Question: New York to San Francisco via Chicago in 1947
Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum
My info on the second track Sacramento to Ogden and Centralized Traffic Control only goes to 1996 when UP took over.
Sacramento to Elvas 1900
Elvas to Roseville 1907
Roseville to Rocklin 1909
Rocklin to Colfax 1911 & 1912 Separate roadbeds mostly
Colfax to Blue Canon 1913
Blue Canon to Emigrant Gap 1923
Emigrant Gap to Andover 1925 Completed including Tunnel 41 at Norden
Andover to Truckee 1923
Truckee to Lawton 1913
Lawton to Sparks 1903 (some) & 1910 (most)
Sparks to Vista 1903
Perth to Oreanna 1929
Oreana to Rose Creek 1913
Weso to Alazon 1924 Date of agreement with WPRR
Alazon to Moor 1923 & 1924
Valley Pass to Montello 1923
Montello to Tecoma 1911 Separare roadbed
Tecoma to Lucin 1911 As double track
Lakeside to Tresend 1904
Saline to West Weber 1929 & 1930
West Weber to Ogden 1913
Centralized Traffic Control installations
Elvas to Roseville
Switch 9 to Shed
At East Truckee
Vista to Winnemucca
Moor to Pequop
Lucin to Hogup
At Promontory Point
How long would it have taken them to travel from OMAHA, NE to the end of the line at KELTON, UT? I realize that they would have started out on CP and later changes to UP. Where would that have been? Would there have been any lengthy stops along the way waiting for another train or would they have boarded in Omaha and gone the whole distance on that same train?
" ... The Rocklin facility opened in May 1867. It was located at the intersection of Front Street and Granite (now Rocklin Road) east of today’s Crossroads Church. It included 25 engine stalls, a turntable and an 8,000 square foot woodshed where Rocklin woodchoppers stored the 16 cords of wood that each engine needed for the 82-mile strain to the Sierra summit. The roundhouse’s foundation and exterior walls were constructed of rock and masonry but early undated photos show significant wooden construction in the roofing and stalls. In 1869 the woodshed burned and was quickly rebuilt. In 1873 the roundhouse burned again as its roof was being tarred. The fire destroyed ten engines and damaged several coaches but the facility continued to function. ... By April 1908 the railroad had moved all roundhouse operations to Roseville and the Rocklin facility was closed permanently. ... " [More]
[Courtesy Google Alerts.]
I had a question from a friend about the track walker. I know such individuals existed, and I imagine the position is as old as railroading. But I realize I know little of the matter.
I presume he was assigned to a section crew. Did he walk halfway to the next section and then walk back (so two walkers would cover a full section)? How long was they typical section? The track walker was essentially an inspector of the fixed railroad property. Was it considered a position of responsibility and (some) rank, or was it the lowest rung on the totem pole? Did he carry any tools, or just (perhaps) a flag, torpedos, and maybe a lantern. Was it a position given to a greenhorn, or was it given to a railroader otherwise disabled from his customary calling?
I'm forwarding this message, which relates to the Placerville Branch of the Old Southern Pacific line from Folsom, CA to Placerville.
----- Original Message -----
Do you know of any sources, especially on the web, that chronicle the history of the line? I am especially interested in the post WWII to the end of service era. I lived in Folsom from 1975 to 1978 and was fascinated with the old, and then still active right-of way area and still remember walking home from Theodore Judah School hearing, but not seeing, the trains as they rumbled on their way up the hill to Placerville. I recall very clearly that it was very loud.
—Charles Evans, Las Vegas NV
I am hoping you may be able to help me or at least direct me to an appropriate contact for relevant information as I am not having much luck with my quest for information so far.
My aunt, Annie Cullen, immigrated to Boston in 1913 but died a few week later (full story in attached files):
Girl Gives Up Her Life for Baby. The Boston Post. June 5, 1913.
Doomed Girl Saves Child. The Boston Daily Globe. June 5, 1913.
I was wondering if you might be able to help me to get:
Any subsequent enquiry reports that were carried out or any relevant info that was filed as a result of the accident.
