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Central Pacific Railroad, 1863

As provided for under Section 20 of the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 which President Abraham Lincoln had signed in to law on July 1, 1862, the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California submitted its first formal Annual Report to the Government on June 1, 1863.  Not surprisingly the main body of this document ("Present Condition of the Road") was extremely brief — just three short paragraphs — as the Company (which had been formally organized in Sacramento two years earlier on April 30, 1861, and incorporated two months later on June 28) had still yet to either lay a single yard of rail or take in a Dollar in revenue from freight or passenger operations.  The rest of the report was made up by a list of the names of the Company's directors, officers and stockholders, and a succinct summary of the indebtedness of the road.

A far longer and informative document, however, was appended to this otherwise economical report — Chief Engineer Theodore Judah's detailed formal report of the route which he had surveyed and chosen for the road from Sacramento over the summit of the Sierras at Donner Pass and down the eastern slopes along the Truckee river to the Nevada border.  What makes this 1863 report especially interesting, however, is that this would also be the last such report to be authored by Judah as he died just a little more than four months later.  A week after he arrived in New York in November where he had traveled to seek financing to buy out his partners, Judah succumbed to Typhoid Fever which he had contracted in Panama while making the passage east.

Much of the information Judah included in his 1863 report had also been embodied in a similar report he made on October 1, 1861, to the President and Directors of the CPRR setting forth the merits of his route and the benefits of seeking government assistance to build it.  After the Directors of the Company considered the report, on October 9, 1861, the following minute was recorded: "Resolved, that Mr. T. D. Judah, the Chief Engineer of this Company, proceed to Washington on the steamer on the 11th Oct. inst. as the accredited agent of the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California, for purpose of procuring appropriations of land and U. S. Bonds from the Government, to aid in the construction of this road."

After making some general remarks about the character and geography of the difficult terrain over which the route would pass, Judah's report provides a fascinatingly detailed narrative in the Chief Engineer's own words describing exactly where the grade was to be made and the road laid down.  In addition Judah describes (although in less detail) a variety other potential routes he had surveyed and why he rejected them.  Judah also provides a detailed table of grades from Sacramento City to the Truckee River.

Although a few relatively minor changes have been made to the route over the years since the line was completed in 1869, remarkably the original location of the route made by Judah over the Sierras and described in this report was so well done that it is still in daily use as one of the most important arteries of commerce in the United States.

Included below in their entirety are both reports along with a letter from Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase transmitting the documents to Congress.—BCC

38th Congress, 1st Session SENATE Ex. Doc. No. 26

of the

In answer to a resolution of the Senate of the 1st instant, a copy of the report of the Central Pacific Railroad Company, under date June 1, 1863.

MARCH 7, 1864.—Read and referred to the Committee on the Pacific Railroad. MARCH 9, 1864.—Ordered to be printed.


H. HamlinTREASURY DEPARTMENT, March 4, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the following resolution of the Senate, under date of the 1st instant:

"Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be requested to furnish to the Senate copies of any reports made to him by the Union Pacific Railroad Company, or by any other railroad companies mentioned in the 20th section of the act incorporating the said Union Pacific Railroad Company."

In reply, I transmit herewith a copy of the report of the Central Pacific Railroad Company, under date of June 1, 1863, which is all that has been received by this department under the act referred to.

I am, very respectfully,

Secretary of the Treasury,

President of the Senate.

SACRAMENTO, California, June 1, 1863.

I have the honor to submit herewith the annual report of the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California, in accordance with section twenty of an act of Congress entitled "An act to aid in the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri river to the Pacific ocean, and to secure to the government the use of the same for postal, military and other purposes," approved July 1, 1862.


Of the first section of twenty miles, the grading of which is contracted for, there are fourteen miles already graded, and the balance will be finished and in running order during the month of November of the present year. Proposals for the grading, bridging, and masonry of an additional thirty miles are advertised, and the work will progress rapidly as soon as the several bids are received.

The iron for seventy miles of the road has been purchased, and a portion of it is already on its way to California. The necessary rolling stock has also been purchased for the equipment of the said seventy miles of road. A long and very expensive bridge across the American river, near Sacramento, is being rapidly built, and will be completed with the grading of the first twenty miles of the road.

The last legislature of this State passed an act donating ten thousand dollars per mile to the first fifty miles of road completed from Sacramento, and also several acts authorizing the counties of San Francisco, Sacramento and Placer to submit to the vote of the people of those counties the question of making county subscriptions to the stock of the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California. The question has been submitted to the people of those counties, and carried by large majorities in favor of subscribing stock to the road, as follows:
San Francisco county
Sacramento county
Placer county



1. The names and residence of the stockholders of the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California will be found in Schedule A, accompanying this report.

2. The names and residence of the directors and other officers of the company will be found in Schedule B.

3. The amount of stock subscribed is $711,500. The amount actually paid in is $210,930.

4. A description of the line surveyed will be found in Schedule C, furnished by the Chief Engineer of the road. Cost of surveys, $33,888.64.

6. Amount received from passengers, nothing.

6. Amount received for freight, nothing.

7. Expenses of road, nothing.

8. Indebtedness of the company: Bonds issued for purchase of iron and materials, $1,400,000; due C. Crocker & Co. on account of contract for construction, 857,249.54; total indebtedness of the company, four hundred and fifty-seven thousand two hundred and forty-nine 54/100 dollars.

President Central Pacific Railroad Company.

Secretary of the Treasury, Washington, D. C.

[SEAL] Notary Pubic.

Stockholders Central Pacific Railroad Company of California.

