From Trail to Rail
A History of the Southern Pacific Company
Southern Pacific Bulletin, monthly installments, 1926-1928
A BULLETIN feature which will undoubtedly be of interest to all officers and employes of the Company will start in next month's issue with the first installment of a history dealing with the early beginnings of the present Southern Pacific Company. Starting with the first foolhardy plans of idle dreamers for the building of a railroad to the Pacific Coast, the history tells how the Big Four – Stanford, Huntington, Hopkins and Crocker – became interested in Theo. D. Judah's proposition for thrusting a line of iron rails across the high Sierra; and how the courage, sound judgment and foresight of these Sacramento merchants overcame almost impossible engineering and financial difficulties to give the Pacific Coast its first transcontinental railroad in May, 1869. Building of this line east from Sacramento to Promontory, Utah, was one of the West's greatest achievements. Labor was scarce because of the goldfield rush; capital hesitated to invest in such a hazardous project; and all equipment, rails and most of the supplies had to be shipped by sailing vessel around Cape Horn. In carving through the granite mountains and advancing the rails over the high, snow covered Sierra, the pioneer railroad builders had to depend on Chinese coolies working with one-horse dump carts, wheel barrows, pick, shovel and black powder instead of dynamite, steam shovels, huge scrapers, rail-laying machines and the other power devices common to present day construction. Many of these events are related in the history by veterans now retired on pension. The material was gathered by the Bureau of News.
Note: The linked twently-one monthly installments consist of pages in a three column magazine format, shown highly enlarged because they become illegible when reduced to screen size.
Courtesy G.J. "Chris" Graves.