I would presume, even in those days, the incident would have to be recorded, and I would be very grateful if you could locate any old files that related to the incident.
I am trying to piece together our family history and was sent the attached newspaper articles which give the exact details of the time and area where the accident took place.
While the wording is word for word from the two newspaper microfilms, I have just set it up to look better.
I WAS ALSO HOPING TO FIND A PHOTO OF NORTH SOMERVILLE RAILWAY STATION TAKEN IN OR AROUND 1913 OR A PHOTO OF THE TYPE OF TRAIN THAT STRUCK HER FOR MY RECORDS.
Her death certificate lists the place of death as Somerville, Ma. No. Somerville Sta. B&M RR (what is this?)
I would be very grateful if you could please help me as I have emailed dozens of random email addresses found on the internet and nobody so far has had the courtesy to reply to my query.
I am in Australia which makes it very hard for me not knowing the correct departments to contact.
" ... Theodore Judah, the Central Pacific’s famed chief engineer had proposed a roundhouse at Roseville but after his death in 1863 new managers chose Rocklin because it was closer to the point where helper engines were needed to surmount the Sierras. The facility, completed in May 1867, included a roundhouse with 25 stalls and an 8,000 square foot woodshed where Rocklin woodchoppers stored the 16 cords of wood that each engine needed to for the 82-mile strain to the Sierra summit. In its heyday, just prior to its move to Roseville in 1908, the operation employed 300 people with a monthly payroll of $25-30,000.
The Central Pacific probably gave Rocklin its name in 1864 when “Rocklin” first appeared in print in a railroad time schedule as an obscure stopping point between Roseville and Loomis. The quarries must have inspired the name. ... " [More]
[Courtesy Google Alerts.]
Also see: Rocklin Historical Society.
"A new trail from the west side of Olympic Heights under the Highway 267 bypass and on to Donner Pass Road ... The Stockrest Spring Trail is being built by the U.S. Forest Service and the Truckee Trails Foundation ... It was used by emigrant wagon trains traveling on the Truckee branch of the California Route of the Overland Emigrant Trail. ... in 1864, the Dutch Flat Donner Lake Wagon Road would use a more direct route going directly up the bluff at Gray's Station, the predecessor of Truckee. ... construction of the Central Pacific Railroad down the Truckee River in 1868. This section of track was built before the Donner Pass tunnels were complete. All of the rails and rolling stock were hauled by wagon over the summit. Double tracking of the transcontinental railroad in this section occurred in 1907. The railroad also started the quarry that cuts into the bluff on the western edge of the property. The railyard and sawmill needed fill dirt as they developed, and this was a convenient site with little rock in it to fill and level the site. The 1901 construction of the fill over Donner Creek and Highway 89 also used dirt from this site, hauling it on rail cars. ... The area that the trail runs through was stripped of its trees by 1871. ... for railroad ties, bridge timbers, and lumber for western towns along the railroad. A second cutting of the smaller trees produced fuel wood to supply the steam locomotives of the Central Pacific ... " [More] [Courtesy Google Alerts.]
ALONG THE CPRR OLD GRADE IN NEVADA
Photographed by G.J. Graves, August, 2005.
Particularly noteworthy is the series of modern photographs of a Chinese Railroad Worker Camp with surviving Tent Frame over Dugout.
My name is Jerry Williams and I'm needing some info on the laying of the last rail of the transcontinental rail, between the CPRR and the UPRR in 1869.
My Uncle, who's great uncle was Dr. Harvey Harkness, who was as I understand it was the emissary to the Governor of Utah, at the laying of the last rail and the placing of the last spike to complete the railway between east and west coast. He has a compass that is marked "Laying of the last rail of the CPRR, May 10th 1869, which was the property of Dr. Harkness. I have not seen this compass so I'm only going on the description that my uncle has given me. He is wondering how many were made and how many might be known to be left in existence. He is also wanting to know about it's approximate value for insurance purposes. Thank you for your time
... When the Western Rail Road was chartered, the idea of steam locomotives climbing hills was so absurd that the promoters had to imply to the Massachusetts Legislature that they intended to build an "ordinary" railroad using animal power and stationary steam boilers for the inclined planes.