Sacramento City, California.—J. W. Avery, Jacob Arnold, C. W. Adams, L. A. Booth, Bowstead & Go., James Bailey, W. C. Burnham, B. Burt, F. Bell. Joseph Bruner, Daniel Brown, H. Bowman, James Bithell, E. Bhem, Robert Beck, J. Bellmer & Co., Joseph Banquer, Charles Barnes, R. K. Brown, H. W. Bragg & Co., John Brumer, John Bigler, Badger & Co., Samuel Cross, Cornelius Cole, D. E. Callahan, Charles Crocker, C.H. Cummings, J. H. Culver, C.S. Coffin, Martha T. Cochran, Hiram Cook, H. Cronkite, A. Chevalier, Marie Conrad, John Conrad, C. H. Converse, T. H. Cook, A. Coolot, H. S. Crocker, William Cummings, D. W. Clark, B. R. Crocker, G. W. Colby, Geo. Cox, P. Coggins, N. L. Drew, G. B. Dean, James A. Duffy, E. Davis, W. Dreher, D. K. Drew, N. L. Drew & Co., W. J. Douglas, Richard Dale, J. Domingos, W. G. English, J. R. Evan, C. & F. Ebner, A. Egl, D. W. Earl, W. L. Everett, J. F. H. Forbes, Fredericks & Krebs, W. R. S. Foze, P. Franklin, M. Fitzpatrick, J. S. Floberg, Friend & Terry, Joseph M. Frey, John Gillig, Albert Gallatin, A. S. Greenlam, G. Gotthold, E. Gaxoct, B. Gossner, Wm. Greenebaum, Justin Gates, C. Gruhler, Elias Gruhler, J. Gruhler, C. H. Grimm, Godchaux Bros. & Co., Francis R. Gass, Jean Gelinas, C. Gilday, C. J. Hooker, Mark Hopkins, C.P. Huntington, W. H. Hill, J. S. Harbison, Miss M. E. Hurley, G. F. Hartman, J. Hector, A. Heilbron & Bro., W. B. Hunt, H. T. Holmes, Wm. Henkel, Charles Heinrich, A. K. P. Harmon, Jacob Heppe, E. Holmes, Hull & Lohman, August Heisch, Lew B. Harris, Wm. Hendrie, Jared Irwin, T. D. Judah, Samuel Jelly, N. W. Jacobs, Peter Johnson, C. C. Jenks, Elias Jacobs, Enoch Jacobs, Kelly, Mott & Co., W. F. Knox, Klink & Maitteld, H. Kohler, J. B. Kohl, L. Krambach, Edward Kraies, E. Kimball, Frank Keller, David Kendall, Tobias Kadell, Mrs. Jos Klopenstine, T. X. Lindley, Lord, Holbrook & Co., W. Loutzenheizer, W. K. Lindsey, H. W. Larkin, E. J. Loomis, M. Littleton, Isaac Lewis, O. B. Linton, Lyon & Son, Locke & Lavenson. M. Lecompt, Geo. I. Lytle, C. Lages, J. D. Lord, Charles Lutter, Milliken & Bros., John F. Morse, James McGuire, F. Mier, Conrad Mayer, F. H. Muhlenfels, Samuel Mosier, John Meister, W. W. Marvin, John McNeil, R. H. McDonald, A. Menke, H. Meyers, E. B. Mott, jr., Geo. R. Moore, P. Mangan, D. Z. Moore, D. O. Mills & Co., E. H. Miller, jr., W. P. McCreary, James McClatchy, Anton Miller, N. S. Nichols, A. Newbaur & Co., Leonard Newbourg, James O. Neil, Ira Oatman, Geo. Ochs, F. Oettl, I. S. Pond, J. T. Pike, P. H. Russell, Thomas Ross, G. Renaud, John Ryan, W. B. & B. F. Ready, Frank C. Ross, S. R. Robbins, Martin Ransich, J. W. Reeves, B. B. Redding, H. B. Rice, Geo. Rowland, Wm. Radcliff, Rippon & Hill, Leland Stanford, J. A. Seaman, John Smith, Philip Scheld, T. W. Strobridge, Mary Scott, E. Soule, Louis Schaefer, Charles Sellmzer, John Schade, Joseph Stevens, P. Stanton, S. H. Schroer, H. Schroeder, C. Stremming, J. Strutz, Geo. W. Stewart, Lee Stanley, W. R. Strong, Geo. Schmeiser, Wm. H. Spaulding. Geo. H. Swinerton, T. K. Stewart, Robert Seeger, Stendeman & Co., James H. Sullivan, Henry Treichler, S. Tryon, H. Thielbahr, Dores Thielbahr, L. Upson, G. K. Van Heuson, J. S. Van Winkle, John Williams, D. W. Welty, for Mrs. E. Baldwin, O. C. Wheeler, Julius Wetzlar, H. Wachhorst, D. W. Whitmore, C. T. Wheeler, Conrad Weil, D. K. Zumalt.
Dutch Flat, California.—B. Brickell, E. J. Brickell, E. L. Bradley & R. M. Trim, N. W. Blanchard, B. F. Moore, J. T. Mathewson, D. W. Strong.
Nevada, California.—T. Elleard Beans, Charles Marsh, A. A. Sargent, I. W. Turner, E. G. Waite.
Mariposa, California.—E. Burke.
Sutter Creek, California.—O. L. Chamberlain.
Grass Valley, California.—T. W. Findley, E. McLaughlin.
San Francisco, California.—Frederick Griffing, A. P. Stanford.
Knight's Landing, California.—Robert Gardner.
Boston, Massachusetts.—C. A. Lambard.
Iowa Hill, California.—C. Rice.
Folsom, California.—E. Stockton.
Drytown, California.—J.C. Williams.
Solano, California.—Joseph Zumalt.



Leland Stanford, Sacramento City, California.
James Bailey, Sacramento City, California.
Mark Hopkins, Sacramento City, California.
T. D. Judah, Sacramento City. California.
John F. Horse, Sacramento City, California.
C. P. Huntington, Sacramento City, California.
A. P. Stanford, San Francisco, California.
Charles Marsh, Nevada, California.
D. W. Strong, Dutch Flat, California.


Leland Stanford, President, Sacramento City, California.
James Bailey, Secretary, Sacramento City, California.
Mark Hopkins, Treasurer, Sacramento City, California.
T. D. Judah, Chief Engineer, Sacramento City, California.

