Return to Part I of the Judah Plan
The Transcontinental Railroad
Biography of Theodore Judah
The Big Four
A Practical Plan for Building a Pacific Railroad|
Another obstruction urged is, the destruction of the track by hostile
Indians. Before the Pacific Railroad is constructed, all danger to be apprehended
on this score will have vanished; for the construction of the wagon road,
the settlements along its route, and subsequent construction of the Railroad,
will concentrate, upon the line, such an array of strength as would effectually
protect it, were no other protection furnished. There will be settlements
along its whole route, and little villages at nearly all the depots. What
more terrible rod of power we hold over these Indiansthe power to concentrate
hundreds, ney, thousands of men in a few hours upon any desired point?
How much harm could they do before the fighting train would be upon them
at the rate of fifty miles an hour.
We will, for illustration, suppose the road to be managed in divisions
of say one hundred miles each. Each division has its superintendent, sub-officers
and men. For purposes of track repair, the superintendent sub-divides his
divisions into ten sections of ten miles each. Upon each of these is a
gang of ten men, with their hand-car and tools for repairing track. Upon
each fifty miles is a repair engine for hauling material. It is the business
of this track party to go over their division, say twice a day, or preceding
the passage of any train. Even supposing that hostile Indians were to attempt
to injure it, they could only have a few hours' time to work before it would
be known. The Repair Engine starts out, picking up her repair men and all
others at each station, swelling her numbers at each stop, and is among
the Indians in a few hours' time. Are the Indians gone, and repairs only
to be done? The men have been trained to fight Indians as well as repair
track. Are the Indians too powerful for the party? They retreat just far
enough to keep the Indians within rage of the Minnie Rifle, and themselves
out of rate of the Indian Rifle. Do the Indians pursue? They soon find
that the wild horse of the prairie is no match for the iron horse of civilization.
Or let the United States Government establish one company, posts at
each one hundred miles; it would then take but two regiments for the whole
line, which, supposing the companies to be full, would give an effective
force of two thousand United States regularsthe whole of which could
be concentrated, in a few days, at any point. What better distribution
of troops could be made in the Indian country? To the United States Government
alone, were it to be used for no other purpose than as an aid in the future
government of the Indian territory, the Road is worth its cost. How long
will it take a protracted Indian war in these territories to dissipate
one hundred and fifty millions. Let the experience of the Seminole, or
the more recent Oregon war determine.
We now come down to the last practical point of discussion in the running
of the Road.
How long will it take to go from St. Louis to San Francisco?
The answer is as short as the question. It can be run in three days,
or seventy-two hours, including stoppages. That is to say, leaving St.
Louis at 8 A.M., Monday we will arrive in San Francisco at 8 A.M., Thursday.
This is practicable, with our present locomotive and at present rates of
speed. How much this rate of speed will be increased by future improvements,
time alone can develop. This, calling the distance 2000 miles, would give
an average rate of speed of 27 3/4 miles per hour, including stoppages.
That this comes within practical limits, no one will dispute; for even
greater than this speed is made on all our principal roads in the country,
and upon roads where heavy grades and curves exist.
This road, as has been before observed, will probably be managed in
divisions, each complete within itself, the aggregate forming the whole.
These divisions will be different in character, managed differently, and
run over at different rates of speed; as for instance, the New York and
Erie roadit will possess one advantage, however, over that or any other
road of similar character, inasmuch as the stoppages will be less frequent,
and the first eight hundred miles over an unbroken plain, where the line
will be almost straight and level, sixty miles an hour can be made over
this distance as easily as thirty. We will however assume, for the sake
of illustration, that one thousand miles is run at the rate of fifty miles
Total 2,000 miles in 62 hours, running time, giving ten hours for stoppagesample
time for all stops required on the journey.
This is a practicable rate of speed for express trainssixty miles
per hour, for short distances, is made on many of our roads. The writer
has traveled ten miles in ten consecutive minutes; and twenty-seven miles
in thirty-one minutes, including one stop, in a road with forty-five feet
grades, when neither the road nor engines were built for high rates of
Express trains, on the Great Western Railroad in England, proceed,
when in motion, at from 65 to 75 miles per hour, and accidents are rarely
Let the Pacific Railroad be properly constructed, with double track,
and a trip from St. Louis to San Francisco and back can be made in one
week, with perfect ease and safety, with our present class of engines.