What fascinates me the most is that these engineers determined that 80 feet to the mile, 1.5%, was the practical maximum for an efficient railway. 170 years later, any operating man in the world will still tell you that is as true now, as then, when it comes to heavy haul or mixed-weight freight. Modern psgr lines, under wire, can deal with grades of 3% easily and even 4.5% for limited distances. ...
This string-bound pamphlet measures 13.6 by 22.5 cm and contains 38 pages. ... The significance of this report as it applies to the railroad history of the world can not be exaggerated. ... Basically, these young West Point trained engineers were proposing grades for steam locomotion three times as steep as prevailing wisdom thought possible. ... the Worcester Ridge which was the first obstacle to be overcome by the Western. And if that could be done, then so could Washington Summit. This pamphlet begins with REPORT upon the Surveys between Worcester and Seven Mile River in Brookfield, dated Aug.15th, 1836:
"The waters of the Blackstone, upon which the village of Worcester is situated, are separated from those of the Chickopee, by a tract of country, elevated from 450 to 650 feet above the level of the Boston and Worcester Rail-Road at Worcester; ... "
Deciding which route was preferable was a most difficult task and the engineers presented 15 different options including an inclined plane. A followup report on the same, dated Sept. 30th, 1836, recommends the route via Morey summit and that is the route you'll ride today on Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited. This is a technical report, but designed to be understood by the directors. Calculations are that a locomotive that can draw 260 tons on the level, could draw 46.60 tons on a grade of 80 feet to the mile. The engineers also discuss the difficulty of valve settings on grades which is just as much a challenge in China in 2005 as it was in Massachusetts in 1836. Both reports are signed by William Gibbs McNeill and George Washington Whistler as Engineers, and W.H. Swift as the Resident Engineer. A wonderful study ... in the early history of Worcester, Rochdale, Charlton, Spencer and Brookfield ... in the foundations of railway civil and mechanical engineering. These reports witness the conception of the world's first mountain railway.
Alden H. Dreyer
[from the R&LHS.]
Is there any kind of listing of the published employee magazine (Bulletin), that the Southern Pacific Railroad used to put out???
I have been trying to find out when the SP started publishing these monthly employee magazines and when the company stopped. ...
8th grade essay in FL
My great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Bradshaw worked on the Transcontinental RR back in 1865-69, along with his brother, Joel I believe. I believe he began working on it when he was living near Marysville in a place called Grand Island. I believe he also went all the way to Promontory. Are there any documents, records, payroll accounts, etc., that can verify where and when he worked on the project? Thanks.
Some years ago, near Independence Spring, East of Moor, Nevada, a Chinese camp was found following a fire that destroyed the vegetation in the area. In that camp, best described as numerous depressions in the Earth, was broken Chinese pottery and many many opium cans.
The mystery was "how were the depressions covered?" What manner of tents were used?
The past 10 days were spent in Eastern Nevada attempting to unravel this mystery.
To this end, the attached photos are offered for your appraisal.
The first photo is a wooden structure, the highest point is no more than 20 inches, the width is 36 inches, the length is 5 feet. The depression under this structure is perhaps 10 inches deep.
Immediately to the left of this structure there is the remains of another similiar structure, but it has caved in, the wooden members are flat to the ground.
Two feet from the item pictured are four 'fish plates', that fit identically to CPRR 56 lb. rail. These four fish plates are shown in picture #2. Their use is unknown to this writer, I SUPPOSE they were used as weights to hold down a canvas tent, or perhaps to fashion a fire pit grill. I saw no ashes at that site.
These living quarters are about 3 miles EAST of Toano, Nevada, near the old grade.
Found lying on soil adjacent to these items were pieces of broken Chinese pottery; a soy sauce jar, broken blue on white porcelain bowls, and one musket ball, judged to be .30 caliber.
During the trip, I took over 80 photographs of this and other sites, these pictures will be displayed on the CPRR Museum site in a few weeks. Most pictures were taken within a short distance of the old CPRR grade, with the exception of a few pictures of mining 'ghost towns' and related relics.
Also found was original construction copper wire used on the telegraph (this wire was attached to to original construction redwood telegraph poles/insulators.)