JudahENGINEER' s OFFICE, Sacramento, June 1, 1863.

To the President and Board of Directors of the Central Pacific R. R. of Cal.:

GENTLEMEN: I herewith submit a general report upon the surveys made under my supervision for the Central Pacific Railroad of California.


This divide is the strip of land lying between the American river and its North fork, (on the south,) and Bear river and the South Yuba, (on the north.) The Bear river unites with the Feather river, (a tributary of the Sacramento,) about thirty miles north of the city of Sacramento.

The direction of divide is northeasterly and southwesterly. Its width opposite Sacramento is about thirty miles. The ravine of Bear river, from Johnson's ranch to English bridge, (a distance of about fifteen miles,) pursues nearly an easterly course, while the course of the ravine of American river, from Folsom, is nearly north, to a point within about eight miles (southeasterly) from English bridge. over the American. river branches, and the ravine of its north fork, as well as that of Bear river, pursue a northeasterly course, but gradually approach each other to a point about four miles above Illinoistown, called Long Ravine, where the two rivers are less than three miles apart. At this point occurs the greatest depression on the ridge, and the greatest difficulties in location were found.

From Long ravine, the ravines of these rivers diverge somewhat, but are scarcely further than six miles apart at any point—the ravine of North fork and its tributaries and branches continuing up the summit. Numerous branches and ravines extend northerly from the North fork, rendering a location on that side extremely difficult, if indeed practicable, our line at Long ravine being about 1,200 feet above the bed of North fork. The ravine of Bear river extends up about fourteen miles above Dutch flat, widening out near the source of Bear river into a beautiful valley, called Bear valley, about two miles long and one mile wide. Diminished in size to a small creek, Bear river passes through this valley, and a mile above is lost among the branches to the right. The ridge between Bear valley and North fork of American river is about 800 feet high. Here occurs a singular freak of Nature. The South Yuba, augmented by numerous large branches along its course, is seen emerging from impassable rocky cañons, and, sweeping down through the head of Bear valley, it turns suddenly to the north and pierces the ridge or divide lying north of Bear valley, forcing its way out to the northward between rocky walls surmounted by peaks from 2,000 to 3,000 feet high.

There is little doubt that at some former period the waters of South Yuba flowed through Bear valley and down the ravine of Bear river; and, indeed, it would be no difficult matter to turn the whole volume of South Yuba into Bear river at the present time.

The South Yuba Canal Company, who supply the Nevada divide with water for mining purposes, take their water from the South Yuba at the head of Bear valley, bringing it down through Bear valley by the side of Bear river, with a grade of about ten feet per mile, being at points as near as 200 feet to Bear river, and not over fifteen or twenty feet above it. Thus it will be seen that the cañon of Bear river becomes and is the same as that of the South Yuba, which latter river now takes its place, the divide or ridge being now bounded by North fork of American river on the south, and South Yuba on the north. The ravine or valley of South Yuba continues on to the summit of Sierra Nevada, and in Summit valley, within two miles of summit, the river is a larger stream than Bear river, in Bear valley.

A barometrical examination of this route indicated that the top of ridge or divide could be reached at Clipper gap, near the head of Dry creek, forty-eight and a half mile from Sacramento. From this point to Reservoir gap (about one and a half miles above Dutch flat and twenty-five miles from Clipper gap) it was found that the line must be carried on the top of ridge.

The line of top or crest of ridge being far from uniform, of course the lowest points or gaps in ridge become commanding points, and it was found necessary to carry the line from gap to gap, passing around the intervening hills upon their side slopes.

It was also found upon reaching New England gap, (near the New England mills, about six miles from Clipper gap,) that to Long ravine, a distance of eight miles, the ridge was nearly level, the elevation of a grade at Long ravine being only about one hundred feet higher than at New England gap; also, that the ridge rose rapidly from Long ravine, eastward to the next gap, called Secret Ravine gap.

It was also found that from Reservoir gap (one and one-half mile above Dutch flat) the ridge rose too rapidly for our maximum grade, and that for the next twenty miles, to the bottom or valley of Yuba, the line must be carried on the main slope of Bear and Yuba rivers. It was thought, however, that the line could be carried up cañon creek (a tributary of North fork, with tolerably smooth side slopes) to Dutchman's gap, about eight miles above, and there cutting through the gaps, brought out on to Bear river side-hill. Subsequent examination proved this to be impracticable. Cañon creek rising too rapidly for our grades, we were therefore compelled to carry the line immediately on to Bear river side-hill and were fortunate enough to be able to avail ourselves of the side-hill of Little Bear river for that purpose.

Being on the top of ridge at Reservoir gap, we were enabled to cross Little Bear river near its head, and to use its side-hill for any approach to main Bear river

The barometrical elevations also indicated that the Yuba could be reached about twenty miles above Dutch flat, at the head of its cañons, and the line carried along up its mouth, uniform bottoms for some distance; then by taking to its south side-hill, Summit valley and summit reached with maximum grades.

The South Yuba, from this point (twenty miles above Dutch flat) called Yuba bottom. extends to the summit, a distance of sixteen miles, most of the way through a valley, in some places five or six hundred feet wide. The old Truckee emigrant trail follows down through the valley a portion of this distance, generally over a smooth, natural road.

Were the fall of this river evenly distributed, it would, afford a uniform grade of a little less than one hunted feet per mile to the summit. Losing, however, from Yuba bottom, (say half a mile at a grade of fifty feet per mile,) the river cañons for half a mile at a steeper grade; thence for four miles its grade is about sixty feet per mile; it then cañons, rising about two hundred and fifty feet per mile, at a point called Slippery Rock Cañon. The river then rises gently for about three miles, and again rapidly for three miles, to Summit valley.

Through Summit valley, (a distance of two and a half miles,) its grade is scarcely twenty-five feet per mile, then rises rapidly again to the summit.

In as much as the indications of altitude of the aneroid barometer proved lower than those of the true level, after continuing our line six miles along the Yuba bottom, we were obliged to retrace our steps and commence again at Yuba bottom, running up on south ride-hill of Yuba, with maximum grade, into Summit valley, in order to attain a sufficient elevation to reach the summit.

