Friday, July 29, 2005

"The Public Be Damned"

... a while back I got the idea of doing a word search in newspaper databases on the phrase, "The public be damned". To see how the phrase was used in news stories over the years. The results were fascinating to me.

As I recall, going back to when Vanderbilt uttered it to a Chicago reporter in the early 1880s, the phrase 'caught on' for a bit. But used in a somewhat joking context, usually at the expense of Vanderbilt[s] or the New York Central. Such as, "Local flooding caued long delays for passengers yesterday on 'The Public Be Damned' route." Then the usage seemed to die out. It was revived somewhat during the 1920s when the railroad industry was much in the news - thanks to efforts by government and others to consolidate it into fewer companies. The phrase was presented mostly as a historical footnote. A way to illustrate the industry's less than idylic roots. Then it died out again. Sometime in the 1950s, or so I remember, the phrase began regaining usage. But as a generic phrase. Not necessarily having to do with railroads but applicable to any business or industry who seemed guilty of disregarding the welfare of the "public". One example I recall vividly, concerned a power consortium asking for a large rate increase during the recession of the early 1980s. A New York State senator told the NY Times that for power companies to want to raise rates at a time the local economy was struggling was about the clearest evidence of their 'Public Be Damned' attitude that he could think of.

The irony is, Vanderbilt didn't seem to mean the phrase the way it was taken. He had been asked if the public didn't deserve faster limited trains, whether they made money or not. Implying that above all else it was the public interest a business had to be concerned with. You know, ahead of things like investment strategies, paying down bond interest, cordial labor relations, maintaining a competitive edge. It seemed to me what Vanderbilt REALLY said was, "The Public? Be Damned!" In other words, he wasn't ridculing the notion that John Q. Public's welfare was any of his concern, he was really questioning the reporter's common sense quotient. He could've just as easily have said, or so it seemed to me, "What a novel idea, young man. Don't ever go into business -you'll starve!" Had he lived in a later age, a PR flack would have undoubtedly been present to stop the interview and "clarify."

And railroad history would've been the poorer for it.

—Tommy Meehan

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup]


From: "Wendell Huffman"

... there was "seeing the Elephant", which referred in general to taking on a monumental project, and specifically to looking for gold in the California Gold Rush. The first locomotive in California was appropriately called "Elephant." I have wondered whether Nast's elephant for the Republican party derived from the somewhat earlier term (which – according to a version dating from the Gold Rush itself, came from the spectacle of a theater elephant animated by a couple stage hands who happened to be sharing a bottle inside the elephant suit until they finally staggered off the stage into the orchestra pit to the delight of the audience).


[from the R&LHS Newsgroup]

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Southern Pacific Railroad 1920s Freight Records - California Pottery Company

From: "Sarah Lim"

... I am looking for the Southern Pacific Railroad company freight records pertaining to the California Pottery Company plant in Merced, California. I am working on a new exhibit for our museum which will open in May 2006. Southern Pacific Railroad Company was crucial to the pottery plant in Merced since it shipped out most of its products. The Merced plant was built and dedicated in 1922 and closed in 1931 during the Great Depression. Any information and direction you provide will be greatly appreciated.

Sarah Lim, Museum Director
Merced County Courthouse Museum

SP Artwork by Maurice Logan

In the 1920s, SP commissioned the then well-known Bay Area landscape artist Maurice Logan, one of the "Society of Six" or "Oakland Six" impressionistic landscape colorists, to produce paintings that served as illustrations for passenger brochures and ephemera of all kinds. He produced a great many very good works (Mt. Shasta, Crater Lake, many views of California, SPGG Ferries on SF Bay and so forth) ...

Does anyone have any idea whether the originals of this work still exist, and if they do, where any of them might be located? ...

—Tom Matoff

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup]

California Big Trees, Maurice Logan, 1933

California Big Trees, Maurice Logan, 1933
Courtesy of Tom Matoff.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


From: "Chris Graves"

All of the following are from The Placer Herald, Auburn, Cal.

January 23, 1864—A New Telegraph Line—While on the line of the work of the Pacific Railroad Co. last week, we noticed new telegraph posts were being erected along the line of the road from Sacramento to Auburn. This work has since been completed, and the wire is now being adjusted to the poles. In a few days we shall be in direct communication with Sacramento, and will not have to send our messages by the roundabout way of Placerville as before.

February 27, 1864—On last Monday work was commenced by the contractor, with a force of some thirty men, on the deep through cut on the Pacific Railroad, one mile south-west of Auburn. The point is known as Bloomer Gap. The cut will be about one thousand feet long, and the deepest cutting sixty-two feet, and the amount of material to be removed nearly 40,000 cubic yards. The material is found to be boulders imbedded in cement, and of course difficult of excavation. It is proposed, however, whenever a sufficient face is obtained on the bank, to try the mining plan of bank blasting, which will expedite the work materially.