Please note that all relics were left undisturbed, only pictures were taken.
Enjoy the pics, they have been years and years in the finding..........
G J Chris Graves, NewCastle, Cal.
I am a History graduate student at Colorado State University and I am doing research on Fresno County, California. I have come across several soft sources that say the Central Pacific was the first railroad into this county in 1872. Could you confirm this for me? Some cities in this county are: Fresno, Clovis, Reedley, San Joaquin. Thanks for your assistance.
The State of California is soon to celebrate Admission Day. This year the Capital Celebration will be held at the Stanford Mansion, recently renovated, in a gala three day event.
State Parks has invited me to join in the pile, they are asking that I bring 60 linear feet of branded rail, original spikes, original telegraph pole and yard arm, mile post, etc. and most, if not all of my Chinese artifacts.
As a 'handout' is suggested, the attached is submitted to you for your critique. Several hundred of these will be given to school children and others that attend this soiree.
Your comments, corrections/suggestions are appreciated.
—Chris Graves, NewCastle, AltaCal'a
Are you good at puzzles? There are a few mysteries to be resolved, perhaps you can help!
The California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento has Central Pacific Railroad payroll records that reflect the following number of Chinese employees:
The payrolls that are missing are presumed to be in private collectors' hands, as they surface from time to time on eBay and other auction sites. Do you know of anyone that may have a missing payroll journal?
On February 27, 1877, Charles Crocker said under oath, in Congressional testimony: Question "You say that you employed ten thousand Chinese?"
Answer: "About that number, I never knew exactly how many."
In that same hearing, James H. Strobridge, Construction Foreman for Mr. Crocker said "I do not think we had any Chinese (employed) in 1864, if so, then very few."
These two statements, as well as other Congressional testimony, leads most historians to believe that the bulk of Chinese workers were hired [beginning] in March, 1865, between Auburn and Clipper Gap. Do you have any documents that would prove or disprove this thesis?
Yet one other mystery remains to be resolved. In January, 1870, the Elko Independent reported that "there are 6 cars strung along the grade between here and Toano, picking up bodies of deceased Chinese railroad workers." And in July, 1870, the Sacramento Reporter noted "A train passed here today, containing 20,000 pounds of bones of Chinese railroad workers … some 1,200 bodies … bound for the flowery kingdom."
The question is, what possibly could have killed 1,200 workers between Elko and Toano, Nevada, a distance of less than 150 miles? We know that there were "pest cars" to house Chinese workers infected with smallpox in 1868-69, as Mrs. J. H. Strobridge contracted the disease caring for the sick workers. Nowhere has the exact number of workers that died during the course of construction from ANY CAUSE been found.
Newspaper reports of the day (1863-1869) note fewer than 130 deaths of railroad workers. These deaths are primarily from avalanche, cold, and fights, but few from accident while on the grade working. HOW MANY REALLY DIED? WHERE, AND FROM WHAT CAUSES? Do you know the answer?
Is there a list of all of the numbered CPRR construction camps, along with their locations and dates?
I'm writing an article on gandy dancers for Alabama Heritage Magazine, and I'm wondering if you can help me out with a bit of research.
While trying to track down the source of the phrase, I came across this page.
This states the belief of Charles Albi, director of the Colorado Railroad Museum, that the term comes from the fact that railroad workers used tools made by the Gandy Manufacturing Company. This is a theory I've seen elsewhere as well, but I have yet to see any proof that such a company actually existed. This lack of proof has often been cited as a reason the term must have originated some other way... but I certainly haven't found an explanation that makes any more sense!
What is the story behind the term "fishplate" ?
Where and when was this term coined?
Exactly which such books ... How about?
1. Frank H. Spearman, Held for Orders: Stories of Railroad Life. New York: Scribner's. 1920 . viii + 359 p.
3. Herbert L. Pease, Singing Rails: The Story of a Railroad Man at the Turn of the Century. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell. 1948. vii + 304 p.