Summit valley is a beautiful valley, near the source of the Yuba, about two and a half miles long and three-quarters of a mile wide, yielding excellent pasturage for cattle hundreds of which are driven there each summer. From the summit, looking easterly, you appear standing upon a nearly perpendicular rocky wall of one thousand feet in height.

Immediately below is seen a valley, from one to two miles wide, extending up from the Truckee river to nearly beneath your feet. Donner lake (about three and a half miles long by one mile in width) occupies the upper portion of this valley, and its outlet is seen pursuing its course down to a junction with the Truckee. Two long ranges or spurs are seen on either side, parallel with, and enclosing the lake, reaching from the summit to Truckee river. Immediately beyond the river is seen the second summit of Sierra Nevada; while still further in the distance, the Washoe mountains are plainly visible.

Passing the summit our line is carried down upon the side-hill of the range, on the south side of Donner lake, descending with the maximum grade for about eleven miles.

The distance in a direct line from Summit to Truckee river does not exceed eight miles; but we fortunately encountered two long ravines, with smooth side slopes, which, with the sinuosities of a side-hill, gave about three additional miles of distance, enabling us to reach the Truckee with maximum descending grades.


Commencing at the foot of K Street, in the city and county of Sacramento, where it intersects the water front of the Sacramento river, the line passes northerly and west of the city water-works building, through what is known as Slater's addition, for about fifteen hundred feet; thence curving to the east, it strikes the main north levee at the intersection of Sixth with E street; thence it follows the line of north levee at the intersection of Sixth with E street; thence it follows the line of north levee for about three miles to a point Dear the old Waldron house; thence curving to the left it passes across the space of low land lying between the levee and American river, about half a mile in width, upon trestle bents, averaging about fifteen feet in height, and crosses the American river with two 190-feet spans of Howe's truss bridge; thence running straight over about one thousand feet of low land upon trestle bents, the line curves to the right into a direction of north 24º 30' east, magnetic, and pursues its course in a straight line to a point about sixteen miles from Sacramento across the Rancho del Paso, passing about one-half mile easterly from the Areade house, crossing the north line of said ranch about one-half mile westerly from its northeast corner, and striking near the northwest corner of section 21, township 10 north, range 6 cast, and crossing a corner of sections 16 and 15 to a point on the aforesaid section 15, distant about 16 miles from the foot of K street, in the city of Sacramento, at which point the line enters the county of Placer.

Thence curving gently to the left, and reversing to the right again, it crosses Dry creek with four 55 feet spans of bridge, and passes about 300 feet westerly of Dudley's house; thence curving gently to the left, it follows for about two miles along the foot of a light ridge, in a direction parallel with Dry creek and Secret ravine, to the California Central railroad, at a point known as Grider's, in section 2, township 10 north, range 6 east.

Thence running northerly for about one mile, the line curves to the right and crosses Antelope creek with a 50 foot span about 500 feet from its intersection with Secret ravine, and attaining top of divide or ridge between Antelope and Secret ravine, it follows the same, passing through sections 35, 36, 25, and 24, of township 11 north, range 6 east, and sections 19, 18, 17, 8, 9, and 4, of township 11 north, range 7 east, to what is known as the Big Reservoir at the head of Red ravine, a point distant about twenty-six miles from Sacramento, and at which point commences the maximum grade of 105 feet per mile.

Thence pursuing a general northeasterly course, it continues along the top of said ridge or divide, crossing the main Antelope road at the flume, upon what is known as the Antelope divide, passing through sections 34, 27, and 26, of township 12 north, range 7 east; thence curving sharply to the right, and reversing to the left, in about half a mile further it reaches the summit of divide between Dutch ravine and Secret ravine, at a point known as the Caperton flume, distant about three miles southeast from Gold Hill, in Placer county, and about four miles northwesterly from Auburn station, the terminus of the Sacramento, Placer, and Nevada railroad.

Thence running a little north of east, the line follows up said divide, crossing the main Auburn and Sacramento road, to what is known as Newcastle gap, on said ridge, between Dutch ravine and Secret ravine, crossing said gap, with an embankment sixty-two feet high, and passing through sections 26, 23 and 24, of township 12 north, range 7 east, and section 19, township 12 north, range 8 east, said point being distant 31 miles from the city of Sacramento.

Thence pursuing a general course of nearly due east, the line follows the south side-hill of Dutch ravine for about two miles, passing sections 19, 20, and 21, of township 12 north, range S east.

Thence curving to the left, the line crosses Dutch ravine near its head, about one-quarter mile below the Bloomer Ranch house, and crosses the divide between Dutch ravine and Baltimore ravine, passing along and near the Bear River ditch, to the main stage river road between Auburn and Sacramento, being at said point distant about one-half mile south of the town of Auburn, on section 15, township 12 north, range 7 east, distant 34 1/4 miles from Sacramento.

Thence curving to the left into a general northerly direction, the line follows near the top of divide between the American river and Auburn ravine, and pear to the Bear River ditch, passing about one-quarter of a mile west of the Junction house, and through sections 15, 10, 3 and 2, of township 12 north, range 7 east, and sections 34 and 35 of township 13 north, range 7 east, to the head of Rock creek, at which point the line reaches the summit of divide between Dry creek and the American river, distant about 39 miles from Sacramento.

Thence pursuing a northeasterly course along the top of said ridge or divide, passing about a mile south of Loretto house, and near the Cataract mill, crossing through sections 35 and 25, of township 13 north, range 8 east, and sections 19, 17, and 8, of township 13 north, range 9 east, the line reaches Clipper Gap, in section 19, at a point distant about 44 miles from Sacramento.

Here, instead of following the top of ridge further, it rising too rapidly for our grades, we curve to the right and went up the north side-hill of Clipper ravine, a tributary of North fork of the American, crossing several short, steep side ravines, to Wild Cat summit.

Passing through Wild Cat summit, (about one-quarter of a mile south of Widow Hawe's house,) we pass around Hawe's hill, and curving to the left, cross the main road, and pass up a smooth ravine to the top of ridge, at a point called Applegate summit.

A short distance further on, the line passes through Evergreen gap, crossing the divide again at Baney's gap, from which point it curves round on side-hill (on North fork side) to Star House gap, near the Star house.

Here the line crosses Star House gap (and the traveled road) about fifty feet high, passing up very nearly on top of divide, to the head of Applegate ravine, which runs into Bear river, this point being called New England gap; distance about fifty miles from Sacramento. From New England gap the line passes out upon north side-hill of North fork.

Crossing the traveled or stage road, it runs along above the same, and about 600 feet above New England mills, through peach orchard of Murphy, through Manzanita and Chaparral gaps, and over Sugar Loaf summit, to Lower Illinoistown gap, at the point where the upper stage road crosses the gap, about one and a quarter mile below Illinoistown.

Crossing this gap, about thirty feet high, the line continues on about half a mile further, over a broken country, to a point called Bear River gap, where it turns abruptly to the left, with a maximum curve, and crosses the ridge with a tunnel of 600 feet in length, emerging on the south side-hill of Bear river, along which it pursues its curve to Storm's gap and Long Ravine gap, leaving Illinoistown about one mile to the right. Here was found the greatest difficulty in location; Long Ravine gap being an unusually low depression, the ridge beyond rising quite rapidly to attain its average elevation.

Here the line crosses gap about 70 feet high, and curving to the right, follows the side-hill of Rice's ravine (leading to North fork) for about one mile, encountering a succession of short, steep, abrupt side ravines, to Cape Horn, which is a bold, rocky cliff, nearly perpendicular, and 1,200 feet high, above the North fork of American. Passing round the face of this bluff, about 200 feet below the table above, we strike the side-hill of Robber's ravine, which runs parallel to Rice's ravine, and continues up along the side-hill of same for about one and a half mile, crossing Oak summit, and passing about three-quarters south of Madden's toll-house, through Trail summit.

From this point the line follows along the face of side-hill above North fork, striking Secret ravine, along which it runs for about one mile, when, turning to the left, it passes up a tributary side ravine to its head, the line striking a point about two hundred feet south of stage road, one mile south of Secrettown.

Running thence alongside of road nearly a mile, it crosses the same, and passing between Everhart's house and barn, at Secrettown, it reaches the head of Secret ravine, or Secrettown gap, crossing it with trestling about fifty feet in height.

Turning to the left, the line now passes north of Cold Spring mountain, (on Bear Aver side,) and for two miles encounters a succession of steep side ravines, where some of the heaviest work of the line will be found. Two tunnels will be necessary on this piece of line, each about 600 feet in length. Leaving the side-hill again, the line strikes a long and nearly level bench, about two miles in length, extending up nearly to Dutch Flat.

This bench is the well known gravel ridge which extends along the slopes of the sierras at about this elevation, and on which are situated the mines worked by the hydraulic mining process

Extending up this ridge to within about one mile of Dutch Flat, the line again takes the side-hill to left, running near to Strong's cabin, Brickell's steam sawmill, Dutch Flat steam saw-mill, to the Dutch Flat Water Company's large reservoir, about one and a half mile above Dutch Flat.

The town of Dutch Flat lies on Bear river side-hill, about half way down to Bear river, the line passing about half a mile in the rear, and about 300 feet higher than the town.

At this last named reservoir, which is upon the top of ridge, (called Reservoir gap,) we leave the crest of ridge for the last time, it rising too rapidly to be available for a railroad line, at our maximum grades.

Turning to the left, the line now runs at nearly a level grade, about one and a half mile further, to Little Bear river, which stream it crosses just above the saw-mill near Widow Homer's ranch.

Pursuing its course down the north side-hill of Little Bear river, it departs at Ellmore hill, passing round the same, and enters upon the side-hill of Bear river.

The river gorge at this point is about 1.500 feet deep, our line being about 500 feet below the top of ridge, and from 1,000 to 1,200 feet above the river. Its side-hill is steep, rocky, and marked by many abrupt indentations and corresponding salient points

The line was carried round most of these points; but upon a final location, it will probably be found advisable to run through the sharp points with short tunnels, (the longest of which will be 1,350 feet,) none of them, however, requiring shafting.

The line passes up this side-hill of Bear river, (the grade line being nearly parallel with the crest or top of the ridge, and from 500 to 700 feet below the same,) crossing through Zerr's ranch, (about 600 feet north of his buildings,) striking the lower end of Bear valley, about 200 feet high on its south side-hill.

Continuing on for two miles, it leaves the head of Bear valley, at an elevation of about 350 feet on side hill above the same, crossing the head of Bear river, (which is here but a small creek,) following it up to its source, which is a marshy lake, about one and a half mile above Bear valley.

It will be observed on the profile that, from Zerr's ranch to head of Bear river, a grade line is indicated, running about one hundred feet higher on the side-hill.

In locating the line as run, the intention was to cross Bear river, and continue on the side-hill of the main gorge to Yuba river, (near head of South Yuba Water Company's canal,) keeping up on main side-hill of South Yuba to Yuba bottom; but upon examination this proved to be impracticable, the Yuba above Bear valley running in deep, rocky cañons, with perpendicular rocky walls of granite too rugged in their character to admit of the location of a line over them.

It therefore became necessary to carry the line on to a bench above and south of the Yuba river, and nearly at the base of main ridge. A line from Zerr's ranch to this point being practicable at our maximum grade, the only change necessary being to make the location a little higher on side-hill.

Our present line passes about 100 feet to the left of Jew David's cabin. On the location, as changed, it will pass a short distance in the rear of the same.

Continuing on, the line pursues the general course of Yuba river about six miles further to the point where the old Truckee emigrant trail leaves Yuba bottom to ascend on the main ridge to the south, (which point is 19 miles above Dutch Flat by trail, and about 22 miles by our line,) called Yuba bottom.

This point is at the head of the lower cañons and falls, between Yuba bottom and Bear valley.

In subsequent location it will be necessary to run the line between these two points (viz: head of Bear liver to Yuba bottom) a little lower down on side-hill, as indicated on profile, for the following reasons: Fearing that the elevation of Yuba bottom might prove too high, the line was run from head of Bear river at our maximum grade, in order to gain as much elevation as possible. But on reaching Yuba bottom it was found that this gave more elevation than was necessary; therefore the last half mile of line was run down on to Yuba bottom. The last elevations show that a grade of 50 feet per mile can be obtained from the head of Bear river to Yuba bottom.

From this point (Yuba bottom) the line follows the river for about one mile, passing through a short cañon and emerging at very near the level of water surface in river, (called Hall's cañon.)

From this point the line was first run for about six miles up the river valley, taking to side hill at the two upper cañons, the line being carried up to the upper ford, at head of Wilson's cut-off; but finding that the summit could not be reached without increasing grade on the remaining distance, our parties proceeded to summit, from which a line was run down on south side-hill of Yuba at maximum grade, striking into the valley line at head of first small cañon, (about one mile above Yuba bottom,) called Hall's cañon.

The location, therefore, is carried from Hall's cañon on south side-hill of Yuba, at maximum grades, into lower end of Summit valley, (about 31 miles below summit of Sierras,) crossing the old Truckee emigrant trail near Kidd's reservoir, about half way up to the top of the ridge, the line striking the lower end of Summit valley about the level of Yuba river; returning thence straight across Summit valley about two miles, at a grade of about 25 feet per mile, to a point on the south side of Summit valley, near Cook's old cabin, the line takes to side-hill on right, and in 14 mile further reaches the summit of Sierras, with a cutting of about fifty feet.

By commencing the last-named ascent a little further back in Summit valley, the summit can be reached with maximum grades without any excavation. The elevation of surface at summit is 7,027 feet above top of levee at Sacramento.


Pursuing its course from the summit easterly, the line commences its descent with maximum grades, and passing to the right, is carried for the next two miles over a steep, rocky side-hill, on which will be found quite heavy rock cutting; thence turning abruptly to the right, it enters upon side-hill of Strong's ravine, and running up the same about one mile, crosses over and is carried down over a smooth side-hill to a point 600 feet higher than the southwest corner of Donner lake; thence pursuing its course along the side-hill for about three miles, it encounters Coldstream ravine, and runs up the same a little over a mile.

Crossing Coldstream, the line follows along down its south side-hill to within about a quarter of a mile of the main Truckee, where, turning to the left, it crosses the valley of Donner creek, accomplishing the descent in about 11 miles of downward maximum grade. Thence the line was carried about five miles down the valley of Truckee river, and the survey terminated at a point 128 miles from Sacramento.

The object of this survey being to accomplish the crossing of the sierras with a railroad line, it was considered unnecessary, at this time, to extend the survey any further down the Truckee river; barometrical elevations were taken from our line up the Truckee river to Lake Bigler, and also down the same to the lower end of Truckee meadows, showing its average fall to be only about 35 feet per mile.

I also carried a series of observations down Steamboat valley to Steamboat springs; thence across the Washoe mountains, via Virginia, Flowery, and Six-mile cañon, to the Carson river; thence down the same to Fort Churchill, a profile of which is shown on the small general profile of grades.

A continuation of our line down the Truckee to Big Bend follows the same from terminus of survey, eighteen miles, to Neil's ranch, or Henness road; thence seven miles to Stout's crossing of Truckee; thence through the Truckee meadows and across bend of Steamboat valley, eight miles, to Stone's crossing, or western base of Washoe mountains; thence twenty-three miles through Washoe mountains to Big Bend of Truckee, or edge of Humboldt desert, making the total distance about one hundred and eighty-three miles.

No obstacle exists, and a line with light grades over exceedingly smooth surface can be carried from Stout's crossing of Truckee up Steamboat valley to its head; thence through Washoe valley into Eagle valley, which opens into Carson valley; thence down the Carson river to Fort Churchill or edge of Desert, making, however, a longer line than that down Truckee.


Barometrical reconnaissances have been made upon five different routes across the Sierra Nevada mountains, as follows:

1st. A route via Folsom, Greenwood, and Georgetown.

2d. A route via Auburn, Illinoistown, Dutch flat, and Donner pass.

3d. A route via Nevada and Henness pass.

4th. A route via Downieville and Yuba gap.

5th. A route via Oroville, Bidwell's bar, Middle Feather river, and Beckwourth's pass.

1. Route via Georgetown.

Commencing at the terminus of the Sacramento Valley railroad, at Folsom, the distances were taken by odometers, and elevations by aneroid barometer, to a point seventy-eight miles from Sacramento; thence aneroid observations were extended to the summit of the Sierra Nevadas, near the head of the middle fork of the American river, following the ridge between south fork of American and its northern tributaries and the middle fork of American.

The barometrical observations indicated that a grade of one hundred and fifty feet per mile would be necessary in order to overcome the summit upon that route.

Commencing at Folsom, the line of observations was as follows:

Sacramento Valley Railroad depot, Spruance's, Shaw's bridge, across south fork of American river, Negro hill, Berry's, Atchinson's, Young's, Corper's ravine, Bailey's Knickerbocker ranch, Harris's ranch, Penobscot House, Greenwood, Halfway House, Georgetown, (fifty-four miles from Sacramento,) Clipper mill, Castle hill, top of hill, foot of hill, creek top of hill, Stork's ranch, cabin, Richardson's, Volcano mill, top of hill, emigrant road, top of hill, log shanty, Ballard's, Pilot creek, ice-house, Stockton's upper store, head of Pilot creek ditch, top of ridge; leave emigrant road, seventy-eight miles from Sacramento; leave wagons; point on ridge, ditto, ditto; descend to bottom of middle fork of American river, foot of hill; point on river, ditto; leave river and ascend to top of ridge camp; summit of sierras—distant ninety-seven miles from Sacramento.

