Central Pacific Railroad

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The Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) is the former name of the railroad network built between California and Utah, USA that formed part of the "First Transcontinental Railroad" in North America. It is now part of the Union Pacific Railroad. Many 19th century national proposals to build a transcontinental railroad failed because of the energy consumed by political disputes over slavery. With the secession of the South, the modernizers in the Republican Party controlled the US Congress. They passed legislation to authorize the railroad, and created financing in the form of government railroad bonds. These were all eventually repaid with interest.[1] The government and the railroads both shared in the increased value of the land grants, which the railroads developed.[2] Once the railroad was constructed, the government saved expenses for the transportation of the mails and the military.


Authorization and construction

Planned by Theodore Judah, the Central Pacific Railroad was authorized by Congress in 1862. It was financed and built through "The Big Four" (who called themselves "The Associates"): Sacramento, California businessmen Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Charles Crocker, and Mark Hopkins. Crocker was in charge of construction. The western labor teams were primarily made up of Chinese emigrant workers with up to 12,000 such laborers employed by the Central Pacific Railroad representing 90 percent of the entire work force.[3] They laid the first rails in 1863. The "Golden spike", connecting the western railroad to the Union Pacific Railroad at Promontory, Utah, was hammered on May 10, 1869. Coast-to-coast train travel in eight days became possible, replacing months-long sea voyages and lengthy, hazardous travel by wagon trains.

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