The personal appeal to me is that the oldest heads when I hired out were 1904 men. From the age of iron men and wooden cabooses and of lap (of authority) and "smoke" orders, the accounts they told in the register room and during layovers were compellingly fascinating. "You want to learn more?" I was asked. Read books such as the above and the early issues of Railroad (then, The Railroad Man's Magazine), I was advised.
My favorite nonfiction book on railroading is:
4. Chauncey Del French, Railroadman. New York Macmillan 1938. ix + 292 p.
The author worked in all the operating crafts from 1873 to 1930, booming on sixteen roads. I read the book while a graduate student at Berkeley and then looked for a copy across the country and over three decades. I finally found one, at $4.00, in a neighboring town.
[from the R&LHS Newsgroup, March 13, 2003.]
I am looking for information about the fuel and water consumption of CP locomotives along the transcontinental route. John White provides an estimate of 1,000 gallons water and a chord of wood for an early locomitive to go 26 miles on the flats. The 1860s and after equipment was larger, with larger tenders (2,000 gallons water capacity estimate for CP #60). Anyone know of possible sources for such data, which then relates to how the distance between fuel and water stops. Thanks Bob
Bob Spude – Historian – Cultural Resources Management – National Park Service – Intermountain Region – 505.988.6770 Voice – 505.988.6876 Fax
The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.
I have been coming across information on what seems to be a steam shovel acquired by the CP about 1872. It shows up in two SP documents of that time.
On May 29, 1872 Gray wrote to Hopkins of a “steam excavator” in use in cutting through a sand hill at a place later named Sand Cut on the SP line between Gilroy and Pajaro (Watsonville Junction). In Gray’s words: “The steam excavator is doing its work satisfactorily; it meets our expectations…. If you intend to use the excavator on the CPRR you will need a supply of dumps [dump cars] and why not have some made to meet our coming demand.”
This piece of equipment remained in used into the next year. On February 17, 1873 Assistant Superintendent AC Bassett recorded in his journal: “steam excavator through cut at Sand Cut and hauled off.” This is the last mention of it in the journal. I assume the unit was returned to the Central Pacific.
I can find no mention of this unit in the 1875 CP rolling stock rosters. Nor does it appear on any of the SP lists for this period. ...
... I recently saw a photo of a rather curious Central Pacific consolidation. It was apparently an enlargement of a builder's photo, and the locomotive pictured was named " Schenectady ", and numbered 2012, evidentally having been built by the locomotive works of that name. It had a fairly large boiler, rather small ( 57" ? ) drivers, a steel cab, a single stage air compressor on the left side about 2 or 3 ' ahead of the cab, and arch bar trucks under the tender. The roster which I have goes back to 1900, and does not list this locomotive, at least not by that name or number.
Based on what I have described, my best guess would be that it was built sometime in the 1890's.
Could you help me with info. regarding date of manufacture, and any subsequent renumberings or rebuildings?
How much of the Central Pacific route, Sacramento to Ogden, eventually received double track? Without doubt, it all received automatic block signaling in the Teens and the Twenties, but how much of it received Centralized Traffic Control, and where was it operated from?
From time to time I have the opportunity to work with computer illustrator Jon Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) in recreating virtual models of steam locomotives. Jon's work is extraordinary and his drawings faithfully recreate these machines with a high degree of accuracy.
Jon and I are currently working on several 19th century 4-4-0s, some of which ran on the Central Pacific. One of these, Governor Stanford No. 1, is attached.
Governor Stanford represents a standard American locomotive of 1862-63, built by Richard Norris & Son, an established Mid Atlantic builder and the largest in the United States. Norris locomotives were highly regarded for their working ability, and I believe there is commentary on the Central Pacific that supports this. Its design and finish reflects the vernacular tradition that made up one school of locomotive design at the time, and proves to be better looking than previously thought.
Jon's drawing represents the locomotive as it appeared when new. The drawing is based on two photographs of the engine in construction service on the Central Pacific, the surviving locomotive, and photographs of comparable Norris locomotives. The color scheme is based on paint sample research on the locomotive during restoration for the California State railroad Museum, Norris advertising lithographs from the 1850s, and a written description by H. C. Caruthers of a Norris engine delivered to the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1861.
Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum
111 "I" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
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Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum
Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum