Today in history: November 8

Santa Fe and Southern Pacific trains meet at the Tehachapi Loop in the 1980sIn 1874, the Southern Pacific was building its line south from San Francisco through California's central valley.  Construction reached Bakersfield and work began on the line that would include the Tehachapi Loop on November 8, 1874.  The line is still one of the busiest mountain passes in California, and is now owned by Union Pacific Railroad.  In this view from the mid 1980s, we see part of a container car, and under it in the background, the head end of the train of which this container car is part and an opposing Southern Pacific freight at the Tehachapi Loop.

Modeler's Moment - Happy birthday, E.H. Harriman

E. H. Harriman

Today is the birthday of the railroad executive who tried to merge Union Pacific (UP) and Southern Pacific (SP) almost a century before the merger was complete in 1996. E.H. Harriman was born on February 20, 1848, and joined the Board of Directors for UP in 1897, becoming President in 1903. He also became President of SP in 1901. He controlled both railroads (and several other companies) until his death on September 9, 1909. Many of the two railroads' operating practices were standardized, but Federal officials objected to a combined company at the time, so a complete merger would have to wait. In 1913, his widow set up the E.H. Harriman Award to recognize railroad companies with outstanding safety records.

UP's latest heritage scheme is out today

UP has put up a press release today to announce that the latest heritage scheme is in honor of Denver & Rio Grande Western. UP 1989 sports a three-color (black, yellow and grey) scheme featuring a profile of mountains on the cab sides and the Rio Grande logo on the nose. The press release includes a few photos, there are bound to be more at the railfan sites soon.

Modeler's Moment - Happy Golden Spike Day!

Golden Spike ceremony

It was 137 years ago today that a telegraph operator clicked his key in time with a spike hammer to signal the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. The famed Golden Spike was driven on May 10, 1869, at Promontory, Utah, after which, Andrew J. Russell took this well known photo.

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