss Bay Co. English Steel Rail, has eleven dots just in front of the "1887" indicating that it was made in November

Scranton Steel, "11 '77"

Springfield Steel, "5 1881"

North Chicago Rolling Mill, "XII 1883" indicating that it was made in December

Sunday, April 23, 2006

What happened to Gov. Stanford's private car?

From: "Eugene Luevano"

... What happened to Gov. Stanford's private car? I saw the the Nevada State Railroad museum has a CPRR private car but it is not the "Stanford."

—Gene Luevano, Cerritos, CA

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

CP in Sacramento in Early 1868

From: "Larry Mullaly"

I am working on an account of the California State legislature, December-March, 1868. The legislature at that time met at the Sacramento County courthouse on the northwest corner of 7th and I streets. I am trying to get a sense of the physical presence of the Central Pacific in the capital during this period.

The article on the Sacramento Shops by Bob Pecotich that appeared in the SP Trainline, Fall 2003, indicates that at this time the CP shops were limited to a 20' x 150' wood car construction building at 6th and “I” reached by a "levee-top" track running from the river. This would seem to put this structure on the adjacent block to the legislature. I am assuming that Folsom was still the primary location of the railroads locomotive shops.

Some questions: where are CP's mainline tracks to the wharf/depot area located at this time? Were there other CP facilities in the city at this time, apart from the K Street offices, and the relatively modest shop building listed above? How intensive were the fill operations during the winter of 1868?

Overall, the physical presence of the CP in Sacramento, apart from the railroad extensive wharves, seems surprisingly limited.


1202 Sacramento City - China Slough - Lib of Congress 3a08746r
Houseworth stereoview #1202 Sacramento City - China Slough.

1203 Sacramento City, Central Pacific RR Works, at China Slough - Lib of Congress 3a27703r
Houseworth stereoview #1203 Sacramento City, Central Pacific RR Works, at China Slough.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress and Kyle Wyatt.

Friday, April 14, 2006

More CP Railroad books online

From: "Dan Anderson"

I saw your page on online books about the transcontinental railroad.

I have three 19th century books online related to this subject that you may want to add to your list:

Lester, John Erastus. The Atlantic to the Pacific: What to See, and How to See It. Shepard and Gill, Boston, Mass., 1873.

Jackson, Helen Hunt. Bits of Travel at Home. Roberts Brothers, Boston, Mass., 1878.

Greeley, Horace. An Overland Journey from New York to San Francisco in the Summer of 1859 by Horace Greeley. C. M. Saxton, Barker & Co., New York, 1860. Strongly advocates for a transcontinental railroad and travels the proposed route.

—Dan Anderson, San Diego, CA

Blind drivers

From: "Wendell Huffman"

... One thing I ran across when reading the correspondence between C.P. Huntington and Mark Hopkins was the issue of blind drivers and concern that they would fall off the rails on sharp curves. The problem was their 2-6-0s from Danforth. The first ones were shipped with flanges all around. Hopkins complained that they broke rails. At this stage, these fellows really didn't know much about railroads, so Huntington (in New York) asked around and wrote Hopkins back to have the flanges turned off the middle set of drivers. Hopkins responded with the concern that those wheels would fall off the rail and said they needed tires 8" wide if they were going to be blind.

About a year later Huntington wrote that another batch of Danforth locomotives were heading to California and that they had the 8" blind tires that had been requested. Apparently in the meantime the fellows in Sacramento discovered that regular blind tires would ot fall off the rail after all. Hopkins asked Huntington (and I paraphrase): where'd you come up with that crazy idea!? Huntington knew (and I know) exactly where the idea came from, but he was pretty nice about it. He did say that it had been a lot of trouble to get a manufacturer to roll those extra wide tires.


[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

Southern Pacific Railroad headlights

From: "Steve Mccann"

Why did the Southern Pacific Railroad have two sets of headlights plus a red light in both front and rear of most all diesel-electric loco's. What was the reason and why were they removed in the early 1990's?


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Meadows & Lake Kathleen Railroad

From: "Ray and Kathy Robinson"
Subject: website Links

Great Web site Links ... You might want to check out our [Meadows & Lake Kathleen Railroad] web site. Not quite the weight of what I saw but fun never the less. ...

Ray Robinson
Deadwood, Oregon

Saturday, April 08, 2006

RPO no-rider rule

" ... The USPS required that the RPO be the first car behind the Engine/tender. This was to preclude any entry into the locked car, which might have occurred if behind the baggage car. The clerks were all armed with pistols when they rode the car, and were very protective of their turf! . They were very fussy as to who could get in, train crews were not allowed, so passengers were obviously prohibited. ... "

From: "Wendell Huffman"

The no-rider rule was there for a reason, as my grandmother's uncle Charlie Lane found out – the hard way. He was the Adams Express messenger on Pan Handle train 8 and made the mistake of letting a former fellow employee Charles Ferrell hitch a ride in the express car. When car 208 was opened upon arrival at Columbus, Ohio on 10 August 1900, the safe was empty and Lane was dead with three .38 slugs in his back. Ferrell needed the money for his wedding; instead he got the chair.


[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

Friday, April 07, 2006

Book by Francis Colton c. 1869

From: "Marvin Jensen"

I have been searching for quite awhile for a book or booklet written by Francis Colton about 1869 +/-. He is a cousin to David Douty Colton. Colton was born in Galesburg, Illinois.

He worked for the U.P. and CPRR in England to promote the use of ships to New York and then the train to San Francisco. Then passage by ship to the Orient.