April 16, 1864—Horrible accident—Yesterday on the deep cut of the Pacific Railroad, near town, some of the workmen under the superintendence of Mr. (sic) Trowbridge, attempted to set off a blast containing about 50 pounds of powder. From some cause it failed, when Mr. (sic) T., and two of the hands—a Portuguese and a Frenchman—commenced using a crowbar or drill upon the hole, when the blast went off suddenly, mutilating them in a horrible manner, especially the Portugese who is not expected to recover; but Mr. (sic) Trowbridge will, probably the loss of his (sic) left eye. The Frenchman was cut in the chin and his lip slit, he was less hurt than the other two. (Note: James Harvey Strobridge lost his right eye in this accident, however he reported to work the following day, less his right eye)

May 21, 1864—Passenger trains on the Pacific Railroad are now running to near the Indian House, six miles below town.

June 4, 1864—Pacific Railroad—The track of this railroad, being now laid to Newcastle, in a few days the company will be prepared to receive freight at the commodious depot at that point, and we may soon expect to see considerable freight going forward to Washoe as the new wagon roads above Dutch Flat are about ready for business.

July 30, 1864—Incorrect—The statement of the Sacramento Union, that there are 300 men at work on the Pacific Railroad at Bloomer Hill is incorrect. The number does not exceed 40; and that is all that can be worked to advantage. The whole number of men now at work on the road—upon the grading and culverts, above Newcastle are not more than 60.

November 5, 1864—About one hundred laborers are at work on the Pacific Railroad in the vicinity of town, where there are some tolerably heavy cuts and fills. They are making good progress. The force will be increased soon, and a new camp established above town, to continue the grading toward the head of Auburn Ravine.

March 18, 1865—Railroad Progress—The Pacific Railroad Co. are working from six to seven hundred white and Chinese laborers, from Newcastle to a distance of three miles above Auburn, and with the present fine weather are making rapid headway. The heaviest portion of the work in the immediate vicinity of Auburn is done, and cuts, fills and trestle work near Newcastle are well advanced.........Yet a little while and the iron horse will be snorting at our doors.

April 22, 1865—The grading upon the Pacific Railroad between Newcastle and Auburn is nearly finished, and will be entirely so on or about the first of the coming month. A very large force is also at work along the line to a distance of twelve miles above town, and it will not be long before several miles are in order for ties and rails. By the first of June the road will be in running order to this place.

May 13, 1865—The early passenger train of the Central Pacific Railroad will run for the first time to Auburn this morning. The stage stock of the California Stage Co. was removed from Newcastle to this place yesterday, preparatory to the above change.

Please note: The brass plaque at Bloomer Cut has two errors—"The eigth wonder" is mis spelled; further, we know from the above news paper articles, as well as Congressional testimony, that no Chinese workers were involved in the Cut. Payroll records of the Central Pacific Railroad reflect the first Chinese workers being employed in the second week of March, 1865, in the area ABOVE Auburn near Clipper Gap.

USGS Photos - Jackson at Promontory

The US Geological Survey has posted a number of their photos on a web site.

Included are William Henry Jackson's 1869 photos along the Union Pacific, including a view at Promontory I had not seen before.

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum
111 "I" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

My work address is:
My personal address is:

SF & SJ Question

From: "Larry Mullaly"

I received the following message yesterday from  Cathy Reinhard who is working on a commemorative panel for the Colma Creek Bridge in South San Francisco.  This is a stone bridge dating to the original San Francisco and San Jose Railroad. The only thing I can think of is typeface naming the railroad found on an early shipping receipts of which I have a copy. Possibly the star found on the smokebox door of some of the early SF&SJ engines (although this was probably found on  locomotives of many lines of that era).  Any other ideas for graphics?


We are in phase two of planning these interpretive panels, and I was wondering if you knew whether the SF&SJ had a logo? I am looking for graphic material for the panel.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Question: May 1854, railroad from New York [travel to Missouri]

From: "Lisa James"

My ancestor got off a boat in New York Harbor on May 9th, 1854. Sometime prior to Feb 1855, she arrived in Osage County, because she purchased land in the newly formed Maries County at that time. We are sure that she arrived here in this county by wagon. But when she got off the boat in New York, she had a 3 year old son and an 18 month old daughter with her. I believe she must have taken a train from New York as far west as the rails would take her at that time.

What trains travelled from New York in 1854? How far could she have come by train?