Is there to be no improvement in our present class of engines? have
we reached a point in the stage of progress where we must stop, beyond
which we cannot go? Are we willing to admit that fifty miles per hour is
the limit to speed? Are we contented, and do we desire to go no faster?
However well we may be satisfied with the present rate of speed in
traveling, we dare not admit the principlewe wish to go as fast as we
can. Improvements are progressive and the future is before us. No, we have
not arrived at the limit, at a final stopping place; we are only at a station,
a way stationwe have paused, but not to remain. We do not travel fast
enough, nor will we, until a speed of one hundred miles per hour is attained
with as much ease, and as little risk, as at present.
Does the idea seem preposterous? Is it foolish, visionary? Is it absurd?
Let us inquire into the matter a little: let us extract a few notes
from the history of progress.
The age of this world of ours is differently given by different learned
authorities. We will assume its age to be the least number of years given,
or, say, 6,000 years.
This is a long, a very long time; yet it was not until about thirty
years ago that the present system of Railway was developed.
Truly a long time for this idea to slumber.
Let us see how our traveling was effected in the 16th century. We
extract from our Iron Roads, and from Chambers' Miscellany.
People did manage to go from one part of the Island to another, but,
as regards the masses, travelling was rather a matter of theory than practice.
A journey was a serious affair. The only way of proceeding was on horseback;
the horse compelled to go till he was tired, and then he and his master
had to wait and rest. If the horse fell down, the rider was obliged to
tarry till he was sound again; if he died, and another could not be obtained,
the traveller had to stop or proceed on foot.
But, putting such disasters (common as they were) out of question,
the comfort of the rider was dependent on the state of the roads, which
were often in a miserable condition. Fatigue, even for the strongest, was
inevitable, and danger often imminent. The horse might suddenly plunge
into a marsh, or there being no ford or bridge over a river, the swollen
flood would often prevent passage; or, if attempted, both the rider and
horse might be drowned. Sometimes the way lay through deep woods, where
the track was not easily discernible; and, instead of the cheerful fire,
or the well-spread table of an inn to cheer his steps, he had often to
seek repose on the cold earth, while the winds whistled round him; or to
find refuge from the falling rain in some roofless ruin; and, having gathered
a little warmth from the dying embers of a wretched fire, to sink into
slumber on the cold damp ground.
And it is necessary that we should have before us such retrospects
as these, not only to form a just idea of the past condition of road travelling,
but to appreciate the benefits we now enjoy.
We find that in the early part of the 17th century, (not more than
200 years ago,) that the communication between the North of England and
the Universities was maintained by carriers with trains of pack horses.
To their care was consigned not only the packages, but frequently the persons
of the young scholars. It was through them, also, that epistolarily correspondence
was conducted; and, as they always visited London, a letter could scarcely
be exchanged between Yorkshire and Oxford in less than a month.
In 1635 Charles 1st having seen the evils arising from a deficiency
in the existing means of communication, ordered a running post or two to
run night and day between Edinburgh and London; to go thither and come back
again in six days; and other towns were promised similar advantages.
In 1660, General Post Office was established by act of Parliament,
and all letters ordered to be transmitted through it, except such as should
be sent by coaches, well-known carriers of goods, by carts, wagons, and
But about this time a great innovation was madecoaches were establishingand
how was the improvement received?
In a pamphlet, called the Grand Concern of England, published in 1673,
the miseries and ruin of trade occasioned by the introduction of coaches
are thus depicted:
"Before the coaches were set up," says he, "travellers
road on horseback; and men had boots, spurs, saddles, bridles, and saddle
cloths, and good riding suits, coats and cloaks, stockings and hats; whereby
the leather and wool of the kingdom were consumed. Besides, most gentlemen,
when they used to travel on horseback, used to ride with swords, belts,
pistols, holsters, portmanteaus, and hat cases, which, in these coaches,
they have little or no use for. For, when they rode on horseback, they road
in one suit, and ordered another to wear when they came to their journey's
end; but in coaches they ride in a silk hat, with an Indian gown, with
a sash and silk stockings, and the beaver hats men ride in, and they carry
no other with them. This is because they escape the wet and dirt which,
on horseback, they cannot avoid; whereas, in two or three journeys on horseback
these clothes were wont to be spoiled; which done they were forced to have
new very often, and that increased the consumption and manufacture.