2. Route via Auburn, Illinoistown, and Dutch Flat.

The located line of road following this route, and more particularly described herein, a further description of the barometrical reconnaissance is deemed unnecessary.

3. Route via Nevada and Henness pass.

Commencing at Folsom, the observations were taken at the following points: Sacramento Valley Railroad depot, Rock springs, Franklin House. Mountain House, Dutch ravine, Auburn forks, Illinoistown road, Dry creek, Foster's English bridge, Globe ranch, Wolf creek, Boston ravine, Grass valley, Nevada, Turner's mill, Blue tent, South Yuba, Bell's ranch, Lake City, Junction House, Devil's Back-bone, Humbug roar, Snow tent, Cherry hill, Magenta flume, Eureka forks, top of divide, Bowman's ranch, cañon creek, Eureka ditch, cañon creek summit, Jackson's, Downieville road, old emigrant road, Henness pass, Webber's lake, Truckee falls, Maples, Tule Lake House, Hunter's ranch, Sardine valley, Dog valley, Neil's ranch, State line—one hundred and forty-three miles.

This line was found impracticable on account of the crossing of the South Yuba, and objectionable from the absolute necessity of making a long detour, either to the north or south,in order to get from the Henness pass to the plateau of Truckee river, to avoid Dog mountain, at a moderately descending grade, and, consequently, high elevation through the snow region.

4. Route via Camptonville, Downieville, North Yuba, and Sierra valley.

Commencing at the terminus of the California Central railroad, at Lincoln, the line of observations was as follows:

Lincoln, Kennebec bar, Long bar, Timbuctoo, Smartsville, Empire ranch, Deer creek, Keystone House, Ankeny's, Pleasant Valley House, Bridgeport, South Yuba, French corral, Brickville, Sweetlands, San Juan, Freerhan's crossing, Middle Yuba, Camptonville, Sleighville House, top of ridge, Mountain House, Goodyear's bar, North Yuba, Downieville, Mooney's, Charcoal Flat, Sierra City, Howard's, Yuba gap, Hale's, Sierra valley.

From this point the railroad line would extend northeasterly through Sierra valley, passing out through Beckwourth's pass, and connect with the line of observations taken upon the Middle Feather route; but in order to ascertain the height of divide between Sierra valley and Little Truckee, or Maples creek, and the elevation of Dog mountain route, the observations were extended on this line, continuing as follows:

Arm's store, summit of divide, forks, Henness road, Triplet's, Sardine valley, Junction, Truckee, emigrant road, Perkins's, Dog valley, top of Dog hill, Neil's, Stout's, Junction, Fuller's road—one hundred and forty-five miles.

The objection to this route was found in the rugged nature of the country through which it passed, the expensive crossings of Deer creek, south fork of Yuba, middle fork of Yuba, and the numerous deep ravines of their tributaries; and the necessity, as in the Henness route, of making a detour north through Sierra valley and Beckwourth's pass, in order to reach the valley of the Truckee river.

5. Route via Oroville, Bidwell's bar, Middle Feather, and Beckwourth's pass.

Commencing at Oroville, the line of observations was taken as follows:

Oroville, north fork, Bidwell's bar, south fork of Feather, Union bar, Kanaka bar, Bald Rock cañon, Indian crossing, American bar, Long ripple, south branch of Middle Feather, Milsop bar, Rinehart's bar, Marble cone number one, Marble cone number two, China wing-dam, French cabin, saw mill, Hart man's bar, Dollops wing-dam, Pyramid peak, Scrubby Jack's, Rich's point, Butte bar, Onion Valley creek, China bar, Last-chance ravine, Railroad ravine, Gap point, Webb's bar, Colby's, Minerva bar, Washington bar, Rich bar, Winter's creek, Sailor's bar, Nelson's point.

From Nelson's point, on bed of Middle Feather river, eighty miles from Oroviile, for next seventeen miles, the river rising at an uniform grade without obstruction, the line of observations was carried to the north, across the divide between Middle Feather and Spring Valley creek, a tributary of the north fork of Feather, as follows:

Nelson's point, flume, top of divide road to Quincy, top of divide, foot of divide, Spring Garden ranch, Bear trap, Misenhamer's, top of hill, Cunningham's House, Jackson's, top of hill, foot of hill, Middle Feather river, ninety-seven miles from Oroville, at which point the line of observations again touches the bed of river, and is continued on as follows:

Lower ford, upper ford, Penman's, leave river at a point distant one hundred miles from Oroville. For next ten miles the observations were taken upon a line to north of river, as follows:

Leave river, top of Anthony's hill, Anthony's House, Poplar creek, point of river, 112 miles from Oroville. Thence via river as follows: Point at river, north branch Middle Feather, Beckwourth's House, foot of Sierra valley, Butte cabin in Sierra valley. Brigham's ranch, Marsh's Summit House, Beckwourth's pass, 1311 miles from Oroville; thence the line turns t,o the south and follows, through Long valley and Pea Vine valley, to Truckee river, at Fuller's crossing, as follows:

Beckwourth pass, foot of pass, Long valley, road and ranch, Pond ranch, antelope springs, Alkali summit, Alkali lake, Pea Vine summit, Pea Vine hotel, Pea Vine valley, Truckee summit, Junction, Stone's road, Fuller's crossing of Truckee river—160 miles from Oroville and 238 miles from Sacramento.

The advantages of this route consist in its low grades and a lower latitude of summit than upon the other routes; but it also presents disadvantages which render it next to impossible for us to avail ourselves of its advantages in this respect. It is eighty miles further from Sacramento to Fuller's crossing of Truckee by this route than by our present location. The Bald Rock cañon, about 20 miles above Bidwell's bar, is a rocky gorge in the Feather river, rising with smooth grain to sides almost perpendicular, being 3,000 feet high on the north side and about 2,500 feet on the south side, the length of cañon being about one and one-half mile.