Question: Nob Hill Walls

From: "Michael Lampen"

The surviving portions of boundary walls bordering the former properties of the Crocker (1876), Hopkins (1878) and Stanford (1876) mansions on Nob Hill, were supposedly designed and built by Central Pacific RR engineers. The walls are of grey basalt with coping and pylons of granite. Do you know of any documentation for this story?

Michael D. Lampen
Archivist, Grace Cathedral
1100 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108-2244

Monday, July 25, 2005

How to post to the CPRR Discussion Group

How do I find the page on which to submit an item for discussion or to respond to one?

Dave Rousar

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Question: Mile Posts


... The "Report of the Survey of the Central and Union Pacific Railways," published in 1877, indicates that three line relocations had already been done by 1876. Within the next thirty years, another 300 mile of right-of-way had been relocated in various grade revision projects.

Did the CP/SP ever "re-Mile Post" its railroad? Or did it just live with the problem of long miles, short miles, and missing Mile Posts? And if there were revisions, what was the date of the last such program of revisions?

—Abram Burnett

mileposts, mileage

Telegraph Line to Promontory


I'm trying to work out a calculation of the voltage required to work the telegraph wire from Promontory to Sacramento.   

If the wire were copper, and if the only stations having telegraph instruments "cut into" the wire were Sacramento and Promontory, the number comes out to around 200 volts!  That's a lot of power when you're using "primary cells" (zinc, copper and battery acid) giving an output of around 1.5 volts per cell.  The more stations having instruments cut in, the higher the required voltage becomes.  

So I need to answer some questions.  Does anyone have information on the following topics?  

(1)  Did the Central Pacific use copper wire in the construction of its telegraph line, or the much cheaper iron wire?  

(2)  Did the poles at Promontory in 1869 carry one telegraph wire, or two?  Can anyone tell from the photographs?  (The 1877 Report to the House of Representatives indicates two insulators per cross arm, which would seem to indicate two wires.)  If there are two wires showing on those poles at Promontory, it is a reasonable assumption that one was for "local" traffic between the way stations, and one was a "through" wire back to Sacramento.  

(3)  Did the telegraphers at Promontory work "directly" with Sacramento on a "through" wire, or did their messages have to be "relayed" (copied and re-transmitted) by one or more offices midway along the line?  

Oh, I should explain one thing ... A Morse telegraph circuit (unlike a telephone circuit) needs only ONE wire to function.  An iron stake is driven into the ground at both ends of the telegraph wire, and the earth furnishes the return path for the current back to the battery.  That's the way Samuel Morse designed it.  So, if you see a telegraph pole with only one wire on it, that means one circuit was in use.  If you see two wires, that means two Morse circuits.  

I'd much appreciate any information anyone has seen on these topics.  

—Abram Burnett

Friday, July 22, 2005

Bicycle Ride Across America


I am writing a paper ... "A comparison of the Ride across America made by Gary Sanderson and Peter Matthews in 2004 with the Ride across America made by Thomas Stevens in 1884" ... comparing my ride across America on an ordinary bicycle (a high wheel bicycle from the 1880's) with the ride across America made by Thomas Stevens in 1884 (the first person to ride across America and then continuing around the world on his bicycle). Thomas Stevens followed the Central Pacific Railroad from San Francisco to Omaha, and he did it for a reason: There were people living along the railroad from whom he expected to get food, water, and shelter. ...

Gary W. Sanderson, Verona, NJ

Bicycle Ride Across America


I am writing a paper ... "A comparison of the Ride across America made by Gary Sanderson and Peter Matthews in 2004 with the Ride across America made by Thomas Stevens in 1884" ... comparing my ride across America on an ordinary bicycle (a high wheel bicycle from the 1880's) with the ride across America made by Thomas Stevens in 1884 (the first person to ride across America and then continuing around the world on his bicycle). Thomas Stevens followed the Central Pacific Railroad from San Francisco to Omaha, and he did it for a reason: There were people living along the railroad from whom he expected to get food, water, and shelter.

Gary W. Sanderson, Verona, NJ

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Book Review: "The Not So Wild, Wild West"

"The portrayals of the 'wild' west in the new HBO TV series, 'Deadwood' and Steven Spielberg's epic, 'Into the West,' are little like the real West, says New York Times writer John Tierney.

In fact, economists Terry Anderson and Peter Hill of the Property and Environment Research Center in Montana document a tamer version of the west in their book, 'The Not So Wild, Wild West[: Property Rights on the Frontier by Terry L. Anderson, Peter J. Hill, Peter Jensen Hill, Stanford University Press] ... "


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

100th Anniversary of the death of Jane Stanford

E.C. Fellows / A.C. Bassett

From: "Larry Mullaly"

One thing leads to another. The fine information on Fellows brings up a colleague of his that I have been trying to track down: AC Bassett.

