“These Mountains Look Too Ugly and I See Too Much Work Ahead”

Richard J. Orsi

in Sunset Limited

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780520200197
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940864 | DOI:
“These Mountains Look Too Ugly and I See Too Much Work Ahead”

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This chapter presents an account of the early years of the Southern Pacific Company. It covers the period from the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad to the re-establishment of the Southern Pacific Company. The chapter begins by describing the geographical barriers present during the 1850s and 1860s that greatly affected commerce in California. The Central Pacific Railroad was the solution to the transportation and economic problems of the state. The chapter then discusses the founding of the Central Pacific Railroad Company, the Pacific Railway Act of 1862, and the Company's management crisis of 1863, which is considered as its lowest point in its history. The addition of new tracks, the consolidation of the railroads in California, the expansion of railroads in areas outside California, and the founding of the Southern Pacific Company are discussed. The latter portion of the chapter looks at the period when the Southern Pacific was controlled by the Union Pacific and the new Harriman Lines combination, as well as the regrouping of the Southern Pacific as a major independent carrier in the Southwest and the Far West.

Keywords: early years; Southern Pacific Company; Central Pacific Railroad; geographical barriers; Pacific Railway Act; management crisis; Harriman Lines; expansion; consolidation; California railroads

Chapter.  16850 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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