Collis Potter Huntington - Vol. 1

By Cerinda W. Evans | Go to book overview
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Chapter XL
FREIGHT RATES AND FARES

OF ALL THE CHARGES brought against the Central Pacific Railroad Company by the Opposition those connected with its freight rates and fares were the most virulent and widespread. From the beginning of the railroad operation in 1864, the directors were accused of extortion in rates and fares and of unjust discrimination. Bitterness increased with the years; it was charged that the railway policy was "saturated with fraud and dishonesty," and that the railroad itself was a "monopoly that had spread a black cloud over the surface of the State."

From the time the Central Pacific Railroad began to transport passengers and freight from Sacramento to Roseville on April 21, 1864, until it connected with the Union Pacific Railroad at Promontory Point on May 10, 1869, the maximum rates of ten cents per mile for passengers and fifteen cents per ton per mile for freight were charged.1 These rates were allowed under the State law of 1854. At that time the railroads and steamships were permitted to charge passengers twenty cents per mile and shippers sixty cents per ton per mile for freight. It was pointed out by John Bigler, Governor of California at that time, that at these rates, a passenger on the then-hoped-for transcontinental railroad could be charged $500 for transportation from California to Mis

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