Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More on train wreck data ...

From: "Tom De Fazio" de_fazio@alum.mit.edu

I received a request to cite railroad professional journals that may offer wreck data. ... At the turn of the century, 1899-1900, The Railroad Gazette had a monthly listing of United States [train] wrecks. By ca. 1910, and if I scan and infer correctly from the Railway and Engineering Review, the ICC offered a quartlerly report on United States wrecks but the Railway and Engineering Review did not.

The following is a complete citation of a wreck that is well known in the railfan community, taken from The Railroad Gazette, Vol. XXXII, No. 23, June 8, 1900. It suggests the level of detail one may expect:

Train Accidents in the United States in April
Rear 30th, 4 a. m., on Illinois Central at Vaughans (sic.) Miss., passenger train No. 1 ran into the rear of a preceding freight train, wrecking the engine and several cars. The engineman was killed and three other trainmen were injured. There was a dense fog at the time.


... I found it interesting, for example, to read a railroad professional journal's modest description of "Casey" Jones' final incident on the ICRR in Mississippi on April 30th, 1900.

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

Monday, January 29, 2007

Central Pacific Libraries

From: "Wendell Huffman" wwhuffma@clan.lib.nv.us

I notice a "library" on an 1880s era plat of Wadsworth, Nevada. The coloration of the symbol for the structure [blue] and its location adjacent to the railroad across the tracks from the locomotive facilities suggests that this library was railroad property.  

Is there evidence that the Central Pacific established and maintained libraries?  

If company-established and maintained, were these for employees, passengers, and/or residents of the adjacent town?  

Further, if company-established, how common were these?  

Surprisingly, libraries appear to not be mentioned in Richard Orsi’s Sunset Limited. I believe there were company libraries under Harriman, but this question focuses on the pre-Harriman era.  

Wendell W. Huffman
Curator of History
Nevada State Railroad Museum
2180 South Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701
(775) 687-8291 v
(775) 687-8294 f

Distance from railroad to homes

From: Anthony_Adedipe@Countrywide.Com

What is the distance in feet allocated to rail road company's from rail roads to homes built within the proximity per act of Congress?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Iowa Pacific Railroad Company Bond

From: "Charlene D'Onofrio" cfdon@hotmail.com

I have a mortgage bond of the Iowa Pacific Railroad in the amount of 22 pounds that was bought in London England in June 1874...from what I have been reading this was common to get foreign backing for the railroads...is there anything you can tell me about the Iowa Pacific and the value of this bond?

—Charlene D'Onofrio

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Donahue's Landing (Sonoma County)

From: TASCHER@aol.com

Is there any photo or map showing the railroad buildings or track layout of Donahue's Landing? (Sonoma County)

—Ted Lehmann

Donahue's Landing (Sonoma County)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Stanford Train to Promontory

From: "Terry Graf" croc8m@yahoo.com

... I'm wondering what historian(s) has compiled the most complete list of passengers who were on board the Stanford train to Promontory for the ceremony, and/or of the first west-east through train from Sacramento (date?).

Also, did some of the passengers on board the Stanford train continue through on the UPRR line?


Sunday, January 21, 2007

"Workin' on the railroad: Today's builders hurdle barriers unknown in transcontinental era"

"Workin' on the railroad: Today's builders hurdle barriers unknown in transcontinental era" by Nicole Warburton, © Deseret Morning News, January 21, 2007. (News Article)

"... the Utah Transit Authority has begun work on a commuter-rail line. But even with modern equipment such as bulldozers, cranes and special rail-laying machines, the work is slow, and UTA has yet to lay even one mile of rail in one day during construction of the FrontRunner commuter-rail line. The first phase is 44 miles long, stretching from Salt Lake City to Pleasant View in Weber County. UTA began construction in July 2005. Work is expected to be done in June 2008 – three years after construction started. ... Before beginning construction, UTA was required by federal law to complete a two-year study of the environmental effects of building commuter rail and also had to outline how it would 'mitigate,' or help to lessen any impacts. After that, UTA worked six months to obtain approval from 43 cities and jurisdictions to build commuter rail. Now, it is in the middle of a two-year process of diverting utilities that run under the commuter-rail line. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Union Pacific Railroad was not of "first-class construction"

From: "Josh Dulberg" joshdul24@yahoo.com

I have a few questions regarding the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad.