In 1870 Bassett was the chief dispatcher for EC Fellows, Superintendent of the Western Division, who transferred with him from Sacramento to Oakland at that time. At the end of that year when Stanford et al. obtain operational control of the newly reincorporated Southern Pacific, Bassett was appointed Assistant Superintendent of that line, San Francisco to Gilroy.

Bassett and Fellows seem to have been closely linked. A telegrapher named Fonda, terminated from the SP in 1872 responsibility for the collision involving SP No. 1, CP Huntington, later appears as an engineer on the Western Division.

Bassett also seems to have died at a relatively young age, since a station point just east of San Gabriel in Southern California receives his name in the late 1880's (I believe), and the street in San Jose fronting the railroad station is renamed in his honor. He may be the same AC Bassett whose name shows up in San Jose militia lists during the period 1864-1866. On the basis of his 1873 Assistant Superintendent's Journal as well as newspaper remarks from that period he was a respected and effective operating officer.

I would assume he learned his railroad craft on the Central Pacific – possibly under Fellows. Any information would be appreciated.

Larry Mullaly

Monday, July 18, 2005

Question: Telegraph Call for "End of Track"


... being an old telegrapher, I'll bare that question which is burning in the back of my mind...

As the construction was pushed eastward, and the telegraph line was strung each evening into the office car so that reports could be "sent back" to the important people in Sacramento, what "office call" (combination of letters) was used to represent the telegraph office at the "end of track" ? (And, please, may no one spoof the List by suggesting that "ET" was the office call, because those two letters, along with the letter "L," were almost never used in telegraph "office calls," for reasons I won't go into here.) ...

– Abram Burnett

Question: What's at Lucin Today?


Do the Central Pacific (SP) and Western Pacific routes still split in the viscinity of Lucin?

Anyone know what the UP's operating practice is on using the Western Pacific vs. the CP/SP routes between Lucin and Winnemucca, and between Winnemucca and the West Coast?

–Abram Burnett

Hart image, May 7 or 9?


I am trying to accurately date A. A. Hart's photographs at Promontory, May 1869. One of his images he dates May 9 as the first greeting of the iron horse. I believe the date should be May 7, 1869. Below is the image and my discussion. Comments welcome.

H-23: Central Pacific locomotive from tender. Location: Promontory. Photographer: A.A. Hart, May 9, 1869. Union Pacific work train upper right.

Alfred A. Hart produced a series of stereo card images of the Central Pacific Railroad, especially of scenes at Promontory Summit before and during the driving of the last spike. One of his stereo cards, Number 354, is labeled "The First Greeting of the Iron Horse, Promontory Point, May 9th, 1869." Hart stood on the tender of a Central Pacific locomotive and looked east toward the Union Pacific train, taking the first photograph of Promontory. As detailed below, the date of the stereo card is wrong; it should be May 7.

As Central Pacific Railroad’s guest photographer, Hart arrived with the Leland Stanford special train May 7th. Onboard the train was a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, who sent a May 7th dispatch, in which he noted that "Photographers are busy to-day attempting to obtain photographs of the junction of the roads, the line of locomotives, the scenery, appearances of the squads of laborers, etc., but it is feared that in consequence of the sultriness of the weather very good sketches [sic.] will not be obtained." This suggests that Hart was busy photographing at Promontory May 7, but the weather interfered. His "First Greeting" stereo card image shows the overcast scene.

The first greeting of the locomotives occurred on May 7 and was noted by reporters. In the same May 7 dispatch, published May 9, the Chronicle reporter wrote:

"At about half-past four o’clock, the Locomotive No. 60, of the Union Pacific, with a box-car and train of flats came on the switch and stopped within two hundred feet of the end of the Central Pacific track. The Central Pacific locomotive "Jupiter," No. 60, and "Whirlwind," No. 62, came up to the end of the track."

The UP train in Hart’s "First Greeting" image shows a Union Pacific locomotive pulling a box car and with a "train of flats" in front, as described by the Chronicle reporter. UP locomotives No. 60 through No. 67 were built by Schenectedy in 1868 and had diamond smoke stacks, like the one shown in Hart’s stereo card 354.

A reporter for the Alta California also described the "first greeting" in a May 7 dispatch, published May 8, 1869. He wrote:

"This afternoon the Union Pacific finished their track to a switch forty rods east of the end of the Central…At twenty minutes past four, Central time, and fifteen minutes past five, Cheyenne time, engine No. 66 [60?] (they have no names on the engines on the Union road) arrived from the East with Casement the contractor and others. No. 66 came to a halt, and the engineer let off steam in such a manner as to throw two circles like wreaths or crowns of white vapor into the air. Not a breath of wind stirred at the moment, and the aureole ascended three or four hundred feet skywards before disappearing, creating a beautiful effect, and calling forth involuntary cheers from the spectators. Engine No. 60 [62], named the "Whirlwind" on the Central road, standing opposite and within 160 feet, replied with a sharp whistle, and thus the first meeting of locomotives from the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts took place.