"If they were women that travelled, they used to have safeguards
and hoods, side saddles and pillions, with strappings, saddle or pillion
cloths, which, for the most part, were laced and embroideredto the making
of which went many trades, now ruined.
"Those who travelled by the new conveyances, too, became weary
and listless, when they rode only a few miles; they were unwilling again
to get on horseback, and unable to endure frost, snow, or rain, or to lodge
in the fields. Besides" he asks: "What advantage could it be
for a man's health, to be called out of bed into those coaches, an hour
or two before day, to be hurried in them from place to place till one,
two or three hours within night. Inasmuch, that sitting all day in the
summer-time, stifled with head and choked with dust; or, in the winter-time,
starving or freezing with cold, or choked with filthy fogs, they are often
brought to their inns by torch-light, when it is too late to sit up or
get supper, and next morning they are forced into the coach so early that
they can get no breakfast.
"What addition is it to a man's health to ride all day with strangers,
oftentimes sick, ancient, diseased persons, or young children crying; all
whose humors he is obliged to put up with, and is often poisoned with their
nasty scents, and crippled with boxes and bundles? It is for a man's health
to be laid fast in foul ways, and forced to wade up to his knees in more,
afterwards to sit in the coach till teams of horses can be sent to pull
the coach out? Is it for their health to travel in rotten coaches, and
to have their tackle, or perch, or axeltree broken, and then to wait two
or three hours, perhaps half a day, and afterwards travel all night to
make up their stage."
He argues, that only a few coaches should be allowed to go through
with the same horses they set out with, and not travel over thirty miles
per day in summer and twenty-five in winter, and shift inns every journey,
that trade may be diffused; while accommodation would thus be furnished
for the sick and lame, which they pretend cannot travel on horseback. Even
those, however, should be suppressed within fifty miles of London, where
they were no way necessary.
Thus was the innovation of stage coaches receivedbut little did the
writer think that he was arguing in favor of Railroads as well as for horse-back
In 1754, a stage coach was established on the route between Edinburgh
and London; and in the Edinburgh Courant for that year, it was advertised
"The Edinburgh Stage Coach, for the accommodation of passengers,
will be altered to a new, genteel two-end glass coach machine, hung on
steel springs, exceeding light and easy, to go in ten days in Summer and
twelve in Winter; to set out on the 1st Tuesday in March, and continue
it from Hosea Eastgate's the coach and horses in Dear street, Soho, London;
and from John Smith's in the Canongate, Edinburgh, every other Tuesday,
and meet at Burrowbridge on Saturday night, and set out from thence on
Monday morning, and get to London and Edinburgh on Friday. In Winter, to
set out from London to Edinburgh every other (alternate) Monday morning,
and go to Burrowbridge on Saturday night, and set out thence on Monday
morning and get to London and Edinburgh on Saturday night. Passengers to
pay as usual. Performed, if God permits, by your dutiful servant,
This, then, was traveling one hundred years agoand what would he
have been considered, who had dared to look into the future, and told the
world of the change which one hundred years would bring about.
In the year 1820, Mr. Gray published a work propounding a general iron
Railway, and land steam conveyance, to supersede the necessity of horses
in all public vehicles, in which he maintained its vas superiority over
all the existing means of conveyance.
His was a noble mind, which dared to look into the future, and his
dream has now been accomplished; his views were correct, but the age was
not prepared to receive them.
He visited unsuccessfully Brussels, where a large canal was in contemplation,
and advocated a railroad.
From there he went to Manchester and laid his scheme before the capitalists
of that city, but the men who had passed their lives among the marvels
of machinery and owed their fortunes to steam could not appreciate his
projectthey dismissed him as a visionary. He subsequently made application
to the government, the board of agriculture, and the Lord Mayor and corporation
of London for assistance. Mr. Hume presented a petition from him to the
House of Commons, the only result of which was that some called him knave,
others simpleton. Still he persevered; he talked of enormous fortunes to
be realized, of coaches annihilated, of one grand system of railroads,
but was only laughed at; he nevertheless continued his importunities.
In a few years the idea supposed to be born of a disordered imagination
became a great reality; but Thomas Gray found his reward only in himself.
