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1800s Railroad Problems

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Although there were a number of reasons for a Transcontinental Railroad, there also were:




Wells Fargo - loss of stagecoach lines revenues

Panama Steamship - Panama to SFO revenue from over the Isthmus routing

Sitka Ice Company - more local railroads using glacier ice - while Railroads would be using close   at hand  Sierra Mtns snow for refrigeration



Central Pacific - Financial problems

   Tried for Govt Loan for $15M, butcould only raise $300,000.


Union Pacific - Finacial problems

    Also stied for Govt Loan for $3M, but could only raise $300,000.


Inflation problmes for both railroads.  The CP in its initial stage of construction the main reason for risk.

But even though the UP was already in operation, wanting an expansion, both ran into the problem  of investors wanting fast profits in a boom during the Civil War in munitions, metals, provisions, all for the war effort.  They believed Railroads as a risky business even for the up, and the Cp was still in its initial stage, and would take years in its completion for operation.


If they would be available, an engine prior to the Civil War cost $1,000.  Now that price was incresed to $13,666.


A ton of rails price rose from $55 to $115, and that price was at the Boston Wharf, and for the Cp, they would have to suffer the cost to have it shipped to the West Coast.


There was also the problem with the railroads getting funding in "greenbacks".  The Problem?  Businesses on the West Coast believed "greebacks" too unstable.  Hence an exchange into Gold, at a loss of 47c on the dollar.


One of the many delays was, if they could be obtained, it was a duriation of time to even get rails, spikes, shovels, wheelbarrows, hammers, etc, basically due to the War effort.



Tunnel Trivia


On of the 15 tunnels on the Central Pacific.

Summit Tunnel

20 feet in ehight

1659 feet of solid granite

7032 feet above sea level, and 124 feet below the summit


The tunnel required 500 kegs of dynamite a day for blasting

of which only 8 inches of progress was made in a 24 hour period.


Winter snow avalanches initated

37 miles of snow sheeds and

65 million board feet of timbers


In 1867 it took 12 engines to ram the

Bucker snowplow through 30 foot snow drifts 24 hours a day.

In 1890, a rotary plow could clear that same 30 feet in 1 hours.


>>>>All is in the progress.   Just compare the difference of a man shoveling an amount of snow, compared to that which can be removed by a snow blower.  I lived in the Northern regions of WI and MN, and I can verify the difference. >:(  <<<<<<<<<<<   LOL


Enjoy  ;)

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