Again, this shows that the "first greeting" occurred May 7 not May 9. Hart’s stereo view shows the engines and train as described by the Chronicle and Alta reporters. The spur track connecting all but the last rail was built May 9, suggesting that locomotives could get only as close as the then parallel tracks on May 7, as shown in Hart’s image.

The weather on May 7 was raining and overcast, as described in period accounts. The weather cleared on Saturday May 8 and was not described on May 9, though a reporter for the Sacramento Bee took a hike to a nearby peak and noted the grand views, without comment of clouds or rain. Hart’s image reflects the weather of May 7 not May 9.

Hart probably took the photograph late on the overcast afternoon of May 7, while Casement was soothing the CP crowd in Stanford’s special car, who were expecting the last spike celebration to occur on May 8. Casement invited them on a tour along the UP to Ogden the next day. Hart went with the Stanford party and took a number of photographs of Ogden and vicinity on Saturday, May 8.

On May 9, reporters noted that the Stanford special went on a tour to the west of Promontory, as far west as Monument Point. Hart took several images of the party at the Salt Lake shore that day. The party returned late in the day. Dr. J. D. B. Stillman was with the Stanford party and chronicles their movements in a July 1869 article in the Overland Monthly. He nor do other reporters record Hart or any other photographer at Promontory until evening.

Reporters noted crews building the connecting track; such activity would have attracted attention. Later photographs, by Russell, Savage, and Hart, show a number of tents, such as those by the CP last telegraph pole and in Casement’s camp that are absent in Hart’s stereo card 354. If it was taken on May 9, after returning from the tour of the lake, there would have been a flurry of tent building activity the night of May 9. This is doubtful. But, again, it appears that Hart did not take photographs at Promontory May 9.

Why did Hart date his stereo card 354 as May 9th? In the series of stereo cards reprinted in Kibbey Mead’s Alfred A. Hart, Artist (Sacramento: California State Library Foundation, 1996), Hart arranged and numbered his stereo cards by geographic location, not chronology. Thus, the views of Ogden (numbers 361-4) taken May 8 appear after the last spike ceremony stereo cards of May 10 (numbers 355-60). The "First Greeting" stereo card, number 354, is before the last spike ceremony set, as it should be, except he dates it May 9, not May 7? Did he deliberately change the date for a tighter chronology? Did a type setter incorrectly think the 7 was a 9?

Looking at the stereo card 354 image, comparing it to contemporary descriptions of the "first meeting of locomotives from the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts," knowing the weather during May 7-10, and knowing Hart’s travels over Friday-Monday, May 7-10, the stereo card he labels "The First Greeting of the Iron Horse, Promontory Point, May 9th, 1869," should be dated May 7. This helps us understand the chronology of events preceding the May 10 celebration and the look of the landscape a few days before the last spike ceremony.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Suggestion: "Official List: Officers, Agents, Stations &c"


I have a suggestion for a valuable tool which might be added to the CPRR Photographic History Museum website...  

Beginning in the (late?) 1890s, each large railroad periodically issued a book called "Official List: Officers, Agents and Stations," or a closely similar title.  These were issued by the Accounting Departments of the railroads and included a huge amount of information for their small size.  Typically, information would include the name of each station, the name of the agent, the "class" of the agency (whether Ticket or Freight, or both,) the telegraph call, the distance from some fixed point, connections with other railroads, and the statistical number (which was meaningless, except for accountants) and whether or not each station had a siding for the loading/unloading of cars.  Also included were the names of all officers of the corporation and the officials of the operating, motive power, maintenance of way and other departments; a list of comp'ny surgeons and comp'ny attorneys, track scales, stock pens, icing stations.  Lists were organized by subsidiary company, division and branch.  Some of the information was quite detailed.   E.g. concerning stock pens, the number of pens, the number of chutes, the number of freight cars accomodated, and the availability of water might be listed.  

Given the huge resources of the CPRR Photographic History Museum, I'm sure an early edition of a Southern Pacific RR "Official List" could be found.  It would be a "meritorious work" for someone to put up on the website, in .PDF format, the portion of an SP Official List which covers the original Central Pacific lines.  An Official List of 1898 or 1900 would give a good picture of the CPRR territory before the "Harriman changes."  

By the way... It is my impression that these "Official Lists" were no longer published once the Interstate Commerce Commission was scuttled about thirty years ago.  But I was never involved in what we referred to as the "commercial" side of railroading, and so could be wrong about this.  