In remembrance of his efforts, and the invaluable blessings they had conferred
on society, an attempt was subsequently made to give him some pecuniary
acknowledgment of national gratitude, but it was unsuccessful. His was
the usual fate of great benefactors to mankind; he died steeped to the
lips in poverty.
The first road ever opened for public traffic was the Stockton and
Darlington, in 1825, horses being used for motive power.
In 1826 permission was obtained of Parliament to construct the Liverpool
and Manchester Railroad; and in 1829 so much had been written about, and
so much advantage was claimed for, a locomotive engine, that the directors
of that road publicly offered a premium of 500 pounds for the best locomotive
that could be constructed under certain stipulations.
They were required to consume their own smoke; that if they weighed
six tones each they should be able of drawing a load of twenty tons, including
tender, at a speed of ten miles an hour on a level railway, a preference
to be given to an engine of less weight if it performed an equal amount
of work. Now that the results of this great enterprise are before the world,
it is curious to observer how completely they were unforeseen. The idea
was received with ridicule by the most eminent engineers of the day. "It
is far from my wish," said a distinguished writer on railways, "to
promulgate to the world that the ridiculous expectations, or rather professions,
of the enthusiastic speculatist will be realized, and that we shall see
engines traveling at the rate of twelve, sixteen, eighteen or twenty miles
per hour. Nothing can do more harm towards their general adoption and improvement
than the promulgation of such nonsense."
"As to those persons," said the Quarterly Review, "who
speculate on making railways generally throughout the kingdom, and superseding
the canals, wagons, mails, stage coaches, post chaises, and in short, every
other mode of conveyance by land and water, we deem them and their visionary
schemes unworthy of notice; they will be weighed in the balance and found
wanting. The gross exaggerations of the powers of the locomotive steam
engine, (or, to speak in plain English, the steam carriage,) may delude
for a moment, but must end in the mortification of those concerned,"
&c. "We should as soon expect the people of Woolwich to suffer
themselves to be fired off in one of Congreve's ricochet rockets as to
trust themselves to the mercy of such a machine going at such a rate."
Such opinions thus expressed by authorities of such eminence, in opposition
to what is now an every day reality, may well induce the most intelligent
and far sighted to hesitate in making dogmatical assertions as to what
may or may not be the revelations of the future.
Three engines attended the trialthe Novelty, Sans Pariel, and Rocket.
The Rocket was successful. She, with the load attached, weighed seventeen
tons; its average speed was fourteen miles per hour; and her builder, Mr.
George Stephenson, was appointed to construct the engines of the railroad,
and on the 15th September, 1830, the line was opened. The railway system
was commenced in the United States in the same year, and from this date,
twenty six years ago, a new era dawned upon the world.
Since then we have progressed, and those short twenty-six years are
a living monument in the progress of time more grand, lofty and noble than
the proudest pyramid which the world has yet gazed upon.
Twenty-five thousand miles of railroad have been built in this country
or an average of one thousand miles per year.
Where is the man who can sum up the grand, mighty benefits which have,
in consequence, accrued to mankind. If the man could be found with a mind
vast enough to comprehend and with talent sufficient to compass them, he
could write a tale in comparison with which the mightiest achievements
of the collective world would sink into utter insignificance. No one appreciates
the innumerable blessings which have flowed in consequence, for the story
has never been told; it is not understood.
But it is one of the first steps of the newly awakened young giant,
Progress, and shall we measure his glorious march by a few strides? No:
he may pause to rest, but it is to recruit his powers for new conquests,
and among them some of will yet see the realization of our preposterous,
absurd idea, viz, "traveling by railroad at the rate of 100 miles
per hour, with the same safety as present," is not near so startling
or absurd a proposition, in this age, was that of 20 miles per hour
only thirty years ago. We have seen that the first locomotive weighed six
tons, and instead of the required speed of 10 miles per hour, made the
unparalleled speed of 14 miles per hour, with an enormous load of 17 tons.
It is but 25 years, and we have improved so that 75 miles per hour has
been made, and trains run regularly at 65 to 70 in England; and upon many
roads in this country a speed of 50 to 60 miles per hour is often attained,
while a single freight engine has drawn a load of 400 tons.
