Scott later led smaller lines that contested the Central Pacific and its Southern Pacific offshoot for supremacy across the plains and south from Colorado to Mexico. Wall Street wizard Jay Gould also aimed for transcontinental dominance, often by forging alliances and taking over boards; at one time or another, he controlled five separate railroads.
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Those epic battles provide Borneman with colorful anecdotes. Legendary Dodge City, Kan. There was no debate among the railroad men: The public good was subordinate to their private interests. Palmer not once but twice halted his Denver and Rio Grande railroad miles short of a town to bully residents into voting a bond issue to finance his construction. Not only did Stanton find some of the riveting defective but also, incredibly, the order of the support towers had been reversed. The towers at the higher, or upgrade, end of the bridge toward Silver Plume had been placed at the lower Georgetown end, causing the bridge to run suddenly downhill at a 2 percent grade rather than continuing the climb uphill.
Who was to blame for the error was a matter of considerable debate. That Gould was anxious to press ahead after three years of delay became obvious from the speed with which Stanton directed the remedial efforts. The entire structure was dismantled, the support towers exchanged and placed in their proper positions, and the faulty riveting redone.
Walter R. Borneman - Wikipedia
This was accomplished during the dead of winter. The last stroke on one of the most wonderful viaducts ever constructed in the Rocky Mountains was made yesterday. The structure is now complete and ready for the ties. The following month, track was laid an additional 4 miles up Clear Creek to Graymont, present-day Bakerville. But what now of the lure of Leadville and a transcontinental line?
Part of the answer lay in the geography west of Graymont.
Rival Rails: The Race to Build America's Greatest Transcontinental Railroad
Piercing the Continental Divide in any realistic manner would require a tunnel far longer than the 1, to 1,foot bore first projected by Blickensderfer. The latter, in fact, would soon continue west from Leadville, over Tennessee Pass, and down the Colorado River toward Utah. Gould himself was spending less time with the Union Pacific—although he remained a shareholder—and concentrating more and more on his Missouri Pacific system.
The reality of the situation west of Georgetown was that even as the Georgetown Loop was completed, the compelling reasons for its construction no longer existed. So there was still no direct transcontinental link straight west from Denver. Only the Denver and Rio Grande had managed to pierce the inner Rockies, albeit by a circuitous route south from Denver. In the process, it had forced the axis of the Santa Fe south after the Royal Gorge battle. But it is ironic that the narrow gauge system William Jackson Palmer championed proved an albatross in the end.
Its smaller size simply could not compete economically as freight volumes swelled. Worse, its narrow gauge was a major impediment to transcontinental traffic—switching from standard gauge cars to narrow gauge and then back again—between Pueblo and Utah. A third rail was added in between Denver and Pueblo to accommodate both gauges on that section. South of the Colorado battleground, it was a different story. The Santa Fe had built a standard gauge line across generally easier terrain and linked Chicago and Los Angeles.
The Denver and Rio Grande would persevere, but it would never be able to compete with the speed and high volume that the Santa Fe was able to push across Raton Pass.
Perhaps the Santa Fe had won the battle of the Royal Gorge after all. Meanwhile, as Jay Gould was entrenching his position in the midsection of the country with the Missouri Pacific, Collis P. Huntington, of course, had other plans. Peirce of the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio.
The company had long enjoyed a monopoly on the Texas-to-New Orleans trade as well as steamers on a water route between New Orleans and New York. Strong was not a grand-scale promoter or a wheeler-dealer. Author: Narrator: Length: Publisher: Date:. Walter R.
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