I recall reading – in a letter from the Commissioner of the Railway Commission to President Lincoln [sic], that after inspection, the railway was not of "first-class construction." I also believe that he said that it would cost another 11,000,000 dollars to make the railway of "first-class" construction. Did the government give the $11 million he estimated, or did they give something else? Or, was the railroad left how it was, or was more construction done on it?

—Josh Dulberg

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dead Chinese

On June 29, 1870, the bodies of 50, NOT 1,200 Chinese dead arrived in Sacramento by train for reburial, and not all of this much smaller number had died of railroad construction accidents. Many thanks to Wendell Huffman for finding this historical evidence.

From: "Wendell Huffman" wwhuffma@clan.lib.nv.us

... the article from the Sacramento Reporter of 30 June 1870 ... mentions the bones of the 1,200 Chinese ... [fatalities]

... here is a report of – apparently – the same train. But what a different number!


Sacramento Union, June 30, 1870.

BONES OF DEFUNCT CHINAMEN.  Sacramento Union, June 30, 1870.  Courtesy of Wendell Huffman.

"BONES OF DEFUNCT CHINAMEN — The Central Pacific freight train last evening brought to the city the bones of about fifty defunct Chinamen who died from disease or were killed by accident while working on the line of the Central Pacific Railroad. They are to be interred in Conboie's private cemetery, as have been already the bodies of about one hundred others similarly deceased."

Sacramento Reporter, June 30, 1870.

BONES  IN TRANSIT.  Sacramento Reporter, June 30, 1870.  Courtesy of Chris Graves.

"BONES IN TRANSIT. — The accumulated bones of perhaps 1,200 Chinamen came in by the eastern train yesterday from along the line of the Central Pacific Railroad. The lot comprises about 20,000 pounds. Nearly all of them are the remains of employees of the company, who were engaged in building the road. The religious customs of the Celestial Empire require that, whenever possible, the bones of its subjects shall be interred upon its own soil, and the strictness with which this custom is observed is something remarkable."

Elko Independent, January 5, 1870.

DEAD CHINAMEN.  Elko Independent, January 5, 1870.  Courtesy of Wendell Huffman.

"DEAD CHINAMEN — Six cars are strung along the road between here and Toano, and are being loaded with dead Celestials for transportation to the Flowery Kingdom. We understand the Chinese Companies pay the Railroad Company $10 for carrying to San Francisco each dead Chinaman. Six cars, well stuffed with this kind of freight, will be a good day's work. The remains of the females are left to rot in shallow graves while every defunct male is carefully preserved for shipment to the Occident."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Locomotive "Mikado"

From: KyleKWyatt@gmail.com

"Would the person who was Mikado in 1884 have been the same Mikado after whom the 2-8-2 was named? A trivial point, but an amusing one for a lover of Gilbert & Sullivan and steam locomotives."

The short answer is Yes. Mikado is a primarily English term for the Emperor of Japan. In the specific case of the first Mikado locomotive (built 1895, I believe), the relevant emperor was the Emperor Meiji, who was emperor between 1867 and his death in 1912.


[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

Great uncle Ashcroft, railway builder

From: "JOHN ASHCROFT" johnashcroft417@btinternet.com

My great uncle Ashcroft was a railway constructor in the late 1800's in America, do you have any information on him or his company ... ?

—John Ashcroft, Northern Ireland

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sutter Lake - China Slough

From: KyleKWyatt@gmail.com

I'm looking for copies of original information on the transfer of authority for Sutter Lake/China Slough from the State to the City of Sacramento, and subsequently transfer of development rights from the City to the Central Pacific.


Citadel Rock, Green River Wyoming

From: DollyGary@msn.com

Having came from Green River Wyo, Citadel Rock (known as Castle Rock by local residence) has always been a passion. Since climbing it as a child until now I always wondered where the name Citadel Rock or Castle Rock originated from. Any ideas?