—Abram Burnett,
         in statu Pennsylvaniensis

Friday, July 15, 2005

Divisions, Crew & Engine Districts on the CPRR


"Nelson's Pictorial Guide Book - The Central Pacific Railroad," publ. 1871 and reproduced on the Central Pacific RR website, indicates that the operating Divisions were set up as follows:  

Ogden to Toano, 182 miles  

Toano to Winnemucca, 237 miles  

Winnemucca to Truckee, 205 miles  

Truckee to Sacramento, 114 miles  

Sacramento to Oakland, 112 miles  

The Humboldt and the Truckee Divisions look rather long to be single "crew districts" and "engine districts."  The Humboldt Division would split nicely at Elko (93 miles on the east end, and 144 miles on the west end.)  But I can't figure where the Truckee Division would have been split, for crew and engine purposes.  

Has anyone thought about this and come up with an answer?  

Also, I'm wondering where the Humboldt, Truckee and Western Divisions were dispatched from (i.e. where their administrative headquarters and train dispatching offices were located.)  Ideas?  Of course, if anyone knows the telegraph calls, that would be icing on the cake !  

... and the next question (logically) is, When were the various Divisions combined?  And the answer to that is probably wrapped up with the development of motive power and the increase in train speeds.

—Abram Burnett

CPRR crews

From: "chris graves"

Remember the "A. Crocker" that was employed by the CPRR on the NewCastle Trestle? Well, on August 13, 1878, "D B Crocker", living in Rocklin (6 miles from NewCastle) shipped 100 lbs of peaches to Carson City, Nev. on the V & T RR.

If we could link A with DB, we could make a case for the CPRR hiring folks locally as it moved East.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Question: Dating piece of cup or bowl with the seal "Southern Pacific Company-Sunset-Ogden-Shasta Routes"


We found a piece of cup or bowl with the seal "Southern Pacific Company-Sunset-Ogden-Shasta Routes"

I am curious about the date of this piece of pottery.

It was found on the grounds of Davis Monthan Air Force Base.

When did it travel through here?

Any answers would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You,


Question: Hospital Associations

From: "PM Stronge"

Is there a book out there about the RR Hospital Associations (the first HMO)?

I know the following RRs had them at one time: AT&SF, IC, NP and SP.

There must be others.

Peter Stronge

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup]

Question: Umbria Jct

From: "Abram Burnett"

I notice in some of the literature that “Umbria Jct” was a location 0.2 miles west of Lucin.

Was “Umbria Jct” the official name of the junction of the new Lucin Cut Off and the Old Line via Promontory?

Which, of course, raises additional questions (… there are ALWAYS more questions!)  What was Umbria Jct 2/10 miles west of?  Perhaps the station and train order office at Lucin?  And prior to the construction of the Lucin Cut Off, what, if any, railroad facilities were at Lucin?

—Abram Burnett

"Old Railroad Grade" - Moor Summit to Pequops, NV

From: "Abram Burnett"

East of Wells, NV, the USGS topo maps identify an “Old Railroad Grade” south of the present Southern Pacific.

The west end of this identified “old grade” is at Moor Summit (Lat 41.112284N  Long 114.800378W,) and it extends at least as far east at Pequops (Lat 41.202465N  Long 114.65941W.)  (Other locations between Moor Summit and Pequops are identified, east to west, as Anthony Siding, Holborn and Fenelon.)

Does anyone know whether this is Union Pacific grading, or part of the original Central Pacific which was changed by an SP line relocation?

Which leads me to the larger question:  Has anyone made a catalog (or map !!!) of all the grade revisions of the CP done by the SP?  In today’s digitized world, that would be a relatively easy endeavor for some ambitious soul.

Finally, I guess we should ask, What happened to the title/ownership of the unused UP grading between Promontory and Wells?  But then, perhaps title was never conveyed to the UP by the US Government…?

—Abram Burnett

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New book, "Niles Canyon Railways"

Review of the new book, Niles Canyon Railways (Images of Rail) by Henry Luna, The Pacific Locomotive Association:

From: Google Alerts

Photography project focuses on Niles Canyon railroads
The Argus - Fremont, CA, USA
... months after hammering the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit, Utah, the Central Pacific Railroad built the final leg of the original transcontinental rail link ...

"Maptech" Tool for Identifying Points on Maps


I offer a suggestion on a website which might be helpful to the members of the CPRR Discussion Group.  

The "Maptech" website allows one to get GPS coordinates by simply running his mouse over a topo map.  Map scales available range from 1:24,000 to 1:250,000.  The adventurous can even toggle and see "navigation maps" of the area.  