The title of his work is A New Way Around the World. It is supposed to have some nice pictures. I just found your site and thought I would ask. I have asked at all the major railroad museums and libraries including England.

I do not want to give up. I am writing a small book about him and his brother John.

I would appreciate any information or advice.

Marvin Jensen
Santa Cruz, California

Here to L.A. in 2 Hours? Not so Fast

"Here to L.A. in 2 Hours? Not so Fast" by Marty Cheek, © Gilroy Dispatch, Gilroy, CA, April 7, 2006. (News Article)

"Maybe two decades from now, passengers heading to Los Angeles on sleek bullet trains traveling at 200 mph will enjoy the rural panorama of Pacheco Pass. ... spanning the nation, a transcontinental railroad needed to ... pass somewhere over the Diablo range. ... Several routes were proposed and surveyed. These included Pacheco Pass and a direct line over the Altamont Pass to Oakland. In July 1853, a survey crew from the Benicia Arsenal explored Niles Canyon as a potential route. (The canyon was named after Addison C. Niles, a former railroad attorney who became a prominent state judge.) Engineers believed the narrow and relatively flat ravine would make a more efficient crossing than the arduous grades of Pacheco Pass and the Altamont Pass. Steam locomotives would use less fuel through Niles Canyon. And with brake technology still evolving back then, Niles was also considered a safer route. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Visit to Promontory

From: "Julia Odriscoll"

We want to visit promontory point in Utah can you help us find an address or directions. Is there a museum there? What time is it open?


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

How much money did the federal government save shipping over land-grant railroads?

From: "Wendell Huffman"

Here is the statement I'm asked to verify.


The land grant part is relatively easy. From Richard Orsi's Sunset Limited (2005) p.74-81, we learn that Central Pacific, Southern Pacific and associated lines acquired about 18 million acres of land (the government was so slow in issuing patents that some of that land was not actually received until the 1940s). Because the railroad sold the land off as rapidly as possible (to generate business through development of farms) they never owned more than about five million at one time – and generally much less than that. Even the good agricultural land was sold for less than $5 per acre, and most of the land was sold for much less than that. In short, the railroad company probably earned something in the area of $50 million off of their land grants.

But, what remains is the question of revenue lost to the railroad because they had to carry federal cargo at reduced rate (or was it for free?) between 1860s and 1946.

(I know that the original statement applies to all land-grant railroads. I'll be happy for a take on merely the CP/SP's portion of it.)


Monday, April 03, 2006

William Letchworth Patterson, UPRR Contractor

From: "Gail Whistance"

... I have visited your A.J. Russell steregraph catalog and found listed there several images of the Union Pacific construction relating to my great grandfather's work. He was the Patterson of "Miller and Patterson" which is mentioned in the captions of several images. It was very exciting to find that there are images of the actual work my ancestor did. ...

You might be interested in a bit of research I have done to verify that my great grandfather William Letchworth Patterson is in fact the contractor who worked with William Miller on Cut #5 at Red Buttes and at Tunnel #2 at the head of Echo Canyon. Even in Barry Combs' book, the first names of these two contractors were not specified. I found a U.S. Supreme Court case involving the two men, and in the opinion there is a reference to Miller's work in the construction of the Union Pacific in 1868.

Here are the specific images ... related to either Cut #5 at Red Buttes or Tunnel #2 at Echo Canyon.

Large-format 33, 34, 102-106, 120, and stereographs 145, 227-231, 265-266, 267A-267C, 270, 274.

—Gail Whistance

UPRR Pass 1869.

UPRR Pass 1869.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Question: Photo identification

Re: "1800's Picture of Railroad I found!!"

I was wonder if you can help me find out some information. I found this wonderful book of old photos but none of them have the names of the people in them but they do have the name of the studio that took them and this one is from Placerville. It is of a man riding a wagon pulled by a few horses and it is pulling this Locomotion Train and it has some signs on it. I got out a magnifying glass and the signs say "Rail Road is Coming!!!" One of the signs says "RR Is Coming, Give us the Right Away!!". It has three tough looking thugs standing in the back of the wagon. The photo was made in Placerville, California. I thought that it was very interesting so I wanted to find out more about the people in it and the rest of the photos that are in the album. It appears that they advertizing that the Railroad is coming. Therefore, I believe that it is from the 1800's as with the rest of the pictures in the book. One of the other pictures are of a man and he has a medal badge on and it looks like a GAR Medal or a Medal of Honor for some military branch. Perhaps it is William Sherman or one of the others that started the Railroad there. I am attaching you a copy of 2 of the pictures but I have about 97 more of them. I was wondering, if you would be able to recognize any of the faces. Perhaps this is something that should be in a Museum for the Railroads or for Placerville. Thank you and I truly appreciate any info that you may have or where I can find out more about these pictures. I am in San Diego so I am unable to bring them by for you to look at but would be willing to copy them and mail you some if need be. Again, thank you for your time.

—Teri Bergman

High School Research Paper - race issues occurring while building the building the transcontinental Railroad

From: "Calvin Alice-Demorest"

I am in my senior year of high school, and I was assigned a college level research paper, on the topic of my choice, during the nineteenth century. I chose to write about race issues occurring while building the building the transcontinental Railroad. So far on my quest I have found a few books to help me get a general view of things, Nothing Like it in The World by Stephen Ambrose, and Empire Express by David Bain. These books were all right for a general overview, but didn't help too much on the race issues. What sources (or sections of your site) do you recommend for this topic, or more importantly, what is the best place to find primary sources (without travelling)? I would really appreciate even the slightest reply.


[Links added]

Saturday, April 01, 2006

CPRR Discussion Group

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