—Gary L Cain

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Pivotal Books on California History

From: thags@cox.net writes:

I attended a meeting of the Zamorano Club earlier this week, which is a group of Los Angeles book collectors, printers, and librarians. (Librarians from the Huntington, USC, UCLA, UCSD) In the late 40's they agreed on the 80 most important books in California History. At this time a sub-committee is working on the second 80 most important. At the meeting I was asked if there were any pivotal books indicating how California railroads impacted the success and uniqueness of California. I cannot readily answer so I am posing the question to you in hopes of real insight. Their preference seems to be first person narratives, reports or surveys. I feel that a publication like Reports on Canals, Railways ... , 1826 by Edward Strickland done for Pennsylvania is a important work of the type which would merit inclusion. I know of nothing like that for California, but thought to ask for suggestions of publications which would be considered pivotal to California growth from a transportation angle. For example works on water rights in California are being discussed for inclusion.

If you have any specific book thoughts, or bibliography suggestions I would be appreciative. Their thoughts are for publications 1850's through 70's. I like the Pope Diary.

Any thoughts are helpful.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Freight Trains through Salinas in 1916

From: MHSTATION@aol.com
Subject: Question regarding activity of Freight Trains through Salinas

Can you help me with some info on Southern Pacific freight trains that would come through Salinas on a daily basis in 1916? If you don't have this information, would you know where I can get it.


Original autograph notes [or minutes of a meeting] - CPRR c. 1862

Description: 10" x 7.5"; single sheet, written on both sides.

The notes begin with list of nine board of director's names and share amounts issued: Huntington, Hopkins, Govr. Stanford, Philip Stanford, E. B. Crocker, D. W. Strong, Chs. Marsh, S. A. Booth, and E. Miller.

This followed by an entry regarding answer to Committee from Placer Co. that "cash has been paid as above [board shares], so far as paid."

Further notes regarding: 8,721 shares of full paid shares issued, listing amounts paid to Placer & Sacramento Counties, parties East, contractors "leaving 1074 shares issued to other parties – supposed to be for small shareholders, and bonuses East & elsewhere."

Last paragraph, second page: "There is no doubt whatsoever that the Board of Directors have not paid up their subscriptions above. Judah, one of the former directors subscribed 950 – which is not paid. Bailey, the former secretary also was a subscriber who has not been paid & in fact but a small proportion otherwise than the counties has been paid up in full." Edward Huntington Miller replaced Bailey as secretary.

Appears to be a contemporary attempt at a general accounting by an unknown party during the fundraising years before groundbreaking on January 8, 1863. An interesting fragment in search of companions and context.

Description courtesy of Johns' Western Gallery.

CPRR Minutes c. 1862.

CPRR Minutes c. 1862.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Sins, revisited

From: "Chris Graves" caliron@att.net Subject: The Sins, revisited

The following link is from 2002, I guarantee you will enjoy reading the full article. —Chris

"The celebrity and the cowboy." Ventura County Reporter, April 11, 2002

Indians, question for group

From: "Wendell Huffman" wwhuffma@clan.lib.nv.us

In the FAQ section there is some statement (based on Williams) that CP dignitaries treated directly with Piute and Shoshone Indians. Does anyone know who actually participated in such meetings and when and where these occurred?  

Wendell W. Huffman
Curator of History
Nevada State Railroad Museum
2180 South Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701
(775) 687-8291 v
(775) 687-8294 f

Monday, January 01, 2007

LAPIS SPUR; Monterey Branch

From: TWINCOACH@aol.com

I'm looking for information (history) on the old sand quarry at LAPIS on the SPCo.'s Monterey branch. I know they at one time did their own switching with an old PLYMOUTH gas locomotive, 10 ton (SG) in the 1920's. At that time the company was operating under the name BAY DEVELOPMENT CO., LAPIS, CA.


Punch photograph railroad ticket

Can anyone supply an image showing a 19th century punch photograph railroad ticket (which apparently lead to Herman Hollerith's invention of the punch card for the census that was the forerunner of computers)?

" ... the conductor ... punched out a description of the individual, as light hair, dark eyes, large nose, etc. ... [which] verified that the passenger occupying the seat was in fact the same who had originally presented the ticket."

Punch Photo Ticket

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