Now, we propose to so construct the Pacific Rail Road that, while all
ordinary business is done, and trains are run in the ordinary way, an express
train shall be run through once a day, or twice a week, or once a week,
as the business may require, that shall run over the light grades and long
straight lines, at a speed of 100 miles per hour, and accomplish the distance
of 2000 miles, including stoppages, in 40 hours.
Is it possible?
Arguing from our present experience in running railroads, we assume
that the practical limit to speed is only to be found in that centrifugal
force acquired at high velocities, which would disturb the cohesion of
the material forming the periphery of the wheels, causing them to fly asunder.
A speed of 100 miles an hour is within this limit. The present and
generally acknowledged limit is found in the size of the driving-wheels,
which, for express engines, are from 5 1/2 to 8 feet in diameter. It is
found, after reaching a certain limit of size, that if built of greater
diameter, it carries the centres so high that it gives an unsteady motion
and a rocking tendency to the engine. This is true; but it is no less true
that it is owing to the want of breadth of base, or distance between the
rails. It is a natural law, that as increase height you must the base.
If this is done, you preserve equilibrium.
Therefore, we argue that if, with a breadth of base of 4' 8 1/2",
the proper proportion for diameter of driving wheel is 6 feet, with a breadth
of base of say 16 feet, we may safely build a driving-wheel 20 feet in diameter.
But to be within limits, let us call its diameter 14 feet. The circumference
6 feet driving-wheel is 18 feet. With a driving-wheel of 14 feet in diameter,
the same traverse of the piston accomplishes 42 feet, or say 2 1/2 times
Now, if this movement of the piston is made in the same length of time,
it will not be denied that the larger wheel will accomplish 2 1/2 times
the distance of the smaller in the same time; or, in other words, if the
speed of the engine with the smaller driving-wheel, with a certain number
of revolutions per minute is 40 miles per hour, the speed of the large
one, with the same number of revolutions per minute would be 2 1/2 times
as great, or 100 miles per hour.
It is a simple proposition.
Let us, then, build an engine with 14 feet driving-wheels, and run
100 miles per hour.
But a hundred scientific gentlemen start up with their objections.
Let us hear them.
It is said, you immediately destroy the usefulness of your great road
by making it cost enormously for construction, making your tracks 16 feet
wide, (an impracticable width,) and transacting your whole business with
these enormous engines, and cars which would cost a proportionately enormous
price. You cannot get a length of bearing between axles of 16 feet, without
making your engines and cars of such enormous magnitude and weight that
they will crush the iron. You will have to lay an immensely heavy rail,
and your passenger cars will be cocked way up in the air, to be above the
centres of the axles.
To this we answer, that the Road shall not cost one dollar more to
construct, for we simply build a good double track road, with say a gauge
of 5 feet, and six feet between rails, this makes the outside rails 16 feet
To the second objection, viz, that we will be obligated to transact
our whole business with engines of this enormous magnitude, we answer that,
having a modern double-track Railroad, there is no reason why it should
not be used as all double-track roads are used, for the transaction of
their business in the usual manner. Therefore, we do not destroy the usefulness
of the road for transacting business, as is now the custom upon all Railroads.
Thirdly, We build the engines of such enormous magnitude as to crush
the rails, and cannot get bearings of 16 feet.
To this we answer, that we do not propose to have the bearings any
further apart than at present, for we propose to run on four rails instead
of two, and to have bearings upon each of the four rails; and, as to our
engines crushing the rails, we will contrive to have no more weight come
upon the rail than is usually the case. Our engine is to weigh ninety tons
and to bear upon four rails. An ordinary express engine will weigh say
thirty tons, which is sustained by two rails, or say fifteen tons per rail,
this would give twenty-five tons weight upon each rail, and is obviated
by making the rail a little heavier, or by simply distributing this extra
weight over a little more length of engine or on more wheels.
With regard to the passenger cars we propose, it is true, to build
double cars, or a car twenty-two feet wide and seventy-five feet
is simply neither more nor less than running two cars up side and side,
connecting them together, and taking away the siding or partition between
them, making one room of two; they run as at present upon two tracks, side
and side, the car being upon a piece of timber extending from centre to
centre of trucks, allowing each to follow the ordinary inequalities of
the road, as at present, but rendering them imperceptible.
