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The Friendly Southern Pacific

The Southern Pacific (SP) was one of America’s most successful and widely recognized railroads. Its name stands alongside notables like the Santa Fe, Union Pacific, Pennsylvania, Baltimore & Ohio, and Illinois Central. The “Espee” carries a heritage tied to one of the most important events in American history, the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Afterwards, Central Pacific’s so-called “Big Four” (Collis P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, and Mark Hopkins) jockeyed for total control of California’s transportation network. To do so, they created the Southern Pacific and rapidly expanded their new enterprise throughout the Golden State.

Their system eventually became so large it stretched from Portland, Oregon to New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition, a multitude of celebrated subsidiaries comprised SP’s network like the Texas & New Orleans, Cotton Belt, and the great Pacific Electric Railway… read more >

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