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He was the first advocate of the Pacific Railroad who had practical railroad engineering knowledge to add to sincere enthusiasm.He took his plan to Congress on several occasions, made preliminary surveys over various routes through the Sierra, and had received a small amount of financial support from residents in the mountain towns.After passage of the bill, Huntington wired his associates: "We have drawn the elephant, now let us see if we can harness him." In granting this aid to the Central Pacific and Union Pacific, Congress followed a federal policy already established, and one extended to several other railroads built before and after the Pacific Railroad was authorized.The financial aid was not a donation, but was in the form of United States 6% bonds which were a lien against the railroad property, with repayment to be made in thirty years.Judah again went to Washington and played a leading role in final passage of the Pacific Railroad bill. He met with little encouragement for the enterprise seemed too risky; prospects of financial returns were too remote.Even the assurance of government aid through grants of land and the loan of federal money, left the Central Pacific organizers with a formidable task ahead of them.It was vital that California and the Pacific Coast be bound to the Union, consequently the Pacific Railroad became a military necessity.The Pacific Railroad Act was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on July 1, 1862, and six months later, on January 8, 1863, the first shovelful of earth was turned by Central Pacific in constructing the pioneer line.
Judah, 34, had completed in 1856 the 28-mile line of the Sacramento Valley Railroad from Sacramento to Folsom, first railroad operated in the far West.
It is published by the Southern Pacific Bureau of News, 65 Market Street, San Francisco, and is a revision of the "75 Years of Progress" articles which first appeared in the Southern Pacific "Bulletin" during 1944.
from the East to signal completion of the first transcontinental railroad.
Others followed, some of them having a short route to the rich Orient as the primary objective rather than being aimed at the development of the West.
Discovery of gold in 1848 focused world attention on California and the Pacific Coast region.