So, in discussing specific locations, I no longer have to say "about a mile east of Tonao."  I can tell my correspondence "Lat 41.125142N  Long 114.41475W," and he can roll right to the precise spot.  One may select whether he wants his coordinates in DMS, DM.MM, DD.DD or UTM.  Great tool.  

—Abram Burnett
    in statu pennsylvaniensis

Monday, July 11, 2005


From: "Larry E. Montague"

The reunion is almost upon us. The time to be in Salt Lake City, Utah is July 21st, only ten (10) days from today. There will be many family members, descendants and relatives at the event, some from all over the planet. Please try to attend and show your support for your family heritage. The next worldwide Montague family reunion will not occur until the year 2010. Please refer to the information shown below for further details. Also feel free to call any of us on the telephone.


2005 Montague Family Reunion

The Largest Montague Family Event in History

Salt Lake City, Utah USA

July 21st through July 25th 2005

This is a "non-profit" family sponsored event

This is the official announcement of the 2005 Worldwide Montague Family Reunion, which is being held in Salt Lake City, Utah USA in July of this year. We have received many inquiries regarding the reunion, so we decided to make an attempt to email as many Montague’s, Montague relatives, and those who have expressed an interest in being notified of the event.

Please go to The Montague Millennium website for complete and detailed information about this world class event. If you know of others who do not yet have Internet access please ask them to call either Mike Montague in Salt Lake City, Utah, who is the chairman of the reunion, or Larry Montague in Memphis, Tennessee, who is the founder of The Montague Millennium website. Mike can be reached either through his email address
or by telephone at his home (801) 972-0188 in the evenings. Larry’s email address is, and his home telephone number (901) 937-8228. Please call Larry in the afternoons or evenings.

A lot of you are familiar with the reunion that was held in Philadelphia in 2000, which was a great success. We had attendees from all over the US and Canada, as well as Tasmania, Australia, and the UK . We hope that they return for this event which promises to be more successful than the last.

Many events are on the calendar that relate to the family as well as other outside events of interest to both children as well as adults. It will be an occasion to remember.

Salt Lake City was selected primarily because of its worldwide prominence in the study of genealogy. More genealogy records are stored and accessible by the general public there than at any other place on earth. It is also located closer to the West coast to reciprocate for the fact that the reunion in 2000 was held near the East coast. It has a pleasant climate and a lot of attractions to keep your family busy. It is also a major transportation hub which is convenient for your travel arrangements either by air or automobile. It is also served by the passenger train California Zephyr operated by AmTrak from Chicago to San Francisco .

This reunion is dedicated to the entire WORLDWIDE Montague family, so try to be there regardless of your individual family ancestry or country of origin. This is a reunion for ALL Montague family members, descendants and relatives, Not just those in the United States, but all Montague's regardless of the name derivative; Montagu, Montague, McTague, Montag, and others.

Keep watching The Montague Millennium website for further information on this great event. ...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

California Coal

An interesting site on California coal – with a little bit in our time period.

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum
111 "I" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

My work address is:
My personal address is:

Book review of "Riding the Transcontinental Rails"

Reference & Research Book News (August, 2005) book review of Riding the Transcontinental Rails: Overland Travel on the Pacific Railroad, 1865-1881, by Bruce C. Cooper, Polyglot Press, 2005:

"In 1869 an journalist describes the 'seven weeks of steady journeying' from the East Coast to the West. A lady of the same profession blames the toughness of steaks served in the dining car on their being taken from the 'acrobatic muscles' of the local antelope. A businessman writes to his mother of his frequently snowbound passage from Boston to San Francisco, a 36-day ride enlivened only by wrecks. What a ride it must have been. Enthusiast Cooper keeps a full head of steam in this collection of illustrations, professional writings, and efforts by the aforesaid businessman and a lawman investigating the first Western train robbery, neither of which have seen print until now. The result is a glimpse into what it must have been like to crouch with the emigrants in the cheap seats as well as to loll with the elite in their custom-made cars in a time when buffalo were still a definite road hazard."

—Shannon Hendrickson, Associate Editor, Book News Inc.

Note about 'Riding the Transcontinental Rails.'
Letter sent to the publisher by a gentlemen who gave a copy of "Riding the Transcontinental Rails" to a friend.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Question: Length of Spikes Used at Promontory; Height of rail


I've much enjoyed your website on the CPRR.  Keep up the good work. I've been diligent reading all the fine pages you have posted, "studying up" for a retirement trip to Promontory that I'm planning after I wrap up a 43 year railroad career.

Here are two questions that you might be able to answer... 

(1)  What was the length of the spikes used by the CPRR in spiking down its 60 pound rail in the vicinity of Promontory?

(2)  It appears that the original 60 pound rail over Promontory was never replaced with rail of a heavier section, as the literature indicates the rail retired in 1942 was still 60 pound rail.  Would you agree with this?

