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Southern Pacific is a monument to the enterprise and vision of Leland Stanford, Collis P. These Sacramento merchants, famed in later years as the "Big Four," became impressed with plans for a railroad east over the Sierra as conceived by Theodore D. Typical of the courage and daring that characterized the successful exploits of many western pioneers, the four associates launched the project, unmatched in all the story of rail transportation, without any one of them ever having been remotely connected with a construction project of greater magnitude than the erection of their own store buildings.

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The story of the early beginnings of this great railroad project is the story of the West, the saga of individual initiative and courage that spanned a nation with bands of iron rail and nurtured the development of today's western empire.

Construction of the rail highway for the Iron Horse from the Pacific Coast to the Missouri River was one of man's greatest accomplishments.

Construction began at Sacramento in 1863 following authorization by Congress in 1862.

The original unit of the transportation system that today comprises more than 15,000 miles of rail lines in this country and Mexico, was built from Sacramento 690 miles over the Sierra Nevada Mountains and across Nevada to meet the Union Pacific at Promontory, Utah, where the Last Spike was driven on May 10, 1869.

[See"Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-4" Volumes I-XII.

Washington, Government Printing Office, 1855-61.] but intense factional rivalries among congressmen from the North and South frustrated every effort in behalf of a railroad. Withdrawal of the southern representatives left official Washington of one accord.

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.

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.

To an unknown editor in the little village of Ann Arbor, Michigan, belongs the credit for making in 1832 the first suggestion for a railroad that would span the continent from the Great Lakes to the Pacific.

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