So simple is this arrangement that in a train of large cars two ordinary
cars may be attached and a larger car joined on to them again, they are
never out of place.
Thus have we met some of the weightiest objection. We now proceed
to present a claim for its advantages;
1st it will reduce the time of two thousand miles to forty hours. This
has already been explained.
2dly. It insures greater ease and comfort in traveling, with an equal
degree of safety.
Our engine and cars run on four rails instead of two; there are; therefore,
four flanges to confine the car instead of two. Our engine weighs 90 tons;
it is thrice as difficult to get such an engine off the track as one weighing
only 30 tons, and it would run through a herd of cattle or buffalo with
the same impunity, that the latter would run through a drove of sheep.
A system of steam breaks could be so applied as to stop all speed on one-quarter
of a mile, and a telescope mounted, that over the level prairies could distinguish
obstructions at five miles distance.
As to the ease and comfort of such cars, it will be readily perceived
that the passengers can be made as comfortable as they would be on a steamer,
without the discomforts and danger of storm and sea sickness, or the risk
of change of climate. A room 22 feet by 75 feet is a large room. Let us
see what we can do with it. We will make up a train1st is our engine;
then comes our tender; next is our first car which carries coal for one-half
the trip, with a machine shop or work-room, 30 by 22 feet, containing a
forge, lathes, &c., and a complete set of tools for making repairs,
and a duplicate set of the most important parts of the engine.
2d is the baggage, mail and express car.
3d is a car devoted to victualling the passengers, one-half the car,
or say 30 by 22 feet, contains the kitchen and pantries, and the remaining
35 by 22 feet is a dining room or restaurant, where you can go at any time
and order what you like to eat.
The 4th car is likewise divided into two compartments, one of which
is a smoking room, the other a reading room, provided with a library.
Nos. 5,6,7,8,9 and 10 are cars for second class passengers, so arranged
that they can be used as either day or night cars. They are 21 feet inside,
a row of seats on either side of 5 feet 9 inches, takes off 11 1/2 feet,
two passages of 21 inches take an additional 3 1/2 feet, leaving a centre
seat of 6 feet in width. These seats are say 3 1/2 feet apart, there being
18 seats, lengthwise.
These seats would hold, if crowded, 4 persons each, or 216 passengers;
but we will allow only 2 for each seat, so that in day time two persons
would have nearly 6 feet room to move about in. At night let the back of
the seat turn up half way, secure it in that position, and you have two
couches or berths, one above the other, and long enough for a person of
ordinary length to lie down upon. One of these cars might be devoted exclusively
to ladies or partioned off into rooms.
Thus, we see, we can accommodate 108 passengers with sleeping arrangements
per car; this, with our 6 cars, give accommodation for 650 second class
Nos. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 are fitted up for 1st class passengers,
4 of them somewhat similar to those of the 2nd class, and two with a double
row of state-rooms for families, 4 holding 432, 2 holding 118, or 550 1st
We then have a train of 16 cars, 1200 feet in lengthall the cars
connected together, so one can promenade the whole length of the train.
And we respectfully submit, that such a train will not offer more resistance
to the air than two ordinary trains of the same length running side by
side at the same rate of speed.
We submit that is practicablethat railroads are as susceptible
of as great improvements now as they were 20 years agothat the great
Pacific Railroad is a project glorious and magnificent enough to require
the latest improvements, and that it is worthy of, and from its great length
adapted to itthat it will involve no extra cost in construction, over
a good double track road, but only the extra cost of say two locomotives,
costing $50,000 each, and 30 cars, costing say $10,000 each.
With regard to the running of this trainit will run to an exact timetable,
passing each station at a certain time, and all the other trains on the
road will be on side tracks at the time of passing; should a delay occur,
the telegraph announces it to each station, and gives the time of its passing
It carries three sets of conductors, engineers, &c., who go through
the train, and are on duty 8 hours at a time each.
It is proposed that the engine takes coal enough to last one half the
journey, replenishing but once; this, allowing 100 lbs. per mile, is 50
tons, and is from 3 to 4 times the amount consumed by an ordinary train.
The cost of her fuel, then, even at $10 per ton, would be for the trip
Let us inquire as to the profits.
The present rates of passage to California are about $250 in first
and $150 in second cabin; the time consumed, twenty-three days.