In order to avail ourselves of the lower grades, it is necessary to run near the river, or at an elevation sufficiently high to be above high water. This renders necessary the crossing of all the ravines and tributaries, many of which run in gorges of great depth near their mouth, and also involves the necessity of curving up into them and running down again, in order to procure a suitable crossing. From Nelson's point to and through Bald Rock cañon, about fifty miles, the river runs in a gorge ranging from 2,000 to 2,600 feet in height, at a pretty steep slope, which, near the river where our line runs, in many places is perpendicular and generally rocky. The course of the liver between these points is extremely tortuous and winding, the spurs of the mountain on either side putting out sharply and running by each other, so as to lock across each other like the fingers of two hands thrust together. This involves the necessity of many tunnels I estimated the number of tunnels upon this 50 miles at 28. The work of construction would, therefore, be vastly expensive and slow.

In view of our relations with the United States government and the Union Pacific Railroad Company, who are to build about 1,700 miles of road in the interior, and who cannot commence until we reach the State line; in view of the increased cost of the line by this route, and the increased cost to government of appropriations for eighty miles of additional road to the same point; in view of the additional time necessary to construct the additional length of eighty miles, and the physical impossibility of constructing the division from Bald Rock cañon to Nelson's point in one year, the time required in Pacific railroad bill, this route is reluctantly placed among the list of those denominated unavailable for Pacific railroad purposes in the present position of railroad affairs.

A barometrical reconnaissance was also extended from the end of instrumental survey on Truckee river down the same to Stout's crossing of the Truckee river, up Steamboat valley, and by the present traveled road across the Washoe mountains, via Virginia City, down to Six-mile cañon and Flowery district to the Carson river, and down the same to Fort Churchill, as follows: Terminus of survey: Neil's supposed State line, Stout's crossing, Truckee meadows, Truckee City, Steamboat springs, foot of Washoe mountains; Toll road, top of hill, junction with Henness Pass road, Virginia City, Gould and Carrie mill, foot of Six-mile cañon, Carson river, Reed's, Fort Churchill. Returning: Fort Churchill, Virginia City, Gond Hill, Devil's Gate, Silver City, American Flat, trip of Washoe mountains, foot of Washoe mountains, Washoe lake, Washoe City, Galena, Stout's.

A barometrical reconnaissance was also made from Donner lake, via the old Truckee emigrant trail, to the Henness road, at Sardine valley, 16 miles.

A barometrical reconnaissance was also made and observation taken from Donner lake up the Truckee river to Lake Bigler, 13 miles.

A barometrical reconnaissance was also made from the head of Donner lake, via Castle peak to the line of our location, at the foot of Summit valley, 8 miles.

A further reconnaissance was made from the terminus of the instrumental survey up Twin Valley creek into Twin valley, and across by Castle peak into lower end of Summit valley, 15 miles.


Clipper gap, upon the top of ridge between the American river and Dry creek, about 44 miles from Sacramento, being a point common to all the proposed lines from Sacramento upon the Dutch Flat route, several lines have been surveyed and located for the purpose of determining the best, which are denominated as follows:

1. Route, via Auburn station,

2. Secret ravine route.

3. Antelope ravine route.

4. Doty's ravine route.

5. Dry creek route.

The first, second, third, and fourth of the above enumerated lines have a common point at or near Auburn, the fifth at Clipper gap.


This line pursues the direction already indicated, from Sacramento to Dry creek, about 16 miles. Thence curving southerly, it follows up the divide between Miner's ravine and Strap ravine; thence via Miner's ravine, it strikes the Sacramento, Placer and Nevada railroad at Wildwood, and continues upon the south side of same to Auburn station; from this point to Bloomer divide, near Auburn. Two lines have been run and located—one upon an 80-feet grade to Newcastle divide, and thence a 90-feet grade to Bloomer divide; the other, upon a 105-feet grade from Auburn station to Bloomer divide. Preliminary and location lines have been run upon both routes. A line was also run and located from Dry creek, via Grider's and Miner's ravine, to Wildwood, but abandoned.


A line has been run upon this route from Grider's to Auburn, but it was found impossible to attain the required elevation without using higher grade than the maximum allowed by the Pacific railroad-bill.


This route has been fully described in the particular description of lines; it saves 3 1/4 miles in distance over the Auburn station line, and about 71 miles over the Dry creek line.


A line was run from McBowen's ranch, on Dry creek line, near Gold hill via Doty's ravine, Doty's flat, Ophir and Millertown, to Auburn, but it was found that it would be necessary to attain a higher elevation than the town of Auburn, which would require a grade higher than our own maximum, and this line was therefore abandoned.


This line follows the present line of road to Grider's; thence runs near the present line of California Central railroad to Lincoln; thence via Gold hill and Virginia; thence via McBowen's ranch, Sailor's ravine, Morris bar, Summit, Sedergrist summit, Taylor's ravine, it reaches the south side-hill of Dry creek; thence following the same, it encounters and runs up Deadman's ravine; thence crossing and running down the same, it continues up Dry creek, via Page's, Rodwine's, Hawe's store, Cook's, Cog swell's, Watson's, Neilsburgh, Gassaway's, and Pridmore's, to Clipper gap.

Three lines of location contingent upon this line were run from Sacramento across to the line of California Central railroad.

A line, striking at Leet's.
Ex. line, striking at Pleasant Grove.
B line, striking at Lincoln.

This line being 7 1/2 miles longer, and requiring the maximum grades with increased curvature, was finally abandoned.

Experimental and location lines were run upon all the Dry creek lines.

Accompanying will be found a table of grades from Sacramento to the Truckee river.

Respectfully submitted.


Chief Engineer, C. P. R. R. Co.

CPRR Report, 1863, Table of Grades

Courtesy of the Bruce C. Cooper Collection.

See: Theodore Judah's "Location Map of the Line of the Central Pacific Railroad of California" - portion of survey from Donner Summit to Truckee. Courtesy California State Archives..
"Theodore Dehone Judah–Railroad Pioneer" by John D. Galloway. Civil Engineering, 1941.

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