Abram Burnett
New Cumberland, PA

Monday, July 04, 2005

Old Crocker Inn

"California Heritage Council Honors Old Crocker Inn for Restoration [Press Release]

(PRWEB) July 3, 2005 – The California Heritage Council has recognized Old Crocker Inn, Cloverdale [Sonoma County, California], for the renovation and preservation of the historic Crocker summer home in the hillsides above the Alexander Valley vineyards.

The award was presented at a dinner June 23 in San Francisco.

The Old Crocker Inn began as the family hunting grounds of Charles Crocker, founder of the Central Pacific Railroad and one of California's "Big Four." The grand Crocker lodge, built in 1906, has served over the years as hunting lodge, dude ranch, private home, and restaurant, but fell into significant disrepair in recent times. Fully restored, the lodge now serves as the centerpiece of a 5-acre bed & breakfast retreat.

The California Heritage Council was founded in 1959 and works to save places and buildings which have given quality and distinction to the cultural life of California. It honored six projects this year. Previous award recipients include San Francisco City Hall, Stanford University's Bing Wing of the Green Library, the Petaluma Historical Museum and Library, and the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.

Michel & Susan Degive purchased the Crocker property in 2003 and continued the restoration that had begun 2 years earlier. They opened the Inn with 3 guestrooms in March of 2004, and then continued restoration through that year with 8 rooms now complete. Michel and Susan are also researching and documenting the history of the property and especially hope to discover photos of the old "covered-wagon " bar that was destroyed in 1960.

Care was taken to preserve the home in as close to its original condition as possible. The 5,000 square-foot main lodge includes a lobby with the original natural rock-faced fireplace, a large dining room restored to it's restaurant heydays, and guest rooms decorated to pay tribute to Charles Crocker's cronies: Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, and Collis Huntington.

About Old Crocker Inn
The Old Crocker Inn is a bed & breakfast inn located in the Alexander Wine Valley of Sonoma County California. Michel & Susan Degive, owners and innkeepers, graciously invite guests to recapture the warmth of the past in the comfortable luxury of the Old Crocker Inn. For more information, please visit the website.

Distribution Source: PRWeb
Date: Sunday, July 03, 2005"

Courtesy Google Alerts.

Houseworth Images

The set of Houseworth stereo halves from the Society of California Pioneers, all 1495 of them, have been placed on the California On-Line website.  

It's worth going through – lots of good size and very clear bitmap images, including some railroad material I had never seen before.  Like CP Huntington in its first years as SP #1, still with its Danforth sand box and basket bell cradle, several San Francisco & San Jose views, including a couple of Mason built #11, plus some earlier ones.  Also most of the Western Pacific views, the Placerville wagon route to the Comstock, and the Dutch Flat and Donner wagon road route.  And of course lots of early Central Pacific views, both during construction and after.  

The down side is they are organized randomly, not in numerical order (although they do include the numbers and captions).  They do have a topical filter that can sort for similar images.  

Most views are between the early 1860s and the early 1870s, with a few unnumbered images for the 1880s.  

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum
111 "I" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

My work address is:
My personal address is:

British or Indian Rail in San Francisco

From: "Larry Mullaly"

This past week I had the chance to examine a summary of 1873 Central Pacific Engineering Records at CSRM in Sacramento. These indicate that by December of that year approximately 7000 feet of "Republic and Hindoostan" (15,740 ft. in all) of 50 lb iron track had been laid, most likely across a pier, in today's Mission Bay area commencing at King Street. CP Huntington was a creative purchaser, but this is a new wrinkle of which I have not previously heard. Any insights would be appreciated.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Question: Is the Transcontinental Railroad over the Sierra being torn out?

From: "Jake Rudisill"

I recently visited the CA Sierra, and while driving over the historic Lincoln Highway over Donner Summit above Truckee, observed at the visitor's pull-out that it appears that the track trough all of the snow sheds adjacent to the road had been removed. Is this true? How could such a national landmark and treasure be torn away? No more trains running above Donner lake, with the dazzling view below. Was my observation correct?

Jake Rudisill
Pleasanton, CA

Friday, July 01, 2005

Question: Railcars at Promontory

From: "Harold Unruh"

I have searched the internet for information regarding the Cars that were attached to the Jupiter and the #119. I am trying to create a HO train layout, using the golden spike theme. Did both trains have the same cars attached? What order was each train using to attach the cars? Did the Caboose on each train have a particular style? What about sleeper cars, passenger cars and freight cars etc. I would like to know where I could find a complete list for both locomotives, with the description of each car. If you could assist in this matter, it would greatly be appreciated. Thank you!

Harold Unruh
Henderson, NV

CPRR Discussion Group