Central Pacific Railroad

History and Formation
– The Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) was chartered by U.S. Congress in 1862.
– Several national proposals to build a transcontinental railroad failed before the CPRR.
– The Republican Party controlled the US Congress after the secession of the South in 1861.
– Legislation in 1862 authorized the central rail route with financing in the form of land grants and government railroad bonds.
– Charles Marsh and Theodore Judah examined potential railroad routes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
– Marsh, Judah, and Daniel Strong discussed the project and formed the Central Pacific Railroad of California.
– The Pacific Railway Act of 1862 promoted the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad.
– Construction began in 1863 with the laying of the first rails in Sacramento.
– Central Pacific Rail Road of California incorporated on June 28, 1861.
– Name changed to Central Pacific Railroad of California on October 8, 1864.
– Pacific Railway Act signed by President Lincoln on July 1, 1862, authorizing the construction of a railroad to the Pacific Ocean.
– Ground-breaking ceremonies held on January 8, 1863, in Sacramento.
– First rail of the Pacific Railroad laid on October 26, 1863, in Sacramento.

Chinese Labor
– Chinese laborers were hired by the Central Pacific Railroad.
– White workers were not willing to do the dangerous work.
– Chinese laborers were paid less than their white counterparts.
– CPRR saw the advantage of employing good workers at low wages.
– Chinese labor proved to be vital for the construction of the railroad.
– Central Pacific hired its first 50 Cantonese emigrant laborers in February 1865.

Challenges and Innovations in Building the Central Pacific Railroad
– The Central Pacific faced difficulties in the Sierra Nevada, including extensive tunneling.
– The story of Chinese workers suspended in baskets at Cape Horn is exaggerated.
– Safety ropes were used by surveyors, but not by construction workers.
– Most of the Chinese labor was hired later, and the initial digging at Cape Horn was likely done by Irish workers.
– Central Pacific Director Charles Marsh had experience in civil engineering projects.
– The construction faced challenges such as harsh weather conditions, steep terrain, and limited resources.
– The Central Pacific Railroad used innovative engineering techniques, including the construction of tunnels and snowsheds.
– Chinese laborers were known for their efficiency and skill in blasting tunnels and laying tracks.
– The construction of the railroad required the development of new technologies and equipment.
– The completion of the railroad led to advancements in transportation and communication.

– The Central Pacific built trestles initially to expedite construction.
– The CPRR issued government bonds and received land grants for each mile constructed.
– First Mortgage Bonds were advertised for financing.
– Trestles were later filled in with dirt.
– Road financed primarily by 30-year, 6% U.S. government bonds.
– Bonds issued at rate of $16,000 per mile of tracked grade completed east of Sierra Nevada range.
– Bonds trebled to $48,000 per mile for grade completed over and within two mountain ranges.
– Bonds doubled to $32,000 per mile for grade laid between two mountain ranges.
– Government Bonds repaid in full with interest by the company.
– 1864 amending Pacific Railroad Act authorized company to issue First Mortgage Bonds.

Impact and Legacy of the Central Pacific Railroad
– The completion of the Central Pacific Railroad revolutionized transportation in the United States.
– The railroad facilitated the movement of people, goods, and resources across the country.
– The Central Pacific Railroad contributed to the economic growth and development of the Western states.
– The railroad played a significant role in the settlement of the West and the expansion of trade and commerce.
– The completion of the railroad led to the establishment of new towns and cities along its route.
– The Central Pacific Railroad became part of the Southern Pacific Railroad after a merger in 1885.
– The railroad’s route is still in use today as part of the Union Pacific Railroad’s transcontinental line.
– The Central Pacific Railroad is recognized as a historic engineering feat and a symbol of American progress.
– The contributions of Chinese laborers in building the railroad have gained recognition and appreciation.
– The Central Pacific Railroad has been the subject of numerous books, documentaries, and historical studies.Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Pacific_Railroad