The Union Pacific Railroad – Charles Godfrey Leland
This book contains the record of a journey made by a party of gentlemen from Philadelphia to Kansas and back, during the month of November, 1866. The object of the excursion was to examine the condition of the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, to assemble in council, at Leavenworth, those who were specially interested in it, and to make such scientific and industrial researches along the route as might be of advantage to the enterprise. How this was effected has already been laid before the public in several prominent journals. The writer has taken pains in these letters to depict, as truthfully as possibly his experience and impressions of this very interesting journey. As the condition of that grand national enterprise, the Pacific Railway, was the principal subject of discussion by the tourists, the facts thus evolved form, of course, the subject matter of the series. As for the rest, he has done his utmost to set forth how he and his friends passed their time during their trip of three thousand miles in a railroad car, and what were his real feelings at the time. His chief object in republishing these letters – written originally for Forneys Press, of Philadelphia – has been to express, in a collected and somewhat more durable form, a slight tribute of his gratitude to the gentlemen of the company to whose general kindness and personal courtesy he is indebted for having passed as pleasant a month as it was ever his fortune to enjoy.
The Union Pacific Railroad.
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History of the original Union Pacific Railroad from wikipedia.com)
The original company, the Union Pacific Rail Road was incorporated on July 1, 1862, under an act of Congress entitled Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. The act was approved by President Abraham Lincoln, and it provided for the construction of railroads from the Missouri River to the Pacific as a war measure for the preservation of the Union. It was constructed westward from Council Bluffs, Iowa to meet the Central Pacific Railroad line, which was constructed eastward from San Francisco Bay. The combined Union Pacific-Central Pacific line became known as the First Transcontinental Railroad and later the Overland Route.
The line was constructed primarily by Irish labor who had learned their craft during the recent Civil War. The two lines were joined together at Promontory Summit, Utah, 53 miles (85 km) west of Ogden on May 10, 1869, hence creating the first transcontinental railroad in North America. Under the guidance of its dominant stockholder Dr. Thomas Clark Durant, the namesake of the city of Durant, Iowa, the first rails were laid in Omaha.
Subsequently, the original UP purchased three Mormon-built roads: the Utah Central Railroad extending south from Ogden to Salt Lake City, the Utah Southern Railroad extending south from Salt Lake City into the Utah Valley, and the Utah Northern Railroad extending north from Ogden into Idaho. It built or purchased local lines that gave it access to Denver, Colorado, to Portland, Oregon, and to the Pacific Northwest and acquired the Kansas Pacific (originally called the Union Pacific, Eastern Division, though in essence a separate railroad). It also owned narrow gauge trackage into the heart of the Colorado Rockies and a standard gauge line south from Denver across New Mexico into Texas (both parts of the Union Pacific, Denver and Gulf Railway).
The original company was taken over by the new Union Pacific Railway on January 24, 1880, with its dominant stockholder being Jay Gould; the Union Pacific Rail Road was merged into the Union Pacific Railway. The Union Pacific Railway declared bankruptcy during the Panic of 1893. A new Union Pacific „Railroad“ was later formed and the Union Pacific Railway was merged into the new railroad.
(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)
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