In the present case, assume first class fare to be $100, and second
do. at $60, which, with five hundred and fifty first, and six hundred and
fifty second class passengers, gives, as receipts for trip $94,500. Add
mails and expenses, and it is over $100,00 per trip.
Allow the business of the Road to require only two such trains per
week and back, and the receipts are $20,800,000 per year. Deduct one-half
for working expenses, and it leaves a profit of $10,400,000, or seven per
cent. per year upon a capital of $150,000,000, without reckoning either
freight or way business.
This would be equal to an average of three hundred and fifty passengers
per day each way.
It is to be borne in mind that we are not presuming to make a reliable
estimate of the receipts of this Road, but endeavoring to show its capacity
for business. It is hoped, therefore, that these estimates will not be
criticised as an attempt to estimate the business of the Road.
It will undoubtedly be said that there cannot be so many through passengers
carried; but it is rather unsafe, in this age, to hazard a prediction as
to the increase of business consequent upon the construction of Railroads.
The receipts of the New York Central Railroad, for the year 1856, were
$7,700,000. This Road, it is true, is through a populous region.
But the receipts of the New York and Erie Railroad are even greater,
and the road, when built, passed, for a greater share of its length, through
a section of country but sparsely populated, unproductive, its resources
undeveloped. It has made "this country productive and fruitful.
So with the Pacific Railroad. The present business does not afford
proper data whereby to estimate its receipts. It creates a business; it
makes the country.
Is there evidence wanting as to the developing influences of Railways?
We find it in the history of nearly every Road constructed in this country.
Take, for example, the State of Illinois alone.
"The public lands in this State were brought into market in the
year 1813. For a period of thirty-seven years thereafter, reaching up to
1850, the sales amounted to 22,573,436 acres, averaging 595,000 acres per
annum. During the five years succeeding 1850 the sales have reach 12,500,000
acres or 2,500,000 acres per annum; and now there are less than 100,000
acres of government land in the State. This is the result of the influence
of railroads; but it does not end here. The value of lands has been at
least quintupled since the iron ways sat down upon our magnificent prairies.
Another effect has been to equalize the values throughout the State, so
that we do not now witness the great disproportion between land in the
vicinity of the lakes and rivers and the interior which formerly existed.
And be it remembered that it is not the through business of California
alone upon which this road is to rely for through travel. There is Utah,
Oregon, Washington, the Russian Possessions, the Sandwich Islands, China,
and the East Indiesall of which are brought, more or less, within the
influences of this Road.
"In 1840 the assessed value of the taxable property in Illinois
was $58,752,000. In 1850 it had risen to $117,560,000showing an increase
of $58,808,000 or 100 per cent. in 1855 the valuation was $335,000,000,
showing an increase of about 300 per cent. in half the time. Here, again,
we see the developing influence of railroads.
"There is yet another point from which this branch of the subject
may be viewed. Illinois commenced the present century, with a population
of less than 3,000. In 1810, there were about 13,000. By following the
increase through the several decades and semi-decades since the census
has been taken, it will be seen that the gain has been much larger during
the last five years than in any former period... ."
"The increase of population has been double during the five years
ending, with 1855, that it was at any former period, and the annual sales
of land were nearly five times as greatsome of these lands had been in
market for twenty or thirty years at Government prices, and had it not
been for Railroads they would doubtless have remained unsold for much longer.
They were inaccessibleaway from navigable streamsaway from marketsthey
would bring a dime an acre. Produce was worthless, as it cost more to transport
it than could be obtained for it in the marketthere was no wood for fencing
or building, and no means of getting it, save by land carriage, so tedious
and expensive as to be entirely impacticable."
It is hoped and believed by many that Congress will, at this session,
pass a bill donating alternate sections of land to aid in the construction
of either this enterprise, the Wagon Road or both. Should this be effected,
it will obviate the necessity of adhering strictly to the plan as herein
proposed; but whether or not that is done, it does not alter the justice
of the conclusion as to the proper steps to be taken in making such a survey
as proposed, and locating the wagon road upon it.
There are numerous points in the proposed plan, which will, no doubt,
appear to many as bold, startling, and apparently, impracticable; but if
its boldness will have no other effect than to induce sensible men to read
and reflect upon them, the desire of the writer will have been gratified.